Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 1, 2000
Photos By: Michael Johnson

Step By Step

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Two are always better than one, especially when it is a set of tailpipes on a Mustang.
We began by cutting free the welded tailpipe from the muffler assembly. You can use a chain cutter, hacksaw, torch, or other means, but we used high-speed cutting wheels. The wheels make short work of the thin pipe.
With the tailpipe separated from the muffler assembly, the tailpipe can be disconnected from the rear-most hanger and carefully snaked out from over the axle. The cutting is necessary, otherwise you would have to drop the rear axle to remove the welded muffler and tailpipe together.
Using the supplied instructions from Hooker, we measured the factory Y-pipe and marked the two inlet pipes to the Y junction for cutting. Use a visible marking, such as a black marker; don’t just scratch the pipe with an awl.
Using our high-speed cutting wheels again, we tackled the cuts on the Y-pipe. Begin on the outboard side, as I am doing here.
Once you have cut through to the depth of your cutting wheels, complete the cut by switching to the backside of the pipe. If you’re using a chain cutter or hacksaw, you usually can cut straight through if there aren’t any obstructions.
Repeat the cut for the remaining mark on the driver-side inlet pipe to the Y junction.
The factory single exhaust is now hanging by the factory rubber isolator. You can pry the muffler hanger from the isolator, or you can unbolt the hanger and remove it from the muffler later. We opted to unbolt the hanger instead of struggling with the rubber isolator and the weight of the exhaust system hanging from it.
Our original single exhaust is now fully extricated from the V-6. The original isolators and muffler bracket (shown here still on the old system) will need to be reinstalled on the car for the new California Mustang dual exhaust system’s driver-side pipes.
In addition to the original rubber isolators and brackets found on the driver side, you will need to install the factory GT dual exhaust hangers for the passenger side. California Mustang includes these in its conversion kit. The hanger shown here is for the right muffler assembly.
The new right-side tailpipe hanger is included as well and fits the factory locating slot in the framerail, but you will need to find your own self-tapping bolt to retain it to the rear framerail.
Before installing the Hooker dual exhaust adapter, clean and dress the cuts you made with a file to remove any burrs or sharp edges. The system will slide together more easily and you will reduce the chance of a cut with this simple five-minute exercise.
Fit the two halves of the dual exhaust adapter together, and then slide it into place on the original inlet pipes for the Y junction. Slip two clamps over the union and snug them just enough to keep the pipes from moving, but don’t set the clamps yet.
Next, hang the front halves of the two-piece tailpipe assemblies over the rear axle and secure them from the rear hangers.
These particular DynoMax mufflers are side inlet and center outlet, so make sure you have them properly located, and then fit them to the dual exhaust adapter and the front half of the tailpipes. Some minor trimming might be necessary on the inlet side of the muffler (muffler or inlet pipe), according to the Hooker instructions, but ours did not.
Since we were using our hydraulic lift, a jack bridge and a bottle jack helped us support the muffler housings while we aligned them. For those using jackstands at home, a floor jack can accomplish the same tasks.
Align the muffler housings to prevent hitting the frame or driveshaft, and then secure with the provided clamps (just tight enough to hold the adjustment).
Install the rear halves of the two-piece tailpipes by guiding them over the axle housing and sliding them over the front halves of the two-piece tailpipes that have already been installed.
Add the exhaust clamps and tighten them just enough to prevent movement of the pipes. Use a spray lubricant to insert the tailpipe hangers into the rubber isolators.
Now for the hardest part. Working from the front of the new exhaust system toward the back, tweak and align every part of the dual exhaust until it is correct. Then, and only then, when everything is in sync and lined up, you should go to town on the exhaust clamps and tighten up everything. We opted to have the system aligned and fully welded at The Muffler and Exhaust Center (TMEC) in Lakeland, Florida, to get the tailpipes just right.
The new chrome tailpipes and healthy exhaust note (not to mention the sweet sound of the Vortech spinning) really play mind tricks on those other Mustang owners out there when this owner pulls up next to them. We will have supporting dyno numbers for you when we chip the Mustang in the next few issues.

Our Vortech supercharged ’96 V-6 Mustang has been on hiatus for a few months while other projects moved around on the burners, but we are happy to report that we are beginning a string of new V-6 performance articles using our Vortech-boosted six banger as the base. For this article, we contacted California Mustang for its new Hooker/DynoMax combo V-6 dual exhaust conversion kit. The system is comprised of Hooker 2-½-inch mandrel-bent flow tubes with your choice of plain or chrome tailpipes and a pair of Walker DynoMax Super Turbo mufflers. We aren’t sure why Hooker does not include its own mufflers in this system—though it is suggested in the instructions—but California Mustang prefers the sound of the DynoMax mufflers, and we’re fine with that.

The installation is just a bit tricky, and the worst part is having the patience to line up everything. But the results are well worth the hassle. We didn’t have time to Dynojet the package, but the owner now tells us his supercharged V-6 runs much better on the top end. A recent bout against a stock 4.6 GT proves it, where he kept pace with the GT up to 100 mph, when he had to back off due to some pinging—which we will address shortly with a custom computer chip.

Looking ahead into our editorial crystal ball, we hope to bring you how-to articles on a ported intake and larger throttle body, stouter gears with a differential upgrade, the aforementioned computer chip, and we might even get the car off its stilts and add some decent wheels to the mix. Stay tuned for more updates and full dyno numbers as we progress.