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How To Do a Muffler Delete – Step-by-Step Guide

As far as car mods go, a muffler delete is probably the best bang-for-your-buck that you can get. It makes a huge difference in sound and loudness, while only taking up an hour or two of your time. To add even further, you can easily do most of it in your driveway with only a few hand tools.

Now, before we get on with the muffler delete How-To, there are a few things that you should consider first.

You’ll Need to Fabricate a New Pipe in Place of the Muffler

This is by far the most annoying part of the muffler delete. However, it has to be done.

Apart from reducing sound, the muffler extends the exhaust pipe past the bumper. With the muffler deleted, your exhaust will end underneath the car, somewhere along the rear axle. This is a big problem because the hot exhaust gases will cook your fuel tank, which is not only illegal but also dangerous.

To prevent that, you’ll need to replace the muffler with a pipe. Thus, you have two options: fabricate the new pipe yourself or pay a muffler shop to do it for you.

To fabricate the pipe yourself, you’ll need a welder at the very least, and a hydraulic pipe bender if you want to do it properly. Thus, unless you have a welder, you’ll have to pay a muffler shop to do it for you.

Some Cars Sound Better With a Muffler

Muffler deletes are loud (obviously), therefore they’re best done on turbocharged cars, V6s, and V8s. I personally would not recommend doing a muffler delete on a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder (unless it’s a Boxer with uneven headers), as it will probably be too loud and only highlight the high-pitched, shrieking exhaust frequencies that most people hate about them.

In that case, you might be better off with getting a chambered style muffler that is specifically designed to highlight better-sounding exhaust notes on 4-cylinder engines.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and check it out yourself. The best part about the muffler delete is that you can put the muffler back on just as easily.


Tools & Things That You Will Need

  1. Exhaust Clamp;
  2. A New Pipe to Replace the Muffler;
  3. Exhaust Tip (optional);
  4. Exhaust Pipe Chain Cutter (if your muffler is welded to the exhaust pipe);
  5. Hammer;
  6. Pry Bar or Channel Lock Pliers;
  7. Socket Set & a Ratchet;
  8. Floor Jack;
  9. Jack Stands.

1. Exhaust Clamp

An exhaust clamp is by far the easiest way to join two pipes together. It’s cheap (under 10$) and it can be removed at any time. Make sure that you get the same diameter exhaust clamp as your exhaust pipe.

You can use a welder if you have one available, but the exhaust clamp is a much easier and more practical solution – especially if you plan on putting the muffler back later on.

2. A New Pipe to Replace the Muffler

There’s no going around this one, unfortunately. You can remove the muffler and simply try out whether you’ll like the sound, but you shouldn’t drive around with the exhaust pipe just cut off somewhere underneath the car. You’ll have to extend the exhaust pipe past the rear bumper.

Fabricating a new pipe requires a welder, a pipe bender, and some mechanical know-how. Unless you want to save money and you know what you’re doing, paying a muffler shop to do it for you is definitely the way to go.

3. Exhaust Tip (optional)

This one is optional, but a plain exhaust pipe end looks way too small on its own. You can make it look significantly better by installing an exhaust tip – it’s a cheap and easy-to-install way to finish off the muffler delete.  

4. Exhaust Pipe Chain Cutter (if your muffler is welded to the exhaust pipe)

This tool is optional as the muffler on most cars is attached to the exhaust pipe either via a clamp or a flange. However, if your muffler is welded to the exhaust pipe, you’ll have to cut it off.

This tool is incredibly simple to use, cheap, and very effective. It uses a chain with cutting discs to slowly work its way through the pipe, therefore it takes some time and effort. However, the end result is worth it, as you’ll always get a clean and straight cut.

If you already have an angle grinder or a reciprocating saw, then an exhaust pipe cutter might not be necessary, however, I’d still use the chain cutter because it will cut the pipe nice and straight.

5. Hammer

Exhaust components are subjected to the harshest conditions – high heat, moisture, road salt, etc. Because of that, it’s very likely that your muffler clamp and/or hardware will be rusty and very difficult to remove. Luckily, a few taps with a hammer will help it get unstuck.

6. Pry Bar or Channel Lock Pliers

Rubber exhaust hangers are a pain in the butt to remove. To make your life easier, a pry bar or Channellock pliers are highly recommended for the job.


How To Do a Muffler Delete

1. Jack the Car up & Put It on Jack Stands

Make sure to park the car on level ground – getting crushed by a car is no joke. Give the car a shake in order to test if it’s securely resting on the jack stands.

Make sure it won’t start rolling and fall on you by engaging the parking brake and placing the transmission in Park or 1st gear if it’s a manual. Don’t forget to block off the front wheels if you aren’t lifting the front of the car.

2. Locate Your Muffler Hardware

OEM Volvo S60 muffler that is connected to the exhaust pipe via a clamp.

There are three ways that your muffler will be attached to the exhaust pipe – a flange, a clamp, or welded permanently. In this case – it’s attached with a clamp.

3. Put Something Underneath the Exhaust Pipe to Make Sure It Doesn’t Fall

On most cars, the whole exhaust system is held on with two hangers – one in the middle and the other one at the muffler. Depending on the design and placement of the middle hanger, once you remove the muffler, the exhaust pipe might fall down as the muffler is no longer supporting it. To prevent that, place something underneath the exhaust pipe to hold it in place.

4. Loosen the Bolts on the Muffler Clamp/Flange

Removing a bolt on an exhaust clamp with a socket and a ratchet.

The bolts will be rusty, therefore you’ll need a long ratchet or a cheater bar to get them off. Try hitting the ratchet with your palm as opposed to applying constant pressure – the extra momentum helps a lot in loosening stuck bolts.

5. Cut Off the Muffler (if it’s welded to the exhaust pipe)

*Skip this step if your muffler isn’t permanently welded to the exhaust pipe*

If it is welded, locate a straight section of the exhaust pipe closest to the muffler. Make sure that after cutting the muffler off, you’ll leave plenty of space for a new pipe that will replace the muffler.

A marked location on where to cut the muffler off.

In this case, I would cut the muffler here.

6. Remove the Rubber Exhaust Hanger That’s Holding the Muffler

Using channel lock style pliers to remove the rubber exhaust hanger.

These mounts are VERY difficult to remove and will make you swear at least once. However, you can easily remove them with proper tools. If you have channel locks, use them to slide the rubber mount away. Otherwise, you can use a pry bar to push the rubber hanger out.

7. Remove the Muffler

OEM muffler removed from the exhaust pipe.

With everything removed, try sliding the muffler out from the exhaust pipe. If the muffler was attached to the exhaust pipe with a clamp, it will be rusty and difficult to remove. Try hitting the clamp with a hammer to help shake things loose.

8. Get a New Pipe Fabricated at an Exhaust Shop or Do It Yourself

This is the most annoying part of the muffler delete. Now that there’s no muffler, the end of the exhaust pipe is now located somewhere under the rear axle. Not only is it dangerous, as the hot exhaust gases will cook your gas tank, but it looks janky and is illegal.

You’ll need a new pipe fabricated in order to extend the exhaust pipe past the rear bumper. You can do this yourself or pay a muffler shop to do it for you. In my case, I quickly booger-welded a temporary pipe myself to test if I’d like driving with a muffler delete for a week.

If you decide to pay the professionals to do it, then you’ve reached the end of the How-To. But if you decided to fab up your own pipe, then continue to the next step.

9. Put the New Exhaust Clamp On to the Exhaust Pipe

A new exhaust clamp connected to an exhaust pipe.

Once you have a new pipe fabricated, you’ll need to connect it to the exhaust pipe. An exhaust clamp is the best way to do it as it‘s cheap and can be removed at any time.

10. Insert the New Pipe Into the Clamp & Tighten the Bolts

A new exhaust pipe end connected to the old exhaust pipe via an exhaust clamp.

11. Connect the New Pipe to the Exhaust Hanger

Connecting the hanger of a new exhaust pipe end to a rubber exhaust hanger.

11. Install an Exhaust Tip (Optional)

Exhaust pipes look too small and plain on their own, that‘s why you might want to put an exhaust tip at the end of it. It‘s completely optional, but your car will look significantly better that way.

12. Done!


Conclusion

You’ve reached the end of the How-To, congratulations on your muffler delete!

It took me around 2 hours total, including welding and bending the pipe to fit, and has cost me under 20$. Interestingly, the loudness of the exhaust sound changes according to ambient air and engine temperature, with cold being the loudest and hot the opposite.

In case you’re wondering, there was no noticeable increase or decrease in engine power. However, some naturally aspirated engines require some backpressure for maximum power, therefore a muffler delete might reduce HP on some cars.

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