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 Repacking the FMF silencers

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mwakey

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PostSubject: Repacking the FMF silencers   Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:12 pm

I see plenty of you have FMF silencers on your bikes, but how many of you have done a repack on your silencer yet? What packing did you use? I sent an email to FMF a week ago and got no reply, so I called them today. I got through to the tech dept and asked what packing I should order for my Q4. The guy said to order the 4-stroke packing. So I just happen to have the packing section of their web site loaded and I asked him WHICH ONE? There are 7 different packings offered on your web site. To which he replied, The muffler repacking kit. So I said, can you be a LITTLE more specific and maybe give me a part number since there are several on the list that say that. FINALLY I got a part number out of him! It was the number for the FMF Pillow Pack muffler repacking kit (#012899). Now I asked him why would I want that when I have a Q4 muffler and they list a "FMF Q muffler performance repacking kit"? He did not know the answer and said I needed the one he said before. I just thanked him and hung up. What a farce! I spent big bucks with these guys buying the complete exhaust system and programmer and this the tech support I get?

I love their products but FMF needs some help in the support department. They SUCK!

So anyhow, who has repacked their FMF and can give me a straight answer about what packing to order for my Q4?


Last edited by mwakey on Sat May 09, 2009 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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oldirt

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:50 pm

I work a couple miles away from FMF, after I got my system I thought the dent in the pipe was a defect, who knew, so I made a visit. I talked to one guy (can't remember a name) regarding the packing, seems the pillow pack is their newest packing and he told me it should last longer, whether it will be a noise reducer remains to be seen. When the time comes, I am going to stop by again and buy the pillow pack and see. (walk in sales are full retail) (just won't have to wait)
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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:52 am

oldirt wrote:
I work a couple miles away from FMF, after I got my system I thought the dent in the pipe was a defect, who knew, so I made a visit. I talked to one guy (can't remember a name) regarding the packing, seems the pillow pack is their newest packing and he told me it should last longer, whether it will be a noise reducer remains to be seen. When the time comes, I am going to stop by again and buy the pillow pack and see. (walk in sales are full retail) (just won't have to wait)

I ended up ordering the Q Pillow Performance Pack #011394. Will post up my results when it comes in. Once I do it once I'll know how often it really needs to be done.
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Jäger
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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:58 am

mwakey wrote:
I love their products but FMF needs some help in the support department. They SUCK!
For whatever this is worth...

It has been my experience through the advent of email, that this kind of non-support has become far more common. There may well be other factors involved, but I suspect in many cases the bottom line is there is nowhere near the accountability in a phone call or email that there is in snailmail.

Not totally related, but whenever I want a definitive answer on something, especially an interpretation of a law i.e. "can I operate a non duty paid vehicle in Canada", I send it via the good old post office. I call whoever first and ask for the name of whoever is responsible for that department, subject, technical support, etc. And then send a registered snailmail to them - without my phone number or email included.

Nowhere near the convenience of email or phone, and probably not worth it for minor issues. But people seem to magically put a little more effort into getting things right when their name and signature goes at the bottom of a document. And a piece of paper is also a lot more persuasive when proceeding with a complaint, talking with an LEO who doesn't quite agree with your interpretation, small claims court, or whatever.

I do feel your pain because I've been trying to deal with a manufacturer in Florida (not bikes) who doesn't even pretend to provide warranty service or tech support.
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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:25 pm

Jäger wrote:
mwakey wrote:
I love their products but FMF needs some help in the support department. They SUCK!
For whatever this is worth...

It has been my experience through the advent of email, that this kind of non-support has become far more common. There may well be other factors involved, but I suspect in many cases the bottom line is there is nowhere near the accountability in a phone call or email that there is in snailmail.

Not totally related, but whenever I want a definitive answer on something, especially an interpretation of a law i.e. "can I operate a non duty paid vehicle in Canada", I send it via the good old post office. I call whoever first and ask for the name of whoever is responsible for that department, subject, technical support, etc. And then send a registered snailmail to them - without my phone number or email included.

Nowhere near the convenience of email or phone, and probably not worth it for minor issues. But people seem to magically put a little more effort into getting things right when their name and signature goes at the bottom of a document. And a piece of paper is also a lot more persuasive when proceeding with a complaint, talking with an LEO who doesn't quite agree with your interpretation, small claims court, or whatever.

I do feel your pain because I've been trying to deal with a manufacturer in Florida (not bikes) who doesn't even pretend to provide warranty service or tech support.

I understand what you're saying and I would normally use snailmail for such important things like you said. But for a simple question I think they could have at least replied to the email as it would only take them a few seconds to send one to me. Not to mention it's basically free for them, as opposed to buying a stamp and mailing it.

My phone call to them did not get me much further, so I'm not sure I would have even got a straight answer in a snailmail. Like I said, it's not like they sell a million products and need to know about all of them. They sell a limited number of products and I would think the tech guy would at least know the answer to a simple question like what packing goes in a Q4. I guess it was my fault for going to the people who make the damn thing for such a silly question. I got better tech support from you guys here and on TT for crying out loud! That to me doesn't say much about their company. With the economy the way it is, you would think companies would be trying harder to keep the few customers they have left who are still willing to spend money.

A related story... I have been in contact with Clif from DirtWerkz.com through the email about ordering a dB Dawg for my Q4. This guy owns the comapny and replied to my emails on Easter Sunday no less! We exchanged several emails on Easter Sunday. Me in Florida and him in California. He replied to my emails until almost 8:00pm his time! He was very helpful and even went out and did some measurements on his son's bike with a Q4 to let me know about fitting the dB Dawg to my pipe. Even though the Dawg is not made for the Q4, he was able to give me enough info that I was confident in ordering one anyhow, as I plan to modify the thing to make it work on my Q4. I will remember that when it comes time to buy other things for my bike, and I told him so. THAT is what customer service is all about. Rare? ... Maybe. But people remember good service and they tell others about their experiences, as I am doing with you all now. That goes a long way in gaining new customers, just as bad service goes a long way is losing customers.
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mwakey

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PostSubject: dB Dawg and FMF Q4 - no werky together   Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:16 pm

OK, so I bit the bullet and ordered the dB Dawg to try in my Q4. Got it installed just fine, even though they say it wouldn't fit. There is plenty of room to slide it right in, but the problem is the outer flange is larger in diameter than the recess for the stock Q4 spark arrestor. So what you end up with is no good flat surface to butt the shoulder of the Dawg to the outside end of the silencer. The Q4 silencer is rounded and raised above the surface where the shoulder of the spark arrestor sits, so even though the dB Dawg fit inside the pipe, there was only going to be a thin area to seal around the outer shoulder against the Q4. Another problem is the threaded hole for the stock SA is on the bottom of the opening, so I put the dB Dawg in with the baffle portion and set screws horizontal. I didn't want to mess up the threaded hole for the stock SA with the dB Dawg set screws (they are allen screws and have pointed tips). Then I sealed around the outer edge of the flange with high temp silicone and used loctite on the set screws. Let it sit overnight and just got done with my first test ride today.

The Q4 is noticeably quieter at an idle with the dB Dawg, and maybe a little quieter when blipping the throttle and puttin' around the neighborhood slowly, but at speed on the highway, my ear dyno tells me there is not much difference in loudness from the stock Q4. Going up hard through the gears sounds just the same to me and wide open is about the same. I rode without a helmet so I could really hear the difference. It wasn't much. I'm not sure if mounting it with the baffle horizontal made any difference than mounting it vertically. The baffle inside would maybe block more of the exhaust note if you mounted it vertical, but I didn't try that because like I said, I didn't want to mess up the stock SA threaded hole.

After about a five mile ride I stopped and noticed the Dawg was a bit loose. After letting the exhaust cool, it got tight again. I wasn't impressed with the pointed set screws. They don't seem to hold the Dawg secure enough for me. I didn't want to really crank down on the screws since it will deform the opening of the silencer, but I did have them super tight when I first put it in, so I think the heat expansion of the silencer is to be expected. Maybe the thing to do is install it, ride the bike, and then retorque the set screws while it's still hot.

I know my packing is probably worn out, but they say the dB Dawg is suposed to help even with blown packing. I didn't see that on the Q4, but maybe that's why they don't sell one for the Q4. Maybe something with the internal design of the Q4 does not allow the dB Dawg to work properly. I had to give it a try anyhow. My $40+ loss is your gain in knowledge. And with that, I am selling the dB Dawg over in the For Sale section of this forum if anyone is interested. I only put about five miles on it and it's like brand new.

I will say this about the dB Dawg. My bike pulled hard with this thing on it. I have the FMF Q4, PowerBomb and FMF programmer and with the dB Dawg installed my butt dyno told me it pulled harder. I was riding into a stiff headwind and got on it real good in 4th gear and up to 6th and it pulled hard. I was suprised. It felt like the day I installed the Q4 and header and programmer. What a difference. Must be the added back pressure since the dB Dawg has a smaller opening than the stock Q4 SA. In that regard, I hate to give up the performance boost, but I just don't like the way it mounts to the Q4. Maybe if it was machined to fit the recess where the stock SA fits, it would be better. I don't have the technology to machine it down like that.

Here's some pics of my install. I made a custom safety lanyard (as suggested by dB Dawg) just in case it fell out.



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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Sat May 09, 2009 7:45 pm

Well I finally got around to installing the new packing today in my Q4. I had ordered the Q Pillow Performance Pack on the advise of someone on TT, instead of what the guy at FMF suggested. Maybe I should have listened to the guy from FMF afterall. When I first called FMF, the guy didn't really sound to knowledgeable on their product line. I told him I had the Q4 and wanted the proper packing for it and he told me to get the 4-stroke packing. I asked which one since they had several listed. He said the muffler packing, so I asked again, which one? Finally got a number out of him for the FMF Pillow Pack muffler repacking kit (#012899). I asked why I wouldn't want the Q pillow since I had the Q4 and he said I needed the other one. I just got flustered with his lack of concern and just thanked him and hung up.

Well, today I took my Q4 apart, cleaned it all and opened up my new Q Pillow Performance Packing and guess what? It's too small!! After all that crap I should have listened to the guy from FMF instead of someone from TT (who will remain nameless!) The guy on TT said he used this packing before on his Q4 and said it fit fine. It's not even close!! I am still confused as to why FMF calls it the "Q" pillow if it doesn't fit the Q!!

Anyhow, I am going to have to call FMF Monday and try to send this one back and get the right packing. And in the meantime, my pipe sits here in pieces and I am without a bike to ride. What a bitch! Can't really blame anyone but myself I guess. Live and learn. I tried to find out from someone with experience about which packing to use but I got no good replies on the forums.

FYI: The stock packing in the Q4 is roughly 19" x 13" when laid out flat. The Q Pillow Performance Packing (#011394) that I got was 11" x 13". Way too short!

FWIW, the old packing in my Q4 didn't look too bad. Except for one spot that had a hole burnt through it, the rest was in pretty good shape, so maybe it would have lasted a bit longer. I've put several 1000 miles on it since I got it. Not really sure why it had a hole burnt through it in that spot. When the packing was in the can, the hole would have been on the bottom side of the can directly below the hanger bracket. The core of the Q4 has this steel wool stuff wrapped around the end near the tail pipe, and it is encased in a steel netting and welded to the core pipe. The hole in the packing was burnt through about where this steel wool starts. Anyone got any ideas why it burnt a hole in the packing here?





As a side note, I was also experimenting with my dB Dawg while I had the Q4 apart. I think I have figured out a way to securely mount the Dawg in the Q4 with some allen bolts instead of the set screws, but I need to get the right packing before I can assemble it and test it out. I spent some time on the grinder and sander and got the dB Dawg machined down to fit the end cap of the Q4 much better than before. I really liked how the Dawg made the bike run better, so I hope my ideas work out once I get the right packing installed.
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mtb

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Sat May 09, 2009 10:35 pm

thumb for Mark... you have very detailed descriptions and photos as usual bow

Aside from the little extra pulling sensation, do you experience anything else with the Dawg? Did the water temp go up?
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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Sun May 10, 2009 12:08 am

mtb wrote:
thumb for Mark... you have very detailed descriptions and photos as usual bow

Aside from the little extra pulling sensation, do you experience anything else with the Dawg? Did the water temp go up?

I only ran with the dawg for about 5 miles and never looked at the temp guage, so I couldn't tell you if it went up or not. I'll do a better test once I get my packing in my Q4 and reinstall the dawg with my new setup. For now, I'm on 4 wheels... cry
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SheWolf
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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Sun May 10, 2009 12:12 am

That sucks Mark...I feel for ya buddy. You'll be back on the Meanie soon enuf but it still sucks you got handed a line of crap.

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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Mon May 11, 2009 9:34 pm

Well, I called FMF today and got yet ANOTHER set of part numbers for my Q4 packing! GAHHHH I am just about as pissed off as you can be over this nightmare. I just want to order some damn packing for my Q4 and you would think it would be as simple as going to their web site and ordering the damn stuff. BUT NOOOOOOOOOO!

I'm so pissed I can't even take the time to write it all out. Here's a link to my latest rant over on TT
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mtb

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Mon May 11, 2009 9:39 pm

Have a beer freaky freaky freaky
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SheWolf
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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Mon May 11, 2009 9:45 pm

No X-Ray goggles?!! eeek Oh, the shame.... Now you have two wankers yanking you. Yeah I can sympathize with you...that is really bad PR on FMF's part. What is that netting made of, any idea? Wonder if a person could make something out of metal bug screen or something and use the loose packing shit in a bag? dunno

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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Tue May 12, 2009 7:09 am

Not sure what the netting is made of. It looks like a nylon net. The old packing had a netting on it too, and most of it came out in burnt pieces. I guess you could make one out of something like you mentioned, just to hold the loose packing together while you install it. I'm sure FMF did this for the the same reason... easy installation. I decided to get the sheet stuff though. We'll see how it goes when I get it. In the meantime, it's beer thirty! Very happy
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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Wed May 13, 2009 6:59 pm

The saga continues... click here
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ZED

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Wed May 13, 2009 11:41 pm

Ugh. You would make us walk all the way over to TT for the continuing saga. :pokestick:

From your experience though I'm thinking I'll write off FMF myself. I think I'll look a little closer at the Graves, maybe with a DB Dawg and the PC-III.
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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Thu May 14, 2009 6:57 am

Sorry about the long walk. I'm getting carpel tunnel typing about these idiots. Just trying to save my wrists for twisting throttles instead of pounding keyboards.
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SheWolf
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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Thu May 14, 2009 8:45 am

Wait with the tuner Zed, the one I'm getting is cheaper than the FMF and the PCIII. I was looking at the other cans out there too after what poor Mark went thru. The sad reality is, you just can't beat the sound level from the Q4 stock; all the others are much louder, and WAY pricier. You'd have to spend extra with accessories like buying the dB Dawg to tone town the bark. I mean so far the cheapest route is getting the PC4 with the QuietCore insert, as it's still cheaper that way than the Q4, but you're still dealing with FMF. I think once our little blue meanie here gets the packing and has it IN the can, verifies that what's been sent WILL work, then going with FMF would be the cost effective way to go...even if it's at Mark's expense. We'll juts owe him a lot of beer. Very happy freaky

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ZED

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Thu May 14, 2009 9:44 am

Tuned in and attentive. Go Mark Go! freaky
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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Thu May 14, 2009 8:22 pm

At my expense? Sure why not, I'm rich. poser2

I'm really surprised I am the one posting about repacking when I am the one who has never owned a silencer that needed packing before. I'm sure many of you have owned silencers that require repacking. It's just baffles me that nobody has repacked a Q4 yet with so many of them out there. But fear not fellow peeps, I will get to the bottom of this sooner or later. And as an added bonus, I will have a one of a kind, super spectacular, never before attempted mod to add to your farkle list once I am done with this exhaust. It will of course include the famous mwakey fully detailed write up and professional photography you have all come to know and love.

Gawd, I am so full of myself, I think I will crack open another beer and celebrate. freaky
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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Thu May 14, 2009 8:32 pm

poser2 poser2 poser2

I forgot to mention I got this really colorful full page FMF catalog in the mail today. And inside the front cover is a photo of Don Emler, owner and founder of FMF, with the following statement...

"We use one word to define our philosophy here at FMF - loyalty. It's a simple idea - take care of your customers, give back to the community, and success will follow..."

What was that about taking care of your customers Don? I didn't get that part when I called THREE f**king times to ask the same question and still didn't get a straight answer!
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SheWolf
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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Thu May 14, 2009 8:47 pm

Did they give a contact link to him? I'd be raising shit with hm if you can do it. He's gonna lose customers at the rate that website and the people he has working under him are going. Rolling Eyes

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ZED

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Thu May 14, 2009 9:05 pm

Write a letter addressed to him, quoting that marketing material and a summary of your escapade. There's a good chance it will get to him. If he does give a damn, you'll get a response.
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mwakey

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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Sat May 23, 2009 8:29 pm

Way ahead of you on the personal letter to Mr. Don Emler. I sent it out last week, along with the highlighted page from the catalog I mentioned. Told him the complete story of my packing ordeal and what I thought of his company. Nothing nasty mind you. Just a resepctful three page letter that took me several hours to compose. I addressed it directly to him so I hope he reads it. I told him what would make me happy after all I had been through was for him to send me some of the packing they use at the factory to pack the Q4, instead of the crap they pawn on their web site. We'll see what happens. At the least, I expect some sort of reply. Probably a form letter. But you never know the power of the pen sometimes.

I did finally receive the 4-stroke packing (#010590) and decided to use it since it was long enough to do the job. It's in sheet form and about a half inch thick. I actually trimmed off about four inches from one side so it would make two complete wraps around the inner core. It wasn't too hard to install. Just wrapped it around the inner core and stuffed it down inside the mid pipe bell, leaving about four inches of the tailpipe exposed where the spark arrestor goes. The hardest part was getting the can back on so the screw holes lined up. Had a bitch of a time getting the last screw started. And by then the high temp silicone had started to skin up, but I finally got it together. Smeared some more silicone in the gaps before I torqued down the four can screws. A little silicone on the header pipe and slipped it back in place and torqued down the mounting bolts. Let it sit overnight and took it for a ride the next night after work.

I got to say new packing made the Q4 a bit quieter. I never noticed how loud it had gotten since it was new, but I guess it slowly did get louder. It was noticeably quieter at idle and even out on the road it was quieter. I took a short ride without the helmet so I could really hear it and it was really quieter. Mind you, it was nothing like the stock exhaust quiet, but it was better than it was before. It still is a bit loud at WFO, but that's to be expected. Only time will tell how long this packing lasts. I will be interested to see what it looks like in another six months. After I got back from my ride I put the helmet on and took a longer ride and you could really tell the difference in sound level then. With the helmet on, I almost didn't like it since it was too quiet. I am used to hearing the engine and with the new packing I could hear it, but not like before.

As for my one of a kind exhaust farkle that I mentioned before...

Bascially, I remounted the dB Dawg in place of the spark arrestor, only this time I drilled and tapped the inner core while I had the Q4 apart, so I could get a more solid mount. I just didn't like the pointed set screws that came with the Dawg, since they kept loosening up on me. I wanted a permenant installation, so I also machined down the dB Dawg to fit the end cap of the Q4 better, which allowed me to get the existing holes in the Dawg to line up with the stock threaded hole for the Q4 spark arrestor. I added a second tapped hole 180 degrees from that and bolted the dB Dawg into the end of the Q4 with two M5 allen heads. It was a REAL bitch getting those screws started in that little hole!! But it is solid as a rock now. And it sits vertical instead of horizontal like I had it before (which I think makes a difference because of the baffle in the Dawg). But with the new packing I just don't know if the dB Dawg is making the Q4 quieter, or if the new packing is making it quieter (or both). I think it's the new packing since I tried the Dawg before with the old packing and it was just as loud. I will say the bike still pulls good on the top end with the Dawg in place, just like I had it before. Throttle response seems a bit peppyier in the higher gears with the Dawg. And with no noticeable change to idle or the low end. I really need to ride it more to tell. It's been over two weeks since I rode it last while I was waiting for the right packing, so maybe it's just my butt dyno right now. All I can say is the bike runs great. I may play with the FMF Programmer settings now that I have this setup and see if I can get even more out of it.

A few pics of the job....

Stock spark arrestor threaded hole on the bottom. New drilled and tapped hole on the top...



Machined and modified dB Dawg to fit Q4 end cap...






dB Dawg installed...



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SheWolf
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PostSubject: Re: Repacking the FMF silencers   Sun May 24, 2009 10:35 am

Excellent job, Mark! thumb That looks professionally done too, I might add. I'm glad you got your packing issue solved; that was a friggin' nightmare. baldy

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