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hellindustries

Any tips for restoring header pipes WITHOUT removing them?

29 posts in this topic

Evening all.

My header pipes are hole-free, but look like rusted ass. All surface stuff. Just wondering what the recommended method is for removing it without having to do more than taking the bodywork off for access.
I'll be taking the panels off, cleaning the pipes and then coating them with VHT and i don't want to risk stripping a bolt and all the hassle and cost associated with it. I also have limited time to do the job (maybe 6-8 hours at most, for bench access).

If it's just a case of flossing with sand paper? Can do. Simple, just requires some elbow-grease, but if there's a better/quicker method which doesn't cost much? I'm all ears.

From there: Masking off and painting the pipes with black VHT Might spend a little and get some satin black Simoniz, rather than the flat black i have access to.

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I'd use a small rotary sander with a soft wire wheel, otherwise it'll take forever. The wheel I use is actually fitted to an angle grinder :smile:

 

Don't forget to use a wet wipe to remove the residue.

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I can do that with some of it, but a fair amount will still be the 'flossing' method. Especially around the back sides close to the engine.

I can easily wipe it with maybe brake cleaner, maybe de-grease it in place with paraffin/Kerosene, then the brake clean to fully clean it. I do have wet-wipes. They're great. Especially after a particularly dirty job on a bike.

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Just remembered what will do the trick in the fiddly areas - plumbers cleaning strips - they're awesome on metalwork and way better than coarse sandpaper. 

 

http://www.toolstation.com/shop/Hand+Tools/d10/Plumbers+Tools/sd210/Abrasive+Clean+Up+Strip/p85391

 

Yes, the lemon wet wipes in particular are excellent for cleaning paws after getting grubby. 

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Ahh! A pro-tip!

I'll get ahold of some of those. I'll try them on my bike or some other 'do what you can' headers which may come across my bench at work.

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If you can't get the plumbers strips, then good old emery paper will do, it's cloth based, so tears into strips easily, but won't tear when in use. Remember to degrease the bright work when finished before painting. Best to run the engine briefly to warm the pipes after degreasing then paint whilst warm, the paint will flash dry quickly on a warm clean surface !

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I intend to strip the bike a bit to get best access to pipes and engine casing to clean the whole lot, especially the front section behind the front wheel. So i'll be cleaning the pipes and the engine at the same time. Has the added bonus of masking the engine off easier with a clean surface i can stick masking tape and stuff to.  

Good tip about warm pipes! I'll do that. I doubt i'll be able to cover 100% of the pipes due to access while mounted, but i'll get most of it.

I do have access to emery paper, wire wool, various grades of sand paper, an air driven die grinder with wire wheel attachments, and a range of other tools, but those should do. Simple and quick is all that's required. I should be able to get the plumbers strips no problem. There are a couple of outlets within a few miles of home and work where i can get them.

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One tip I've read about (but not tried personally) is to use aluminium foil as part of the masking material; I can imagine this would be really good around some of the awkward engine shapes. I also did a paint-in-place exercise on my 5G pipes a couple of years back using black VHT paint, with minimal prep, still looks fine today.

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That's an interesting masking tip! Foil would hold itself out of the way where newpaper or cloth would sag in the way. Nice.

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If your pipes are stock they will be stainless. Why bother painting them?

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1 hour ago, RDMcD said:

If your pipes are stock they will be stainless. Why bother painting them?

 

  1. Because they've got so much surface rust they kinda don't look like they were ever stainless.
  2. Because i didn't know the stock pipes were stainless
  3. Because i don't know if they are the stock pipes or not


But: If, when i clean them off, they are stainless and come up reasonably well: I'll not paint them. 

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1 hour ago, RDMcD said:

If your pipes are stock they will be stainless. Why bother painting them?

I believe the SS headers are only on the 6 Gen bikes. All of the 5 Gen headers appear to be mild steel.

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I thought 98-99 ( catless) are steel and 00-01 (cat) are stainless. Not a grade of stainless that will hold a polish though. Mine have blackened over the years but only have minor rust around the cat. I'm sure location and salt air have a lot to do with it. 

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Well, the UK is GOOD at salt! It's very liberally applied during winter months. Then there's grit and gravel etc... 

Either way: Pipes looks shit. Will clean and see if i need to paint them, i guess.

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Pretty sure my 99 catless pipes are black painted steel.

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Top is 01 header and bottom is (98-99) header...

 

IMG_3253_zpscf1hqn1k.jpg

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7 hours ago, RDMcD said:

I thought 98-99 ( catless) are steel and 00-01 (cat) are stainless. Not a grade of stainless that will hold a polish though.

 

This correct - assuming the bike has the originals.

 

Wire wool is also very good btw!

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So my 01 headers are stainless? Lool i would never say that
They are as rusted as the ones in the picture, and the cat cover is actually worse.
You guys sure they are stainless?

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My 01 definitely didn't have SS headers before I replaced them.

I've seen this stated many times before, but have yet to see an 01 with stainless.

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Positive. It's not an especially good grade of stainless though.

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I've been researching this sort of stuff lately as I just bought a set of 98-99 catless headers and I want to clean them up before install.

Apparently Scotchbrite pads and Autosol polish is great. I also so a video where someone used Scotchbrite pads and Coke (the soda not the drug)
 

 

hellindustries, shows us some before and after pics when you get this done.

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how about buy a used header, prep it, then use your 6-8 hours to swap headers? I cleaned a set of headers with a wire wheel attached to a drill before, then painted.. but painting on the bike you'll spend a long time just masking for overspray after doing the prep work, unless you don't care about that of course.

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It takes 6-8 hours to swap headers?

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No, i have a 6-8 hour window at most to do the work.

I don't want to take the headers off if i can avoid it as i don't want to risk the header bolts. I also don't want to spend the extra on another set of used pipes. If i was going to do that, i'd get a new set from Delkevic with my ok-ish work discount.

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20 hours ago, Duc2V4 said:

Top is 01 header and bottom is (98-99) header...

 

IMG_3253_zpscf1hqn1k.jpg

A little off topic, sorry, but can anyone explain why Honda crossed the front downpipes on the cat headers?

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