How to Upgrade an ATV Exhaust System

To upgrade an ATV exhaust system is an expensive task. The system itself is costly and you'll likely need to buy other upgrades to go with it. How do you make the most of your purchase? What should you consider? We'll discuss all that in this post.

How to Upgrade an ATV Exhaust System

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This is the easy part.

Slip-on exhaust

With a slip-on exhaust, you just take off the existing/stock exhaust and slip on the new one. It will come with any pipes, clamps, bolts, etc. that it needs and they're really easy to work.

Full exhaust

Before you get to work on this, make sure your exhaust comes with the exhaust gaskets it needs. Some do not.

You may need to remove the back part of the ATV frame to get to everything.

Remove the bolt holding the existing/stock exhaust on and take the exhaust off.

Remove the pipes that connect the exhaust to the manifold.

If there are some wires a little too close to your working area, use some zip ties to get them out of your way while you work.

You might want to wrap the pipes with some heat tape to protect your legs.

Put some copper grease on your clamps.

Put the pipes in position with the clamps in place but leave them loose.

Fasten the pipes, then tighten the clamps in position and add the exhaust.

Take the ATV out for about a 15-minute ride, then go back in and tighten everything up again.

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More to Consider

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There is a lot more to deciding to upgrade an ATV exhaust system than how to install the exhaust system and even the cost.

Know What You Want

There are many exhaust systems to choose from offering different benefits. Before you take the plunge to upgrade an ATV exhaust system, determine what your goal is for the upgrade and do your research to find an exhaust system that meets your goals and doesn't compromise something else. For instance, you may find an exhaust system that looks sweet but doesn't give you the performance boost you wanted or will actually downgrade your performance.

If you want to increase speed, make sure you buy an exhaust system designed for that purpose from a reputable company that has invested in the research to create an exhaust system that does what it promises.

Riders often want to upgrade their ATV exhaust system to ramp up the sound, change the sound, or reduce or control the sound. Research ones you're considering so you can get what you want and research the laws in your area and your favorite trails to determine what you can use.

Sometimes people change their exhaust to enhance the look of their ATV.

You may want to reduce your ATV's weight. Aluminum exhaust systems weigh less than stainless steel, so if that's your goal, look there.

Or maybe your exhaust system needs to be replaced because it's old or damaged.

What to look for in an exhaust system

Only purchase exhaust systems with pipes that are welded together rather than ones held together with nuts and bolts. Exhaust systems take too much punishment to last long without being welded.

You can find exhaust systems that are tunable so you can adjust the sound of the exhaust system depending on where you're riding. These give you control to vary where you go and what you do in your ATV without breaking any laws, causing problems for others, or sacrificing your performance when you're out of earshot.

It may be required depending on where you ride, but even if it isn't, it's a good idea to get an exhaust that comes with a spark arrestor or to buy a spark arrestor to install when you do the upgrade.

Other adjustments

When you upgrade an ATV exhaust system, you're changing the crucial balance of air flow through the system.

You need to re-jet your carburetor whenever you update your exhaust. You may have to do this several times to get it right, and it may require installing a new jet kit or purchasing an EFI tuner.

It will also increase your power boost to upgrade the air intake system too. You might as well do that while you're doing the upgrade to get the most from your investment.

If your new exhaust will increase performance and you haven't already done it, you'll need to upgrade your air filter to allow more air in.

Consider all the systems in your ATV. There's a careful weight balance and a careful air to fuel ratio. Make sure any changes the exhaust will make will not negatively impact the weight balance and that every aspect of the ATV can handle the increase in air flow, power, and speed by choosing your new exhaust system wisely and making changes to the ATV to compensate for changes.

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