How to Drill a Hole in a Stock Motorcycle Exhaust

Updated April 17, 2017

"Loud pipes save lives" is a saying that many riders use within the Harley-Davidson motorcycle community, because loud motorcycle exhausts are hard to ignore, alerting drivers that motorcycles exist. Many motorcycles, however, ship with exhausts that are quieted down with baffles. Make your motorcycle louder by "drilling out" the baffles in your pipes. Do not drill through more than one baffle in each exhaust pipe; otherwise the motorcycle may suffer from a lack of power, requiring a carb rejet or fuel injector recalibration.

Use your owner's manual or a shop maintenance guide to locate the bolts that hold your exhaust into place. Remove the bolts and the exhaust from the motorcycle, using wrenches. There can be one, two, even four separate pipes.

Wrap the first exhaust pipe in shop rags, and place it in a vice to hold it steady. Do not tighten the vice enough to damage the exhaust; simply use the vice to hold it in place.

Attach a 3/8-inch metal-cutting drill bit to your hand-held drill.

Put the end of your drill into the end of the exhaust until it stops. This is the first baffle. Drill through the baffle as straight as possible to avoid whistling, and shake out any metal bits.

Repeat the drilling procedure for each exhaust pipe. Use the bolts you removed earlier to now reattach the exhaust pipes to your motorcycle. Be sure all bolts are tight.

Put the motorcycle in neutral, and fire it up to have a listen.

Things You'll Need

  • Owner's manual for your motorcycle
  • Basic wrench set
  • Shop rags
  • Vice
  • Hand-held drill
  • 3/8-inch metal-cutting drill bit
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About the Author

Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., Justin Wash began his professional writing career in 2004 with an online freelance copywriting business. Over the years, he has written for a myriad of clients including China-Vasion and The Executives Closet.