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Cheap vs. Expensive Mufflers: What to Know

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 1/9/2017 Phillip Thomas

In this episode of Engine Masters, presented by AMSOIL and sponsored by Mr. Gasket and Earl's Vapor Guard, we take a second look at the old exhaust sizing debate with an everyday-man's small-block. We're here to try two different theories: First, with a mild ~350hp Chevy small-block, what power difference could you see with a 2.5-inch vs. 3-inch exhaust diameter; and second, is that shiny, flow-through stainless muffler worth the extra bucks over your conventional chambered muffler?

If this sound familiar, it's because we played with exhaust sizing black magic in episode nine of Engine Masters, but our test subject was a rowdy, 600hp big-block Chevy -- something a few ticks above what the average guy might have in a street car. Even with under-400hp worth of air to move through our mouse motor, will David Freiburger, Steve Dulcich, and Westech's Steve Brul get caught by the backpressure monster?

We'll not only test exhaust diameter, but also muffler types.Muffler manufacturers will tell you that your moolah also buys horsepower -- not just better materials and more noise -- but just how big of a difference is there between a high-quality flow-through muffler and a traditional chambered muffler? We grab a $40 Thush Hush, and a $100 MagnaFlow stainless muffler to see just how much that extra bit of horsepower is worth to you!

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