Getting the MUFFLER back on!

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Getting the MUFFLER back on!

Postby skygawker » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:28 pm

I've ready everything I can here about the graphite muffler gasket, and have changed them a number of times. They are ALWAYS tight and difficult to work with.
But a bigger problem I have is getting the darn bolt holes for the four attachments to the swing arm to line up enough for me to thread them in! On my previous Helix, it had been damaged and I thought that probably contributed to the issue. It took a floor jack and vise grips and rods to force the muffler into place enough to thread them in.
Got a different Helix, in better shape. Never mind the graphite gasket needed to be custom-shaved to make it fit, including trimming off the top 1/4 inch or so so it didn't stick out about the "flange fingers" on the muffler tube. I used silica muffler paste to lubricate it as always.
But the darn thing just won't line up. Two hours of frustration, again using jacks, rods, and vise grips, on a Helix I HAD already removed the muffler once, and had no real issue lining it back up and bolting it on.

To be clear, I inserted the graphite gasket INTO the muffler tube, THEN slid it onto the manifold (male) pipe. Certainly looks seated all the way, but must NOT be I got THREE of the FOUR bolt attachments to the swing arm as needed (don't think I cross-threaded anything), but the fourth just would NOT line up enough to go in. Wound up temporarily using a smaller bolt, with lock washer and NUT on the inside, but this is not right, obviously.

Does it make a difference if you put the gasket on the manifold-side (male) pipe first, THEN slide the muffler onto it? This should NOT be this dang hard! Any advice welcome.... am obviously going to have to re-do this gasket change (have two graphite gaskets waiting in the wings, so no issues there, just the PITA of having to do it again, and I'm not a young guy).
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Re: Getting the MUFFLER back on!

Postby charlie55 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:58 pm

Are you using OEM or aftermarket gaskets? The aftermarkets are frequently longer and often not to spec. I only use OEMs, and I do it exactly like you - spread the flanges on the muffler tube, seat the gasket in it, lube the motor pipe and then slip the muffler/gasket onto it. If the bolt holes are off a bit, a couple of firm whacks with a rubber mallet usually does the trick for me. I assume you're working with it on the center stand,so maybe a little leveraging under the rear wheel would help too.
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Re: Getting the MUFFLER back on!

Postby birdmannn101 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:26 am

Charlie55 has the right approach.

Follow these steps:
1. Use a Honda OEM gasket (no trimming needed).
2. Take old gasket out and toss.
3. Use the handle end of the screwdriver to spread the gasket out a bit. (No oil or lubricant needed.)
4. Line up and tap on with rubber mallet.
5. Tighten bolts holding the muffler on first. (a wrong size bolt, not 8mm will ream out hole and crack engine)
6. Tighten bolt holding muffler to engine.
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Re: Getting the MUFFLER back on!

Postby skygawker » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:43 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. It should be just as easy as that, I know.

These gaskets MAY be aftermarket, don't know, but I've used them before. Trimming the end shorter is not a real issue, a utility knife did it easily and neatly, but I'll keep that in mind. Part of the issue this time may just be that the "buckling" on the interior (caused by the ultratight fit did not allow enough room even after "trimming" the inside to remove the ridge Certainly aware the smaller bolt with lock washer and nut may mess up the thread in the captive nut using it; but since it's on the swing arm and not the engine block, I'm not too worried. It's held up OK since reassembling, but next time, I will make it work right. maybe I'll see if a genuine for sure OEM gasket makes a difference, but as I've said, I've used these same gaskets before without this issue. On this Helix, the "ring clamp" that tightens the muffler neck to the manifold outlet pipe is captive to the muffler via some tabs bent down between the flange fingers -- and this may be mostly what caused the ridge/buckling in the gasket. I'm going to (next time) try to make the ring clamp NOT captive, removing the tab fingers referenced, and see if that doesn't make it easier. Will just need to line the clamp up right manually then, so the bolt doesn't have a chance to cut into the tire and is in the right position to remove easily again, as it is now in the captive position.
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