Should You Put An Exhaust System On Your Truck?

By: Jasonlancaster
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.

The catalytic converters are the next stop for exhaust gases as they travel through your truck. It's not exactly a good idea to take these off - your factory catalytic is already very efficient and a legal requirement on your vehicle, so you'll want them to stay on your truck. The only time replacing the standard catalytic on your truck might be a consideration is if you were adding a very powerful upgrade, such as a turbocharger or supercharger, to your engine.

After the catalytic converters, the exhaust gases cool somewhat and enter the muffler. Again, the factory exhaust system is pretty good and the standard mufflers aren't very restrictive. Replacing them usually won't result in a significant hp or torque gain...3-5 hp and 5-10 ft-lbs of torque on average. However, after market mufflers will make your truck sound much better. The rumble you'll hear with after market mufflers is exciting, and well worth the cost. After leaving the mufflers, the exhaust will exit out of the tailpipe. Tailpipe tips are a popular add-on, but they're decorative only, and have no impact on your exhaust system's performance.

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.

Also important to consider is whether the new muffler is a single or dual exhaust. If your factory exhaust system came with a single exhaust muffler, then your truck will work just as well with a single after market exhaust system. Dual exhaust systems are more expensive, but you'll get a nicer sound and better look. If you use a dual exhaust, check that your installer works around the trailer hitch and/or leaves room for one so you can add it later if you choose.

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.
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