New Pipes? Are You Getting Everything You Wanted?

//New Pipes? Are You Getting Everything You Wanted?

New Pipes? Are You Getting Everything You Wanted?

544-460_AEditor’s Note: Mike McGuire is a tech chatter in the Destination Daytona SuperStore. He’s been with J&P since December 2010, where he started as a phone tech. A Harley-Davidson tech, Mike has a master of chassis certification from Harley-Davidson. Originally from Michigan, he graduated cum laude from Walsh College in Michigan, where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He is also a graduate of the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. Before joining the motorcycle industry, Mike worked in design and building of tooling and fixtures for the automotive industry.

Married to Kelly, the two like to travel to the Caribbean and take road trips on their 2009 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic. He’s currently in the market for another motocross bike because he raced motocross for years and is looking to get back into it. Outside of working and riding, Mike’s big fan of Detroit sports teams as well as University of Michigan football. He’s also been attempting to learn to surf – with limited success.

Your bike may sound great with new pipes, but are you really getting everything you wanted? An exhaust system is only one part of your engine’s breathing system. One of the most common tech questions we get asked is “Do I need to remap my exhaust if I add slip-on mufflers?” The honest answer, no matter what scare tactics your dealer tries to tell you, is no assuming you don’t make any other changes. The modern Delphi fuel injection system is a very advanced electronic device that can compensate for the slight change in flow as well as changes in altitude and temperature. Many people reading this would probably say the bike is lean from the factory, and while this is true, mufflers will not put your engine in danger. That only answers half of the question though. Consider this an engine is only an air pump.  The more air you move through it, the more power you will make. Now, if all you do is add a less restrictive exhaust, you will still be limited on how much air the air pump can move as a result of the restrictive stock intake. That said, a set of slip-on mufflers on your new Harley-Davidson may sound like you are making a lot more power when in reality you are leaving a lot of untapped potential.

402-903_AThe question becomes, “How do I tap this hidden potential?” The single best way is a complete stage 1 kit. This includes a set of free flowing exhaust pipes, hi-flow air filter and a fuel management unit. Vance & Hines makes all three components for most modern Harley-Davidson motorcycles. One of the best ways to shop items from a single manufacturer is to use the “Shop by motorcycle” feature on the J&P website, and then narrow the search by manufacturer. This will ensure that you get components that not only will fit your motorcycle, but those that were designed to work together as a system.

You can pick the exhaust that you choose whether it is a set of slip-on mufflers or a complete system including head pipes. In most instances, a stock head pipe will flow just fine for a stage 1 set up. Keep in mind; however, that after the 2010 model year Harley Touring bikes come with a catalyst in the head pipe. This catalyst will not only negatively affect flow, but will diminish the sound level that your new slip-on mufflers would otherwise provide. V&H has many different styles and finishes of pipes to suit your personal preference. If you have a touring bike and would like to replace the head pipes, you can mix and match these with your choice of mufflers and get the style that appeals to you the most.

The next component after the exhaust is the hi-flow air filter. V&H offers two different choices to suit your needs. The first is the VO2 naked that replaces the stock backing plate adds a low restriction filter and maintains the stock air cleaner cover for a stealthy look. They also offer a VO2 intake kit with the DRAK cover. This distinctive cover, in either black or chrome let’s everybody know you mean business.

450-998_AFinally to complete the system you will need a fuel management unit. In terms of ease of use, flexibility, and cost, the V&H FuelPak is tough to beat. This unit will plug into your factory connectors with no slicing or cutting of wires and is truly plug and play. V&H has provided numerous settings for different combinations of intake, exhaust and engine size. This unit will allow the fuel injection system to compensate for the extra air that your engine now has the ability to pump through itself.

These suggestions are by no means a one size fits all solution. If you plan on increasing the displacement of your engine, adding cams or making other radical changes in the future, these upgrades should be taken into consideration when you plan your stage 1 kit accordingly.


By |2015-04-14T15:23:25+00:00February 7th, 2013|Categories: Motorcycle Buyers Guides|23 Comments

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  1. Kelly May 15, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Bought a new 2014 heritage last year. Had them install v&H slip ons. It has alot of decel popping. Wanna put on a 2 into 1 pipe on. Can I get rid of popping without getting a fuelpack for it. Plan on getting one later when I get new a/C.

  2. M.D. May 5, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    I have a 2014 1200XLV Sportster ’72 which I am changing the stock exhaust out with the Vance and Hines HS Straightshot Slip Ons. My question is, once I change the stock breather with a high performance one, should I get the Fuel Pack or just have the bike recalibrated? What is the best option? Thanks for your time in advance.

    • Pauly White May 6, 2016 at 10:02 am

      I would suggest that you get the Fuel Pack FP3 from Vance & Hines. It is an amazing unit that I have used on many bikes. It has so many features outside of just tuning your bike, plus if you make changes in the future, you can just remap the bike at no additional cost. The FP3 is significantly better than a generic stage 1 down load, because the map is based on actual dyno runs of the same set up that you will be running. I hope this helps in your decision, but if you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to me directly.

      paul [dot] white [at] magretailgroup [dot] com

  3. Don "Prowler" September 4, 2015 at 4:59 am

    More confused than ever… I walked into HD dealer wanting the RCE-xcelrator fuel management, the Rinehart True-Dual exhaust system, stage 1 air cleaner kit by screaming eagle… Was told if they plug in the fuel management system it would void all warranty… Was told if I went with stage 1 I would have to install new clutch slip plate??? I was told I should just go with the system they endorse and spend $2300 for everything. I went in to spend around $1500 and walked out with nothing but a bad attitude towards the dealer.
    I am only looking for the better sound, it’s a 2014 limited that is just for cruising {too old to ride hard anymore)
    I guess my concern is do you have to do the clutch thing? Nobody I talked to said anything about this until I went to lay the money on the counter.

    • Jeremy January 19, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Surprised you did not receive an answer yet. Just came across this article. I did a V&H exhaust, Arlen Ness air cleaner, and V&H tuner. Did not do anything to my clutch except replace the line but that was because I did different handlebars. Not sure why you would need to change a clutch due to new exhaust and new air cleaner other than them to make more money from you. My father is a mechanic and he never mentioned doing anything with the clutch when I was upgrading exhaust and air cleaner.

  4. Sebastian Guk August 28, 2015 at 1:17 am

    I have Screaming eagle heavy breather air filter and a set of rush slip on exhaust pips that my bike was tuned for. my question, Im getting the Vance hines two into one pro pipe will I need to get a fuelpak?

    • Jeremy January 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      V&H two into one will likely breath better than the slip-ons since they are a full exhaust system. The bike is still going to run. Just might get a little backfire from time to time. If so, a tune will fix it or you can buy fuelpak. I bought fuelpak with exhaust because I knew I was going to upgrade air cleaner later and fuelpak eliminates the need to pay dealership for tune. If this is your last exhaust/air cleaner change, a tune from dealership is probably cheaper than buying fuelpak.

  5. Patick Regan May 14, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Mike i’m puting on a screaming eagle air cleaner kit and a bassani 2in to1 pipe on my 2013 super glide FXDC and a vansen & hines fuelpak after that will I need to take the bike to HD mechanice for a ECM programing?

    • Josh May 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Hello Patrick,

      You will not need to have the dealer do any adjustments to the ECM with the installation of a FuelPak. All the changes needed to have the bike run correctly will be done by the FuelPak.

  6. Efrain L. March 1, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    William need to remap? If I change my exhaust with no baffles? And a stage one air intake.

  7. Robert J Sewell February 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Mike: I have a 2008 Ultra that I converted to true duals and am running 2 stock Ultra mufflers, both fom the right side ( I think or was it left?)of an Ultra. As you know they are two different mufflers with different stock numbers. I have made no other changes to the bike. I’m assuming from your article that I can convert to Thunderheader slip on mufflers without a problem. Please tell me this is true. Many thanks!

  8. NHP February 14, 2013 at 6:36 am

    For all the people commenting on this post, USE SPELL CHECK!!!!!
    While your points are valid, credibility is lost when you can’t use the proper spelling for “write” or “knew.”

    If you know what you’re talking about(and it makes sense to me), take the time to look good doing it so people will take you seriously!!!

  9. Bob Ruffner February 14, 2013 at 3:43 am

    I have a 2008 Night Train. I installed Vance and Hines Staggered Short Shots, a MoFlo high flow air filter, and a Vance and Hines Fuel Pak. Let’s just say the Fuel Pak was the easiest part. Plug it in, calibrate it to Vance and Hines settings, and ride!!!

    I have noticed an increase in power and a little in fuel consumption, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the way my bike sounds and drives.

    Thanks J&P Cycles.

  10. Justin February 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Great timing for me!! Just bought my first fuel injected bagger and my dealer is trying to get me to buy a super tuner to go with the new pipes i bought and that i need to have it dyno tuned at $90 an hour. I’d rather put a fuel pack on myself and spend that money traveling. In my opinion I always know I’m dealing with straight shooters st J&P.

  11. Paul February 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I have a 2011 Sportster Nightster 1200,I have changed the mufflers to a set of Rush Slip-ONs no problems there.I have added a V&H Fuel management system,I went by the stock settings they gave for.Do I need to adjust any of the settings in the programing ? The only issue it just pops (backfires) between shifts,runs great on the highway.It gets around 55MPG on 93 octane,no problem with the idle.I tried a couple passes on the local track first 2 passes the bike just barely me I was still hanging on when we went thru the traps.I tried slipping or pedaling the clutch dropped my launch RPM’ guesstamate no tach 2500.By the end I was having to ride the clutch about half track to keep from chasing it.Everything Ihave done to the bike is above the rest is stone stock down to the tires. Any suggestions ? Except stay away from the strip,I used to run an B/FD alcohol rail.Iam retired now I still like alittle excitement.Thanks Paul

  12. nvmike24 February 13, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Interesting information, as it stands the exhaust on my 2012 FLTRU runs very hot in Las Vegas and Death Valleys where I ride. I am wiling to remove the head pipe, cats included in an effort to reduce that heat. My major concern is from a warranty aspect. I rode 36,200 miles last year in 11 months. I paid for a 7 year unlimited warranty and feel it could be a problem adding a fuel mapping device when there is an engine related problem down the road.

    • Bud February 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Harley can’t void your warranty simply for having aftermarket parts installed. In the event of a failure, they need to prove that it was a direct result of those parts.

  13. JAY D. WEIR February 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm


    • Bud February 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Jay, the FuelPak is basically a jet kit for fuel-injected models. If you didn’t re-jet your carburetor when you installed the air cleaner and pipes, you’re not reaping the benefits of these modifications.

  14. Cary February 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Now you’re getting into some real legal areas when you start talking about replacing the catalysts with non-catalyst headpipes. You could get J & P in serious trouble just by recommending changing the headpipes due to a little Federal law that prohibits removing them if it came equipped with it. My 2009 FXDF came with a cat, and it will stay in place until somebody gets a high-flow model for it (I can still change the slip-ons when they get ground down enough). Even the car guys are leaving the cats in place these days, using special free-flowing cats.

  15. joe piscaopo February 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I would have to agree. You say that the ECM will compensate, but that will just bring it right back to 14.7:1 Which is still way too lean. If you are going to right a blog, why dont you do it from a tech stand point and not as a salesmen.

  16. J.T. February 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm


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