7/8/2006:
EXHAUSTED


Click on the image to see a full size version

Five years ago I built the 3" exhaust on this car. It was exactly the sound I was looking for. Not raspy or buzzy, just nice and mellow at cruise with the timbre (and anger) of a chainsaw at full throttle. Best of all, it exited in front of the driver side rear wheel. This was great for WFO blasts as the sound bounced around nicely inside the car.

It also spooked/confused the long list of opponents that fell to the mighty mirage. Man, they never saw it coming.


Originally, I was using a 2.5" downpipe (made for a 2G FWD Eclipse) which connected to the 3" dynomax resonator muffler and then to a round Dynomax ultra-flow muffler, then out the side of the car. Here is a picture of the downpipe compared to the stock Mirage Turbo piece.


A few years ago, when I switched to the 20g, I also switched to a 3" downpipe. (Again, I used one made for a 2g FWD Eclipse.) It dramatically helped spool and overall response. From that point on the exhaust has remained the same.





One of the downsides of the exhaust was ground clearance. I had plenty for most driving conditions, but I had to crawl over speed bumps and some driveway entrances. This always annoyed the heck out of me.

One recent morning while driving into work I spotted a dead creature of some sort in the middle of my lane. This is nothing new here in Tennessee, where some see roadkill, not as an annoyance, but as an "opportunity." As I approached it, I realized that this wasn't your average hunk of road pizza. This thing was big!

Remember the ground clearance issue? Well this dead thing was sticking way up and I knew exactly what was coming. I couldn't swerve or slow down, and I cringed as I heard it hit. BAM! I looked up in the rear view mirror and saw bits of unfortunate creature flying all over the road. Then came the smell. So that's what burning woodland creature smells like! Awesome!

It was right then that I knew it was time for a change.


My first step (after making sure there were no "roadkill remnants") was to get the car up in the air and start measuring. Suprisingly, there's plenty of room for the 3" pipe to pass through where the original stock pipe lived years ago.

This will require multiple bends, so I ordered up some exhaust piping from Summit Racing. For straight 3" pieces, I picked some up from a local exhaust shop. I ate a sandwich from Subway that day also.


Taking on a project like this is always justification for a new toy. Here is mine: A laser-guided chop saw! I couldn't have done this without it.

Honestly, I'll miss having 10 fingers.


I started by hacking up the previous pieces of the 3" side-exit exhaust. I was able to re-use the bends and the Walker Dynomax bullet-style resonator. In this pic you can see the system starting to come together. This all slips onto the end of the 3" downpipe that is already on the car.

Right behind the resonator, you can see the hanger I pounded out. This system will use all of the stock exhaust hanger locations.


Here's a pic somewhere in the middle of mocking up the fit. I had the piping on and off the car multiple times. The process goes like this:
  1. Fight exhaust into the desired position under the car while lying on back. Forget to put on safety glasses. Wash undercar junk out of eyes in a semi-panicked fashion.

  2. Mockup where and how the pipes will fit under the car. I used jack stands to place the sections of pipe where I wanted them.

  3. Slide under car with welding helmet, gloves, thick long-sleeve shirt, etc. Curse and grunt while new neighbors stare into garage with some concern. (You'd think they'd never seen a guy with his shirt on fire before.)

  4. Tack weld the pipes into place.

  5. Fight exhaust out of desired position and onto the floor while lying on back. Remember safety glasses. Wash undercar junk out of eyes that somehow got past safety glasses.

  6. Finish welding all of the pipes. Have a drink while admiring your work. (Not sure why, but I find welding to be extremely rewarding work.)

  7. If you're weird like me, paint everything high temp, low gloss black.

  8. Return to step 1 and repeat until finished!




Here's a shot of the front section tacked to the mid/rear section and waiting for its final weld.



…and finally finished with my trademark sheath of low gloss black!



Here's the most crucial part of the fit. Clearly a 3" pipe was never meant for this little enclave. It turned out well though with plenty of room all around.



Here's the Magnaflow muffler and tailpipes that I ordered from Summit Racing. The muffler is part number 14288 and has one 3" inlet and two 2.5" outlets. It's shiny too.



Instead of welding the muffler directly to the rear pipe, I decided to use a flange to give me the ability to change muffler setups in the future. Since this was a spur of the moment decision I needed to find one quick. A trip to the local AutoZone netted me these fancy "FlowTech" header reducers for $9.00. Of course I didn't use the "reducer" part, only the flanges and gasket.


Here's a shot of the finished product! I spent a decent amount of time making sure everything lined up just so.


Low gloss black strikes again! I spray this stuff on my pancakes in the morning.


Ahh, that's more like it! I can't have some shiny thing hangin' back there.

Here it is!

Sheesh, all that work for something you can barely see. The good news is, I've got tons of ground clearance, and it is extremely quiet. In fact, you can barely hear it in the car at part throttle and cruise.

Things change when the throttle is opened up though. The combination of the external wastegate dump blaring from the front of the car, and the mellow roar of the Magnaflow from the rear make a great match.

Now that this project is complete, I am going to start racking up the miles. Maybe with my new quieter exhaust, I can fool some folks into thinking this thing's a stock Geo!



Here's another shot. Thanks for reading and see ya next time!