Whether you are upgrading your exhaust system or just trying to gain access to your rear axle nut, removing the muffler is the one step you’ll need to get to first. Over time, or if the muffler clamp was tightened too tightly by one of those ogre techs, the muffler can end up really fitted over the head pipe. This obviously makes for a more difficult job of sliding the muffler off to remove it. Sometimes it’s clamped around the head pipe so solidly you can’t just slide it off, you need to pry a bit. By pushing the muffler toward and then away from the wheel back and forth, as well as up and down, you can spread the muffler ends and then start wiggling it off slowly. It’s possible you’ll need to use quite a bit of force, but that’s okay; just be sure not to overdo it.
First off, you’ll want to loosen the muffler clamp, and for that you need a 15mm socket. With the clamp loosened a good amount to allow for expansion when you’re wiggling and prying later, you then need to remove the two bolts holding the muffler to the saddlebag support. This step calls for a 1/2-inch socket.
The head pipe assembly is secured to the engine by a brace wrapping the lower head pipe and bolting to the bottom left of the cam chest. While you’re removing the muffler, it helps to keep undue flex off the head studs. You still need to be careful here because there will still be flex, and if you just deadlift the muffler, you can damage the studs or crack the head pipe.
So an extra brace in addition to the one already on the bike can be your helping hand. Whichever way you are pushing or pulling the muffler with your left hand, use your right hand—at the point where the muffler and head pipe connect—to stabilize movement. Keep at it until the muffler has enough clearance to slide off. It may take a while, but keep going with this process, and you’ll get there, damage-free. You especially need to proceed with caution if your bike is equipped with a black exhaust system; those are much easier to scratch in the process than a chrome system would be.