Any Help? Got a muffler fixit ticket . . .

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by YnotBiker, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. YnotBiker

    YnotBiker Active Member

    Watch out if you drive thru Long Beach California. The LEO who wrote me up said he rode a motorcycle & my Harley sounded OK, but there have been too many complaints-- so I got a ticket for a modified exhaust on Memorial Day ("27151a"-correctable). Anybody know the cheapest way to fix this?

    My 2010 Fat Bob came used from the dealer with Thunderheader pipes & SE air filter. After using a Dobeck 3.5, Spectro Tranny fluid, & Mobil1 motorcycle oil, I got the decibel level down to 87 to 91 (peaks at 96) while idling hot. Cold starts & idling are very loud. (I'm using a free iPhone app, "Decibel10th" to measure the sound.) There are no baffles in a Thunderheader, so I couldn't have modified it, but Thunderheaders say they are not street legal in California. I don't have the stock pipes to swap just to get the certificate of correction.

    Are there settings on the Dobeck that can lower the noise level? Could some kind of motor oil or additive help? Has anyone tried blocking the Scavenger vents on the Thunderheader? Are there tricks to this? I tried stuffing fiberglass in it, then a wire screen, and it all got blown out after a few minutes. Would the California Highway Patrol be more friendly than my local LAPD?

    I checked the archives but saw nothing about this. Has anyone ever been able to beat this kind of fixit ticket? Thanks . . .

  2. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    I'm not a lawyer and can't be much help on making your current set up more quiet. My question would be if you bought the bike used, from a dealer how was it legal for the state of Calif. to transfer ownership and issues you a plate for a vehicle that did not meet State standards? My understanding is that local laws cannot trump State laws. At least that was the case in Myrtle Beach.
  3. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Good question - might be worth it to go back to the selling dealer and raise a bit of a stink about the possible illegalities of the sale. See if and how they might be able to help.

    Maybe also contact a local HOG chapter or ABATE district and ask some questions. Maybe someone else has already gone through this and has some answers for you.

    Motorcycle mags like Full Throttle always have tons of ads from bike lawyers. Maybe try to get a free consultation with one of them.
  4. cdn-bigfoot

    cdn-bigfoot Junior Member

    Buy new pipes, cheaper than a lawyer.
    I would ask the dealer who sold you the bike for a set of pipes at their cost as a show of good faith. Buy some pipes that allow you to put in some "quiet" baffles. I had to put a set in my Cobras after the city I live near instituted their sound bylaw.
  5. Lawdog314

    Lawdog314 Active Member

    Buy another set of pipes. Vance and Hines have a decent set and they sound good on my Ultra. When riding in cities, I avoid like the plague, I stay off the throttle and short shift. Maine was getting crazy of noise a few years ago. Haven't heard much this season, but it's still early.

    I imagine some folks, "borrow" a buddies pipes, get the bike inspected and then switch them back. Not that I am endorsing such behavior...:s
  6. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Well-Known Member Contributor

    Local laws can be more restrictive than state law but not less. FYI.

    HOLY DIVER Junior Member

    true but local law can not conflict with state law

    back to the muffler issue my humble opinion is to go buy epa legal screamin eagle pipes sound very nice when you open up the throttle but very mild and legal when cruising
  8. dolt

    dolt Senior Member Contributor

    Thunderheaders do come with a baffle; the previous owner must have removed it. I am not sure if Thunderheader sells their baffles but the do sell heat shields, clamps and other miscellaneous parts. Check with the company and see if you can purchase a replacement baffle.

    If you can, there is a modification to the baffle that will reduce or eliminate the dreaded Thunderheader torque dip. If you are running a Theader without a baffle, your low end torque is suffering big time. Install the baffle and you will notice an immediate seat of the pants improvement in responsiveness. Make the baffle modification I am about to pass on and you will notice even more improvement.

    When you look at the business end of the Theader baffle, you will see a square. There are four tabs, one on each side of the square. With a hammer and long punch, strike the tabs and bend them out toward the outside of the tail pipe until the tabs are about 1/8" from the pipe wall. That's it, you will feel the difference.

    If a baffle is not available from Theader, contact Big City Thunder; they offer baffles for most aftermarket exhaust systems.
    1 person likes this.
  9. YnotBiker

    YnotBiker Active Member

    Thanks to all to gave me advice. I got my ticket cleared by the CHP (California Highway Patrol) without needing to change any hardware.

    The dealer simply said, go to the CHP with that ticket and come back and tell us what happened. The officer who signed off my ticket first asked if my pipes were as loud as the idiot across the street from his house who revved his motorcycle every morning. I started my Fat Bob & showed him my decibel reader results. He agreed that I complied with the law so now the only cost to me is the $25 court fee.

    I discovered that Thunderheaders have a type of baffle called a "torque cone". My pipes were never modified, but I was able to lower the noise as I mentioned above. Here are some pictures to show how they work. The first picture shows how bending the ends of the 4 sided "cone" can lower the torque.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
    2 people like this.
  10. Joyflyin

    Joyflyin Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator

    Glad that got taken care of. Thanks for sharing the information, it looks helpful.