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Does Your Truck Need an Exhaust System?

Jul 13, 2008
Truck owners love how powerful their vehicles are. Trucks need lots of power because they're designed to haul and tow heavy loads without difficulty. However, many truck manufacturers use fairly quiet exhaust systems on their vehicles, despite their powerful engines. If you want your truck to sound as powerful as you know it is, or if you're aiming to reduce the constrictions on the exhaust, then consider adding to or altering your truck's exhaust system.

Luckily for you, the factory exhaust system on your truck is efficient, and can be easily improved with just a few modifications. The exhaust manifold is the first component of the exhaust system. It directs exhaust from each cylinder together into one or two main exhaust pipes. These are usually fairly efficient and don't need to be replaced. If you decide to change them though, find a good set of headers with ceramic coating and factory mounting points for sensors. Usually though, the factory exhaust manifold will be perfectly fine for your needs.

The next components which the exhaust gases travel through are the catalytic converters. There's really no benefit to changing or modifying these, and taking them off is a bad idea. Today's modern catalytic converter is very efficient and legally required, so it makes sense to leave it alone. You would only consider replacing the factory catalytic if you were adding an extremely powerful engine upgrade, like a turbocharger or supercharger.

As they leave the catalytic converters, exhaust gases will cool down a bit and enter the muffler. The factory mufflers usually aren't too restrictive, and replacing them won't make a huge difference in the amount of hp or torque you get. The average change is about 3-5 hp and 5-10 ft-lbs of torque. After market mufflers, however, will make a dramatic change and are definitely worth the money. Your truck will sound much better! After the mufflers, exhaust exits the truck via the tailpipe. You can add tailpipe tips to this part, but it'll be purely for decoration purposes, and won't affect the exhaust system in any way.

Changing the factory muffler on your truck for an after market muffler will make the biggest change to your exhaust system, so it's the obvious move to make. Here are some things to consider about after market mufflers:

First, will you be happy hearing the exhaust ALL the time? If you're not too sure you'll want the background noise to include exhaust drone every time you drive anywhere, try to choose a muffler that's not described as loud. Your local muffler shop and the Internet are useful tools for choosing a muffler that suits your needs. Some muffler manufacturers will even have sound clips on their websites now to help you create that perfect roar.

Second, do you want something that people can slightly hear when you drive by, or do you want something so loud that the neighbors know exactly what time you leave for work every morning? Words like "racing" or "glasspack" usually indicate exceptionally loud mufflers, so watch out for those terms unless you want a lot of attention.

Another important choice when considering a new muffler is single or dual exhaust. Remember, most factory exhaust systems are pretty good. If your truck came from the factory with a single exhaust, it will work just fine and give good performance with a single after market exhaust system. Dual exhaust systems cost more money, but they look and sound better than single exhaust systems. If you decide to go with a dual exhaust, make sure that your installer works around your trailer hitch and/or leaves room for one in case you want to add it on later.

Finally, what exhaust system material is best? It's a decision that should be based on geography. If you live anywhere near the corrosive effects of saltwater, stainless steel is the smart choice. While it's more expensive up-front, it will last much longer than galvanized or aluminized steel in these climates. People living in dry climates really don't need to purchase stainless steel - if rust attacks their system, it will be years before anything is damaged.
About the Author
Author Jason Lancaster, an auto business veteran, created AccurateAutoAdvice.com. You'll find accurate tips for buying a car and auto advice.
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