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Different Types Of Mustang Axle-Backs

Written By: Brian Matthias

One of the most common upgrades for any Mustang is replacing the factory axle-back exhaust with an aftermarket one. Minimally invasive and delivering a large exhaust note improvement, aftermarket Mustang axle-backs are crucial to fine tuning the sound of your pony. Axle-backs come in a variety of different styles, all of which delivering a different sound. This guide will go over the different types of Mustang axle-backs.

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What Is An Axle-Back Exhaust?

An axle-back exhaust is essentially the muffler, and begins at the rear axle and runs out the back of your Mustang. Axle-backs are the last part your exhaust system and have a large effect on how your Mustang sounds. Axle-back exhausts deliver very small if any power gains (less than 10 HP) and are primarily a sound upgrade for your Mustang

How Is The Sound Of A Mustang Axle-Back Created Or Determined?

Mustang axle-back systems get their sound based off of:

•    The overall design/shape
•    If there is a resonator or if it is removed
•    The internal construction/chambering or if anything is baffling/impeding the flow
•    The materials used to insulate it

The largest determining factor of what an axle-back will sound like is based off of its style or type.

What Are The Different Types Of Mustang Axle-Backs?

There are several types of Mustang mufflers/axle-backs that include:

•    Muffler deletes
•    Chambered
•    Varitune/valve controlled    
•    Straight-through
•    Race oriented/style

Each style of axle-back looks, functions, and sounds different from the other as their design will give you your exhaust note.

VIDEO: The 3 Best Axle-Backs for 2011-2014 GT Mustangs

Muffler Delete Mustang Axle-Back Exhaust Systems

Muffler delete axle-back systems remove the muffler from the equation, leaving you with free flowing straight through piping. Muffler delete axle-backs have a very aggressive and somewhat raspy exhaust note that will allow your exhaust to go unchecked and uninhibited. A Muffler delete Mustang axle-back is for enthusiasts who want to have one of the loudest Mustangs around, one that can heard long before it is seen.

Chambered Mustang Axle-Back Exhaust Systems

Chambered axle-backs have either an open chamber design or a multiple chamber design. In general, chambered axle-back exhausts tend to be more gurgly, yet deep in tone with an aggressive finish. Open chambered axle-backs tend to have more exhaust pops/crackling then multiple chambered axle-backs. Chambered axle-backs are great for daily drivers that are looking for a deeper and fuller exhaust note that sounds great at wide open throttle and not too loud at cruising speeds.

Varitune/Valve Controlled Mustang Axle-Back Exhaust Systems

Valve controlled exhaust systems use a switch or remote control to open up an electronic butterfly valve in the axle-back to change it from a chambered setup to a straight-through setup. These are ideal for people who are holding off on exhaust upgrades because they are trying to avoid offending the neighborhood. You get the best of both worlds by being able to cruise at a reasonable volume when you want to or sound like a racecar with the press of a button.

Straight-Through Mustang Axle-Backs

Straight-through Mustang axle-backs are similar to the shape of chambered axle-backs, but internally there is nothing in there to baffle the sound. Straight-through axle-backs are fairly loud and aggressive and definitely for the Mustang enthusiast who wants to be noticed anytime the step on the throttle.

Race Oriented/Styled Mustang Axle-Backs

By far, your loudest option for a Mustang axle-back system is one that uses a race style orientation. Race style exhausts are similar to muffler deletes and straight-through exhausts, but they tend to have a much raspier and loud exhaust note that crackles every time you let off the throttle.

Best Mustang Axle-Back Materials

The best material for a Mustang axle-back to be constructed from is 304 stainless steel as it is incredibly resistant to corrosion and is much stronger than 409 stainless steel. 409 grade stainless steel is perfectly suitable for any axle-back system, just be aware that it is more likely to rust and is constructed from a softer steel.

Quad Exit/Tip Mustang Axle-Back Exhaust Systems

An incredibly popular axle-back style that was introduced by the 2013 Shelby GT500 is the quad tipped axle-back. Quad tipped Mustang exhaust systems can be found on every type of axle-back style and generally don’t provide much of a sound difference. In order to put one on your non-Shelby Mustang, you will need to replace or DIY customize the rear valance to make space for the extra exhaust tip.

Is a Custom Computer Tune Required with an Axleback Exhaust?

A very common question when modding your Mustang is whether or not the mod will require a new tune. Upgrading your axleback will not require you to reflash your Mustang’s computer. You can just bolt those new beauties on and enjoy your new exhaust sound and performance.

Does a Mustang Need Additional Exhaust Hangers with an Aftermarket Axleback?

Sometime in 2007, Ford changed the style of exhaust hangers used to install the stock exhaust on the 2007 S197 Mustang. They switched from a "rubber and steel" hanger design to an "all rubber" hanger, which will not work correctly with the aftermarket exhaust systems on the produced today. You will want to visually check your exhaust prior to ordering any new exhaust to determine whether or not you will need this optional rubber and steel hanger kit. The SR Performance 304 Stainless Steel Exhaust Hanger Kit will provide more strength, stability and a cleaner installed appearance for any Mustang that uses them.

Parts That Complement Your Mustang's New Axle-back

Since you are increasing the flow out the rear of your Mustang, it’s a great idea to also increase the airflow that’s coming into your engine. Supporting mods like:

  • cold air intake
  • throttle body
  • high flow filters
  • Bama Custom Tunes

To maximize the sound and performance gains associated with your new exhaust, be sure to check out our full line of Cold Air Intake, Throttle Body and Tune packages available. 

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