2019 Top 10 Best Exhausts for Fox Body Mustang

When it comes to Fox Body Mustangs, everyone loves how they sound. Fox Body Mustangs are known for their unique sounding engine. I have yet to hear another V8 that sounds like a Fox Body V8 in my life. If it has stock exhaust, however, you won’t be able to hear it at all. Not only Is the stock exhaust super quiet, but it’s also very restrictive. There are a lot of different exhaust systems out there, we did all the research and compiled it into one list. This article can be a little bit lengthy, but you can jump to different sections here:

Why Buy an Exhaust?
Best Headers
Best Cat-Backs
Best Mid-Pipes
Long Tube vs Short Tube
X-Pipe vs H-Pipe

Why Buy an Aftermarket Exhaust?

There are a few good reasons to buy an aftermarket exhaust. We think the obvious reason for upgrading your exhaust it to gain more horsepower. Aftermarket exhaust systems can add upwards of 40 horsepower to your engine. This is especially true if you also invest in a nice set of headers to complement your new cat-back system. The sound is another reason to upgrade your exhaust system. The factory exhaust is extremely quiet and who likes a quiet muscle car?

Something that many people don’t realize is how heavy stock exhaust systems can be, especially on older cars with questionable exhaust designs. Switching to a quality aftermarket exhaust can save you up to 30 lbs in weight. Generally speaking, aftermarket exhaust systems are around 15 lbs lighter than stock exhausts.

Best Headers

Quality headers can make a massive improvement in performance, especially when paired with performance cylinder heads. Aftermarket headers can also increase overall exhaust volume thanks to their much larger tubing diameter.

#1 BBK 1-5/8″ Long Tube Headers

First up on our list of headers are the BBK 1-5/8 long tubes. These headers feature CNC mandrel bent tubing built to aircraft quality standards. BBK uses a combination of robotic and hand welding to achieve the best welds possible. They also include new gaskets and hardware (where applicable) to help give you the perfect fit.

Although these headers are a bit pricey at $400 we think, they’re worth it. After poor experiences with lower quality headers, we recommend these BBK headers. If you’re pushing big horsepower, they even offer a 1-3/4″ version of these headers for improved power.
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#2 PaceSetter 1-5/8″ Long Tube Headers

Second on our list is the PaceSetter 1-5/8″ long tubes. We wanted to include a budget-friendly set of long tube headers on this list, and we think PaceSetter is the best choice. These headers feature mandrel bent, mild steel tubing. Like the BBK headers, these also include all the necessary hardware for installation.

Coming in at around $250 these headers are significantly cheaper than the BBK long tube headers. However, the lower build quality and arguably ugly finish make these headers much less desirable. If you’re on a budget, however, these headers will be perfect.
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#3 Hooker Super Comp 1-3/4” Long Tube Headers

Although ceramic coated headers are often far more expensive than standard headers, the thermal benefits are worth the cost. For this reason, we wanted to include these Hooker Super Comp headers. Hooker offers a plethora of header for different engines, but these specific headers are designed for use with a 302ci engine. If you have a 351w powered Fox, Hooker has you covered.

Just like the other headers on this list, the Hooker headers use mandrel bent tubing which helps ensure the best possible flow. The ceramic coating is what makes these headers so special. The ceramic coating reduces the amount of heat the headers put off, meaning all the other components in your engine bay, especially near the headers, will be subjected to less heat. Less heat means lower intake air temperatures and lower coolant temperatures.

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#4 BBK 1-5/8″ Short Tube Headers

Fourth on our list is the BBK 1-5/8″ short tubes. These headers featured the same CNC mandrel bent, aircraft quality tubing as BBK long tubes. They also feature the same combination of robotic and hand welds for the best possible quality. New gaskets and hardware are included (where applicable) to give you the perfect fit.

These headers come in around $200. Although this is relatively expensive for a set of short tube headers, it’s cheaper than the PaceSetter long tube headers. I would recommend these BBK short tubes over the PaceSetter long tubes.
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#5 Maxon Auto Short Tube Headers

Last but certainly not least are the Maxon Auto short tubes. We wanted to feature some cheap short tube headers for anyone who is on a tight budget. These headers come in at less than $100. Although the build quality might be questionable, these headers are perfect if you’re on a budget.
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Best Cat-Backs

Much like headers, a quality cat-back system can make a massive improvement in performance. Some cat-backs have an “H-Pipe,” and some have an “X-Pipe,” we prefer systems with an X-Pipe.

#1 Flowmaster American Thunder Cat-Back

First, up our list is the American Thunder cat-back from Flowmaster. We had this exact cat-back with BBK short tube headers on our 1991 Fox Body. This exhaust sound the American Thunder system gives is amazing. It’s made out of 16 gauge mandrel bent steel and has been tested by Flowmaster for the best possible performance.

This system also features those iconic chrome tips that we all know and love. This cat-back system comes in around $450, and I would highly recommend this cat-back to all Fox Body owners.
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#2 Magnaflow 2.5″ Cat-Back

Second on our list is the Magnaflow 2.5″ Cat-Back. Magnaflow provides a unique sounding exhaust. I am not a big fan of the sound, but many people are. This exhaust is made of high quality 2.5″ stainless steel and is backed by a lifetime warranty.

This system also features the chrome tips we all love. The Magnaflow cat-back system comes in around $550. That price might seem a little steep, but you need to remember that Magnaflow makes extremely high-quality products that they back with an awesome warranty.
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These are the only two cat-back systems that we recommend. There are other cat-back systems out there, but Flowmaster and Magnaflow are unquestionably the best.

Best Mid-Pipes

Stock “mid-pipes” are generally the biggest power loss in the entire exhaust system. Catalytic converters are known to kill power, especially in ‘90s vehicles like the Fox Body Mustang. Aftermarket companies have worked hard to build catalytic converters that still meet emissions regulations while improving overall performance.

#1 BBK 2.5” Catted H-Pipe

First up on our list is the BBK 2.5” Catted H-Pipe. This mid-pipe is great if you need to pass emissions, but you also need performance. This mid-pipe is 2.5” in diameter and flows way better than stock. These mid-pipes are advertised to gain about 15 horsepower, but we think it might be a little closer to 10 horsepower.
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#2 BBK 2.5” Uncatted H-Pipe

Second on our list is the BBK uncatted H-Pipe. This mid-pipe is great for those of us who plan on using our Fox Body for track use. If you live in an area where emissions aren’t necessary there isn’t a reason to run an uncatted system. This mid-pipe features the same 2.5” tubing diameter as the catted version. They are advertised to gain about 15 horsepower, and we believe that as catalytic converters kill power.
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#3 BBK 2.5” Catted X-Pipe

Third on our list is the BBK 2.5” Catted X-Pipe. This mid-pipe is great if you need to pass emissions, but you need the sound and performance of an x-pipe. This mid-pipe has a 2.5” diameter just like pretty much all BBK products and advertise 35% better blow compared to stock. I know a couple of people who have run these mid-pipes, and they love them. I would recommend this kit to anyone who needs to pass emissions but needs the most performance possible.
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#4 BBK 2.5” Uncatted X-Pipe

Last but certainly not least is the BBK uncatted X-Pipe. We ran this mid-pipe on our Fox Body Mustang and loved the power and sound. I would strongly recommend this mid-pipe to anyone who lives in an area that doesn’t have any emissions.
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Long Tube vs Short Tube

In case you didn’t know there are two fundamentally different types of headers. This can cause confusion especially for someone who isn’t familiar with aftermarket exhaust systems. Short tube headers are about as short as stock headers. This means that you can use them with a stock exhaust/catalytic converters. Short tube headers are good at making low-end torque, and they’re used in many turbo setups.

Long tube headers are significantly longer than stock style headers. These produce much more sound as well as much more top end power than short tube headers. To use long tube headers, you need to have a mid-pipe that’s designed for long tube headers specifically. If you’re going for the most power possible, you’ll want long tube headers.

X-Pipe vs H-Pipe

There are also two different types of mid-pipes. Technically there are four different types of mid-pipes, but two of the designs have pretty much been phased out of existence. True dual mid-pipes were very common back in the day, and the exhaust from either side of the engine never crossed each other. This design has since been phased out since it lacks actual performance.

X-Pipes are regarded as the best mid-pipe design since it provides the best overall power. The H-Pipe design, however, is arguably better sounding. You’ll have to do a little bit of research on YouTube to find out which design you like more. Here at Dust Runners, we’re very performance oriented, so the X-Pipe design is the only way to go for us.

About Bryce Cleveland 276 Articles
Bryce founded Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 as a way to write about the cars he found interesting. When he's not writing for Dust Runners he's writing for Power Automedia as a freelancer. He currently drives a 2015 Fiesta ST and absolutely loves it.

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