Can one make the ATV exhaust system less noisy?
While part of riding an ATV is enjoying the noise that it makes, oftentimes an ATV can get too loud. For those riders that consider this an issue, there are a few tricks that you can try to quiet down the exhaust.
Install a muffler silencer
An effective way to quiet down the exhaust noise is to purchase and install an aftermarket muffler silencer. The muffler has to be placed at the end of the OEM system and it looks similar to an auxiliary exhaust.
The entire process generally takes around ten minutes in those cases where welding is not necessary. Therefore, you can install it and remove it, per your preferences.
On brand, models might not work the same for all vehicles. So, you should read the reviews to make sure that your ATV is compatible with the choice that you like. However, model-specific mufflers are also available.
If you cannot find a muffler that is specifically made for your ATV, you can always opt for a universal device. Universal models work in the same way. Yet, the installation might be a bit more complicated and the results might not be the same as in the case of custom mufflers.
Even though the results might not be the same, you should expect to see a reduction of about 10 to 12 dB.
Use a spark arrestor
Another option that you can try is installing a spark arrestor. Generally, spark arrestors are used to prevent forest fires. They can also be utilized to reduce the sound that the exhaust on your ATV makes.
Once an arrestor is installed, the sound has to go through the baffles or the steel mesh and, thus, the sound waves are broken. If you decide to try this alternative, you should not expect to see drastic results.
If you purchase a brand-new ATV, chances are that its stock exhaust system already has a spark arrestor installed. To see, or in this case, to hear the results, remember that all spark arrestors have to be cleaned regularly.
Replace the silencer
Some mufflers come fitted with a sound dampening material that is meant to quiet down the exhaust noise. As time passes by, the fiberglass gets dirty and it loses its ability to dampen the noise.
To fix this issue, you have to remove the stuffing and replace it with a brand new one. To do so, you need some silencer repacking material, as well as high-temperature silicone. The good news is that most distributors sell these spare parts. So, you won’t have to waste a lot of time looking for supplies online.
What is more, many manufacturers also provide interested customers with instructions on how to repack the silencer.
Fiberglass or steel wool insulation
Seasoned riders are known to use steel wool or fiberglass as a dampening material that they place inside the muffler. Although this might work at first, the results are only temporary. Even more importantly, doing so is not safe and, therefore, the specialists do not recommend this method.
The main risk is that the wool will heat up and become a fire hazard. Additionally, as the oil and the fuel soak the wool, particles might travel inside the muffler and, consequently, ignite. Another issue is that the muffler will eventually corrode.
On the other hand, fiberglass is known for being more durable and a better form of insulation. As a plus, this material is also more affordable.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly method, using fiberglass as insulation is the best choice that you have. If money is not an issue, you should acquire OEM fiberglass mats as they are effortless to install. Plus, they do not burn out as fast as steel wool.
Construct a DIY muffler
If you are a handy person and you have some time on your hands, you should also consider the possibility of building a DIY extra muffler. To do so, you will need a small car muffler and some flat steel that you will use to make a mounting bracket. A welder or clamps are also necessary.
You can find tutorials on how to construct a muffler online. However, keep in mind that, installing a model that is too effective means having to deal with power loss and backpressure.
Replace the muffler
Because mufflers wear out as time passes by, they stop being as effective. When this happens, it is time for you to replace them. The most practical way to do so is to purchase a new OEM muffler that can be directly bolted onto the bike.
Still, if you want to save a few bucks, you can also try out some DIY alternatives. For instance, you can purchase an aftermarket muffler silencer. These pieces often require you to do a couple of modifications so that they fit perfectly.
Similarly, to save money, you could replace the muffler with a counterpart built for Japanese racing bikes. Once you get your hands on one, you just have to modify it to fit the already existing mounts and the exhaust header pipe.
Fix the exhaust leaks
No matter how small a leak is, it can make your exhaust significantly louder. Finding the leak can be somewhat challenging, but, if you inspect the device carefully, you will be able to spot it. Once you find it, you can weld it or you can replace the damaged part with a new one.
Specialists recommend that you start backward by inspecting the joints that keep the parts together first. On top of that, remember that the first few inches of the pipe, starting from the engine are likely to leak first due to the big fluctuations of temperature.
Use a quiet core insert
Another option that you can try is installing a quiet core insert. These pieces come in various designs but they mostly consist of a perforated or baffled pipe that is placed inside the muffler.
Because not all manufacturers produce and distribute dB killers, they might be difficult to purchase. The biggest advantage of these inserts is that they are very easy to insert. In fact, the entire process takes just a couple of minutes!
Install a sound direction pipe
One of the easiest ways to quiet down the exhaust noise is to make sure that the sound is directed to the ground. To do so, you just have to fit a sound direction pipe at the end of the muffler. These pipes are also known as down snout tips.
If you have purchased an exhaust system lately, there is a chance that the manufacturer has shipped one alongside the muffler. A down snout tip is a small piece of pipe that has been bent downwards.
If you don’t want to order a new one, you can make a sound direction pipe at home by simply attaching a 90 degree exhaust pipe to the muffler and by welding it in place.
Ride more gently
This final method is easy and, more importantly, free. If you happen to be in a situation where you don’t want to bother others with the sounds that your ATV makes, you simply have to drive gently as this will significantly reduce the noise level that the exhaust makes.
Can the increased back pressure damage the engine?
One question that all riders ask themselves when considering the already discussed options is can the increased back pressure damage the engine. As expected, any modifications made to the exhaust will, inevitably, alter how the gases flow out of the system.
When a muffler is added, the exhaust gasses cannot pass as easily and, consequently, more pressure is needed to blow them out. If the airflow is restricted too much, pressure starts building up inside the engine.
As a result, you might start to deal with issues such as loss of power, misfiring and the engine running more than normally. However, these issues do not affect the engine.
There are, however, situations when the engine can be damaged. This happens when the engine runs too hot. Because of this, you should stick to purchasing on brand mufflers that were built to fit the type of ATV that you own.