Upgrading Your Exhaust System: 3 Key Components

The exhaust system on your car has a relatively straightforward job to do: moving combustion by-products out of your engine while filtering out the more toxic substances. Yet this seemingly simple task requires the coordination of many different exhaust components. Unfortunately, the exhaust components that cars come equipped with don’t always deliver the best possible results.

Car owners who want to maximize automotive performance often choose to upgrade parts of their exhaust system. If you are curious about this kind of upgrade but aren’t sure where to start, keep reading. This article will outline three crucial parts of an exhaust system that you can upgrade to benefit your vehicle’s overall performance.

1. Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold — sometimes referred to more simply as the header — consists of the very first section of an exhaust system. An exhaust manifold attaches directly to the cylinder heads, leading exhaust out of your engine and into the downpipe. The simplest type of manifold goes by the name of a log-type exhaust manifold.

Log-type manifolds can be found on many cars since they represent the least expensive option for the manufacturer. In a log-type manifold, exhaust from your cylinder heads dumps into one long trough, which then funnels the exhaust down into the main exhaust pipe. But having the cylinder heads all share one big exhaust port means that gases can easily back up, leading to performance decreases.

Aftermarket exhaust manifolds usually have a fully separated tube for each of the cylinder heads. These tubes then come together at the downpipe. This system allows better movement of exhaust through the system. Aftermarket manifolds also tend to be mandrel-bent, rather than press-bent.

Mandrel bending involves supporting the inside of the tube during the bending process. This support ensures that the diameter of the pipe remains consistent. During press bending, by contrast, the interior diameter often decreases because of the unsupported sidewalls pinching in together.

2. Downpipe

The key to all exhaust system upgrades involves promoting better flow. The more quickly exhaust exits your car, the higher your engine efficiency will be. Factory downpipes, while perfectly capable, often have narrower diameters, simply because smaller pipes cost less to produce.

The downpipes a car comes with also often contain bends along their length. These bends reduce the need for the additional mounting brackets required to support a straight tube. Unfortunately, they also slow down the flow of exhaust. High-quality downpipes tend to be wider and straighter — two structural features that will keep exhaust moving more swiftly out of your car.

3. Muffler

Mufflers are usually upgraded as part of a cat-back system. A cat-back system includes all the parts of the exhaust from the catalytic converter to the end pipe — in other words, a section of mid-pipes, a muffler, and an end pipe. One of the main reasons you would want to replace your muffler is if it has been compromised by rust and corrosion.

Yet as part of a cat-back upgrade, a new muffler can significantly enhance your vehicle’s performance. Higher quality mufflers tend to have higher flow rates, meaning your car can process more exhaust in a given amount of time. But unless you upgrade to wider mid-pipes at the same time, the rest of your system may restrict flow too much to make a huge difference.  

Upgrading your exhaust system is one of the best — and least expensive — ways to improve the overall performance of your car. For more information about which exhaust components you should upgrade first, contact Seeburg Mufflers. As our name shows, mufflers are one of our specialties. Call our shop today.

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