When it comes to performance modifications, the first thing that might come to mind is an air intake or an exhaust system. These two mods are the best stepping stones toward more power. Intake systems are nice and do provide power, but they don't do too much for onlookers. We want our trucks to catch the eyes and ears of anyone around, so a performance exhaust system will add the bark to go along with the bite.
Gibson Performance has been adding the bark for many years, and since Chevrolet's latest Silverado is the new dog, Gibson had to build a system for it. Not the type to skimp, Gibson not only made headers and one cat-back system, but the company made five. Gibson does this to keep the customers happy by giving choices of style and price.
The headers offer you three different choices, which are 14-gauge steel tubing with a nickel chrome plating, 16-gauge 409L stainless steel with a polished finish, or 16-gauge 409L stainless steel with a ceramic coating. On the cat-back end of things, the options don't stop. Not only are there two different materials to choose from, either aluminized or 409L stainless steel, but also offered are five different exit options (see sidebar). All of this stuff is 50-state legal, meeting EPA and CARB requirements, and won't affect the factory warranty. One last thing that is worth a mention is this whole system is designed with the do-it-yourselfer in mind, so there is no welding or fabrication work necessary to get the pipes under your truck.
What's In The Box?
We chose to go with the 16-gauge 409L ceramic-coated stainless-steel headers and the Dual Sport cat-back system. The truck will be primarily used for towing, so this tailpipe configuration will keep the exhaust from dirtying up the trailer. The headers came with all of the necessary hardware and gaskets for the install. The cat-back system comes with zinc-plated factory-style hangers and clamps, T-304 polished stainless slash tips, and one of Gibson's stainless Superflow mufflers. The muffler features a fully welded, baffled, and chambered T-304 stainless case with some Gibson family secrets inside to produce a nice unrestricted flow without getting too loud.
Part One: The Teardown
Before any wrenches were pulled out of the toolbox, the truck was secured on a lift and left alone to cool off. After about 45 minutes, the exhaust was cool enough work on, so Shawn, our mechanic for the day, started with the headers. The first thing he did was unhook the steering shaft on the driver side and remove the oil dipstick on the passenger side. Then, he unplugged all of the spark plug wires and the collector bolts.
1. With that stuff out of the way, Shawn tackled the manifold bolts with a 13mm socket.
2. Once all of those were removed, he carefully took out the manifolds, making sure not to
3. With the headers out, he moved under the truck to start on the cat-back system. Shawn s
4. To get the system out without tearing the rear suspension apart, Shawn cut the rear sec
5. With the tailpipe section on the ground, the front was unbolted with a 15mm socket.
6. That allowed him to remove the muffler, completing the teardown portion of the job.