S197 Mustang Exhaust Systems - Completely Exhausted
We Check Out The Top S197 Mustang Exhaust Systems
March 01, 2009
By Greg Clark, Mark Houlahan
Photography by The Manufacturers
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.
Although widely known...
Although widely known for their Super Comp headers, Hooker (A Division of Holley) [(800) Holley-1; www.ilovemyhookerheaders.com] offers its axle-back muffler set for S197 GTs. Featuring 18-gauge T-304 stainless steel, the Hooker Aero Chamber mufflers are fully welded to prevent drumming harmonics at highway speeds. After welding they are vibratory polished to a high shine. You can order the mufflers with or without polished 3½-inch tips engraved with the Hooker logo.
MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust...
MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust
MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust [(800) 824-8664; www.magnaflow.com] gives you three options for upgrades. First off, you can simply replace your stock mufflers and increase the exhaust note and performance. Those systems are available in a converter-back or axle-back configuration and feature 2½-inch tubing with 4-inch tips. If you’d prefer something more aggressive, the company has its Magnapak mufflers in axle-back or converter-back as well. These are can-style mufflers that really wake up the exhaust.
If that’s not loud enough,...
If that’s not loud enough, MagnaFlow offers a muffler delete package, which should sufficiently upset the neighbors. For the V-6, a single-exit replacement muffler and a dual-exit exhaust Magnapak muffler setup are available.
Kooks Custom Headers
Kooks Custom Headers
Kooks Custom Headers [(866) 586-KOOKS; www.kookscustomheaders.com] began 45 years ago in George Kooks’ garage. With a focus on custom design on a production level, Kooks can make custom headers in aluminized or stainless steel, coat them in Hi-Temp coating, or even make private label exhausts if your desires run to that. For your Three-Valve, Kooks offers headers with a 1 5/8-inch collector to 2½-inch pipes and metallic cats to Corsa’s axle-back mufflers.
MBRP Performance Exhaust ...
MBRP Performance Exhaust
MBRP Performance Exhaust [(888) 666-7223; www.mbrp.com] started in the Great White North by making the B&B Eliminator snowmobile silencer. Fifteen years later, MBRP makes exhausts for snowmobiles, trucks, and cars. For the S197, the company offers two different axle-back systems. Both are made from T-304 stainless steel, use OE hanger locations, and require no welding. Featuring 2½-inch pipes, their high-flow design “gives your ponycar its true voice,” as the company states.
You can get a deep, low exhaust...
You can get a deep, low exhaust note, or you can order MBRP’s muffler delete package, which gives you an aggressive exhaust sure to stand out in a crowd.
Pypes Performance Exhaust...
Pypes Performance Exhaust
Pypes Performance Exhaust [(800) 421-3890; www.pypesexhaust.com] started out selling exhaust products from other manufacturers. In 2002 the company started producing its own unique brand of muffler to allow control over the entire exhaust system.
Now several options are available...
Now several options are available for S197 owners. You can order either the Street Pro three-chamber stainless mufflers or Violator Straight-Thru stainless mufflers.
Complete systems are available...
Complete systems are available from axle-back to converter-back, with or without Pypes’ after-cat X-style pipe. If you want some old-school flavor, Pypes also offers a mid-pipe muffler that harkens back to the Fox-bodies
Roush Performance Products...
Roush Performance Products
Jack Roush is long synonymous with Ford, racing, and most of all, winning. Roush Mustangs feature parts designed and built in house. So it goes without saying that Roush Performance Products [(800) 59-ROUSH; www.roushperformance.com] would offer its exhaust for the S197 GT and GT500. Made from 2½-inch-diameter stainless steel with 4-inch polished T-304 stainless tips, the exhaust brings a decidedly different exhaust note from stock.
Because of better flow, it...
Because of better flow, it also increases horsepower and torque. You can order the exhaust with tips for the stock fascia or with rectangular tips for the Roush rear fascia.
SLP Performance Parts
SLP Performance Parts
SLP Performance Parts [(732) 349-2109; www.slponline.com] is known for its Loud Mouth exhaust system, which eliminates the stock mufflers. As they say, “Why bottle [your exhaust] up with restrictive, wimpy-sounding stock mufflers?” For those who want a compromise between the Loud Mouth and stock, the PowerFlo series of systems is available. All of SLP’s systems are stainless steel—the axle-back setup, the PowerFlo crossover pipe, or even with long-tube headers. You can get 3½-inch tips or 4-inch tips as well.