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Removing bitumen/tar from exhaust system


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1. Can anyone suggest a simple way to remove road grime including tar from the lower surface of the exhaust system on a bike? I have been using an impregnated wool-like material, which is excellent for keeping the chrome shiny but there has to be an easier way to remove the tar from under the bike.


2. What is the best way of keping the alloy wheels looking good?

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Same answer for bot questions. WD-40. It softens tar and makes it easy to remove - spray on and leave to work for a while.

For the wheels, spray onto a cloth to clean the wheels - to avoid lubing the brakes :eek: the WD-40 leaves a nice sheen that makes road dirt and brake dust easier to remove.



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Joe Frickin' Friday
No. 7 Polishing Compound works great. I use it on painted surfaces as well, I just rub more softly and for a bit longer. No damage to the shine, provided you've cleaned off all other grit/grime before starting. This stuff will also nicely remove combustion residue from around the opening at the tail end of the exhaust pipe.
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Not sure what you have available down under, but I use a chlorinated solvent brake cleaner marketed as "Brake-Kleen". Dissolves it right away, and no wear to the chrome.

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just my opinion... just about any solvent you are comfortable working with, such as Jan's brake kleen, or mineral spirits, or WD-40 will do the job but the trick is to use these products safely... and to not cause harm the finish of the muffler.


Most of the time the "tar" bits will also have gritty particulates that will really scratch the surface. Yes the solvent makes it soft but then rubbing the grit all around makes the scratches.


Taking care.

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Easiest (and the least dreary) thing I can think of is just ride ride ride. It'll burn off sooner or later.


I rode through some fish guts in the parking lot at work. A big blob landed on my exhaust. Stunk like hell for a couple days of commuting, then it was gone. Easy peasy. Of course, I'm wet and covered in fish junk most of the time anyway, so you know there was no way in hell I was gonna bother cleaning it off....



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I work in a refinery....used to get asphalt and my tools and tried solvents to get it off but that took a lot of effort since the solvents come out cold and make the tar like products harder to remove. The lad techs told me to use diesel fuel.......takes that crap off very easily! Ever hear of a diesel spill dissolving pavement? Works like a charm! Never harmed my tools but not sure what it would do to chrome.

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I rode through some fish guts in the parking lot at work. A big blob landed on my exhaust. Stunk like hell for a couple days of commuting, then it was gone.

Ewww. Reminds me of a story that the cartoonist Bill Mauldin told of his childhood. He had been killing skunks and collecting their musk, in a misguided believe that he could sell the stuff for use in perfume. He collected a Mason jar full of the stuff before learning the error of his ways.


An old man pissed off him and a friend, so they snuck out one night, and poured the skunk oil on the exhaust manifold of his car. The odor never went away.

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Remember reading somewhere to use

a copper penny.or was it for boot staines burned on the exhaust.

any way

my two cents or one cent ha ha

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