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I had previously thought that I had a leak in my headers because I could see condensation coming from the seams in my headers. After seeing a few mentions of drain holes:
http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=93082&forum_id=1
http://www.fireblades.org/forums/honda-fireblade/88536-drainage-hole-exhaust.html

I'm confused. How does the drain hole not behave like an exhaust leak? I can accept that the drain hole is important and valuable, but does that mean that there's some specific size of hole that is OK, but any bigger than that means that headers need to be replaced?
 

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The GL1500 has small drain holes in the mufflers, and they are quiet because of their location. Holes in the downpipes would behave just like leaks and be noisy.
 

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Thanks. I had thought that there was some damage to the engine that was possible (drawing cold air back in after shutting it off).
 
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