Does your S197 still wear its stock mufflers? If so, you’ll find plenty of options to make your Mustang look and sound better in our guide this month.
As long as there have been hot rodders, there have been people wanting to change how their car’s exhaust sounds. From the days of glasspacks and exhaust cutouts to today’s high-tech stainless steel offerings, computer designed to control resonance, the age-old upgrade of a set of mufflers is something that will never die.
For Mustang owners, this holds true as well. From the classic owner ditching the transverse single muffler for a set of duals, to the Fox owner yanking off the cats and adding a 2½-inch after-cat system (still one of the most recognizable exhaust notes on the road!-Ed.) to the new S197 Mustang, exhaust upgrades are often one of the first things a car owner does to individualize his or her ride.
For the S197 crowd, Ford saved these owners a lot of headaches by placing the mufflers at the very end of the exhaust system (necessitated by the mid-ship mounted poly fuel tank). These mufflers have an integral tip design and are attached to the mid-pipes via a reusable band clamp. Those lucky enough to own an S197 can swap out a set of mufflers with a hand ratchet and a few sockets in their driveway in less than 30 minutes. That’s a far cry from the Sawzall and welder jobs on past Mustangs for a pair of mufflers. Even if you did a complete “bolt-on” exhaust kit in the past, it required jackstands or a lift and several hours of work. So, for you S197 owners, we’ve researched the top-selling muffler kits from the major players out there and compiled them all here in this guide. We’ve attempted to list any other exhaust parts for S197s (tips, headers, crossovers, and so on) as room allows. Be sure to check out the manufacturer websites, as many have audio clips of their systems.
Borla Performance Industries...
Borla Performance Industries
Borla Performance Industries [(877) 462-6752; www.borla.com] has a new cat-back system that bolts behind the factory H-pipe, is lighter than the factory system, and includes the company’s “S”-Style mufflers (PN 140135). Two rear section options are also available: an aggressive “S”-Style rear exhaust section (PN 11750) and a more mellow rear section (PN 11752). Both replace only the over-the-axle pipes, mufflers, and tips. This system is available for the GT and the Shelby GT500. Borla also has tuned “true” dual cat-back exhaust systems (PN140176) for the 4.0L V-6. Testing has shown average power increases of 18 hp and 14 lb-ft of torque with almost an identical weight to the factory single exhaust.
S197 Mustang Exhaust System...
S197 Mustang Exhaust System Buyers’ Guide
Bassani Manufacturing [(866) 782-3283; www.bassani.com] offers systems for V-6 and V-8 applications. Available in aluminized steel and stainless, all systems come with 2½-inch tubes and 4-inch rolled-edge, slash-cut tips. The stainless systems have dual-wall tips, while the V-6 system’s tips are single walled. The V-6 options are a single exhaust that fits the stock rear fascia, a dual-exit system with direct-fit mufflers that connects via an add-on Y-pipe and exits on both sides. This requires modifying the stock fascia, but fits well and looks great. For those who want to replace the stock Y-pipe in their V-6, a dual-exit crossover-pipe system is available with race mufflers. For your GT or GT500, Bassani offers the direct-fit mufflers in stainless or aluminized steel or the race performance versions in stainless or aluminized as well.
Cherry Bomb [(866) 869-9704; www.cherrybomb.com] offers kits that cover a wide range of model years, including ’86-’95 5.0L V-8 LX, GT, and Cobra converter back systems, ’96-’04 4.6L GT converter back systems, and ’05-’08 GT and V-6 axle-back systems. The ’05-’08 systems come in three versions with varying sound levels—Cherry Bomb Vortex, Cherry Bomb Pro, and Cherry Bomb Extreme mufflers. Each kit features fully aluminized mandrel-bent pipes, mufflers, clamps, hangers, and stainless steel tips to finish them off. All kits are dyno proven to add horsepower and the incredible sound Cherry Bomb is known for.
Tuned for the GT, Corsa Performance [(800) 486-0999; www.corsaperf.com] offers its Xtreme ’05-’09 axle-back exhaust system with 4-inch Pro-Series tips. Featuring a race-inspired, deep, and muscular exhaust note in a compact oval design, flow-bench testing resulted in a 43 percent gain (317.2 cfm to 452.1 cfm), which translates to an additional 13 hp and 9 lb-ft of torque.
Corsa has developed its No...
Corsa has developed its No Drone reflective sound cancellation technology to virtually eliminate the drone at partial throttle. In addition to the Xtreme axle-back system, the company offers the Ultimate Touring system for the 4.6L and 5.4L V-8s.
The DynoMax Ultra...
The DynoMax Ultra Flo converter-back exhaust system (PN 19434) from DynoMax [(734) 384-7806; www.dynomax.com] posted a gain of 17 hp and 13 lb-ft of torque at 5,400 rpm in recent dyno testing by DynoMax. Designed for the V-6, this is one of a handful of true dual exhaust systems on the market for the 4.0L. DynoMax’s Ultra Flo after-cat system for GTs, Shelby GTs, and GT500s (PN 19414) includes 3-inch mandrel-bent piping and polished tips. DynoMax’s testing showed gains of 11 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque. If you prefer, this system is offered with a pair of Bullet mufflers.
If your Fox-body...
If your Fox-body didn’t have Flowmasters on it, it wasn’t modified. That trend continues today with Flowmaster [(800) 544-4761; www.flowmastermufflers.com] and its new axle-back system for the latest generation of ’05-’08 Mustangs delivers improved performance, looks, and a sound reminiscent of those early 5.0L cars. Featuring classic square cased 40 Series mufflers, the kit follows the factory exhaust routing, utilizes the factory hanger mounting points, and includes all necessary mounting hardware for an easy and perfect fitment. Flowmaster also offers quieter options featuring the American Thunder Classic System for the 4.6L GTs as well as the 4.0L V-6.
Ford Racing Performance Parts...
Ford Racing Performance Parts
Not surprisingly, Ford Racing Performance Parts [(800) FORD788; www.fordracingparts.com] offers several exhaust kits. From a single-exit exhaust or a dual-exit exhaust kit for the V-6 to four different kits for V-8s. In its 2009 catalog, we found the Mustang FR500S mufflers. These are the same mufflers used on the FR500S in the Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup. Made from 409 stainless, they use polished 304 stainless tips and provide a throatier exhaust note.
They also offer the 2008 Special...
They also offer the 2008 Special Edition mufflers that are stock on the Bullitt. In addition, Ford Racing also offers upgrades for the SVT Mustangs as well as a crossover pipe for the GT.