C6 Corvette Exhaust DIY from the Forums Will Help You Get the Job Done
Aftermarket exhaust setups will give your Corvette the thundering rumble it deserves.
While the C6 Corvette comes with a good-sounding exhaust system, freer-flowing pipes are one of the most common upgrades for the famous Chevy sports car. Adding headers and a full exhaust system offers a variety of advantages, including more exhaust volume, more power through better exhaust flow and a unique look out back.
The only downside to a full exhaust system upgrade is cost. Between buying all of the parts and paying a shop to install everything, upgrading the full exhaust can be expensive, but this is a project that an owner with simple tools and modest mechanical experience can tackle in their garage or driveway. It might sound daunting to remove the entire exhaust system from the engine to the rear of the car, but as this how-to write-up by “JayPlaySS2” shows, it really is a basic swap.
When the OP first introduced us to the project of installing headers, a new mid-pipe and an axle-back system in his C6 Corvette, he explained the objective of his write-up along with offering some info on his car and himself.
I’m not really sure why I’m doing this except to help inspire some of you guys to grab a set of tools and jump right in.
My current C6 is an 06 LS2 M6 with –
Self ported TB
Bare Essentials Catch can
Corsa axle back (actually removed and sold to Bob)
I have serious plans for the car but I am taking it one step at a time. I also just had my 1st child, a little girl (actually 7months old-) and I want to have a car to build and fool around with as she grows up.
This step is really only –
Dynatech C6Z 1 7/8 headers w/off road 3″ X pipe (thanks Jeremy @ HPS)
GHL C6Z full 3″ axle back (thanks Jeff @ GHL for a smoking deal!!!)
He also included a few pictures of his car, including some shots of the rear end without any exhaust tips (above).
Once the install was complete, the OP put together a list of the tools and miscellaneous items needed for the install.
- 3/8 drive [ratchet] for most here
- 13mm for the header bolts (deep and short socket) and midpipe hanger bolts.
- 15mm (deep) for the exhaust bolts (pretty much everywhere)
- 1 basic 6 inch extension
- Spark plug socket
- 7/8 wrench for the 02’s (IIRC)
- 15mm (short) for the oil dipstick bolt
- 10mm (deep 1/4 drive and socket to clear alternator) for the coil removal bolts (if you choose)
- Another important part is an EXTRA extension with a 17mm or larger socket to use for leverage on the ratchet. Put the 17mm socket ove the ratchet (with the extension inserted) and use to break loose or when securing the big exhaust clamps.
- I will measure the (2) jackstands in the 3rd position- 18″ total is all I needed for the whole job as well as a floor jack.
- Also need WD40 to ease removal of exhaust from the rubber mounts, trust me, I used Royal Purple actually.
- Other items you’ll need-
- Zip ties for securing the 02 extension wires OFF the exhaust
- Wood for jacking under the aluminum
The OP offers us a look at the engine bay in stock form, along with a look at the headers and mid-pipe prior to the install. He mentions that the rear-most portion of his exhaust system was already removed and sold, so to remove the rest of the system, he only had to remove the mid-pipe and the manifolds. The mid-pipe simply unbolts from the manifolds and the brackets. After that, the manifolds are ready to be removed.
The first step of the removal is to clear out the engine bay to make accessing the manifolds easier. This includes removing the plug wires, spark plugs, oil dipstick, coil packs and the O2 sensors in the stock manifolds. Once those items are removed, the manifold bolts are easy to access. After soaking them all in WD-40, the OP broke them loose and the stock manifolds were free of the cylinder heads. Once free of the engine, the manifolds just drop down through the bottom of the chassis and at that point, all of the exhaust system components are out of the car.
Before the OP installed his new exhaust parts, he did some work on the headers gaskets. He used the stock manifold gaskets, but he noticed that the opening in the gaskets were smaller than the openings in the headers, so he enlarged the gasket openings. As you can see in the images below, it made a pretty significant difference in the overall size of the opening, so this is something that everyone should look into during this project. It will improve exhaust flow and prevent premature gasket failure.
The OP showed off the new axle-back system in all its chromey goodness before installing everything in his C6 Corvette. The headers feed up through the bottom and bolt up with “no drama”, using the same hardware. Once the headers are bolted up, the mid-pipes are next and finally, the axle-back components are bolted in and placed in their hangers.
Once the piping is all bolted together and tightened up into place, you need to re-install the items under the hood that were removed to create clearance around the exhaust manifold bolts.
After installing the new parts, the OP shared this humorous review of his new exhaust system.
Now for my review-
It sounded like Jesus himself was returning when I started it. This is BY FAR the loudest car I’ve had. I will get vids tomorrow but it is loud. There is little drone and it sounds amazing under WOT.
Now I need to find a vendor who is running a good mail order tune special. Anyone know of a cheap one..? I am really out of money.
Click here to read through the entire thread for a closer look at the process of installing new headers, mid-pipes and axle-back system on the C6 Corvette.