Get More Without Exhausting Your Budget!
As you know, there are tons and tons of components that work together that allow your vehicle to operate. To get the most out of your vehicle, you, like countless other car and truck enthusiasts, may decide to make some replacements and customizations to enhance performance. One component you may decide to replace or customize is the exhaust system.
Regardless of if you’re thinking about replacing all or just part of your exhaust system, Truck Works is here to provide you with information to help you make decisions along the way. If you have any questions or need recommendations, feel free to stop by, call us at (816) 842-4222 or contact us here.
Should You Choose Aftermarket Exhaust Components?
The answer to this question depends on what your goals are for your vehicle. So let’s start with some basic information. Your vehicle’s factory exhaust system is designed in a manner that dampens as much sound as it can. As a result, the flow of exhaust gases from the engine becomes restricted and creates backpressure. Most vehicles’ engines need some degree of backpressure to operate efficiently, but this pressure also takes away some of the power it could use to operate the vehicle to push the exhaust gases out of the tailpipe.
Replacing your vehicle’s factory exhaust with upgraded performance exhaust components would help you take back some of that lost power and improve overall performance. Below we discuss the various exhaust system components.
- Headers & Exhaust Manifolds – Headers, which are also referred to as exhaust manifolds, are the first components to see the engine’s excess exhaust gases. Bolted into the cylinder head, headers bring in exhaust gases from the vehicle’s combustion chambers. To lessen exhaust impediments, aftermarket headers are usually mandrel bent, which reduces backpressure and aids in forming enough gas-flow velocity to scavenge used-up engine gases. These aftermarket exhaust components come in short and full-length dimensions and several configurations.
- Downpipes – Downpipes are also referred to as head pipes and are simply the connection mechanisms that link mufflers to headers. Sometimes, depending on the application, a catalytic converter separates this link.
- Catalytic Converters – Catalytic converters are used to reduce the volume of toxic emissions your ride releases. Anybody who drives on public roads must be sure their vehicle is fit with a catalytic converter, for federal and state transportation regulations require it. Fortunately, most vehicles manufactured since 1975 automatically come with this converter straight from the factory. Catalytic converters operate by taking in exhaust gas and passing it through specially crafted ceramic honeycombs coated with precious metals. As exhaust gases pass through the honeycombs and contact their special coating, a chemical reaction occurs that converts the dangerous gases to less-hazardous compounds (e.g., carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen and water).
- Mufflers – The primary function of mufflers is reducing noise from the exhaust system. There are different ways mufflers achieve this task, but they generally do it by using chambers, perforated tubes, baffles and sound-dampening elements. These components can be configured in different ways to produce an array of tones, depending on the manufacturer. Additionally, an aftermarket muffler should enable good overall performance and not develop excess backpressure.
- Crossover Pipes – The purpose of crossover pipes is to adjust the flow of exhaust on a dual exhaust system. These crossover pipes are commonly installed close to the headers and work to lower the uneven flow of exhaust from the engine cylinders. This is accomplished because the crossover pipes give the exhaust gases a means to flow between both sides of the dual exhaust system. Further, there are two types of crossover pipes: X-pipes, which are shaped like an “X” and H-pipes, which are shaped like an “H.”
- Tailpipes – The tailpipe is at the tail end of the exhaust system and travels from the muffler to the rear end of the vehicle or to the side of the vehicle. Aftermarket tailpipes oftentimes come with a chrome or polished exhaust tip, but you can purchase these tips in multiple shapes and finishes separately.
If you need more information about any of these exhaust system components or would like recommendations, don’t hesitate to call us today!
Materials Used for Exhaust Systems
Manufacturers of aftermarket exhaust system components can use various materials when producing them, but the most common are mild steel and stainless steel. Mild steel exhaust systems are more cost effective than stainless steel systems. However, they are not rust resistant and will corrode later down the road. Exhaust systems made of stainless steel, on the other hand, are rust resistant and provide the perfect fit for those who live in wet or snowy environments.
Types of Exhaust Systems
There are three main types of aftermarket exhaust systems: cat-back, axle-back and header-back exhaust systems. Regardless of what type of system you choose, it will likely come with a combination of the components we discussed earlier: crossover pipes, tailpipes, header pipes, mufflers and catalytic converters.
- Cat-Back Exhaust Systems – These types of exhaust systems tend to be among the most popular aftermarket systems and deal with everything from the catalytic converter and back. Cat-back systems will usually come with a tailpipe and muffler, but they can also include an X-pipe, Y-pipe, H-pipe or mid-pipe depending on the vehicle’s make and model. Their popularity stems from fact that they offer a straightforward modification that improves exhaust flow at a relatively cost-effective rate. The amount of power gains these systems provide depend on the design of the catalytic converter and the number of remaining factory exhaust components on your vehicle. By allowing exhaust to flow more freely, cat-back systems aid overall engine performance, which can even boost fuel economy.
- Header-Back Exhaust Systems – These aftermarket exhaust systems replace every component from the header collector all the way to the tailpipe. Replacing a factory system with a header-back exhaust system will increase the whole system’s diameter, which will make way for a higher volume of exhaust to flow through. These systems can be difficult to install and tend to be a bit pricey since they replace the entirety of the existing exhaust system. But no need to worry about installation; Truck Works’ experienced team takes care of all that.
- Axle-Back Exhaust Systems – When you get an axle-back system, you’re dealing with all exhaust components from the rear axle all the way to the exhaust tip. While the power gains with other aftermarket exhaust systems may be more dominant, axle-back exhaust systems will still produce gains better than factory systems at a lower price than cat-back and header-back systems. And as far as installation is concerned, it doesn’t get much easier than the axle-back exhaust system.
Construction of Exhaust Systems
The primarily reasons car and truck enthusiasts choose to upgrade their stock exhaust systems with aftermarket exhaust systems are lowering backpressure, enabling the scavenging of exhaust gases and increasing power gains. So what’s the main difference between stock and aftermarket systems? The difference is in the construction of the components. Stock pipes have smaller diameter ranges than their aftermarket counterparts, which gives performance pipes their ability to accommodate more airflow. The right diameter ranges for aftermarket exhaust systems are dependent upon several factors, such as your vehicle’s RPM, application and engine size. Another significant difference between aftermarket and stock exhaust systems is their pipes’ particular bends.
- Crush Bends – Stock exhaust pipes are usually shaped with a simple technique known as crush bending. While this crushing technique is fast and easy for the pipe manufacturers, it impedes exhaust flow at the pipe bends, which inhibits performance.
- Mandrel Bends – Aftermarket exhaust pipes, on the other hand, are shaped using a technique called mandrel bending, which enables the creation of larger pipe diameters. Mandrel bending is accomplished by inserting a flexible rod into the exhaust pipe, which allows the manufacturer to bend the pipe without its walls crumpling or caving in. This technique creates a uniform pipe diameter, which reduces flow restrictions at the pipe bends.
Configuration of Exhaust Systems
It’s a given that the way in which exhaust systems are configured will affect vehicles’ overall performance. The most common exhaust configurations include single, dual exit, dual and dual crossover.
- Single Exhaust Systems – This type of exhaust system is the most common and comes with one set of exhaust components (e.g., muffler and exhaust tip) that extend to the area behind the vehicle’s axle. The single exhaust system boasts large pipe diameters and mandrel bends; it is generally more lightweight and cost effective than dual rear exhaust systems.
- Dual Exit Exhaust Systems – Dual exhaust systems are configured in the same way as single exhaust systems (i.e., they feature one headpipe, one converter and one muffler). The only real difference is the fact that there are two exhaust tips extending from the muffler. The dual exit style doesn’t really offer advanced performance gains over the single exhaust systems, but some people really just like the aesthetics.
- Dual Exhaust Systems – These types of exhaust systems utilize two pipes extending all the way from the headers to the exhaust tips. They usually come with two catalytic converters and two mufflers, each of which will have their own exhaust tips. This style of exhaust system tends to be highly popular among hot-rod enthusiasts thanks to its look, sound and performance enhancements.
- Dual Crossover Exhaust Systems – There can sometimes be a pressure imbalance between the dual sets of exhaust components seen in true dual systems. To offset this imbalance, dual crossover exhaust systems utilize a special crossover pipe that enables the exhaust to flow without restriction through both sets of pipes. This ultimately prevents backpressure from forming on one side of the exhaust system.
If you are thinking about replacing your exhaust system configuration, contact the experts at Truck Works if you need us! We’ll be happy to give you recommendations based on your vehicle and its application. We also handle all installations!