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Should You Put An Exhaust System On Your Truck?

Jul 15, 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.

The factory exhaust system already on your truck is already a pretty efficient system and doesn`t really need much modifications to be improved. The first part of your truck's exhaust system is the exhaust manifold, which channels exhaust from individual cylinders into larger main pipes. These systems are efficient and don't need to be changed, but if you decide you want to anyways, you'll need a set of headers. Quality headers like the ones you'll want will have a ceramic coating and factory mounting points for the sensors. Most of the time though, the standard manifold is more than good enough.

After the manifold, exhaust travels through the catalytic converters. These are already very efficient and legally required to be on your truck, so you're much better off leaving these alone. The only time you'd do really do anything with the factory catalytic converter is if you were adding an extremely powerful upgrade to your engine, such as a turbo- or supercharger.

The exhaust gases cool a bit as they enter the muffler after going through the catalytic converters. This part of the factory system is usually also perfectly fine, and won't be too restrictive. Replacing the mufflers will probably only result in a small torque gain of 5-10 ft-lbs, and a hp gain of 3-5 hp. Using after market mufflers, however, will make a great change in how your truck sounds. It'll add an exciting roar that easily justifies the cost of the muffler. The exhaust exits the truck out of the tailpipe after the mufflers. Truck owners often like to add tailpipe tips, but these are strictly ornamental, and serve no functional purpose.

Obviously, the most logical thing to do if you want to make a change to your exhaust system is to exchange the factory muffler for an after market one. It'll produce the biggest, most noticeable results. Consider this when looking at after market mufflers:

First, do you want to hear the exhaust ALL the time? In other words, when you drive down the highway, is a little exhaust drone OK? If not, make sure you choose a muffler that's not described as being loud. Check the web and ask your local muffler shop for advice on finding a good muffler. Many muffler manufacturers are even putting sound clips on their websites now.

Second, do you want your muffler to be just loud enough for passersby to hear, or do you want a loud that will make people stop and stare? If you're looking for that extra attention, you'll want a muffler with words like "racing" or "glasspack" in the description. Otherwise, these mufflers may be too loud for your tastes.

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.

The last thing to consider is exhaust system material. You should make this decision based on where you live. Drivers who live near saltwater will want to invest in stainless steel. It may be more expensive, but it'll hold up again saltwater corrosion for much longer than galvanized or aluminum steel. If you don't live near a saltwater environment, stainless steel will be a needless expense. If rust ever gets into your system, it will take years for you to feel the effects.
About the Author
Author Jason Lancaster, a car industry veteran, created AccurateAutoAdvice.com. You'll find accurate car advice and car buying tips.
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