Upgrading your Navara exhaust system can provide a number of benefits, such as improving the flow of gases that go in and out of your engine, more torque and horsepower, better mileage and improved engine sound. It’s one of the most cost-efficient ways to improve performance and make your Navara more capable both on and off the road. But how does an aftermarket Nissan Navara exhaust system outperform the stock system? Well, in a few different ways. For instance, stock exhaust systems are made using lower-grade materials, feature smaller piping, lots of bends that change the profile of the exhaust, and can clog the airflow, resulting in reduced performance.
And while stock exhaust systems are decent and get the job done, sometimes, like when you’re driving off the beaten trail, you need more than decent. The main considerations people take into account when shopping for an aftermarket Navara exhaust are fuel efficiency, increased torque and horsepower, but there are a few other considerations that frequently go unaccounted for, yet can prove to be worth thinking about, as they too can impact your decision on whether or not you should go for the upgrade.
- Adding a Snorkel – Snorkels are great 4×4 accessories that are designed to force the stale air out of your engine and fill the engine with fresh air. Stale air can cause a build-up of fuel and oil-residue that can reduce your Navara’s fuel efficiency. A snorkel with a large diameter can help your engine get more fresh air, leading to improved performance and fuel efficiency.
- Size Matters – Exhaust systems that feature larger diameter pipes and parts allow for more gas “traffic”, thus improving performance and efficiency while reducing backpressure. Reducing backpressure will also reduce turbo lag in turbo injected engines and lower the overall exhaust gas temperature, which can prolong your engine’s life.
- DIY Installation – Most aftermarket exhaust systems come with all parts you need to install them and use the factory mounts from the stock exhaust. This makes it easy to install them, especially if you know your way around a car, follow the instructions carefully or search online for tips and tricks.
- Noise Doesn’t Equal Performance – Loud, aggressive-sounding aftermarket exhaust systems aren’t necessarily better for your vehicle.
While most aftermarket systems will change the tone of your engine due to the larger diameter piping, a muffler that makes your engine sound beastly isn’t necessarily beneficial in any way. Instead, you should look for a system with a high-flow muffler and catalytic converter if you want to notice performance and mileage benefits.
Aftermarket exhaust systems are categorised based on how much of the stock exhaust system they replace. You’ll come across axle-back, cat-back and header-back exhaust systems.
- Header-back exhaust systems replace the entire stock system from exhaust headers (manifold/extractors) to the exhaust tip. As a result, they offer the biggest performance and mileage benefits, simply because all of the aftermarket parts are larger in diameter and made with high-flow in mind. Header-back exhaust systems are the most expensive, and they’ll generally require professional installation.
- Cat-back exhaust systems replace all parts from the catalytic converter to the exhaust tip, and hence, they offer fewer benefits in terms of performance and mileage when compared to header-back exhausts. However, they’re more affordable and easier to install, as you won’t have to replace the parts that go up to the engine, which are most difficult to reach.
- Axle-back exhaust systems are the most affordable, easiest to install, but they offer no performance benefits. Instead, their main purpose is to improve the way your Navara looks and sounds.
No matter whether you go for a header-back, cat-back or axle-back exhaust system, you’ll want to make sure you pick a system that’s made of high-grade materials like stainless or aluminised steel. Stainless steel is extremely durable and resistant to corrosion, whereas aluminised steel is less durable, but still more durable than your stock exhaust, and more lightweight. The lightweight properties of aluminised steel improve mileage by simply reducing the overall weight of your Navara. It’s said that stainless steel exhaust systems will probably outlast your Navara, and they’ll perform well in all types of climate. Quality aftermarket systems are made using the same material so that they retain a better overall integrity, including the exhaust accessories such as nuts, bolts, flange plate, etc.
Having said that, an aftermarket Navara exhaust system can be one of the best long-term investments you make for your Navara, allowing you to conquer trails that you otherwise couldn’t, get better overall performance while saving money in the long-term by improving mileage. However, make sure the aftermarket exhaust you choose keeps your Navara road legal in terms of noise and emissions. There are exhaust systems that come without a catalytic converter, and driving without one is illegal.