Challenger vs Challenger Factory vs Aftermarket Exhaust Print
Written by Lance   
Saturday, 09 February 2013 04:38

One of the most popular, and yet complicated upgrades for your late model Mopar is the exhaust.  It is very subjective.  The sound has to be just right, and without hearing a system in person, it is very hard to know what to do.  Mods, cameras, background noise etc all come in to play as well changing up the sound waves in online videos.  We here at LSM recognize that and took the time to film an exhaust comparison in a way we have never seen done before...These videos were filmed to showcase the difference in the factory vs aftermarket exhaust AND to also show the difference in sound between two solid cameras.  We think these two videos will give you a great starting point to help distinguish some key factors and move yourself closer to your ideal exhaust.

*The first video positions the GoPro Hero at the starting point and the Canon SX150 a bit farther up the road.  This allows us to capture the initial launch on the GoPro and then a drive-by sound clip at the Canon.  Then, on the way back we get a launch sound from the Canon and a drive-by or shut down from the GoPro.

*The second video positions both the GoPro Hero and the Canon SX150 side-by-side.  As you might have guessed, editing was a tedious progress, but the end result is one of the best comparisons for both the subtle differences between cameras AND more importantly the difference between factory and aftermarket exhausts on similarly modified cars.  You get to see Ruby launch on the GoPro and then immediately after see the exact same launch as recorded by the Canon...It turned out very nice and the back-to-back comparisons should help a lot of people.

As mentioned in the intro...almost everyone knows they want to change their stock exhaust, but not many know what they want to take its' place.

The late model HEMI is a nice package.  Performance for both acceleration, top end, and even fairly fuel efficient.  That said, some of that comes from the MDS system.  And if you are in a late model Mopar you have likely let that feature scare you away from countless exhaust systems, or mufflers you were considering.  If you are like me, the thought of having MDS and then turning it off via a tuner is ludicrous as there goes the nice MPG you planned to enjoy while driving a relatively bad ass car...

Almost every forum has endless posts with a user wondering if anyone has "this system."  Usually long before someone that actually has the system replies, you get a comical chain of people warning about how "crappy" of an exhaust it is and how it will "DRONE" like crazy and to go with "X System" where "X System" is whatever they have on their car, or is currently popular on the forum.  The original poster then comes back and says, "Oh, thank you forum gods for saving me from a big mistake...I definitely don't want drone!"  And then, depending on who posted and injected their ultimate know how, the said person is swayed in that direction, or chalks their effort up as a loss.

Intelligent posters will come armed with a webclip they have found on YouTube inquiring if the exhaust really sounds that good etc.  Again, more often than not, someone lambasts the selected system and unleashes the "drone" hammer.  They then plug their favorite exhaust, or what their ex-wife's third cousin who knew a girl that dated a guy that modified a car her former best friend drove that opened the gates to hell and purred like a kitten, simultaneously mind you but they aren't sure what it is.

The point is, take what you read online with a grain of salt...

EXHAUST IS SUBJECTIVE! Very subjective, and that is the caveat you need to keep in mind.

In addition to that, every little detail from online clips needs to be factored in...Was this car in a garage, or outside?  Is it surrounded by walls that are going to reverb the exhaust?  Is the mic on the camera very good?  Is the camera too close to the tip and distorting sound?  Is there too much wind (big problem here) to get a good feel for it?  It is sometimes amazing that people have a $40k car, a $1,500 exhaust, and a 2 MP camera to record a rule of thumb, if the back bumper looks like a pixel version of a horse, or yogurt stand, do not trust the sound quality.

Often times, when people upgrade their exhaust they wind up with something far from their initial choice by taking the advice of others...The most common complaint is actually, "It isn't that much louder than stock." And yes, I sincerely mean that...especially to those of you wanting to hit me with the drone hammer right about now.  I'm not talking about the most common interjected advice, I am talking about real world feedback from first hand users.  Just think how many posts you have seen where someone came out with a review that said, "This exhaust was just too loud and droned way too much in this rpm range."  You don't see that very often, you usually see "I thought it would be louder," or "It really isn't as loud as I expected, I don't think the drone is that bad."  Yet somehow, those posts and that real world, first-hand feedback is lost in the deluge of drone rants.

Some people really do think their American Thunder system is too loud...that same person probably shouldn't have gone with an aftermarket exhaust.  There are systems that are basically replicas of the factory set up (suitcase if two stand alone muffs) and you simply get a slight bark on cold starts, a bit better of a bend in the tail pipes, a nice chunk of weight out of the car, and the satisfaction of knowing you have an upgraded exhaust.  As a rule of thumb, anything with 4 silencers, in any form, should just be left stock.  While it may not be "too loud" or "drone" for you, the gain you might see is definitely not worth the money you just spent.

For everyone else (the vast majority of enthusiasts) you will be happy with your aftermarket exhaust and the much feared "drone" will be something you wondered why you ever stressed about.  Granted, some tones may not suit you, but even if you don't like the "tone" you would be ditching the system for that reason and not because it is "too loud" or the "drone is too bad."

We compiled these clips to do two things:

1: Showcase the difference in the factory exhaust vs aftermarket exhaust (the cars are very similarly modified in terms of performance upgrades)

2: Showcase the different sound pickup from two different cameras

It took forever to edit, but the end result is worth it...You get to see Ruby take off from the GoPro and fly by the Canon.  Then on the return trip you see Ruby take off from the Canon and then fly by the GoPro.  Similarly, in the next video you see the two cameras side-by-side, but get to watch each clip back-to-back.  For example Destiny revs and takes off under moderate acceleration on the GoPro and then we cut to the exact same rev and moderate pull away as filmed on the Canon.

These are two very nice cameras, both with excellent mics, for the average guy or gal to pick up.  Bottom line, they give accurate representations of the exhaust notes.  That said, they are still subtly difference you will likely catch several instances where "this car sounded better on the GoPro this time," or "Destiny coming off the throttle was sick on the Canon that time."

We know that the highway noise (and trains, grrr) kind of interfere, but not everyone has a 1/4 mile of cement behind a warehouse to go play on...We do the best with what we've got.  Plus, the highway hides treasures like another Challenger and a pink hummer limo etc.  See if you can find them while enjoying the sounds!

Just for the record both cars are 5.7L HEMI powered R/Ts.  Ruby has a JLT CAI, fully functional hood scoops ducted in by Cervni, a 91 CAI Tune, and factory exhaust.  Destiny is sporting a MP CAI, fully functional T/A hood, a 91 CAI Tune, and Borla exhaust.  Both cars have the factory cats in place.  You can tell when Destiny was in AutoStick by the increased sound volume coming off the throttle.

Despite the subtle differences, the cars are about as close as you can get mod wise (in terms of the power plant anyway) to a default baseline with two, box-stock Challengers.

Our best advice is to still find someone locally with the exhaust you want and see if they will take you for a drive.  Since the odds of that happening are like not seeing a mustang at a stop light, online resources like LSM and our YouTube archive can be very valuable sources of information...use them and make educated decisions when it comes time to upgrade your Mopar!

If you have a great exhaust comparison video or sound clip of your Mopar post it up on the forum and we may feature it here on LSM News!



Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 00:50