Performance exhaust system ain’t done ‘til the stock marshmallow insulators are upgraded.
Performance aftermarket exhaust is a hot commodity for car enthusiasts. Often times the first performance modification on a car. Some amateurs would focus on the style of the muffler and exhaust tips for aesthetics. We start to hear about the technical terms like axle-, cat-, turbo- backs to material and pipe diameter for the more hardcore fans.
For those who are extremely particular, we would also look at performance gain, fitment, and how well the exhaust system work with the existing hanger locations.
The key and frequently neglected unsound hero in keeping the exhaust system in place are the exhaust insulators, often also refer to as exhaust hangers, that connect the exhaust system to the chassis.
There are metal hangers welded to the exhaust, and hangers on the underbody of the car as well. Just to keep the terminology, let’s call the flexible rubber piece exhaust insulators in this article.
Ever since we installed the amazing Mountune Catback Exhaust (here), we noticed the exhaust tips are sitting too close to the bumper cutout. At the time of installation, we were thinking we would give the system some time to move around to settle a bit after some driving.
A month had gone by, we determined that we need to lower the muffler as it was rubbing against the bumper cutout, and removed the sexy Molten Orange paint in the spot they were touching. The muffler also had more movement than we would like.
The cure is longer, and stiffer insulators.
Hm… longer and stiffer sound contradictory. Does that mean the insulator need to be thicker to increase elastic modulus? The stock hangers are only so wide. The thicker ones might not fit. The cleverer solution is in stiffening up the material of the insulator.
After some dedicated research, we choose Torque Solution Universal 10 mm Extra Long Exhaust Mount (Part # TS-EH-010L). They are made out of polyurethane and has durometer of 75A. 75A is the rubber hardness between running shoe sole and leather belt. 10mm refer to diameter of the hanger holes. Extra long means the hole-to-hole spacing is longer, in this case, it is 20 mm longer than stock.
Polyurethane is a popular performance material that is familiar to enthusiasts; Polyurethane motor mounts, polyurethane sway bar bushings should ring a bell. No doubt this is some good stuff. Stiffer and longer in about the same thickness as stock insulators. Perfect!
Function of Exhaust Insulators
The fundamental function of exhaust insulators is to hold the exhaust system in place to avoid contacting any undercar components at all driving conditions. Sounds simple but a traveling car react to road imperfections in three dimensions with different direction and magnitude. The exhaust system is almost like a free hanging pendulum under the car. To keep it in place, the insulators will need to react to and withstand endless tensile, compression, bending, and twisting forces.
The larger diameter and straighter bends in performance aftermarket exhaust tend to take up more undercar real estate than stock. Thus increase the need for stiffer insulators to not only keeping it in place but also maintaining sufficient air gap between hot exhaust and fuel tank.
How to Do It
Exhaust insulator replacement is very straight forward.
- Exhaust Hanger Removal Pliers, or a plain old plumbing plier in our case
- Penetrating Lubricate like WD-40
- Ramps or jack stands to raise up the car
Time spent: 15 minutes
Cost: $40.50 for three hangers from TorqueSolution.com including shipping.
Here is the Process
Use the information here at your own risk. We take no responsibility and will not be held accountable for any safety issues, or any problems whatsoever. If you are not mechanically talented or never open a hood before, please do not try this on your own. Seek help.
- Raise the backend of car. We used 4” high low profile ramps.
- Make sure the muffler won’t burn off your skin.
- Spray a little WD-40 on the stock insulators.
- First remove the insulator closer to the torsion beam by slightly lifting up the muffler by hand to take weight off of the insulator. Twist and pull the insulator away from the hanger. We find it easier to unhook the top hanger first.
- Lube up the hanger holes of the new insulator with a little WD-40. Install the insulator first on the top hanger using the plier. The most challenging part is to get the insulator through the initial bulged part of the hanger.
- Connect the muffler hanger to the insulator.
- Repeat Step 3 and 6 for the second hanger near the rear bumper.
- Check fitment. Spend a minute to admire your handy work. Done.
Fitment of the muffler is now meeting our high expectations. The tips and the bumper are now perfectly spaced. Movement of the muffler is well-controlled. They eliminated the previous knocks under high lateral-g in bumpy corners. Minor increase in vibration is felt in the passenger compartment but this is the communicative sensation that we adore as the vibration frequency relate to the movement of your right foot.
Lamzgarage Health Tip
A properly mounted aftermarket exhaust system earns more street-cred than those shiny blue-tinted bazooka fart cans. LZG