How to Install Harley Exhaust Gaskets

by Kyle McBride

Harley-Davidson exhaust gaskets are one-time use components. Made from aluminum thread that is woven into a mesh, the gaskets deform upon compression by the exhaust pipe and flange. Round in shape but triangular in cross-section, the outer peak of the triangle receives the pipe end and seals against it as the gasket is crushed.

Loosen the exhaust flange nuts and spin them off their studs. Remove the nuts from the T-bolts holding the rear part of the exhaust pipe/muffler assembly and slide the T-bolts from their rubber-mounted bracket. Lower the pipes away from the engine and frame.

Remove the old gaskets from the exhaust ports in the engine heads. Reach into the port and hook the old gasket with the dental pick. Pull the old gaskets out and inspect the ports for any lingering bits that may be stuck.

Insert the new gaskets with the flat side up against the inner port shoulder and the tapered edge facing away from the heads. Hold the pipe in position and start the exhaust flange nuts onto their studs just a few turns but do not compress the pipes onto the new gaskets yet.

Re-install the T-bolts into their holes in the rubber-mounted brackets and tighten the nuts finger tight. Tighten the exhaust flange nuts up evenly, drawing the pipe ends into the head and crushing the new gaskets. Torque the nuts to factory specifications. Tighten the T-bolt nuts to factory specifications.


  • close Clean all fingerprints, oil or grease from the exhaust pipes before starting the engine. Failure to do so will permanently discolor the pipes at the dirty points almost immediately upon starting the engine.

Items you will need

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