Gut Your Stock Nomad/Classic Muffler(s)
Save Big Bucks on Aftermarket Pipes
Instructions by Darren (Steelman) Archer and Arnie B

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There are three baffles in the Nomad 1500/1600 and Classic 1500 muffler, two vertical "screens" of perforated metal, and the tubular baffle. 

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Credit VROC member Mark Borstnar for the cross section photos above.  This is a muffler from a 2004 1500 Classic.   1500 Nomad mufflers are nearly identical.

For starters, there's more way to go about removing the baffle.  There's a super simple method shown in a YouTube video posted here.  As you'll see in the video when comparing to the pictures above, not all of the baffle is removed that way but for some, it's plenty.  If you want the 'entire' can emptied, keep reading.

The vertical screens can be punched out with a method called the "Piver Punch" which was the original method used more than a decade ago to allow more exhaust to flow through the can. This only requires inserting a solid round steel bar (sharpened on one end) into the end of the muffler until it meets resistance, then tapping with a small sledge hammer. You then push the bar further in and repeat the process. Afterwards, you scratch your head, wondering why it didn't make much of an improvement. This is because the tubular baffle, which is welded to the tip of the exhaust pipe, needs to be removed.

Darren's Instructions For Total Baffle Removal

What I did was drill holes in a circle, in the black part of the end of the exhaust pipe, close to where it meets the chrome, Then I drilled an inner circle as close as possible to the little tube that sticks out of the center of the muffler. I used a chisel to break what was left between the holes. A better way to do this (and another VROC'r has) is to use a hole saw. Why doesn't the baffle just slide out? Because the end of the muffler is made up of three pieces. The tubular baffle, a middle tube you can't see, and the
chrome muffler body. These three are all welded together at the end.

I then took a Dremel tool, with a cutoff wheel, inserted it in the opening past the weld, and cut through the wall of the baffle until it dropped down inside the muffler. I think you may be able to avoid this step if you use the hole saw for the inner circle. I couldn't get a complete cut, so I had to Dremel the baffle, then pull off the remains of the circle cut with pliers.

Now you still have the baffle laying inside the muffler, but since it increases in diameter (looks like a little Coke bottle) you can't just pull it out. Now use the Dremel to cut through the middle tube, which is now visible, to get rid of the rest of the remains of the black weld that was at the end of the muffler. This will leave you with a wide open chrome canister, and you can reach in and pull out the baffle. I cut the tube back about 1-1/2" with the idea that I could use it to remount a baffle later to make a tunable (for sound) system. I don't see why you couldn't cut the whole thing out if you wanted too. Another VROC'r did this, and then took a hole saw with a long extension and further opened up the vertical screens.

You may need to clean up the muffler tips with a grinding stone on a drill to remove any remains of the black weld, and maybe give it a shot of high temp lack paint, after removing any metal shavings.

Now fire up the bike and go for a ride. Better, huh? Still not enough sound? Your next option is to gut the "Goats Belly" (catalytic converter) or save your dimes and nickels for a nice shiny set of aftermarket pipes.


Arnie B's Instructions (very similar to Darren's, just described in a little more detail)

I wanted more sound from my Nomad exhaust but didn’t want it too loud or too soft. What I did here, many will think is too quiet. I think it sounds great with a motorcycle “rumble” but not with a “wake-up-the-neighborhood” type noise.

Now, as far as "is the removal difficult", everything is relative. If you have all the tools laid out , it's not too bad and will take you anywhere from two to four hours. Here is what I did:

1.) With a 1 5/8" hole saw, drill into the back of your mufflers. This will cut a circle just around the outside of the center hole/pipe. Push in all the way with the saw.

2.) With a 2 3/8" hole saw, drill into the back end of your mufflers. This will cut a circle just inside the outer edges (just inside the chrome outer parts that you can see.) Cut deep - as deep as the hole saw will let you cut.

3.) Looking at the rear of the mufflers you'll now see a "donut". The inside of the donut was created by the smaller hole saw, and the outside of it created by the bigger hole saw.

4.) Now, here is where I got confused and frustrated - and you won't have to. The tailpipe, which is the very center tune that is in the back of the mufflers is now loose. It's almost a secret, but it is loose. Not floppy loose but loose.

5.) I then used a pair of thin nose pliars - thin nose, not needle nose. I grabbed the center tailpipe with them and wiggled and pulled. How did I grab it? With part of the pliers inside the exhaust pipe hole and the other part in the groove that was created when I drilled just outside that exhaust pipe tube. With just a little bit of pulling and jiggling, the pipe lurched
outward toward me about 1/2".

Now, just relax and know that you shouldn't try to pull that pipe out. I did. It started to come out - almost an inch and then it came no farther. Later I saw why. It begins to increase in size like a bowling pin coming out head first, so give up on that foolishness. OK, back to work now.

6.) Gently tap or bang the pipe back inward after it lurched toward you (in #5 above.) Keep tapping , fairly gently, until it lurches inward and will suddenly fall into the muffler. that is GOOD. At that point you will be able to look inside the muffler with a flashlight. And you'll wonder why the "donut" on the outside end of the muffler won't just fall out. Don't try to
pull the donut out. It is welded inside. But don't despair, there is a relatively easy way to get it out.

Take a moment, get up and stretch, get a drink, and only then, read on.

Here is what you're facing now. The muffler, running from the back of the engine toward the "exhaust hole area" that faces traffic behind you is basically made of three tubes:

(a.) the exhaust pipe that you just loosened and watched fall into the muffler and (b.) the tube that surrounds it that no one can see until you look inside the muffler now. and (c) the outer chrome part. When you free up "a", and when you look inside, you will see the inside of "b" and not the inside of "c." Yes, there really is no Santa, but there really IS an inner pipe, "b" that we mentioned above. When you're looking inside at that time, you are looking into a hole that is about 1 3/4"

You're getting closer to the finish line now. There is just one more step ahead, before you can slide open the back of the muffler and slide out the exhaust tube and throw it and the "donut" away: Step 7. You'll need a Dremel tool. Not a 1/2 Amp one that is 25 years old. All newer ones are at least 1.1 Amp. Use that, not an antique.

7.) Take a Dremel tool and attach a #426 Fiberglass Reinforced Cut Off Wheel. Others can work. This seemed to break less and wear out less. I used about 8 of those cut off wheels.

8.) Reach into the hole about 2" - 3" and carefully, and as smoothly as possibly, cut through the middle tube (listed as "b" above.) Once you get the knack of how to cut and how deep to cut it will go faster. I was hesitant to make a mistake on the first pipe and cutting all around the inner tube took me almost an hour. If you're more mechanically inclined it won't take you that long. When I cut the other exhaust pipe, cutting all around in the circle took me about 10 minutes.

A Tip: If your cut isn't perfect and is off a bit, you can wiggle the "donut" and loosen it up more and then see where you need to "touch" it with the Dremel to free it up. Once it's loose, it slides out with no effort at all. The center part ("a" above) also slides out at that time with no effort.

That is where I stopped. Other people have drilled out or punched out two more baffles inside the mufflers. If you look inside with a flashlight, you'll see a honeycombed vertical baffle that some folks punch out. Behind it is another one. I'm happy with what I did and how it sounds, so I stopped where I did.

Arnie B.