As the proud owner of a Ford Mustang GT, you know it’s an absolute beast. The S550 has serious power. But the stock exhaust system is far too quiet. Chances are you want the loudest exhaust system you can get to show off your Mustang’s growl.
There are two main ways to improving your S550’s exhaust note: axle-backs and cat-backs. Both of these methods will give your GT the deep rumble you’re looking for, but each one comes with its own benefits.
An aftermarket axle-back exhaust system replaces the muffler and exhaust pipes. A cat-back system replaces everything behind the catalytic converters, including the muffler and pipes. The one you choose largely depends on your budget and goals.
If you’re simply looking for the loudest performance muffler and you’re on a tight budget, an axle-back system may be the best way to go. Axle-backs are cheaper and will give your Mustang an aggressive sound without breaking the bank. It will improve the tone, volume, and depth from the restrictive and factory mufflers. Installation requires cutting the stock exhaust system. Whether you cut it yourself or take it to the shop, make sure to review the manufacturer instructions. You don’t want to saw off too much pipe!
Installing a cat-back system on your Mustang GT will take both sound and performance to the next level. Not only will you get a signature muscle-car exhaust note, but cat-back systems tend to give a small increase in power output too. The main benefit of going for a cat-back system is the fact that it replaces the stock resonator. Ford installs this resonator to cut out certain frequencies – usually highway drone. The resonator is also quite heavy.
This resonator is great for a quiet and comfortable ride, but most Mustang enthusiasts don’t buy one for those purposes. Installing a cat-back system will give you your desired tone, drop about 30 pounds off your ride, and give you an extra horsepower boost. For these reasons, cat-backs are some of the best exhaust kits for cars. They are a little more expensive than axle-backs, but the benefits outweigh the costs if you can afford it. Plus, no cutting is needed for installing aftermarket cat-back exhaust.
When you’re looking to enhance your S550’s performance and sound, you should also consider headers. Headers are ideal for getting a substantial increase in performance with a throaty exhaust note. Long and short tube headers increase the flow of the exhaust close to the engine. Headers completely replace the stock catalytic converters and have wider piping. This allows exhaust to escape the engine more quickly and efficiently. In order to be street-legal, you’ll generally need to go with headers that come with their own catalytic converters. But if you’re making your GT a purely racing machine, then you can pick up some headers without cats.
How you achieve your goal of getting a louder exhaust depends on whether you want performance as well. If the sound is your only priority, an axle-back can do the trick. But cat-backs and headers will take your GT’s power to new heights.