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Organ Donor
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just put on some Road Burner Street lites last night and was a bit confused when everything was done. As you can hopefully see from the marketing image below, the pipes look like they should be parallel and the ends should line up. I am running 0 for 2. Don't have a camera at the moment so can't take a picture of my bike. I haven't found any other pictures of these pipes on a 1600 Classic. I mounted everything loose and then tightened up the bolts on the head before tightening the bolts on the support bracket. I have tried loosening the bolts on the support and nudging things around, which helps a bit but I don't want to get carried away.

Am I doing something wrong? Is this a common problem with pipes of this design or am I the only one? My bike is up on jack stands right now since I have the final drive pulled off so maybe that has something tweaked a little bit?

Image from Road Burner
 

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Nobody Home
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1,770 Posts
Am I doing something wrong?
Yes. Assemble everything finger tight, including the nuts on the head flanges. Get everything aligned and then tighten starting at the rear. Snug first then tight. Head flanges last.

Start tightening at the heads and as you found, things will be mis-aligned and then stressed being pulled into alignment. That leads to vibration.
 

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Workin' to ride
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559 Posts
You're going to find differing opinions here! I agree on finger tighten everything while supporting the pipes in a parallel configuration. But what worked best for me, and advice given by many to me was to start tightening at head flanges first. The last thing you want is to have at the very end the head flange not aligned flat to the exhaust port and then tightening it down...great way to crack the flange or bend a stud.
 

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Nobody Home
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But what worked best for me, and advice given by many to me was to start tightening at head flanges first. The last thing you want is to have at the very end the head flange not aligned flat to the exhaust port and then tightening it down...great way to crack the flange or bend a stud.
There's a reason you have crush gaskets at the head. That's to allow some mis-alignnment to be accomodated. It's also why they're really meant to be replaced if have the pipes off. If you crack the flange or bend a stud you're way overtightening the nuts.
 

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Workin' to ride
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559 Posts
There's a reason you have crush gaskets at the head. That's to allow some mis-alignnment to be accomodated. It's also why they're really meant to be replaced if have the pipes off. If you crack the flange or bend a stud you're way overtightening the nuts.
Spec for my bike is 14 ft/lbs, so that's what I did.
 

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nu2kawi
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2,707 Posts
When they make a set of pipes or what ever for a bike they make them from a bike they have and fit them to that bike. Problem is not all bikes are made the same. To get my pipes to fit, I had to do some drilling to align some holes. I don't have a torque wrench that I could use on the head bolts so I torque a bolt in a vice and checked it with a combination wrench to see how tight it felt. Finger tight to start, then start snugging all the bolts about the same going front to back, like you would torquing a head in place. In the end everything sealed great and lined up good. I have a diff bike and diff pipes, but the basics are the same. You'll get it. Just don't tighten any one bolt till all are snug.
 

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Nobody Home
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Spec for my bike is 14 ft/lbs, so that's what I did.
Fine, but the point is that if you tighten at the head first, you have to pull the rear into alignment stressing the pipes. If you tighten the rear first the crush gasket will accomodate the misalignment and leave the pipes unstressed. Stressing the pipes during installation is frequently the reason people wonder why their bike vibrates more after installing pipes.
 

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Workin' to ride
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559 Posts
Fine, but the point is that if you tighten at the head first, you have to pull the rear into alignment stressing the pipes. If you tighten the rear first the crush gasket will accomodate the misalignment and leave the pipes unstressed. Stressing the pipes during installation is frequently the reason people wonder why their bike vibrates more after installing pipes.
You probably know much more about it than me, that's why I asked for advice, and I took advice that went the other way. It worked out for me. I have no more vibration than with the stocks. Like I mentioned to the OP...there are differing opinions here like with most things. I know the Cobra instructions say to follow your method. I followed Rich L.'s advice because it sounded logical to me and I trust him. I have noticed that you seem to have a need to be right and have the last word on many questions. I'm sure that stems from the fact that you are a good mechanic. Me, I'm just stupid enough to be dangerous...
 

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Organ Donor
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all of the advice. I will loosen everything up tonight and start tightening from the rear this time. I just hope I don't futz with it enough that I have to go get new new gaskets. I will have to post a pic when my camera comes back from vacation.
 

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Nobody Home
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1,770 Posts
Thanks for all of the advice. I will loosen everything up tonight and start tightening from the rear this time. I just hope I don't futz with it enough that I have to go get new new gaskets. I will have to post a pic when my camera comes back from vacation.
You'll probably need new gaskets. The Harley gaskets are better than the Kawasaki gaskets, being thicker to better allow some misalignment and still give a good seal.
 

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Workin' to ride
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559 Posts
Rather than just saying "do this", I was trying to explain why. Do what you like.
I've been doing this alot longer than Rich.
Just because I've been practicing dentistry longer doesn't necessarily make me a better dentist than my peers...there's more to it than that in my opinion. I am only proposing that there are differing opinions...it doesn't need to be perceived as an attack on yours. Sounds like you have a competitive streak...
 

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Organ Donor
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219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I used BillyBobby's advice and it looks good now and didn't seem to put pressure in the wrong places on the head. I did not replace the gaskets and everything seams sealed. The most accessible dealer charges $6+ each for the OEM gaskets. I didn't check at the Harley dealer, which is closer, but I do have their part number now. Still waiting on parts to fix my final drive so I won't know about vibration for a few days at least.

I always appreciate the differing opinions. Sometimes you can piece together different ideas to come up with your own solution. The right solution is what works for you, not necessarily what is written in a manual.
 

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Workin' to ride
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559 Posts
I used BillyBobby's advice and it looks good now and didn't seem to put pressure in the wrong places on the head. I did not replace the gaskets and everything seams sealed. The most accessible dealer charges $6+ each for the OEM gaskets. I didn't check at the Harley dealer, which is closer, but I do have their part number now. Still waiting on parts to fix my final drive so I won't know about vibration for a few days at least.

I always appreciate the differing opinions. Sometimes you can piece together different ideas to come up with your own solution. The right solution is what works for you, not necessarily what is written in a manual.
Glad it all worked out for you...now you know what's coming...

We need pics! And a sound clip would be nice! Congrats on getting them lined up.
 
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