Should I Dump My Exhaust System Early, Right After the Muffler Exit?
A reader emailed us the following question:
I have an after-market performance muffler on my truck, but it’s not loud enough. I have a friend who has “dumped” his exhaust system under his truck – he’s removed all the exhaust tubing behind the muffler, so that the muffler exit is now immediately under the truck. His exhaust system sounds amazing – should I do this to my truck too?
Here’s the short answer – this isn’t recommended and it’s potentially unsafe.
Is it Louder?
Yes. While it’s true that removing the section of pipe between the muffler exit and the exhaust tips will make a small difference in sound levels, most of the additional sounds you hear when you make this modification are reflected off the ground and reverberating off your vehicle underbody. These reflected and reverberated sounds can make your existing after-market exhaust system seem quite a bit louder.
However, it’s important to remember that exhaust gases are toxic. You want to carry them away from your vehicle interior as best you can, because if they leak into your interior they can:
- give you a nasty headache
- cause you to fall asleep while driving
- potentially, exhaust gases that seep into your vehicle interior could kill you or your passengers (it’s been known to happen)
Depending on where your muffler ends, it may be that exhaust gases will sit directly below your vehicle’s passenger compartment. Most people don’t realize that all vehicle interiors have drain holes which allow air to move through the floor relatively easily. Therefore, if you’ve got exhaust gases accumulating underneath your car, some of those gases are going to end up in the air you’re breathing inside.
It’s also important to consider that relatively hot exhaust gases will be exiting directly onto your vehicle’s underbody. The heat and moisture from your exhaust gases could cause corrosion problems given enough time, especially in winter weather.
How Can I Make My Exhaust System Louder?
Instead of removing the exhaust pipe behind your muffler, you may want to consider:
1. Replace the muffler. You can get a new Magnaflow glasspack muffler for only $35 online, and it will probably be louder than whatever after-market muffler you have. You can also wander over to the local muffler shop and tell them you want a loud muffler – they’ll sell you a generic brand Turbo muffler (or something like that) that will be as loud as hell for only $75-$100 installed.
Remember, you usually don’t have to pay too much for loud performance mufflers. It’s the quiet performance mufflers that cost money.
2. Go with short side exit pipes that end just in front of the rear wheels. This is an old-school look, but it sounds great and is usually easy enough to do on a truck. You won’t get the echo/reverberation effect from ending the exhaust underneath your vehicle, but you won’t risk carbon nonoxide poisoning either.