Muffled Mayhem: How to Quiet Your Engine Part 4

Click Here to Begin Slideshow Over the past three issues, we’ve taken an in-depth look at several different high tech, high performance mufflers along with the quality 304-stainless steel exhaust systems offered by Hooker Headers. Installation of the Blackheart exhaust systems is very straightforward (please note: this isn’t a blow by blow how to install, but it will give you a good idea of how easily these systems go together). Here’s how it goes together on a first generation Camaro or 1968-74 Nova: First, all of the old existing exhaust system components must be removed from the vehicle, and that includes all stock or previously added hangers along the entire length of the exhaust system. Hooker notes that it’s best to spray all hanger fasteners with penetrating oil prior to removal and allow ample soak time before attempting to remove any fasteners. Next, remove the rear wheels/tires from the vehicle. According to Hooker Headers: “Place a supplied band clamp over each inlet of the crossover assembly and insert the supplied inlet tube (inlet tubes are tubes with a single bend in them) into the crossover assembly. The longest legs of the inlets go into the X-stamping.” At this point you should install the supplied couplers over the open end of each inlet tube and install the entire assembly onto the collectors of a previously installed set of Hooker Headers LS swap full-length headers, or the outlets of Hooker Headers adapter tubes already installed onto the collectors of a set of headers. Next, position the emergency brake cable for routing above the crossover assembly during installation of the X-pipe. When correctly installed, Hooker notes the bends in the crossover assembly outlet legs will angle up towards the floor of the vehicle, not down towards the ground. In order to ensure correct adjustment later, do not tighten the clamps more than is required to hold basic component positions at this time. Place a supplied clamp over the offset inlet of each muffler and install them onto the outlets of the crossover assembly. To allow for final exhaust adjustment, only tighten the clamps enough so you can maintain the general position of the mufflers. From here, using the supplied Grade 8 hardware, attach the over-axle hanger brackets (with the barbed hanger rods pointing outward) to each rear seat belt bolt gusset bracket (the stock car has the gusset welded to the underside of the floor just forward of the rear axle). The bend in the base plate will wrap over the outer edge of each gusset to prevent rotation of the brackets once installed. Hooker Headers notes that if the car is no longer equipped with rear seat belts (for example, if it’s a race car), you can attach the hanger brackets by installing only the bolts from the underside of the car inward. If the car still has the rear seat belts installed, you’ll need to remove the rear seat and replace the factory seat belt bolts with longer ones (also included with the hardware kit).The longer bolt will have additional threads protruding under the floor. This will allow you to install the exhaust hanger brackets to the seat belt gusset plates. Next, feed the over-the-axle tubes over the axle and place a supplied clamp over the inlet of each before engaging them into the muffler outlets. Once again, don’t tighten the clamps. The idea here is to position and fit everything first. Use one of the supplied rubber isolators to connect the barbed hanger rods of each hanger attached to the seat belt gusset brackets and the corresponding barbed hanger rods welded to the over-axle tubes. Hooker Headers goes on to state: “Install a supplied rubber hanger into the U-saddle of each rear tailpipe bracket and secure them in place using the included 1/2” bolts, back-up washers (to be installed against the rubber isolators) and lock nuts. Now install the rear hanger brackets onto the rear un-barbed hanger of each over-axle tube assembly. When properly indexed, the narrow ends of each hanger will be facing towards the front of the car and the U-saddles will be facing towards the outside of the car. “Attach the hanger brackets to the frame using the fasteners (removed earlier) from the stock hangers. Use the front and middle position bolt-holes in the brackets for this purpose. If your vehicle was originally equipped with a 6 cylinder engine, the holes in the driver’s side frame rail will not have threaded inserts in them. In this case, drill through the inner wall of the frame and the forward and middle mounting holes in the left side hanger bracket with a 5/16-inch drill bit and attach the driver’s side hanger with the supplied 5/16-inch bolts, nuts and flat washers.” You can reinstall the rear wheels/tires. Then, place the two remaining clamps over the inlets of the tips and install both onto the outlets of the over-axle tubes. Don’t tighten them yet. Support both mufflers to keep their weight from working against you as you align the exhaust system components. Carefully align all system components for the best fit and then tighten all clamps fully. Hooker advises the best results will be achieved by working from the front of the car to the rear while simultaneously checking the alignment of the exhaust components against multiple reference points (for example, the reference points can include the bottom edge of the rocker panels, the transmission cross member exhaust passage humps and the rear end housing). Once all of the parts are aligned, install the supplied self-tapping sheet metal screws into the rear-most holes in the tailpipe frame brackets to securely fasten them in their final position on the frame rails. Here, a cordless screwdriver will help immensely. Essentially, the install is straightforward. If the floor pan of the car has been modified, you’ll obviously need to take that into consideration when installing the exhaust – it was engineered to fit a stock floor application. Out back, it will also fit with some rear sway bar setups, but again, the system may require some mods to the over-the-axle pipes to clear big sway bar systems. Muffled mayhem? Maybe, but as you can see, there’s now considerable science directed squarely at exhaust systems. And truthfully, there’s new technology being added daily. Today, the sounds of silence and high performance are not mutually exclusive!

Muffled Mayhem: How To Quiet Your Engine Part 4

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Over the past three issues, we’ve taken an in-depth look at several different high tech, high performance mufflers along with the quality 304-stainless steel exhaust systems offered by Hooker Headers. Installation of the Blackheart exhaust systems is very straightforward (please note: this isn’t a blow by blow how to install, but it will give you a good idea of how easily these systems go together). Here’s how it goes together on a first generation Camaro or 1968-74 Nova:

First, all of the old existing exhaust system components must be removed from the vehicle, and that includes all stock or previously added hangers along the entire length of the exhaust system. Hooker notes that it’s best to spray all hanger fasteners with penetrating oil prior to removal and allow ample soak time before attempting to remove any fasteners.

Next, remove the rear wheels/tires from the vehicle. According to Hooker Headers: “Place a supplied band clamp over each inlet of the crossover assembly and insert the supplied inlet tube (inlet tubes are tubes with a single bend in them) into the crossover assembly. The longest legs of the inlets go into the X-stamping.”

At this point you should install the supplied couplers over the open end of each inlet tube and install the entire assembly onto the collectors of a previously installed set of Hooker Headers LS swap full-length headers, or the outlets of Hooker Headers adapter tubes already installed onto the collectors of a set of headers.

Next, position the emergency brake cable for routing above the crossover assembly during installation of the X-pipe. When correctly installed, Hooker notes the bends in the crossover assembly outlet legs will angle up towards the floor of the vehicle, not down towards the ground. In order to ensure correct adjustment later, do not tighten the clamps more than is required to hold basic component positions at this time.

Place a supplied clamp over the offset inlet of each muffler and install them onto the outlets of the crossover assembly. To allow for final exhaust adjustment, only tighten the clamps enough so you can maintain the general position of the mufflers.

From here, using the supplied Grade 8 hardware, attach the over-axle hanger brackets (with the barbed hanger rods pointing outward) to each rear seat belt bolt gusset bracket (the stock car has the gusset welded to the underside of the floor just forward of the rear axle). The bend in the base plate will wrap over the outer edge of each gusset to prevent rotation of the brackets once installed. Hooker Headers notes that if the car is no longer equipped with rear seat belts (for example, if it’s a race car), you can attach the hanger brackets by installing only the bolts from the underside of the car inward. If the car still has the rear seat belts installed, you’ll need to remove the rear seat and replace the factory seat belt bolts with longer ones (also included with the hardware kit).The longer bolt will have additional threads protruding under the floor. This will allow you to install the exhaust hanger brackets to the seat belt gusset plates.

Next, feed the over-the-axle tubes over the axle and place a supplied clamp over the inlet of each before engaging them into the muffler outlets. Once again, don’t tighten the clamps. The idea here is to position and fit everything first.

Use one of the supplied rubber isolators to connect the barbed hanger rods of each hanger attached to the seat belt gusset brackets and the corresponding barbed hanger rods welded to the over-axle tubes.

Hooker Headers goes on to state: “Install a supplied rubber hanger into the U-saddle of each rear tailpipe bracket and secure them in place using the included 1/2” bolts, back-up washers (to be installed against the rubber isolators) and lock nuts. Now install the rear hanger brackets onto the rear un-barbed hanger of each over-axle tube assembly. When properly indexed, the narrow ends of each hanger will be facing towards the front of the car and the U-saddles will be facing towards the outside of the car.

“Attach the hanger brackets to the frame using the fasteners (removed earlier) from the stock hangers. Use the front and middle position bolt-holes in the brackets for this purpose. If your vehicle was originally equipped with a 6 cylinder engine, the holes in the driver’s side frame rail will not have threaded inserts in them. In this case, drill through the inner wall of the frame and the forward and middle mounting holes in the left side hanger bracket with a 5/16-inch drill bit and attach the driver’s side hanger with the supplied 5/16-inch bolts, nuts and flat washers.”

You can reinstall the rear wheels/tires. Then, place the two remaining clamps over the inlets of the tips and install both onto the outlets of the over-axle tubes. Don’t tighten them yet.

Support both mufflers to keep their weight from working against you as you align the exhaust system components. Carefully align all system components for the best fit and then tighten all clamps fully. Hooker advises the best results will be achieved by working from the front of the car to the rear while simultaneously checking the alignment of the exhaust components against multiple reference points (for example, the reference points can include the bottom edge of the rocker panels, the transmission cross member exhaust passage humps and the rear end housing).

Once all of the parts are aligned, install the supplied self-tapping sheet metal screws into the rear-most holes in the tailpipe frame brackets to securely fasten them in their final position on the frame rails. Here, a cordless screwdriver will help immensely.

Essentially, the install is straightforward. If the floor pan of the car has been modified, you’ll obviously need to take that into consideration when installing the exhaust – it was engineered to fit a stock floor application. Out back, it will also fit with some rear sway bar setups, but again, the system may require some mods to the over-the-axle pipes to clear big sway bar systems.

Muffled mayhem? Maybe, but as you can see, there’s now considerable science directed squarely at exhaust systems. And truthfully, there’s new technology being added daily. Today, the sounds of silence and high performance are not mutually exclusive!

Muffled Mayhem: How to Quiet Your Engine Part 4 1

Hooker includes all of the necessary band lamps and mount brackets with the exhaust kit. Overall, it’s an excellent package.

Muffled Mayhem: How to Quiet Your Engine Part 4 2

Hangers are similar to those used by the OE Manufactures – typically a barbed rod that is embedded into a rubber isolator.

Muffled Mayhem: How to Quiet Your Engine Part 4 3

These two heavy-duty brackets install on the side of the rear subframe (acting as doublers). They incorporate a provision to mount the tail pipes.

Muffled Mayhem: How to Quiet Your Engine Part 4 4

Both of the tail pipes are manufactured with the barb welded in place. In turn, the barb is positioned inside a special rubber hanger, which is bolted to the bracket.

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