There is no doubt that buying parts for your exhaust can be confusing. There are so many brands to choose from, and knowing which parts will work together is crucial to having an exhaust system that is both efficient and great-sounding. But, you don't have to be a mechanic to understand exhaust. To make it easier, let's start with the basics.
There are three main components to the exhaust system, and all Mustangs have the same set-up, regardless of generation.
The manifolds are connected to the exhaust ports of the engine. They funnel the exhaust gases from the cylinders into a single exhaust passage (the mid-pipe).
You will hear manifolds referred to as headers. While they perform the same function, they are not exactly the same
o Manifolds (the factory headers) usually have several holes that merge into a common chamber.
o Headers (the aftermarket manifolds) generally have tubes that curve to join the exhaust ports to the pipe. Shorty headers are designed to bolt into the factory manifold location. Long-tube headers are usually made for racing applications. Equal Length Headers can be either shorty or long-tube, they have tubes of equal length allowing for slightly better exhaust flow.
It is the curves that make headers a popular modification. This allows the gases to gently slide into the pipe, rather than slamming through the ports.
Shorty Headers are equivalent in size to stock exhaust manifolds. They work with stock mid-pipes, as well as standard length aftermarket mid-pipes.
Long-Tube Headers are longer than stock exhaust manifolds. They do not work with stock mid-pipes, because they are too long to bolt up to the factory mid-pipe. Long-Tube Headers require a "shorty" mid-pipe to maintain a consistent exhaust length. Long-Tube headers and
Full-Length Headers are the same thing.
All Mustang exhausts have a mid-pipe. This is where gases go when they leave the manifold. GT mid-pipes are different than V6 mid-pipes.
o GT Mustangs: Come stock with a pipe that has an H-formation (H-Pipe)
o V6 Mustangs: Come stock with a pipe that has a Y-formation (Y-pipe).
o Some Aftermarket mid-pipes come in an X-formation and are called X-pipes.
All stock mid-pipes come with catalytic converters, or "cats". Cats remove the contaminants from the exhaust, making them emissions friendly.
Aftermarket mid-pipes that are meant to be used off-road or for racing don't have catalytic converters, and are called "off-road H- or X-pipes". Off-road mid-pipes aren't meant for street use and, depending on your state's emissions laws, may not pass inspection.
Almost every mid-pipe AmericanMuscle.com carries are standard length. They will work with stock exhaust set ups, as well as aftermarket headers and catbacks.
We also carry several shorty mid-pipes, which are used most often in racing applications. These pipes will only work with aftermarket long-tube headers. When buying aftermarket long-tube headers and short mid-pipes, it is recommended that you stay with the same brand for both parts.
The cat-back bolts on behind the catalytic converters. The assembly contains the mufflers and the tailpipes. This is the final destination of the nasty gases from your engine.
You may have seen the term “axleback” mentioned in your research about exhaust. Axleback systems are still the last piece of the exhaust system. They differ from a catback because they bolt up behind the mufflers.
Did you say axleback? – What’s nice about the 2005+ Mustangs is that it allows you to just replace your pipes from the axle, back. Though you can never go wrong with a new Aftermarket Catback.
You've probably come across a ton of information in your research of exhaust, so we'll try to simplify it for you now. These are the basic rules to keep in mind when buying exhaust parts:
• If you're buying shorty headers or have the factory manifold, you will need to buy a standard length mid-pipe.
• If you're buying long-tube headers, you will need to buy a shorty mid-pipe.
• Catback and Axleback setups will work with either header/mid-pipe combination.
The majority of the parts we sell can be used together. This means that you can use BBK parts with Magnaflow parts, and not have any problems with fitment. There is an exception to that rule, though.
• Long-tube headers can only be used with the same brand shorty mid-pipe. (E.g. SLP long-tube headers can only be used with an SLP shorty mid-pipe.)
Other than the exception listed above, you can mix-and-match parts. When it comes down to it, however, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Stick with the same brand for all of your exhaust parts. If you buy BBK headers, then get a BBK midpipe and catback. By doing this, you can be 100% certain that all of your parts will fit together perfectly.
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