How To Install A Performance Exhaust

Installing Performance Exhaust

Installing a performance exhaust is a popular and rewarding upgrade. Not only do you get more performance out of your engine, you get a better exhaust note as well. If you’ve been following along we covered The Perks Of A Performance Exhaust and How To Pick A Performance Exhaust.

Now we are going to cover how to install a performance exhaust. During our previous steps, you will have figured out what type of exhaust you’re looking to install. Installing the exhaust can be as easy as dropping it off at your local exhaust shop, or custom fabricating it yourself. 

Performance
All Images Courtesy Of Pypes Exhaust

For most though, a pre-bent kit is the best way to go. When you have a popular application such as a Camaro, Chevelle, Nova, G-Body, etc., then it’s easy to purchase a kit designed for it like what we have available here. This saves money as you won’t have to pay somebody to custom fabricate an exhaust. Also, these kits are designed for these cars making the installation a pretty easy process. 

Let The Performance Exhaust Begin

The first step for installation is to disconnect the battery. Then you’ll want to raise the car up by either safely using jack stands or better yet – on a lift. You’ll want plenty of access to the underside of the car. You’ll also want to remove any emergency brake cables that may be in the way. 

Last, you’ll need to remove the old exhaust. You can unbolt it but usually, it’s easier to use a Sawzall and cut it off. When removing the exhaust manifolds or old headers, pre-soak the bolts for a day or two so they will come out easily. Remember to remove spark plugs so they don’t get damaged. And the last tip is that usually the manifolds or headers can be removed from the bottom easier than from the top. 

Exhaust

Front, Back, Then Middle

Before you go installing the exhaust kit, focus on the headers first. Just like uninstalling the manifolds, these generally slip in better from the bottom of the car than from the top. In some extreme cases, you might need to loosen a motor mount and raise the engine a bit to make enough room. 

When installing the headers it’s best to go with the manufacturers’ recommended instructions but generally, you’ll want to get all the bolts loosely threaded into the head, then tighten from the center out with the new gasket in place.  

With the headers installed, it’s time to install the rest of the kit. We like to lay everything out on the floor in its respective spot to help visually see where things need to go. These kits come with clamps where you wouldn’t have to weld anything. However, we usually clamp everything together to hold everything and then weld up all the joints for zero leaks. During this initial install use the clamps and keep everything a bit loose so you can move things around till the system is 100% installed. 

Most kits will have you hang the mufflers first. These usually mount off a rear cross member. The nice thing with a kit like the Pypes kits we offer is that they come with the correct hangars and bolts and usually utilize factory holes in the frame for easy installation. 

From here you’ll install the pipes that go up and over the axle. During this step, it’s important to have the axle in the place where it would be when you’re driving it. If it’s drooping down, when you get the weight back on the rear, it might hit the exhaust. During this process, you’ll also need to pay extra close attention to any fuel lines, wires, brake lines, etc. to ensure the exhaust isn’t touching any of them. 

With the front of the exhaust installed and the rear of the exhaust installed, now it’s time to install the middle which will have your X-Pipe or H-Pipe. This section can be a bit tricky as you might have to trim the pipes down a bit to get them to be the correct length. 

This middle section might require some extra work to be able to connect to your new headers. That part usually requires some welding – just be aware. 

With everything in place, take some time to look and make sure the exhaust can move around a bit and not hit anything. Then tighten up all your clamps or weld up the exhaust. 

Upgrading to a performance exhaust is something that can be done in a weekend. We have everything you need to make the upgrade, just hop over to SS396.com or give our friendly techs a call at (203) 235-1200

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