If you’ve ever bought a dirt bike, you’ve probably realized that several spots where you’d like to ride require spark arrestors to be installed before you may ride. ATVs or all-terrain vehicles must be equipped with spark arrestors by legislation or local laws in many parts of the world.
A spark arrestor on an ATV is used to prevent wildfires by capturing any blazing particles from the engine or carbon deposits that break free before exiting the tailpipe. Aside from the benefit of averting a wildfire, spark arrestors have a few more benefits or drawbacks, depending on your perspective.
How to determine if your motorcycle has a spark arrestor?
A spark arrestor is not standard on all ATVs. To see if your bike has one, look at the back end of your exhaust muffler, which is where it will be if you have one.
On many exhausts, whether or not an arrestor is placed is written on the outside. Others require a physical examination to determine if they exist.
If the arrestor isn’t at the very end of the muffler, use a flashlight. It would be best if you had a fine steel mesh screen that covers the entire inside diameter of the exhaust pipe. It could be in the shape of a tube or a plane screen.
It may be more difficult to notice if the screen is formed like a tube. If there is a screen there, carefully “feel” it with a screwdriver. This is what it should look like:
Some mufflers have a set of discs that the exhaust must travel through, albeit they are not as popular as screen-style spark arrestors. These are normally found at the muffler’s end and should be visible.
A centrifugal spark arrestor was used on certain early ATVs, but it is no longer widespread. These could not be removed. However, some had inserts for fine-tuning backpressure.
Is it truly necessary?
If your ATV does not have a spark arrestor, small particles from the engine may emerge through the exhaust in the form of a brilliant red spark. With today’s advanced manufacturing technology, particle generation from the engine is no longer a common issue.
On the other hand, carbon deposits can accumulate on the inside of your engine over time. These deposits may eventually break loose, forming a brilliant crimson spark as it exits the exhaust.
You’ve probably seen this if you’ve ever been riding behind a bike without a spark arrestor at night.
And, certainly, these sparks could start a wildfire under the appropriate conditions.
The laws governing the usage of spark arresters vary depending on where you ride. When riding on federally, state, or locally managed land in the United States, there’s a significant chance you’ll be obliged to have a certified and undamaged spark arrestor installed.
Before heading out to the trails, it’s usually a good idea to double-check the criteria in your region.
But one thing is certain: Using a spark arrestor is always a good idea, regardless of where you are riding in the world, when a spark could cause a fire hazard.
How Does a Spark Arrestor Function?
A spark arrestor acts as a filter, trapping any blazing sparks before they exit your exhaust.
The mesh of a screen-style spark arrestor creates many tiny holes through which the exhaust must pass. Any particles that are larger than the mesh holes will be blocked. Screen arrestors are rated according to the fineness of the mesh utilized.
A similar result can be achieved with a disc-style arrestor. To prevent particles from flowing through, many tiny discs are stacked together with a little gap between them.
What effect does a spark arrestor have on performance?
Because of the possible power improvements, many people are considering removing their spark arrestors.
While the arrestor does impede airflow through the exhaust system to some extent, replacing it does not result in increased horsepower.
The impact of eliminating it will be dependent on how your quad is constructed and configured. The results will be influenced by jetting, intake, elevation, cams, exhaust system design, and so on.
It’s possible that removing it will increase performance, but it’s also possible that it won’t. You’ll never know for sure unless you give it a shot.
When you remove the spark arrestor from some ATVs, you may notice a little loss of power. The reduced back pressure obtained by removing it will result in poorer performance on some systems.
If you’re lucky and your systems respond well to the removal of the arrestor, you could see a top-end power gain of around one horse-power. Ironically, the lower backpressure may result in a loss in low-range power and torque.
If you want higher performance, we recommend keeping the spark arrestor in place until you can afford a nice aftermarket exhaust system (also with a spark arrestor) and engine remapping. Compared to simply removing the spark arrestor in an OEM system, this could result in a far more obvious gain in power.
How to clean a clogged spark arrestor?
Carbon particles will build upon the spark arrestor after a while; thus, your bike will need to be cleaned to run as it should. Because a clogged arrestor blocks the exhaust flow, horsepower is usually reduced. After a few kilometers of riding, the arrestor is always advised to be cleaned regularly.
Manual cleaning of the arrestor is simple. Aside from that, the muffler has a cleanout plug to make cleaning it easier and more convenient. This routine disciple could be one of the reasons to convince your parents to get you your bike.
One approach to cleaning the spark arrestor clamp and other parts is to use fuel and a copper brush to remove any dirt. Rinse in fuel and wipe the spark arrestor with it. Allow all of the parts to dry completely before reassembling the muffler.
To know more about spark arrestors, click right here.