Cleaning exhaust headers

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Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  Jonnytiv on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 9:36 am

So something has been cooked onto one of my headers just at the first bend where it leaves the block. I'd like to have a go at removing it but not sure what's the best way to go about it. I've been told steel wool and/or a fine sand paper?? just don't want to make it look worse. Anyone got any advice? If it turns out good I'll post a before and after pic.

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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  Chook on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 10:17 am

Kerosene, soak it 1st (wrap soaked rag around stain)


Rub with kero soaked rag, lot's of elbow grease needed


Polish with a metal polish, I've used Silvo, Brasso and Purple Polish (+ 1 other I can't recall), all gave similar results, once again, lots and lots of elbow grease required, I use strips of rag and wrap around the pipe pulling back and forth.









I've also heard of  toilet cleaner working a treat, there's plenty of examples of you tube etc, I can't comment as I've never done it that way.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVUBXZqa21I
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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  paul on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 10:24 am

I use Autosol metal polish ...............I wouldn't be using steel wool or sandpaper , it will scratch them ; & like Chook said , lots of elbow grease .

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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  GDUB on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 4:23 pm

Steel wool will not damage the finish! Sand paper might but steel wool wont

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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  madmax on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 5:28 pm

WD40 and Autosol

buy one of these kits, for the more accessible areas.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/craftright-5-piece-rotary-polishing-set_p6350651

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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  paul on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 6:18 pm

@GDUB wrote:Steel wool will not damage the finish! Sand paper might but steel wool wont
Have you actually tried it on your bandit exhaust? I consider swirl marks left by the steel wool scratches ...............maybe I'm just fussier than you .

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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  Chook on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 6:26 pm

@paul wrote:
@GDUB wrote:Steel wool will not damage the finish! Sand paper might but steel wool wont
Have you actually tried it on your bandit exhaust? I consider swirl marks left by the steel wool scratches ...............maybe I'm just fussier than you .

X 2

You can get away with steel wool if you are prepared to polished for a bloody long time after to get the swirls out
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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  reddog on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 8:17 pm

You guys are crazy. My exhaust has that patina that can only be had with 8+ years of not being polished Smile
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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  Ironman on Sat 10 Jun 2017, 6:09 am

0000 grade steel wool and autosol and then just autosol to polish.
+1 on the soaking with WD40 to get the suicidal cooked bug out of any difficult areas.
Scratches / swirl marks on headers? I never noticed them after using this method.
Look a bit lower where they bend back to the collector just behind the front wheel.... beautifully sandblasted by the grit thrown up from normal use.
Would make any "swirl marks" from cleaning / polishing insignificant in my worthless opinion.

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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  Re-Cycled on Sat 10 Jun 2017, 6:32 pm

@reddog wrote:You guys are crazy. My exhaust has that patina that can only be had with 8+ years of not being polished Smile

Yes, I'm pretty sure the V-Strom engine pipes are stainless... somewhere under the protective coating of rust coloured deposits. Laughing

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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  Jonnytiv on Mon 12 Jun 2017, 12:53 pm

Right so good news! It has come up a treat. unfortunately i forgot to take a "before" photo but it's practically a new pipe. 

Method used: First hit it with and old towel soaked in kerosene for about 5 minutes - Did nothing. so i wiped it down with some water and dried it off.  
So I got some steel wool and autosol metal polish. Worked an absolute charm! not a single scratch or swirl left behind. It even took off that "yellow" tinge that occurs 
when the exhaust heats up. Ill get a picture up tonight when i get home. and you will see the difference. Thinking about doing the entire system but that will take some time.

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Re: Cleaning exhaust headers

Post  paul on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 6:12 pm

@Jonnytiv wrote: not a single scratch or swirl left behind.
Not sure why my answer has confused some members ...............it was given in response to the original question about using steel-wool or sandpaper ...........with no mention of using a medium ( as in this case you used Autosol ) .Now 95% of the population when using some " steel-wool ", would first turn to the kitchen cupboard for the steelo pad ,and I can assure you if you were to rub your exhaust hard enough to remove a baked on bug without any medium whatsoever ( even soapy water ) with that pad, you may find those elusive swirl marks you missed out on this time .Glad to see you used some of the advice from here , and it worked out for you .Autosol is a great product .

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