Review & Install Video
Hey, guys. Adam here with americanmuscle.com. Today, we're taking a closer look at, listening to, and installing the Borla ATAK Cat-Back Exhaust with Chrome Tips available for the 2018 and newer Mustang GT without active exhaust. Now, before we jump into things, guys, this is my buddy Justin's 2019 GT with 10-speed auto and no active exhaust system equipped on it. Now, if you're watching another video with a six-speed manual, the sound clip might be a little bit different. We did some within drive mode and some with the sport mode on, so that's what you're hearing in the sound clips, which is going to affect some of the upshifting, downshifting, just for disclosure.
Jumping right into it, those sound clips, I'm gonna give five out of five on our loudness meter. The Borla ATAK is known to be one of the loudest options in the category, but their ATAK muffler, otherwise known as the acoustically-tuned applied kinetics is gonna help give you the most volume without distorting the tone. Now, I'll jump into the details of that a little bit later on and break down the components of the kit. Just know right up front you're getting little to no drone inside the cabin with full volume, especially at wide open throttle. This thing is absolutely nasty. At idle, you can expect a deep throaty rumble throughout the low end of the RPM band. You can expect something very aggressive, very noticeable, but not too overwhelming. Once you hit wide open throttle, that's when it starts barking real loud. But the exception of highway speeds at wide open throttle, you can have a decent conversation inside the car or listen to your favorite tunes without this thing being too much of an interruption or too overbearing inside the car. It definitely lets everybody know that it's aftermarket. Now, I'm not saying your neighbors are gonna love it. At cold start, it's gonna be pretty loud and maybe a little obnoxious, but who cares.
Moving on from that, expect the entire system to be 304 stainless steel, highest quality materials on the market, 3-inch mandrel bent tubing throughout, has an X-pipe, deleting the factory resonator as opposed to an aftermarket H-pipe. So, that's gonna help get things nice and raspy. Now, guys, the price tag for this is gonna be a little steep coming in right around 1,550 bucks. Now, that's considering this is the most premium quality material and some really high-quality sound as far as the loudness is concerned. Five out of five, typically, it's really distorted and very drony. So, if you're looking from the loudest of the loud but you really want quality, it's definitely gonna come with this type of price tag.
Now, if you're not really into the chrome tips, the 4-inch chrome tips, dual on both sides, which I think looks really good on our Oxford white GT, but if you wanna get into something like carbon fiber tips, it's gonna cost you a little more right around 1,900 bucks, but that is an available option from the Borla ATAK setup. Black chrome is also an option if you like a metallic reflective chrome, just to add a little bit of stealth to the rear end. But if you like the full-on chrome with like the mirror shine on it, this is definitely the way to go. Install, two out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. It's gonna take about two hours from start to finish. Anybody can tackle it with very simple hand tools. I'm gonna take you through every step of the process. There's no cutting, no drilling, no welding, none of that nonsense. What do you say we get started?
Tools used in this install include an impact gun or a ratchet, an extension, 13-millimeter, and 15-millimeter deep sockets, flat head screwdriver, and a mallet. Now, the first step of the uninstall here under our 2019 GT is to loosen up both of the band clamps holding your stock exhaust to the headers. Now, what we're gonna do is grab a 15-millimeter deep socket and loosen up the two bolts here and on the second one. Now, we're not gonna fully remove them, just get them loosened up so we'll be able to slide the rest of the exhaust out of place.
Now, the next step here is to go right under your cross member here and we're gonna remove the brackets holding our factory hangers to the frame. Now, these are 13-millimeter bolts. You have the option of sliding the hangers out of these brackets, but I find it to be way easier to just grab an extension and my 13-millimeter deep socket and get these bolts removed. Pull those bolts out. You wanna keep these because we're gonna have to reuse those once we install our next exhaust.
Now, with those bolts removed, these brackets are actually hooked on to this cross member, so we're gonna lift up and just unhook them and just rotate it down out of the way. Same thing on both sides. With the clamps by your factory manifolds or your headers loosened up, we've got the frame disconnected from those brackets on the hangars. At this point, we're gonna disconnect the stock exhaust from the headers, and I got my buddy Scott here to help me lower it down. If you're working on the ground on jack stands, it's gonna be a little bit easier for you to do by yourself, but since we're so high up in the air, you're gonna wanna have a buddy with you if you're working on a lift. So, once we get these disconnected, we're just gonna slide the whole factory exhaust out of the hangers by the exhaust tips toward the front of the vehicle and then we'll be able to set it aside. On these clamps, there's a little bit of a tab holding us on, so you might need to grab a flathead and just peel up on that locking tab that holds it in position.
We finally got my friend Justin's 2019 GT stock exhaust off the cards on the ground here sitting next to our Borla ATAK. I wanted to take you through some of the similarities, but mainly, the big differences between the two kits. We'll start up front here. Now, on the factory exhaust, you get that resonator where your mid-pipe is. That's gonna mute some of the sounds, bring down some of the volume, and it's gonna, yeah, rob you of a little bit of power you'd get with an otherwise aftermarket X-pipe. Now, I will say these factory new S-550s do sound pretty good with the 50 even without active exhaust that we don't have here on the car. I still think they do sound pretty good, but there's a lot of opportunity to increase the sound and aggression, especially in the horsepower and torque figures as well. You can bump some of the power-up by switching over to a free-flowing pipe. Now, this X-pipe here has that crossover section in the middle, so it's an unrestricted airflow. It's got 3-inch diameter tubing, all 304 stainless steel mandrel bent, so you're really getting a good airflow, which can translate to a better horsepower and torque bump and, of course, more volume. The X-pipes are typically known to be a little raspier, especially at wide-open throttle than you'd get with one of the resonators or an aftermarket H-pipe.
Now, moving on from here, you're gonna see steel, you know, 304 mandrel bent tubing. The factory tubing here has some kinks which can rob you of that power. It slows down and restricts some of that airflow. Moving on from there. Before we jump into our mufflers, I wanna touch on these little sections right here in the tubing, those are called polyphonic harmonizers. It's a patented technology by Borla. You'll see in some of the newer generations, our newer models of the Borla exhaust. Now, the polyphonic harmonizer really focuses on the honing in the specific sounds that you get with each particular application. Now, the big job here is they use four different chambers that can be altered in length and size individually to produce different tones while also muting or deleting some of the higher frequencies, the unwanted frequencies that would cause distortion and lesser quality, especially when it comes to these louder exhausts. The ATAK is known, of course, to be that five out of five, one of the louder options in the category. So, having that technology built in to really specify what that sound is on the 50 is really gonna do wonders for the sound quality.
I did speak with some of the guys at Borla and they do say that there is an opportunity in the future to mess with some of those sizes, all of the polyphonic harmonizer to really play with the production sound that you'd get from some of these exhausts. So, I predict that there's gonna be some big things changing in the way Borla creates their sounds. So, hopefully, in the coming gens, we'll see some of those altered a little bit to produce, you know, deeper, louder, a little bit more aggressive, deeper tones. So, we'll see that goes, but for now, we're getting some of that built into the new gens, which do produce a very unique and patented technology for Borla.
Now, we have to pop off the factory band clamps at the front end of our exhausts, our factory exhaust, and we'll transfer those over to our factory manifolds on the car. So, you just wanna slide these off and out ofplace. I'm gonna take these right on over to the car. Now, transferring these band clamps over to the factory manifolds, you wanna make sure that this little retainer tab is lining up with the welded-on a little button on the end here. That's gonna retain this clamp into position and that's how you know it's exactly where you want it to be. So, we're gonna slide that into place and just line that up, so the tab is just behind it, then just push down on that. Now it's in perfect place. Do the same thing for the other one.
Next up, is our X-pipe. Now, you'll notice at the end here, there are adapters inserted into the inlet side of the X-pipe. Now, these are gonna adapt it so it works with your factory manifolds. If at any point you upgrade to long tube headers that have somewhat of a 3-inch inlet or 3-inch outlet, rather, you can remove these and still use the same system without needing to pick up any additional parts. So, if you're using your stock manifolds, you wanna make sure these are still on the X-pipe. If you have an aftermarket header, shorty or long, you can remove these and use the X-pipe alone. So, since we're working with all stock, we're gonna leave them on. With that said, you also wanna make sure that these clamps are in place before you put it on. Now, I'm gonna tighten these down. Once we get it in place, we'll tighten these down to the band clamps and then these to the adapters.
Once you have that seated all the way back, tighten up the band clamps, then adjust these clamps to tighten down the adapter. All right. We're just doing this with our 15 deep socket. Now you can take these clamps, rotate them into place, and use the same socket to tighten those down. Next up, is our passenger side pipe that'll connect to our sub frame using those factory hangers. Now, what we're gonna do is make sure we have another clamp over the inlet side. Slide that over the passenger side of the X-pipe. Now, you wanna make sure when you're sliding this into place, you're sliding it so the hanger matches up properly to the sub frame. You don't wanna go too far in or not enough in, so keep an eye on these little slots here and make sure you're not gonna have any exhaust leak and check on the position. All right, now we can do the same thing with our driver's side.
Now, the next step, we have to rotate up and connect these hanger brackets to the slots that we removed them from on the sub frame. Now, I always like to leave all the previous clamps just a little bit loose, just snug enough that it's connected and won't shuffle around, but still leaving a little room for adjustment to make this part a little bit easier. Now, you wanna be able to rotate these upward, move the pipes, and connect those to the slots. All right, so you can do that for both of them. When you tighten them down, you wanna make sure these aren't slanting, you want them straight. That'll help you position everything properly. Grab the factory 13-millimeter bolts, thread them in by hand, just a couple of threads. Grab a 13-millimeter deep socket, and I use an extension to go right on over the sway bar. Tighten down.
Now, next up, is our chrome tips and our muffler. Now, when you're installing this, you wanna make sure you have a clamp over the inlet side, but you're gonna install the hanger over on the tip side into the factory isolator first and then line up your pipes. All right. Once you have it lined up where you want it to be, rotate your clamp upward and tighten it down. All right, now you can repeat for the other side.
Well, guys, that's gonna wrap up my review and install for the Borla ATAK Cat-Back with Chrome Tips for the 2018 and newer Mustang GT without active exhausts. If you wanna pick this one up for your non-active equipped S-550, you can do so right here in americanmuscle.com.