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Build Your Own Exhaust at Home

Don't settle for tiny, crimped pipes to quell the roar of yourmusclecar instead build your own at home.

Photography by Doug Glad, Terry McGean

Like it or not, thanks to The Man's lack of humor regarding openheaders, you need to run some sort of exhaust system on the street andeven at some tracks. Not so long ago, choices for performance exhaustsystems were limited to either stock pipes spliced for headers and maybeturbo mufflers, or a trip to the local muffler shop for some custom-bentduals. Either way, you got relatively small-diameter pipes that wereformed with a conventional bender, leaving crimped curves that furtherreduced the pipe's effective cross section. Flow suffered as a result,making a full exhaust system a real compromise for high-powered streetmachines. Alternatives, like running big, straight pipes, mufflers, andturndowns ahead of the axle, can help keep power up but tend to makeroad driving a chore thanks to thundering noise and ground-clearanceissues.

We're luckier today. Exhaust solutions we could only dream about can nowbe obtained with a simple phone call or mouse click. Big-tube exhaustkits using mandrel bends to maintain consistent diameters minimize powerloss and are readily available from a variety of sources, for numerousapplications, with plenty of muffler options. As a bonus, you canprobably handle the installation yourself.

We decided to tackle the exhaust upgrade on our '69 Camaro to replacethe stock-style duals that had seen better days. Using components fromPypes and Flowmaster, we were able to get the entire job done in the CCshop without doing any welding, though we'll probably go back and lay afew beads to add durability and positive sealing at the joints thatwon't need to come apart again. We also investigated a few optionalitems that may be helpful on your system. Oh, and for those of you whodon't drive bellybutton cars, we've checked out some universal optionsas well.

Save the Manifolds

Although most performance exhaust systems willincorporate headers, we're going to stick with manifolds for a while. Inour case, the mechanical clutch linkage and the air-conditioningevaporator coil housing conflicted with some tube-header designs, and wehad some future improvements in store and wanted to hold off on headersto avoid other clearance issues later on. Other guys might just want tokeep the stock look under the hood. There are also those engines thatcame with headerlike cast-iron manifolds. The trouble with retainingmanifolds has been that most modern exhaust system kits are intended forheaders and begin under the toe board where a header collector wouldlie. Most factory manifolds are intended for a 21/4-inch pipe, soconnecting them to a 21/2-inch system requires some sort of step-down,typically necessitating a muffler shop, and it often ends up lookingugly. We recently discovered a bolt-on solution from Pypes PerformanceExhaust. Pypes is relatively new to the aftermarket performance exhaustscene, but one of its unique offerings is a line of manifold downpipesdesigned for factory musclecar applications. The downpipes combine astock flange with a mandrel-bent 21/2-inch elbow to mate with abig-diameter aftermarket system. Pypes also offers its own line ofcomplete exhaust kits, mufflers, X-pipes, and other performance exhaustparts and accessories, all aimed at the musclecar market.

PARTS LIST
DESCRIPTIONPN SOURCE PRICE
Clarke chopsaw 11815 Eastwood $119.99
Pypes downpipes DGU14C Pypes 69.95
Flowmaster F-body kit 17104Flowmaster 650.41
Flowmaster 2.5-inchuniversal kit 15936 Flowmaster 280.90
SOURCES
Powerbuilt Tools/Alltrade
Long Beach
CA
alltradetools.com
Flowmaster
8-00/-544-4761
www.flowmastermufflers.com
Pypes Performance Exhaust
2880 Bergey Rd
Hatfield
PA  19440
8-00/-421-3890
www.pypesexhaust.com
The Eastwood Company
263 Shoemaker Rd.
Pottstown
PA  19464
800-345-1178
www.eastwoodcompany.com
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10 comments
Donnie Dye
Donnie Dye

Anything to keep it going . Usually if it's a weekend project it's some little thing I gotta fix before it turns into a big thing.

Justin Patch
Justin Patch

Building a drive shaft for my 31 Ford, man its tiny...haha...now to go get it balanced....

Raymond Ellsworth
Raymond Ellsworth

best weekend project would be applying a new layer of black squishy stuff to the underside of the rear fenders!

Tim Periman
Tim Periman

installing a supercharger setup on my 76 corvette stingray!

Matt Helms
Matt Helms

Is that the disco nova in the back ground? That would be perfect for a budget build bracket car, that must be able to drive to the track.

Rick Maynhart
Rick Maynhart

I installed my RaceReady cut outs on the back of my Warlock mufflers. Things have never been the same in the neighborhood since!!!

Paul Williams
Paul Williams

Edelbrock EFI on my '50 Chevy Sedan w/454,& 4 speed.

Lee Smith
Lee Smith

that exhaust is a big treat. shame that alotta people know "duals" but not H n X crosspipes (and the joy they bring : )

Trenton Floyd
Trenton Floyd

Painted my 1989 Jeep Wrangler silver Birch metallic

Richard McNemar
Richard McNemar

Already did my own 3.5 inch ehaust on my sleeper ... sounds great with dual flowmaster 40 series mufflers and a 468 bbc blowin thru them

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