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Adding Flair and Functionality to Your Silverado’s Exhaust

Upgrading the exhaust on a Chevrolet Silverado is second nature. Modifying the exhaust system is an extremely affordable way to increase sound quality, longevity of the system, and increased power. Many will opt for a complete aftermarket exhaust system as it covers all bases right away. However, this is far from the only modification you can make to enhance your Silverado. Many aftermarket exhaust upgrades can be purchased to put an emphasis on sound quality, durability and power output, some can even surpass even the best exhaust systems ability to perform on these fronts.2013-5.3l-v8-silverado-with-flowmaster-exhaust-system.JPG

Table of Contents
  1. Silverado Exhaust Cutouts
  2. Installing Exhaust Cutouts
  3. Curiosity Killed the Cat
  4. Silverado Headers
  5. Installing Silverado Headers
  6. Exhaust Tips
  7. Preserving Silverado Exhaust
Shop Silverado Exhaust

Your Silverado's exhaust is comprised of many parts, some of which you can upgrade individually. Full exhaust systems are handy, but when you're looking at exhaust tips and mufflers, you don't need to necessarily upgrade everything at once. Exhaust accessories are a great way to spruce up your Silverado without breaking the bank.

Silverado Exhaust Parts

Silverado Exhaust Cutouts

There are principles of any exhaust system that limit its ability to perform. Exhaust routing, the diameter of the pipes, catalytic converters, and mufflers all play into what keeps the exhaust from flowing properly and can hold the engine back. These are all factors aftermarket systems work to address but will still all have to deal with. Exhaust cut-outs work to bypass all of these obstacles which allow them to surpass the capabilities of most exhaust systems.

Power: By bypassing the exhaust system, power hindering qualities are no longer an issue. The cutouts will reroute the flow of exhaust directly out of the system before even having to encounter the cats, mufflers, or piping. This provides maximum flow and will, therefore, increase horsepower instantly. If electronically controlled by switches, this additional power is within reach of your fingertips.

Sound: The most noticeable change associated with cut-outs will be the sound level. Without the exhaust system, you will hear the raw sound of the engine. This is a much louder note than most exhaust systems can produce. Keep in mind you won’t be hearing a tuned note, and the quality of the sound can fall short of your demands. It is a cost worth paying for when paired with the performance advantage.

Installing Exhaust Cutouts

Installation of cutouts will vary depending on the operation type. With both manual and electronically operated cutouts, you will need to cut a portion of the exhaust out where you will mount them. Installation is the same process as installing an aftermarket muffler from this point. Variation in installation comes with having to wire and connect a switch with electronically controlled units.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Catalytic converters are a known power limiter as they greatly restrict air flow in the exhaust system. Even with an aftermarket exhaust system in place, the cats can prevent any significant gains in power. Many will opt to move to a set of high flow cats for their Silverado or will even delete them altogether.

High Flow Catalytic Converters: High flow cats are a great way to improve the flow of exhaust while maintaining a legal stance for on-road use. These cats are specifically designed to allow a higher flow of exhaust than factory cats while still using a catalyst to keep the vehicle emissions friendly. Alone, you’ll gain power, but for the best results use of an aftermarket exhaust system is highly recommended.

Cat Delete: For the best exhaust flow and power gains, the cats will need to be deleted entirely. A cat delete will simply be a section of exhaust meant to slip in place of the existing catalytic converters. These kits are not emissions friendly and illegal, so they can only be used on pure off-road Silverados.

Silverado Headers

On a Silverado, exhaust manifolds are located on the cylinder head and connect the individual chambers to the exhaust system. The design of an exhaust manifold is not the greatest for producing power because scavenging capabilities and rate of flow are minimal. This is why aftermarket headers are often installed with an aftermarket exhaust system.

Power: Aftermarket headers will feature wider runner tubes that give the individual chambers a better chance to push exhaust to the system. The routing of these runners will also enhance scavenging abilities of the system to allow more air to flow smoothly. Both characteristics will work to increase the power output of the engine.

Sound: The wide pipes of headers will have a small effect on the exhausts sound note. It is not a radical change in most cases but is a great complimentary feature for aftermarket exhaust systems.

Installing Silverado Headers

Installing headers is the most difficult modification you can make to your Silverado’s exhaust system. The manifolds are hard to get at making removing them and installing headers quite time-consuming.

Header Wrap: Before putting aftermarket headers in place it’s worth installing header wrap. This is an easy step to the process and brings sufficient gains to the table. Header wrap works to keep the heat of the system in the headers. This will reduce temperatures in the engine bay and increase the scavenging abilities of the headers which will increase engine power.

Exhaust Tips

Exhaust tips are a super easy modification to make to an exhaust system and delivers on multiple fronts. The most considerable change it will make is to the appearance of the Silverado. Custom tips come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and finishes that can compliment the overall appearance of your Silverado. They also can be used to baffle the exhaust exiting the truck's system, which will have an impact on sound quality.

Preserving Silverado Exhaust

Exhaust systems are just like all other parts of the truck and will have common points of failure. These common points on Silverados can be addressed to proactively work against their failure.

Searching for Wear: Crawling under your truck and looking for problem areas can be a pain but is relatively easy. You will want to look toward the hangers, connecting points, and muffler bodies. Aftermarket hangers can be used in place of factory equipment just like aftermarket mufflers. Weak or questionable connection points can be cleaned and reinforced with strong welds.

Fitment includes: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, LS, LT, WT, SS, Hybrid, Z71, LTZ, XFE, Custom, High Country, RST, Trail Boss