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Exhaust Pipe Heat Wrap


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99 R1100RT


Looking for input on the use of exhaust pipe heat tape to shield the fairing parts from excessive heat. Does it result in accelerated degradation of the pipes due to trapped moisture, etc., or is it generally considered to be a prudent thing to do? Thanks...

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Probably not prudent to wrap the header pipes. If you are concerned about heat, you can stick some aluminized asbestos heat tiles or tape on the plastic. I did this after accidentally idling my RT to the point of bubbling the paint. I won't say this is the most elegant solution in the world, but it works. Where appropriate, I also have strips of the stuff on the inside surfaces of the plastic:



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Afternoon Bob


Pipe wrapping is mainly designed to keep more heat inside the pipe, that also means the contained heat must go somewhere else. Like into the cat & through the muffler.


I'm not sure how much more heat the exhaust system will have to handle but all that nice exposed-pipe air cooling up front will be severely diminished.


The BMW 1100RT already has issues with the rear of the cat cracking so adding more heat yet sure is directionally wrong.


I would imagine the muffler itself & outlet gas temperature will be a bit higher also. Might be enough to warp or partially melt the pannier.


Wrapping the high heat area on an exhaust pipes will also make the engine run just a bit leaner in open loop. Probably not enough to hurt anything, but again, directionally wrong.


As far as damaging the pipes?-- It probably will to some extent if used long term. The front pipes on the BMW are a 400 based stainless steel. 400 is not totally corrosion free so I would imagine over enough time the pipes will attain a corrosion etching that matches the rough surface of the pipe wrapping tape.


That tape is fairly water resistant but doesn't actually seal the water/moisture out so after washing the bike you should ride it far enough to totally dry the pipes out under the wrapping.


Also, from experience, I can tell you that once you get that pipe wrapping dirty, muddy, or full of heated & baked road salt/crud it is extremely difficult to get clean.


The heat shields that Selden mentions is probably a better long term solution. Just be very careful in the heat shielding you buy. There have been a number of "Thermal Incidences" (that's automotive engineering talk for car fires) caused by that sticky backed aluminized heat shielding. While the aluminized part is usually very heat resistant the sticky backing isn't on a lot of those products. That sticky backing can get hot enough to ooze out & drip on a hot pipe. It is slow to flash off so it just sticks to the pipe until it reaches it's kindling point then a large puff or fire erupts.


Just make sure the temperature rating on the product you use is for the mastic side as well as the aluminized side.


Better, is a aluminum shield that has an air gap between the pipe & shield & an air gap between the shield & tupperware (probably have to make that yourself).


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Protect the platic as suggested, but damage rare in my experience unless one idles for a long time.

I believe that the discoloration common to the pipes

in that area on beemers is part of the design to transfer heat.

Could be mistaken, regardless, tape isn't the solution.


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OK, thanks for all the input. I am going to can this idea. You guys just saved me some money. If we ever run into each other on the road I'll buy you a beer.

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Even with a hose fan a bike can heat up quite a bit. Think of speed. How fast are you riding normally, 30, 50, 70 mph?


A box fan is only moving air at 5 or MAYBE 10 mph. Imagine riding around at 10 mph but with the motor revved way up to 3-5K rpm it would still get hot.

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+1 kmac, years ago i bought a "commercial grade" fan at Lowes, 3 speed. High is adequate but barely. Especially tuning on hot summer days in the south! It's probably blowing 20 mph, maybe.

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+1 kmac, years ago i bought a "commercial grade" fan at Lowes, 3 speed. High is adequate but barely. Especially tuning on hot summer days in the south! It's probably blowing 20 mph, maybe.


This is what I do. I still do not idle the bike for more than 5 minutes or so while tuning. Best results actually come from tuning between short rides.......Then everything is in the condition you actually use the bike in. Most adjustments don't take long, anyway. It is the time it sits between the adjustments that is dangerous.

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So let me ask a dumb question because I hear all this concern about overheating when starting up and/or doing tuning, but what about when you are on the road and get into stop and go traffic or a traffic jam where you are just sitting there? Is it good operating practice to shut the engine off if you are sitting for more than a couple of minutes or when your temp indicator gets near the top?

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Evening Bob


The tupprware damage usually comes from higher engine RPM when sitting still (like choke on fast idle). Or revving the engine while sitting still. Or running the engine at higher RPMs sitting still with no air flow when setting the TB balance or tuning.


At slow base idle not that much heat exiting out the exhaust.


As far as turning the engine off when the temperature indicator gets near the top? Personally I never do. Some riders get real paranoid when they see that temp gauge above what is the normal range.

They need to keep in mind that the temperature gauge is reading on the COOLING oil that is has just picked up the engine heat but before it has passed though the oil cooler. I would worry more if the temperature gauge didn't go up in stop & go traffic as that would mean the cooling oil circuit isn't doing it's job.


If you have ever overheated a BMW boxer, & I mean a REAL overheat, not just a high reading on the temperature gauge that is reading cooling oil circuit temperature you will know by the engine sounds that it is getting too hot. Lots of chain rattle, very noisy engine, loud combustion knocking at low speed launch, etc.


If you want to see or hear a BMW boxer get hot & I mean chain-rattling sounds like it is going to explode REAL HOT then go get one stuck in an up hill foot deep sand wash on a 100°+ day, then try to ride it out under engine power.


If you want to see your front pipes glow red then just put a low mounted mirror on your garage wall then look at the pipes reflection when you ride into the garage at night.


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Thanks DR, that is a great explanation and makes sense. I got a little concerned because I picked the bike up in Chicago and rode it back to Georgia and got stuck in a small town traffic jam on Sunday afternoon in May and it got hot. I eventually pulled over and shut it down until the traffic started moving again. This was my first experience on a boxer and quite frankly I don't recall if the fairing damage was there when I picked the bike up. Sounds like it probably was though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My Plastic bubbled just below where you have the heat shielding in the photo. I took my shark fins off and scraped all all the cooked paint off and repainted with flat black high temp paint. The side you have in the photo is the side that is the worst on my 2000 RT. I will be removing my exhaust wrap ASAP (crap that was a real PITA to install) I'll go the heat reflecting tape route...

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