How To Install Harley Exhaust Gaskets? A Step-By-Step Guide

Harley-Davidson motorcycles are popular for their iconic sound and powerful engines. However, over time, the gasket material used in the exhaust system can wear out, causing exhaust leaks and reducing the bike’s overall performance.

To ensure optimal performance, installing and maintaining the exhaust gaskets properly is important. Here, we will discuss the steps to installing Harley stock cone exhaust gaskets, specifically focusing on the gaskets used in the head pipes and cone gaskets.

We will also address common issues such as exhaust leaks and the importance of using quality gasket material. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a new Harley owner, properly installing and maintaining the gaskets in your exhaust system is crucial for a smooth and powerful ride. So, let’s dive in and learn how to install Harley exhaust gaskets like a pro.

How To Install Harley Exhaust Gaskets

How To Install Harley Exhaust Gaskets: Full Guide

How To Install Harley Exhaust Gaskets - Full Guide

If you are facing issues with your exhaust gaskets, it is recommended to promptly replace them. The abnormality in the pipe can be avoided by replacing the damaged exhaust gasket. As a result, your overall motorcycle riding experience will be greatly improved. Consider using a homemade exhaust gasket tool and a tapered exhaust pipe gasket to ensure a proper and efficient replacement.

The damaged flat exhaust gasket may also cause the exhaust to become loose. It will increase the vibration of your motorcycle. So, it would help if you immediately replaced stock cone gaskets in the exhaust system. Hence, let us explain how to install Harley exhaust gaskets process to do it quickly. You can do it on any exhaust gasket model.

Choosing The Right Type And Size Of Exhaust Gaskets For Your Harley

Choosing The Right Type And Size Of Exhaust Gaskets For Your Harley

When installing exhaust gaskets on your Harley, choosing the right type and size is crucial. The gasket rings are crucial in preventing leaking gaskets and ensuring your exhaust system functions efficiently. One popular option is mesh exhaust gaskets, which provide a tight seal and are resistant to heat and pressure.

Another consideration is the rush gasket type, as different styles suit different Harley models and exhaust systems. It’s important to do your research and consult with experts or refer to your Harley’s manual to determine the correct style type exhaust gaskets for your specific bike.

By selecting the right gaskets and ensuring a proper installation, you can prevent any issues like leaks or rushing sounds and enjoy a smooth riding experience with a well-functioning exhaust system.

Tools And Materials Needed For The Installation Process

When installing Harley exhaust gaskets, it is important to have the right tools and materials on hand. Having these tools and materials ready before starting the installation process will ensure a smooth and successful installation of your Harley exhaust gaskets. Here are the items you will need for the installation process:

  • Exhaust gaskets
  • Gasket scraper
  • Torque wrench
  • Socket set
  • Threadlocker
  • Anti-seize compound
  • Rubber mallet
  • Safety goggles and gloves

Preparing The Motorcycle For Installation

Before installing new exhaust gaskets on your Harley motorcycle, properly preparing the bike is important. This includes removing the stock gaskets, typically between the exhaust pipes and the cylinder heads. Inspecting the gasket surfaces for any signs of damage or wear is also a good idea.

If you’re using aftermarket eagle-type gaskets, make sure they are compatible with your specific Harley model. Additionally, it’s recommended to have an extra gasket on hand in case of any mishaps during installation.

When positioning the new gasket at the port, ensure that it is aligned correctly to create a tight seal and prevent any exhaust leaks. Following these steps will help ensure a successful installation of your Harley exhaust gaskets.

Removing The Old Exhaust Gaskets

Removing The Old Exhaust Gaskets

When installing Harley exhaust gaskets, it is important first to remove the old gaskets. Most Harley exhaust systems use tapered gaskets, also known as HD-SE gaskets or HD gaskets. To remove the old gaskets, start by loosening the bolts holding the exhaust system.

Once the bolts are loose, carefully slide the exhaust pipes off the studs. With the pipes removed, you can access the old gaskets. Use a flathead screwdriver or a gasket scraper to gently pry off the old gaskets.

Be careful not to scratch or damage the mating surfaces of the exhaust system or cylinder heads. Once you remove the old gaskets, clean any residue from the mating surfaces before installing new gaskets for a proper seal.

Cleaning The Surfaces And Inspecting For Any Damage Or Wear

Cleaning The Surfaces And Inspecting For Any Damage Or Wear

Before installing Harley exhaust gaskets, it is important to properly clean the surfaces and inspect them for any damage or wear. Start by removing the old gaskets and thoroughly cleaning the mating surfaces on the cylinder head and the exhaust pipes. Use a scraper or a wire brush to remove any debris or residue.

Once the surfaces are clean, carefully inspect them for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, warping, or corrosion. If any issues are found, it is crucial to address them before proceeding with the installation. This step ensures a proper seal between the exhaust system components and helps prevent any potential leaks that could affect performance and sound.

Installing The New Exhaust Gaskets Correctly

Properly installing new exhaust gaskets is crucial for ensuring the optimal performance of your Harley. Following the steps below, you can ensure that your new Harley exhaust gaskets are installed correctly, providing a tight seal and optimal performance for your bike. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you install the gaskets correctly:

  • Preparational steps
  • Remove the old gaskets
  • Check for damage
  • Apply anti-seize compound
  • Position the gaskets
  • Align the exhaust system
  • Torque to specifications
  • Double-check and test

Properly Tightening The Bolts And Ensuring A Secure Fit

Properly Tightening The Bolts And Ensuring A Secure Fit

Properly tightening the bolts and ensuring a secure fit is crucial when installing Harley exhaust gaskets. This ensures that the gaskets create a tight seal, preventing any leaks or loss of power. First, ensure you have the correct gaskets for your specific Harley model.

Place the gasket on the exhaust port and align it properly. Then, carefully insert the bolts through the holes in the flanges and hand-tighten them. Once all the bolts are in place, use a torque wrench to tighten them to the manufacturer’s specifications. Tighten them evenly and gradually, alternating between bolts to ensure an even pressure distribution.

Testing For Any Leaks Or Issues After Installation

After installing new exhaust gaskets on your Harley, it is important to test for any leaks or issues that may arise. Start by running the engine and checking for any unusual sounds or vibrations from the exhaust system. Next, you can use a soapy water solution to spray around the connections and joints of the exhaust system. If there are leaks, you will see bubbles forming where the air is escaping.

Additionally, pay attention to any changes in performance or fuel efficiency, as these can indicate potential issues with the exhaust system. You can ensure your bike runs smoothly and efficiently by thoroughly testing for leaks and issues after installing Harley exhaust gaskets.

Tips And Tricks For Maintaining Your Harley’s Exhaust System

Tips And Tricks For Maintaining Your Harley's Exhaust System

Maintaining your Harley’s exhaust system is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. One important aspect of this maintenance is installing exhaust gaskets correctly. Following these tips and tricks below, you can ensure that your Harley’s exhaust system remains in top-notch condition, providing optimal performance and sound while preventing any potential issues down the road. Here are some tips and tricks to help you with the installation process:

  • Choose the right gasket.
  • Clean the mating surfaces.
  • Apply high-temperature sealant
  • Proper alignment
  • Torque specifications

An Alternative System:

Similarly, we can do it in another way too. That is primarily similar, but you can try that too. Also, the following method will work better in a few Harley Davidson motorcycle models.

  • You have to shrink the new gasket in the freezer for a night of 7-8 hours. It will help the new gasket to remain in its perfect shape during installation.
  • Remove the older one with Drexel and wire brush, and clean the edges. As you remove the old gasket, you may clean the entire exhaust system with lukewarm water and detergent. It will help you maintain the motorcycle better.
  • Then, make the new gasket soft with lubricant. You should use A-grade lubricants for better results. Or else it might not work.
  • After that, install it with the exhaust. Look for the screwing options and tighten them properly. It will help you better maintain the gasket’s tightness with the exhaust.
  • Attach it softly and check if there are no gaps. Then, use a sealant to keep the edges strong. The sealant will prevent the edges from wearing out due to weather and external elements.

After finishing the installation, keep the bike idle for a few minutes. Then, run the engine for several minutes to heat it and check the installation. 

How Does the Harley Exhaust Gasket Works?

Harley exhaust gaskets are crucial in properly functioning your motorcycle’s exhaust system. These gaskets create a tight seal between the exhaust manifold and the cylinder heads, preventing any leaks or air gaps. By creating this seal, the gaskets ensure that exhaust gases are properly directed out of the engine and into the exhaust pipes.

This not only helps to optimize the performance of your motorcycle but also reduces noise and vibrations. The gaskets are typically made from high-quality materials such as graphite or metal, which can withstand the intense heat and pressure generated by the engine.

When installing Harley exhaust gaskets, it is important to ensure that they are properly aligned and seated to guarantee an airtight connection. Regular inspection and replacement of these gaskets are recommended to maintain optimal performance and prevent any potential issues with your motorcycle’s exhaust system.

How Much Does It Cost To Change The Exhaust Gasket?

How Much Does It Cost To Change The Exhaust Gasket

It would help if you tried it yourself as it is a very easy process. You can follow our guide or see any YouTube video to do it in a few minutes. And that will not cost you anything. If you are not confident enough to do it yourself, you can take your bike to your nearest mechanic, who will take a few minutes. On average, you can expect to pay between $150 to $300 for this type of repair. It’s important to note that these are just estimates, and the actual cost may differ.

Sealant Use With Exhaust Gasket

As we have mentioned above, use sealant to make the bonding better. But generally, gaskets come to fit by themselves; you might need them to shrink a little while installing. So they do not need any extra sealant. It can be a money-saving deal.

On the other hand, some of these come with their sealants, such as Fel-Pro gaskets. It will not require any extra sealant if you can fit it properly. But why did we suggest extra sealant in our guide? We have made the guide as easy as possible to install by yourself. Therefore, you might need an extra sealant to strengthen the bonding in that process.

Advice On Gaskets

When installing Harley exhaust gaskets, there are a few key advice to remember. First, ensure you have the correct gaskets for your specific Harley model. Using the wrong gaskets can lead to leaks and other issues. It is also important to clean and prepare the surfaces where the gaskets will be installed.

This will help ensure a tight seal and prevent any exhaust leaks. Following the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the gaskets and tighten the bolts evenly to avoid any damage or distortion. These steps will help ensure a successful installation and optimal performance from your Harley’s exhaust system.

Type Of Gasket

When installing Harley exhaust gaskets, there are a few different types. The most common type is the flat gasket, made of a durable material that can withstand the high temperatures and pressures of the exhaust system. Another option is the crush gasket, designed to be compressed between the exhaust flanges and create a tight seal. This type of gasket is often used on older Harley models.

Choosing the right type of gasket for your specific Harley model and exhaust system is important to ensure a proper fit and prevent any leaks or damage. If you’re unsure which type of gasket to use, consult your Harley owner’s manual or speak with a knowledgeable mechanic or motorcycle parts specialist for guidance.


How To Install Harley exhaust gaskets on your Harley can greatly improve the performance and longevity of your bike. We have covered the easy step-by-step process of installing Harley exhaust gaskets; now, you can do it yourself. We have discussed the possible problems regarding the Harley exhaust gasket. So, you should find it a complete guideline to maintain the exhaust gasket.

You must remember that installing a new gasket to replace the old one is crucial for the optimal performance of the motorcycle. If you keep riding Harley motorbikes with old and loose gaskets, it will significantly affect the ride’s smoothness and performance. Henceforth, it would be best to change the older gasket immediately whenever you see it wearing out in the exhaust system.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Install An Exhaust Gasket?

Installing an exhaust gasket typically involves removing the old gasket, cleaning the mating surfaces, and then placing the new gasket in between the exhaust components. The installation process may vary depending on the vehicle and exhaust system.

Which Side Of Exhaust Gasket Goes To Head?

The exhaust gasket should be installed with the metal side facing the head. This helps to create a tight seal and prevent any leaks between the exhaust manifold and the cylinder head.

Can You Reuse Exhaust Gaskets On Harley?

No, replacing exhaust gaskets when removing and reinstalling the exhaust system on a Harley is generally recommended. Reusing old gaskets can lead to leaks and decreased performance.

Do You Need Gasket Glue For The Exhaust?

Gasket glue is often used when installing exhaust systems to create a secure and leak-free seal between the various components. It helps ensure that the exhaust system functions properly and prevents exhaust leaks.

Can I Use Gasket Glue Instead Of Gasket?

Gasket glue is not a substitute for a gasket. Gaskets are designed to seal between two surfaces, while gasket glue is an adhesive for attaching gaskets or sealing small leaks. Using the appropriate gasket for your specific application is important to ensure a proper seal.

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