OK, so I finally got the motivation to sit down and write this out. I decided to go to a shop to get the exhaust installed. I didn't have the time or the tools to do it. The shop promised me that it'd be done in a day and a half, which would get me on the road to Baltimore on schedule. It was kind of a bummer not to install this system myself, but I was on a tight schedule. So to make a long story short, the shop wasn't done when they said they would (surprise, surprise) and I ended up spending an extra day in Cincinnati. But I did make it to Baltimore in time to see the ALMS race, unfortunately my Corvettes didn't win or beat the M3's. I haven't had a chance to even look at their work because I don't have any place to jack the car at my current lodgings (in DC). I kinda get the impression that they hurried through, but I needed it done and was on them to get it finished, so if there are any problems because of it, i've only got myself to blame. They did have to "modify" one of the odd numbered pipes to fit next to the steering shaft. Very disappointing, since I spent a lot of money getting those things ceramic coated, and Sanderson advertised that they would fit without modification. Out of the box they were really good looking pipes, now they are all banged up and discolored, and look like they were put on in the 70's. Everywhere else seems to fit fine. One thing though, the shop apparently did not read the very obvious directions that state that gaskets are NOT to be used, and went ahead and put gaskets on. The shop owner - a Buick guy - was like, "there is no way I'm putting headers on a car without a gasket." So, I'll see if there any leaks pop up which will require me to take the gaskets off. The shop had to fab a down pipe, but looking from the top it looks like the headers come out pointing straight down, so I think the shop just used a 90* bend with a long leg to get back to the trans crossmember. If anybody is interested I'll look under there and check to be sure. Like I said, I havent been under the car yet to see how the Pypes x-pipe and axle-back look. From the side the whole system seems to hang low. When I get the chance I'll get under there and see if I can massage them up and inch or so. I love the way the straight tail pipes come out the back under the bumper - very rogue-ish. Performance wise, I can definitely tell that the upgrade from a single 2" to a dual, x-piped 2.5" has improved flow and throttle response. I can't speak to power, since this car has been sitting for 7 years, and was only a cruiser to begin with. Sound wise, I have to say that I am disappointed. I don't know if it's the headers, or the x-pipe or a combination of the two, but the "burble" of the SBO is gone. Apparently smoothed out by a (relatively) balanced, high(er) flowing exhaust system. I have no doubt that the new set up is a higher performer than the original, but if i have to choose, i'd say that on this car I'd rather have the personality of a standard dual exhaust, versus the flow of the X-pipe. As for the Summit turbo welded cans, well I got what I paid for. I really don't like the sound. I have to admit that at WOT it has a very nice aggression, and surprisingly, when on the highway cruising at 90 with the top down through WVa., there were times that I literally thought the engine had shut down, because I could not hear the exhaust AT ALL (this is a good thing IMHO.) But the drone at lower RPM (especially the sweet spot at about 1500) is very annoying, and coupled with the changed sound coming out of the headers and x-pipe, the car doesn't really sound like a classic American V8 to me. As a matter of fact, I'm not really sure what it sounds like - a big piece of machinery, like a power generator, if I had to put it in words. Anyway, I'm glad it got done, and over the winter I will undoubtedly change things about it, but I probably spent too much money, for the result I got. Live and learn - Mango is worth it.
I do have a question for anyone who has managed to read through this whole post, my stock '72 350, has two mods, an Edelbrock performer, dual plane intake, and the above described exhaust. Are there any adjustments that I should be making to the tune because of this? I won't kid myself - the mods maybe net 20 horses, who knows. BUt I'm wondering if with the intake maybe flowing a bit better than stock, and the exhaust definitely flowing better, can I maybe put some different jets/rods in the q-jet, bump up the advance a bit, and get a little more power without sacrificing driveabiity? Thanks for any advice. - adis
DR side - note "customized" pipe next to steering shaft
PASS side - close but it fits
PASS side collector downpipe