What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?
Illustration for article titled Follow Along As a Custom Exhaust is Fabricated

I can’t help but wonder why enthusiasts are willing to spend so much on a simple item like a muffler and pipes. I’m not talking about exhaust manifolds or downpipes, because clearly that takes a little engineering and R&D. What I’m talking about are cat back exhausts. Paying over a grand for eight feet of piping is ludicrous for the little bonus power. Let’s face it, what we really want is to make a little more noise.


After less than a week with my 328i 6MT I’ve found myself having trouble rev matching cleanly and as much as I’d love to blame the driver, I’m chalking it up to lack of engine and exhaust noise. I simply can’t hear what the engine is doing, other than ticking at idle. The varying throttle maps between Sport, Comfort and Eco don’t help either.

So my budget resolution is to slap on an exhaust and perhaps an high flow intake system. Followed shortly after by a tune, no doubt.


Back on topic, there are many talented fabricators and exhaust shops nation wide. Any one of them worth their salt can cleanly bend pipes without bottlenecks and lay clean welds. The only real decision then is choosing a muffler and style of tips. The latter I find to be much more painful.

If you’re wondering how much a full custom exhaust would actually cost, I’m here to tell you that you should be paying no more than $500 for a cat back made of stainless steel piping, that bolts or slips on to the existing down pipe/header and is comprised of a quality muffler such as a Magnaflow straight through and two very nice exhaust tips.


In my case, tomorrow morning I am dropping my 328i 6MT Sportline off at a local reputable exhaust shop and having a custom axle back fabricated for a few hundred bucks less and should take less than 2 hours from start to finish.

The requirements were simple.

  1. Zero bottlenecks
  2. Little to no drone
  3. Perfectly centered exhaust tips

The tips, I have yet to choose. We looked at a few options this morning and I’ll be deciding on a set tomorrow morning when the car is up in the air.


If you’d like to tune in to a live feed of the build with pics and maybe some video, follow me on Twitter @JoshTaylorUSA starting at 9:30 AM EST. Might upload some pics on Instagram as well, also username JoshTaylorUSA.

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