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Old 05-11-2009, 11:42 PM   #1
Mil
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Default Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Yesterday i decided to build my own custom cat-back exhaust system.
Like i mentioned before, i used magnaflow mufflers and some aluminized steel piping.

The two mufflers are those: 12645 (used to replace the center section) and 14325 (used to replace the rear section).
Both are stainless steel straight-trough mufflers, the first one is satin finished, while the second one is polished.
If i had the choice i would have use both satin finish for a more sleeper look, but since the second muffler was the only one in stock, it's ok.
I used alumized steel piping since it's easier to find, cheaper and because of the fact that i used it on previous cars and it's good to last about 5-6 years, even with quebec's winters temperatures.
5 to 6 years is more than enough for me, after that i will probably get rid of the car anyway, and i will re-install the stock exhaust line.
You will notice that one of the bends isn't mandrel bent.
It's only because i was too lazy to cut and weld it back since that part was a bolt-on.
Anyway, it's only a 45 degrees angle, so, it's not that bad.
I also found a tailpipe at canadian tire that looks almost like the stock one, in fact it's about 1/2" shorter but it looks almost stock.
I wanted it to look stock because i like sleepers better than ricers...
I included some pictures...
http://www.hiboox.fr/go/albums/auto-...7bda05cc2276a3
Sorry i don't have any pictures of the finished cat-back, since it was installed and because the car was about 1' 1/2"-2' high, i wasn't able to take any good pictures.
I don't have any soundclip neither because i only have a crappy camera.
Anyway, it sounds almost like the stock exhaust system, only a little louder above 3500 rpm, but when i say a little, i mean that you have to listen carefully to notice that it's modified.
Honestly if you don't drive an astra every day, you won't even notice.
Inside the car, you can't even notice except above 3500 rpms where it's a little louder, but since i always use cruise control on the higway, it's not annoying at all.
In fact i was expecting it to be louder, but i'm glad it isn't.

Now the best part...Power improvement!!!!
I'm sorry i don't have any dyno numbers and i don't plan to.
Since all the modifications that i have are some eibach coil springs, a custom cat-back and a k&n panel filter with a de-restricted box and a bigger intake pipe, i don't expect to pay for a dyno run.
But, my butt dyno tells me that the car DOES PULL HARDER.
Don't get me wrong, you won't get 25 more horsepower just by adding a cat-back system, but i believe that something aroud 5-7 whp can be achieved.
The most important thing is the added torque.
You can really feel it.
I don't have to downshift anymore on the highway to pass another car. (That's a good thing).
For the moment, i can't tell about the mpg, but it doesn't seem to be anything more or less.

I'm really happy with the results.
It's a long and complicated job (took me all day, but i have to mention that i had some problems with one of my welding machines...).
Since i didn't pay for one of the mufflers (i traded it for some tires to one of my friends), the rest of the parts costs around 200$ (CAD), so expect another 100$ for the other muffler, and if you don't plan to do it yourself, it may cost you a few more bucks for labor.
But the only available cat-back systems for the astra come from europe and cost a lot more than this.
All you need is a j-bent mandrel bent 2.25" pipe, the two mufflers, some straight 2.25" piping (about 4 ft.) and some metal rods to build the hangers.
You will have to use a 45 degrees bent after the center section muffler, and to build a "S" shape to go over the rear axle beam.
You will also need another 45 degrees bent before the second muffler, all the rest are straight pipes.

Sorry for the long thread but i tought it's worth it.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

personally, i would have eliminated the middle muffler and used only the rear muffler, unless the rear is a resonator, in which case i would have used the middle muffler & removed the rear.
are the stock exhaust systems on the astra stainless steel?
here is some history - i owned, from new a 70 chevelle 350v8, 300 hp. it had dual exhausts comprising a forward mufflers & rear resonators. i, like most other guys who owned chevelles, removed the resonators and the tailpipes and installed drop pipes out of the muffler in front of the rear axle.
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 72gssaturn View Post
personally, i would have eliminated the middle muffler and used only the rear muffler, unless the rear is a resonator, in which case i would have used the middle muffler & removed the rear.
are the stock exhaust systems on the astra stainless steel?
here is some history - i owned, from new a 70 chevelle 350v8, 300 hp. it had dual exhausts comprising a forward mufflers & rear resonators. i, like most other guys who owned chevelles, removed the resonators and the tailpipes and installed drop pipes out of the muffler in front of the rear axle.
Judging from the size of the factory originals, the front one is a "pre-muffler" and the rear one is the muffler. I removed the front one that my 99 SC had, and it didn't seem to make things any louder.
...
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnRaycer View Post
Judging from the size of the factory originals, the front one is a "pre-muffler" and the rear one is the muffler. I removed the front one that my 99 SC had, and it didn't seem to make things any louder.
Exactly.
In fact the first one is a straight trough design.
There is no restriction here, the second one isn't a straight trough design.
But the real power gain comes from the fact that the factory exhaust piping is about 1 7/8" while my cat-back is 2.25".
Any bigger than 2.25" would be too much except for a heavy modified engine, but 2.25" seems to help.
In fact, the power gain feels like when you turn on or off the AC.
So i suppose that it must be somewhere like 10 hp at the crank.
Not bad.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Congrats on the results and thanks for posting the details on the parts needed. I tried to rep ya but, 'You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Mil again.'

Glad to hear it doesn't sound 'ricey'.
...
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Just checked Magnaflow's website for pricing and availability in the US. The 12645 muffler sells for 136.12 and the 14325 goes for 161.17 (suggested retail prices).

For a bit more money, you could sub in a 5x8 oval muffler http://www.magnaflow.com/02product/s...n.x8in.%20Oval. I rather like the look of this one. http://www.magnaflow.com/02product/s...e=main&id=8114

If you can do the work yourself, the price will be much better, but my guess is another $150 for piping and labor. Not cheap, but in line with what you'd pay for a pre-made cat-back system.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnRaycer View Post
Judging from the size of the factory originals, the front one is a "pre-muffler" and the rear one is the muffler. I removed the front one that my 99 SC had, and it didn't seem to make things any louder.
While a resonator (or "pre-muffler") doesn't seem to do much for muffling the exhaust sound on your average car, it actually does. It can sometimes be hard to detect, but a resonator is designed to reduce drone at certain specific RPMs (usually cruising RPMs). My last car's exhaust rotted out from about the down-pipe, backwards, and was quite loud. It was replaced with all new components -- minus the resonator (cuz it was stupid-expensive). At certain RPMs, the car was definately louder, but it was still much quieter that it had ever been above or below those RPMs.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnRaycer View Post
Just checked Magnaflow's website for pricing and availability in the US. The 12645 muffler sells for 136.12 and the 14325 goes for 161.17 (suggested retail prices).

For a bit more money, you could sub in a 5x8 oval muffler http://www.magnaflow.com/02product/s...n.x8in.%20Oval. I rather like the look of this one. http://www.magnaflow.com/02product/s...e=main&id=8114

If you can do the work yourself, the price will be much better, but my guess is another $150 for piping and labor. Not cheap, but in line with what you'd pay for a pre-made cat-back system.
Like i already mentioned, i didn't pay for one of them since i traded it for some tires.
But, the 14325 sells for 129.99$ (regular price) and is now on sale, it goes for 97.49$ (CAD) at canadian tire, this is what i paid for.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mil View Post
Like i already mentioned, i didn't pay for one of them since i traded it for some tires.
But, the 14325 sells for 129.99$ (regular price) and is now on sale, it goes for 97.49$ (CAD) at canadian tire, this is what i paid for.
I'm following your lead - mostly. Since my welding skills are dubious at best, I consulted with an exhaust/muffler guy I trust. He recommended splitting the difference between stock (1-1/2") and your set up of 2-1/4". We compromised on using 2" piping. (The rear part number is 14324.) I'm also forgoing the front muffler - thats a savings of $136! We'll sub in a piece of 2" pipe instead. Car is due in the shop next Thurs (my next free time). I'll try to get a video w/ sound for everyone.

Thanks for the great writeup and inspiration!
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

and it sounds like what .............. we can't hear it.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Its interesting how everyone does the same thing at the same time as far as exhaust is concerned. Now, i didnt use Magnaflow or swap out the rest of the exhaust, but, i did a swap on mufflers to a Cherry Bomb Glasspack and it seemed to help it open up on its own. It kinda feels like its got a bit more spunk i thought. The sound is a bit more deep like i wanted and still not too ricery.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobD1517 View Post
Its interesting how everyone does the same thing at the same time as far as exhaust is concerned. Now, i didnt use Magnaflow or swap out the rest of the exhaust, but, i did a swap on mufflers to a Cherry Bomb Glasspack and it seemed to help it open up on its own. It kinda feels like its got a bit more spunk i thought. The sound is a bit more deep like i wanted and still not too ricery.
cherry bomb on a 4 cylinder not too ricey....????
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:13 AM   #13
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Believe it or not, it doesnt sound like a coffee can! Its really more subtle then anything
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobD1517 View Post
Its interesting how everyone does the same thing at the same time as far as exhaust is concerned. Now, i didnt use Magnaflow or swap out the rest of the exhaust, but, i did a swap on mufflers to a Cherry Bomb Glasspack and it seemed to help it open up on its own. It kinda feels like its got a bit more spunk i thought. The sound is a bit more deep like i wanted and still not too ricery.
Did something similar on my 99 SC. I agree that it didn't have the usual "buzzbomb" sound associated with hondas and the like. It did develop a rather annoying drone between 60-65 mph.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

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Originally Posted by SaturnRaycer View Post
Did something similar on my 99 SC. I agree that it didn't have the usual "buzzbomb" sound associated with hondas and the like. It did develop a rather annoying drone between 60-65 mph.
Cherry bombs are resonators not mufflers...
By the way, i may swap my front muffler for a cherry bomb pretty soon since that muffler is a bit too big for my taste.
It doesn't rub, but we can see it from the side of the car, and i don't like to see it...
I will let you know when it's done.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:21 PM   #16
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
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Cherry bombs are resonators not mufflers...
By the way, i may swap my front muffler for a cherry bomb pretty soon since that muffler is a bit too big for my taste.
It doesn't rub, but we can see it from the side of the car, and i don't like to see it...
I will let you know when it's done.
Cherry Bomb is a brand name for glass pack muffler.

Last edited by SaturnSdn; 05-20-2009 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:35 PM   #17
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mil View Post
Cherry bombs are resonators not mufflers...
By the way, i may swap my front muffler for a cherry bomb pretty soon since that muffler is a bit too big for my taste.
It doesn't rub, but we can see it from the side of the car, and i don't like to see it...
I will let you know when it's done.
This should work well for you. It's 4" diameter instead of the 6" of the 12645.
http://www.magnaflow.com/02product/s...e=main&id=8101

There isn't a 5" diameter Magnaflow that has the overall dimensions of your existing front muffler (18" body, 24" overall with 2.25 inlet & outlet)
...
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:57 AM   #18
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

I have the 12645 and love it, they are cheaper on ebay but I wanted a warranty (the salt on the roads here in winter kills an exhaust) so I got it here magnaflow 12645 , or you can try one of the vendors here, they are always running sales/specials. either way its a great system and very easy to install
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:28 PM   #19
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

I did swap my first muffler by a cherry bomb.
It is now louder than with the magnaflow.
It's louder but not anoying.
In fact, it's anoying over 3500rpm for a long time, but on the highway i use the cruise control, so it's not anoying.
I will try to get some sound clips if i can get my hands on a better camera.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:50 PM   #20
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Default Re: Custom cat-back exhaust finally installed!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mil View Post
I did swap my first muffler by a cherry bomb.
It is now louder than with the magnaflow.
It's louder but not anoying.
In fact, it's anoying over 3500rpm for a long time, but on the highway i use the cruise control, so it's not anoying.
I will try to get some sound clips if i can get my hands on a better camera.
did you ever get the sounds clips Id like to compare to my magnaflow
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