How to Install Vance & Hines Baffles

Updated April 17, 2017

You may want to install new baffles in your exhaust pipes because they are too loud and you want to make them quieter. Or maybe they are too quiet and you want to make them louder. Sometimes your existing baffles have been drilled out, modified or have become corroded and it's time to install new ones. You do not need to be a master motorcycle mechanic to install new Vance & Hines baffles.

Cool down your exhaust pipes before you begin the installation process. Your engine should be turned off for 30 to 60 minutes so that your exhaust pipes are cold. Heat makes metal expand and you want to be sure that your new baffles will easily slide into your exhaust pipes.

Loosen the screw on your existing exhaust pipes which holds in the baffle. On Vance and Hines "Bigshot" exhaust pipes there is a screw approximately 4 inches from the end of the pipe that must be loosened first. This screw is under the heat shield, which means that the heat shield must be removed to get to the screw. The heat shield can be removed by loosening the two hose clamps which attach it to the exhaust pipe.

Remove the now loose baffles from your exhaust pipes by pulling them straight out of the exhaust pipe with needle-nose pliers. If they are stuck you may need to break them free using a rubber mallet and a wooden dowel and tapping on the baffle. Be careful not to damage the exhaust pipe itself.

Look at your replacement Vance & Hines baffle as you slide it into the exhaust pipe to make sure that the screw hole will line up with the location of the exhaust pipe screw, which holds in the baffle, once the new baffle is in place inside the exhaust pipe.

Tighten the mounting screw and secure the baffle to the inside of the exhaust pipe.

Replace the heat shields in the same position as when you removed them.

Take your motorcycle on a test ride to evaluate the new sound and to check for any changes in engine performance.


Make sure you purchase baffles that fit your exhaust system. Measure your exhaust pipe diameter before you purchase your baffles. "Bigshot" heat shield removal can be complicated by corroded hose clamps which hold the heat shield on to the exhaust pipe. It is sometimes quicker to just cut these hose clamps off and replace them. Also, future baffle replacement can be made easier by drilling a hole through the heat shield directly over the screw in the exhaust pipe which holds in the baffle. With a hole through the heat shield you will be able to fit the tip of the screwdriver through the heat shield and loosen the screw without removing the heat shield. Keep your old baffles, as some day you may want to put them back in.


Make sure that any exhaust modifications you perform on your motorcycle are in compliance with your state and local motor-vehicle laws. These laws vary by state, and even town, so check with your DMV before you make any modifications. Your engine depends upon back pressure from the exhaust system for the carburettor or fuel injection to operate. Changing your baffle may change the back pressure, which in turn may change the performance of the engine.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
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About the Author

Frank Gates started writing technical documents in 1980 as part of his telecommunications job. He is now a full-time technical writer. Gates has published two books, "Motorcycle Rider Basics" and "The Absolute Supervisor." He earned a technical diploma in electronic communications from the DeVry Institute of Technology.