Ok…so you got your 2002 running OK, and wanna add a bit more power, maybe give it a more menacing sound…So you look at the exhaust system. Your first thought is to unbolt the stock system, put on some large piped headers and 3 inch exhaust all the way to the back….if you do you will be VERY disappointed! If you put pipe in thats too big, you will lose back pressure which helps the 2002 motor. So the idea is to free it up a bit, but not too much. The free flowing exhaust helps it at high RPM’s…the back pressure helps torque at low RPM’s. So if the pipe is too large for your motor, it wont get to the high RPM’s where it can take advantage of the free flowing characteristics. On the flip side, if you have a pretty well built motor, then too small of an exhaust pipe will be ok at low revs, but will be too restrictive when it gets into the higher RPM range where your built motor will want to live. So its a happy balance that you will need to find for your motor. The 2002 STOCK system is actually VERY good. Its efficient and flows very well. The tii exhaust manifold is a nice upgrade for more flow. The larger the pipes on the exhaust manifold or header the more top end performance you will get, at the expense of low end torque. If you have a modded engine, then it may compensate for it…if its relatively stock, it’ll lose power. It will lose on the low end and never get high enough in the RPM range to take advantage of the extra breathing. So what can you do? Here are a few systems that may benefit you.
1.Stock Engine to slight engine mods.
If you have a stock engine or maybe a bigger carb..stock cam…you can go with the Tii manifold. It will give you a tad more breathing, a bit more power and no loss of torque on the low end. For sound, you can go with an Ansa Sport muffler..it will get loud if your center resonator is worn, so you may need a new one of those as well. This is a nice system, a bit more sound, but still not too loud.
2.Mildly modified engines
a.If you have a 284 cam and a Weber 32/36 or 38/38 you can use the Tii exhaust manifold as well or go with small diameter pipe headers. The headers will give you more flow and if you plan to do more upgrades in the future are a good modification. The rest is now getting into dangerous territory. If you go stock resonator and muffler, it will get you a bit more power, but still not enough…if you go 2.5” pipe you are limited by the muffler options…if its not done right it will be VERY loud…The easiest option is the Ireland Sport exhaust..comes with center mufflers, and rear muffler and will not be too loud. It will have a nice deep growl…and not bad for about $300…
b.Headers/Tii manifold and Factory Turbo Exhaust. This is what the factory put on the 2002 Turbo’s. Its got 2.5” piping from the header and is made to look just like your stock system, just bigger pipe and freer flowing. No downside except the price of $500+.
c.Custom…This is hit or miss…you can stick the largest center resonator you can find and fit the biggest rear muffler that will fit…it still may be very loud and have a buzzy resonance at freeway speeds.
3.Highly modified engines.
If you have a 292 or bigger cam and dual carbs or even a hot fuel injection setup, then the headers and Ireland exhaust or Turbo exhaust is probably the way to go…lots of breathing.
Any more options? Yes!
For mufflers there are a few:
1.Sebring – If ou can find one, its a very European sounding muffler, not too loud, people say it sounds like an early MG. They are not made anymore so getting hard to find.
2.Ansa Sport – Ansa made 2 models, one large one for the 74-76 2002 and a smaller one for the early 02’s. The difference other than size was the mounting points. The larger model is no longer made, but the smaller version is. Some people modify the smaller one to fit in the later cars…it works but reports are its a bit loud.
3.Scorpion – Its an option, looks similar to the Ansa to me, but I have not heard much about it…its a bit pricey, about $500 for muffler alone.
4.Stebro – Another one that I have not heard personally, but its very well respected…Costly, but looks very well made. About $500 for the muffler, another $500 for the center resonator.
Hope that helps on exhaust systems. For me, I have the Ireland headers and a LOUD custom system….for now.. I plan on replacing the center and rear mufflers soon…VERY soon….I am leaning towards the Ireland system, although the Turbo system is tempting.