Building Personalized Exhaust Systems: It’s the small Things That Count

(Image/Wayne Scraba)

Many exhaust systems are essentially plug and play—line up the pipes, clamp ‘em together, and every thing more or less fits. But let’s say you’ve got an oddball combination or a custom application nobody makes a complete exhaust system for? The writer also has one inside storage.

For many vehicles, it’s time for you put your thinking cap on and map out your own personal exhaust system. Once you start the process, you’ll find there was more to a method than a set of headers, some pipelines, and mufflers. Here’s a short set of some of the not-so-little things you’ll need certainly to gather before assembling an exhaust system.


There are two main forms of header collector reducers–bolt-on and slip-on. Most bolt-on reducers utilize three bolts, but there are four-bolt headers on the market. Some incorporate an OEM design ball and socket flange. Competition headers mostly use slip-on reducers.

Summit Racing provides reducers for 2.5, 3,
3.5, and 4 inches collectors. They’re for sale in metal or metal, and
some have integrated air sensor bungs.


Many headers have gaskets. Quality varies, so you may should buy another group of gaskets. The Fel-Pro gaskets shown inside pictures include a high-density fiber-facing material bonded to both sides of a perforated metal core. Fel-Pro says this technology resists blowout and burnout from high-temperature exhaust gas and it is far stronger than the essential paper gaskets. This design also seals well on slightly warped areas and holds torque values better.

Some header gaskets have slotted end bolt holes so the header can be hung on a few end bolts although the gasket is slipped into destination. Then you can install the rest of the bolts and shrink the construction.

Another advanced option is a Remflex gasket. These gaskets function flexible all-graphite construction that’s effective around 3,000 degrees F—far over the header temperature. They have been designed to crush around 50 percent, filling uneven areas for maximum sealing and eliminating the prospect of exhaust leakages. Summit Racing also has Remflex gaskets for mind flanges, enthusiasts, and V-band clamps.


You will find a large number of various header bolt and stud kits today. Material alternatives consist of chromoly, stainless, and moderate steel. Some can be obtained with securing products, and many different mind configurations can be found. Personally, I’ve constantly unearthed that 12-point bolts make for easier wrenching around tight fitting headers. In some instances, it is really better to use a stud instead of a bolt, no matter if it’s only for a number of the fastener places.


Exhaust clamps are the old standard U-bolt clamps to band and V-band clamps (we’ll view V-band clamps individually). Some band clamps can be specified as lap joint models, which means that they’ll connect OD pipes to ID pipes to present a smooth change involving the two pipelines. Summit Racing catalogs above 1,000 various exhaust clamp types that range in dimensions from 1.125 inches completely as much as 9 inches. They’re obtainable in steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.


V-band clamps are a somewhat various beast. They’re theoretically called V-band flange assemblies. A round coupling flange is welded to each part associated with the pipes being accompanied. A retainer clamp fits over it, and the wedging action of the retainer forces the joint together. The force is radial and as a result, its evenly applied on the coupling flange. The top benefits of a V-band clamp over a typical 3-bolt (header) connection usually it’s smaller general, is not hard to disconnect and much more powerful.

During installation, the exhaust pipes must certanly be joined and correctly aligned prior to the flanges are welded on. You can purchase V-band clamps in metal, stainless steel, and aluminum. Pipeline diameters range between 1.5 inches all the way around 3.75 ins.


Summit Racing provides almost 1,200 different exhaust hangers in an array of designs: weld-on or bolt-on, steel to titanium, and pillow portions in rubber, polyurethane, and urethane—which means its easy to find the right one for your system.

One of many slickest setups could be the bolt-on hanger from Stainless Functions shown within the accompanying photos. The hangers are CNC laser-cut from 0.125 inch dense 304 stainless, and possess three 11/16 inches diameter holes spaced 1.25 inches apart for multiple mount areas. A silicon grommet is included to be used with a 3/8 inch diameter bolt. The Stainless Works exhaust hangers are also available in weld-on designs.


You should (or be required to) just end the exhaust following the muffler. Turndowns are a relatively inexpensive way to aim the exhaust away from the passenger compartment. They’re available in diameters which range from 2 to 5 inches and in lengths from 4.50 to 26 inches. The turn-down socket can be slant-cut or right, and you may get them in clamp-on, weld-on, if not bolt-on versions with a common 3-bolt collector flange.

Temp Sealers

Several exhaust leak has been fixed making use of temperature sealers. If you frequent the drag strip on a regular basis, you’ll see some people utilize Permatex Ultra Copper sealer in the place of header gaskets. Permatex also offers a Muffler and Tailpipe Sealer that seals holes and leakages in mufflers, tailpipes and around joints, as well as make new installments more secure. It resists conditions to 2,000 levels F.

As you can see, there are a great number of different bits and pieces offered to assist you to build a customized exhaust system. For a closer examine some of the solutions, check out the accompanying photos.

Three-bolt header collector reducers would be the most frequent, but slip-on examples may also be available. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
Fel Pro header gaskets (reduced set) include a high-density fiber-facing material fused to both sides of a perforated steel core. Hooker Header gaskets (upper set) are comparable in construction. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
There are all sorts of various header bolts available. Among the writer’s favorites will be the 12-point bolts since they permit better wrench access. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
Exhaust clamps ranges from U-bolt styles to these musical organization designs. You can even get them as lap-joint models. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
V-band clamps are a great choice. Right here you can see a Vibrant V-band clamp partially put together on a slip-on collector reducer. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
These Stainless Works exhaust hangers are a pretty trick setup. They are laser-cut from .125 inches dense 304 stainless steel and have three 11/16 inch diameter holes spaced 1.25 ins apart. This permits for multiple mount places. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
For my very own application, I required a turndown right after the muffler. There’s no room for tailpipes because the suspension system gets in the way (sound familiar?). A collection of turndowns such as this fit the bill completely. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
If you’ve got a troubling exhaust drip, consider using Permatex Ultra Copper Sealant. It’s rated to 700 degrees F, and some racers make use of it in place of header flange gaskets. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
Permatex additionally makes Muffler and Tailpipe Sealant. it is built to seal leaks and critical joints and it is rated to deal with temperatures as much as 2,000 levels F! (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Author: Wayne Scraba
Wayne Scraba is a diehard automobile man and regular factor to OnAllCylinders. He’s owned their own speed store, built race cars, street rods, and custom motorcycles, and restored muscle mass cars. He’s authored five how-to publications and written over 4,500 technology articles which have starred in sixty various high performance automotive, motorcycle and aviation magazines all over the world.

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