I am getting closer to the end of the restoration/customization work on my '89 S-10. Over the past months, I've tuned up the motor, dropped the suspension, had it painted, and installed a bunch of restoration parts. The truck is no longer an embarrassment to drive and is actually turning heads and getting some looks. One thing that was still posing a problem was the exhaust. With over 170,000 miles on the odometer, the catalytic converter has had a bunch of exhaust pushed through it and has to be close to death by now. Also, the muffler is just a stock replacement and is way too quiet for our performance-tuned ears.

Obviously, I need to bring the exhaust system up to speed but without completely emptying my bank account. I contacted MagnaFlow for the components on this budget-minded install. I went with a satin-finished universal muffler and weld-in catalytic converter instead of the polished, bolt-on styles. The performance will be the same but at a lower cost because I'm not paying for flanges and the man-hours needed to polish the stainless. I'll be giving up a little performance by not having mandrel-bent tubing, but I'm willing to sacrifice that in lieu of money. The $136.00 muffler from MagnaFlow features a straight-through design for a free-flowing exhaust with stainless wool and other sound-absorbing materials inside to quiet the sound. The cat is legal in all 50 states on OBD-I vehicles like my dime and only set me back $175.00. The bolt-on-style converter cost $311.10 and the polished muffler cost $193.05, so I saved $193.02. Instead of pocketing that money, I decided to pick up a rolled, double-wall T304 stainless tip to add a little flash to the back of the truck. The tip is a little pricey at $176.37, but I just couldn't help myself.

To get these parts in the truck, I contacted David Bechtel who owns D&A Speedway Muffler in Gardena, California. I've known David for a long time now, and the work that comes out of his shop is spot-on. He was nice enough to let me invade his pit with my camera to shoot Wayne Wright doing the work. David was busy grinding on a '50 Chevy truck frame and was in a groove, so he put Wayne on the job. When it was all done, I forked over $175 for the work and drove off smoking the tire. The performance increase was very noticeable, and the tone was surprisingly deep for a V-6. Just off of idle the truck now has a performance sound, and on the highway there is zero drone in the cab even without carpet.

What's In The Box?
Here's the stuff I got from MagnaFlow. The muffler has performance features like a straight-through design for free-flowing exhaust and stainless steel materials for long life. The cat is a replacement piece but with a lot more strength designed into the case to prevent the internals from breaking. The tip was a personal splurge, but being stainless and double-walled it will stay shiny for a long time.