It’s a time-honored tradition for late-model Mustangs. Upgrading to a performance exhaust system not only improves horsepower, it also adds that Mustang-specific exhaust tone that has been so popular since the first 5.0s of the mid 1980s. Now that the SN-95 Mustangs of ’94-’04 are becoming more affordable as used cars, owners are upgrading to a performance exhaust either as a replacement for an aging original system or to replace a previous owner’s attempt with a mismatched hodge-podge of headers, H-pipe (or crossover pipe), mufflers, and tailpipes.
That was the case with Joe Galloway’s ’98 Mustang, an original V-6 coupe with a transplanted 4.6-liter V-8 powertrain. It still had the original 4.6 exhaust manifolds and H-pipe, but the cat-back duals were a left-over from the car’s V-6 days. The system hung too low, causing conflicts with speed bumps, and it was just too loud with the V-8. A new performance exhaust system from front to back would alleviate all of the problems, not to mention adding power with long-tube headers and high-flow catalytic converters.
For his new exhaust, Joe ordered a set of chrome long-tube headers (part number 1541) and catalytic H-pipe (1538) from BBK Performance. Shorter than the factory H-pipe, the BBK version adapts perfectly to the long-tube headers and clears the ’94-’98 double-hump transmission crossmember (later ’99-’04 Mustangs use a smaller crossmember, so make sure the headers are designed for the earlier version). At the rear, a MagnaFlow cat-back system (part number 15638) features stainless steel construction for long-lasting durability and a smooth, deep exhaust tone that doesn’t drown out interior conversations with unwanted drone.
For technical expertise, we headed to Lamotta Performance in Orlando, Florida, where Jake Lamotta has been modifying and tuning late-model Mustangs since the hey-day of 5.0 Mustangs in the 1980s. Jake has installed many a performance exhaust, so we knew we could depend on him and his crew for an expert installation.