...what we’ve been doing on our summer vacation.
We were good little consumers, and actually spent most of our economic stimulus payment. It came at a good time; there are a lot of upgrades we’d like to have for the truck and trailer and that’s what most of the money went for.
First up was improving the truck performance by changing out the air intake and exhaust. We’d already purchased the air intake, a monster that Ford sells for heavy duty use. As it’s a Ford-approved part, installing it was easy-peasy, except when I over-torqued the battery mount bolt and cracked the fitting. I think we need a better low-end torque wrench, that’s what I think.
You get minutely better mileage and performance improving the air intake, but for the best results you have to improve the exhaust too. Makes sense; more air in has to have someplace to go and the factory exhaust is, well, small isn’t exactly the right word. Perhaps – not huge.
Which leads us to buying and installing a 4 inch exhaust from MBRP. The main complaint about this exhaust system is that it isn’t loud enough for the diesel aficionados: “Looks tons better but is not much louder, I am slightly disappointed.....” We have a winner!
J wrote up the install experience for the FTE forums.
6/8/08 This weekend I prove I am a moron.
It's been a cool spring, almost cold. We had 70 degree weather and rain most of last week.
Saturday I went to install the 4 inch MBRP exhaust we bought on the truck. It was 93 with high humidity. The asphalt parking lot I do my work in isn't shaded. I have burn marks from rolling out from under the semi-cool of the truck onto the asphalt. Two days later I have only the story of the good the bad and the short.
I got the stock exhaust off the truck without killing myself; oh sure there was the fun times when the cutting wheel got bound up in the exhaust pipe and pulled itself out of my hands and hit the ground spinning toward my shoulder. I didn't know I could move that fast any more. (No harm done, just scared my neighbor out of a year's growth.)
But getting the downpipe down was fun. I looked at it looked at my short fingered wide set hands (more like some sort of paw, really) and said to myself (It was hot I was talking to myself it happens). "I'm not going to get that apart with these paws I need clever monkey paws for this." It was hot so I didn't filter when I told the wife:
"I need your clever monkey paws to get the downpipe lose." She took it well and got the pipe loose; a couple of love taps with a hammer and down it dropped. (It’s a compliment – I was charmed. –C)
I didn't get the new exhaust installed. Oh getting the downpipe (4 inches across – the one we took out of a tight space was 3 inches across) up was beyond my limited agility but again the clever monkey-pawed wife just gave it a twist and a shove and up it goes. There are reasons why home improvement is divided into demolition (me) and build (her) phases. (There was a lot of pondering involved. I actually got underneath the truck – proves how much I love him – and shoved at the thing and thought and shoved and twisted and thought and went in and read up on it on the forums and came back out and looked at it from the top, and well hey, if I can just twist it a little more forward.. and twiiist and puush and pop up it went and sat there looking like it had always had plenty of room, what was the problem. -C)
And while the tail pipe doesn't quite fit the truck -- we have a chassis body so my fuel tank is all the way out where a normal F350 has the spare tire so getting the tail pipe in is a major nightmare -- we were able to get it into place with minor modifications. So while there was plenty of bad including another brush with the cutting wheel (I need to have a witch doctor exorcise my power tools, they're trying to kill me) there was still no blood drawn.
No, the issue is the exhaust is short. I thought it might be; we have a 176 inch wheelbase not the more normal 172 inch configuration of the truck. OK, so I had it in mind that I might have to get an extension for the pipes. No biggie. And mostly when we laid it out that appeared to be the issue.
And that is 90 percent of the issue I need to add in 8 inches or so of pipe. No worries bolt up the downpipe and the midpipe move the truck out of the lot I'm working in and go get a pipe.
Hold up there, Skippy. Get the tailpipe into place and find that yeah I can get there but it sits 1 inch off the rear tires and is only 6 inches or so off the ground at the end. My fuel tank is in the way of being able to pull it back farther and make that 8 inches more like 10 inches and clear everything.
So in the morning I'll call the company and see what they suggest and see if there is a decent exhaust shop in the area because the rest of it is in, it's just short and maybe bent a bit wrong at the end.
We called the company and got a quote to ship a kit that might work, and might arrive two weeks after we needed the truck to tow the trailer. “They want HOW MUCH?!?” After that brief conversation, we called a local performance shop (Pokes Performance, in Frazier – very nice: fast, pleasant to deal with, and reasonable to boot.) With some consultation we decided to route the exhaust in front of the tires. It could have been run further back, but the expert raised the possibility that a bad bump could crush the exhaust, and that was enough to convince us that shorter was better.
They did an excellent job. It looks great, and interestingly it’s actually a little quieter in the cab than it used to be (not outside, though, if we ever hit a deer it will be because the deer was suicidal – there’s no way not to hear us coming.) The performance is greatly improved; the truck doesn’t lug nearly as much at lower RPMs and we got an extra 2 mpg towing on the short trip just past. Fun times, and more to come!