paddedwall.org
where your opinions are noted, and then summarily ignored

Pypes Mid-Mufflers

I don't like them. It required me to hack up my OEM pipes to have them welded in, and they drone incessantly. The only good thing about them is that they don't sound raspy. One side effect of the change was that my car developed a rattle on the passenger side where the old OEM mufflers used to be. This is completely the fault of the muffler shop.

I've since added headers (see the next tab on this page), which reduced the drone, but made the rattle worse. I've ordered a new cat-back system from Mac Performance. When I get that setup, I'll be able to get rid of both the drone and the rattle.

BBK Ceramic Headers & X-Pipe

I found a used set of BBK ceramic long-tube headers AND catted X-Pipe AND an offroad X-Pipe for sale relatively locally, for $800. That's $1300 worth of parts. I could not pass 'em up. I installed them with the Pypes mufflers already on the car, hoping it would be adequate, but to be honest, the car is too raspy to see WOT. It's embarassing.

Installation

One issue with buying used stuff is that sometimes you don't get all the pieces. In some ways, this is a good thing. I anticipated having to buy new gaskets, so I searched for header gaskets for the 3.7 V6. I found nothing. After a couple of days of searching, I asked about gaskets on one of the many Mustang forums, and was told that the best gasket you could use comes from Ford.

One guy said he blew out two sets of header gaskets before going back to the OEM parts, and because they're metal, they can't be blown out. They're only $23 for the pair from Tousley Ford. Besides the gaskets, the guy that sold me the headers forgot to bring the nuts and washers that fasten the headers to the x-pipe. This required a trip to Home Depot, and since I didn't know if I was supposed to have flat washers, I bought some of those, as well as some nuts and lock washers. By the way, the studs are 12Mx1.75, so don't make the mistake that I almost did, thinking they were SAE studs. Finally, I didn't need the flat washers

With the help of a friend, I installed a set of used BBK longtube headers and a catted X-pipe. The rest of my exhaust consists of OEM pipes with Pypes mid-mufflers welded in. If you don't count a 1/2-hour lunch break and driving around for an hour looking (unsuccessfully) for 20-gauge wire, the install took about 5.5 hours. I had to extend my front O2 sensors because the headers only came with the rear extensions.

Installation Tips
  • Have someone available for assistance. Even better call a fellow car guy to help. They simply understand what you're doing and why, and generally don't ask stupid questions.

  • You should using jackstands that are larger than 2-ton. They simply don't get the car high enough in the air to make working easier.
  • Use OEM gaskets. The gaskets that come from BBK *will* blow out on you, and they're more delicate besides. I ordered a new set, by my original ones where in fine shape, and I simply re-used them.

  • Do not use header bolts. The OEM studs/nuts are a better choice because the nuts are of the locking variety, and using the studs completely eliminates the possibility that you'll cross-thread a bolt.

  • Install the headers from underneath the car. To hold them in place, have an assistant (even your wife/girlfriend/neighbor can be trusted to do this correctly, but see first item in this list) run a non-locking nut down on the stud until you can get up there to put the OEM nuts back on. This will allow you to remain under the car and install the X-pipe.

  • Spray Liquid wrench/WD-40 on the exhaust manifold bolts. This will probably help to keep the studs from backing out as you remove the OEM manifolds.

  • The O2 sensors require a 7/8 wrench (or the metric equivalent - I think it's 21mm). And get a long one because those bastards are TIGHT, and you're going to need the leverage. You can also get a special socket for it.

  • Disconnect the O2 sensors behind the top of the engine before trying to loosen them on your OEM exhaust.
  • Have everything you need before you start. Recommended "spare parts" include

    • new OEM exhaust gaskets

    • A few OEM studs and nuts, just in case one or more studs back out when you're removing the OEM manifolds (it's simply faster to install new studs than trying to get the nut/stud apart), or you drop a nut into the neather reachs of the front suspension (I lost one of the heat shield bolts this way).

    • 20-gauge wire for extending your front O2 sensors, appropriate sized non-insulated butt connectors, and shrink wrap tubing.

    • Some metric non-licking nuts for temporarily fastening the headers to the heads.

  • Special Tools - you need a deep 13mm socket for the manifold nuts (to remove the OEM manifolds), and a 13mm ratcheting wrench to put the headers on. You also need a O2 sensor removal socket. It's gonna be a 20mm or 21mm (I think). I didn't have one of those, and managed to round off most of one sensor . Do yourself a favor and buy one of these sockets. If you don't have one, or don't want to buy one, a 7/8 wrench should work, but you're gonna need a long one for the leverage.

Post-installation Video

First, I want to apologize for the quality (or lack thereof). It's going to be hard to believe, but the same camera that was used to take the pictures on this page was the same camera that took this video. It's not HD, and the sound is somewhat muted in the interior parts.

Second, as long as I don't rev/accelerate hard it's not so raspy. However, you can hear the rasp when I accelerate away/past the camera.

I prefer to host my own stuff rather than to rely on YouTube or other external resources. So, here's the video - you must be running a modern HTML5-compatible browser to view it. In fact, FireFox and Opera are the only browsers that appear to work. I tried with IE10, but that browser doesn't support webm files. The latest version of Chrome, is supposed to work, but it didn't.

If you can't view that video, I also posted it on YouTube.

Post-Install Observations

Well, as I anticipated, the car is a lot louder than it used to be. and if I stab the gas, it sounds like crap (video below). If I ease up the throttle, it sounds better. IMHO, I need to remove the Pypes, and get something better, and it definitely needs resonators. It has a nice low-RPM sound as you're idling down the street, or sitting at a light. Unfortunately, that's not all of the fun lives at WOT, and I want to visit - a lot.

NOTE: If you have to extend your existing O2 sensors, be aware that soldering can be problematic. The existing harness wires are NOT copper, and the solder I used, really didn't want to stick to it. I don't know if that's going to be a problem in the future, but I am neither happy nor comfortable with the results. I decided (after some revelations made in the AllForMustangs V6 forum) to rebuild the extended harnesses, by using butt-splice terminals. Rebuilding the extensions is the only solution short of one that includes the phrase, "Looks like you need new sensors". Those bastards are $120 each, and I have more important shit to buy.

NOTE #2: On first engine startup, revving and letting off the gas showed an idle surge. Don't let that worry you. Just drive the car for about 15 minutes, and let the computer re-learn the new data coming from the O2 sensors.

Magnaflow Cat-back System

Click image for full size version, and more pics.

I had originally pre-ordered a cat-back setup from Mac Performance, but after waiting more than a month beyond the stated ship date, and then being told I wouldn't be getting my stuff until mid-June, I cancelled the order, and ordered a Magnaflow cat-back, and saved about $80 in the process (cost less, and got free shipping besides).

I'm assuming that the sound from this system won't really improve much, so as I am wont to do, I also ordered a pair of Vibrante resonators from Summit Racing, just in case I need them. Since these require welding, I'll have to have them installed by a muffler shop (again, only if I think I need them).

Installation

I simply followed the instructions that came with the system. Rmove the existing mufflers, loosen the clamp that joins the pipe to the x-pipe, remove the pipe, and install the new stuff in reverse order. It was harder to get the old pipes out than it was to get the new pipes in. If you've goy the back of the car up high enough, it will be tight, but it is certainly doable with jack-stands.

TIP: I found it eaiser to remove/install the driver's side pipe after detaching the driver's side of the panhard bar brace, and pulling it down as far as it would go.

Tip: When installing the new mufflers, I found it easier to take the front driver's side mount off the car, install it onto the muffler, and then put the whole assembly up under the car and bolt the hanger back up.