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Full exhaust installation guide

Article By Matt Kaufmann


This installation was done using the products listed below. The installation may vary slightly for someone who is using products from a different manufacturer. However, this guide may still be useful.
This installation took less than 16 hours for me, which included time to paint any rust spots with Por-15 and let it dry. It is definitely a job that would best be tackled on a weekend.
The methods described here are what worked for me. Just be safe when doing this installation.

The installation was done in a 5.0 Fox Mustang, but the procedure is very similar in SN95 5.0 and modular Mustangs.



  • BBK long tube Headers.
  • BBK shorty H-pipe.
  • Catback.
  • Percy’s dead soft aluminum gaskets were chosen because of their great reputation. I have heard nothing but good things about them, unlike some other brands with which people have had mixed results. They are about $35 from Summit. They are reusable and are well worth it IMHO.
  • Stage 8 locking header bolts.
  • Heat resistant tape. For your smog hoses if you plan on keeping them.
  • O2 extensions
  • Penetrating oil. Apply penetrating oil to all of the flanges and header bolts the night before to make things easier to remove later.
  • Masking tape.
  • WD-40



  • Ratchets, sockets, box-end wrenches, etc.
  • Floor jack.
  • Jack stands.
  • Hoist or another jack to lift the engine (Hoist is safest).
  • Cutoff tool, Sawzall or something to cut the old tailpipes.

Removal of the old exhaust system.

1.) Removal of the catback.

a.) Chock the front wheels.
b.) Jack up the back of the car.
c.) Support the car with jack stands. Do not support the car by the axle tubes. The rear suspension needs to hang down for removal of the tailpipes. Only support the differential lightly with a jack.
d.) Cut the tailpipes right behind the mufflers and swing them over the axle to pull them out. They will not come out in one piece.
e.) Remove the flange bolts that connect the muffler to the H-pipe.
f.) Remove the mufflers from the OEM rubber hangers. Spray the rubber hangers with WD-40 if they stick.
g.) Remove the rubber muffler hangers if your catback came with new ones.

2.) Removal of the H-pipe.

a.) While under the car remove the bolts that connect the H-pipe and headers. They are a bit difficult to access but a combination of penetrating oil, muscle, and determination and maybe a u-joint on your socket will help.
b.) Slide the H-pipe from the OEM rubber hangers once it is loose. Use a little WD-40 if it sticks. The OEM H-pipe is heavy. A second set of hands could be helpful for this step.
c.) Remove the O2 sensors from the old pipes.

3.) Removal of the passenger side header.

a.) Remove the MAF, intake pipe/CAI.
b.) Remove the smog hoses. (Loosen 3 hose clamps.)
c.) Pull the spark plug wires off the plugs and rest them on the intake manifold to keep them out of the way.
d.) Remove the old header (8 bolts).
e.) Remove the sparkplugs and cover the holes with tape.
f.) Remove the starter (2 bolts). This might seem like a lot of work but it’s impossible to get the new header in with the starter installed. Besides there are only 2 bolts!

4.) Removal of the driver side header.

a.) Pull the spark plug wires off the plugs and rest them on the intake manifold to keep them out of the way.
b.) Remove the old header (8 bolts).
c.) Remove the dipstick. Just pull it out of the hole in the side of the oil pan.
d.) Put tape over the hole in the oil pan or plug it to prevent grit from getting into the crankcase.
e.) Remove the spark plugs and cover the holes with tape.
f.) Remove 2 bolts on the rag joint to allow the steering shaft to swing out of the way. This is easiest when the steering wheel is locked to prevent the shaft from turning while you are busy wrenching. Just turn the wheel to allow access to the bolts and lock the wheel.

5.) Now that the exhaust system has been removed it is a good chance to clean the engine compartment and undercarriage with a rag if you are feeling froggy.

Installation of the new exhaust system.

1.) Installing the passenger side header.

a.) Remove both of the engine mount bolts, which are located above the steering rack boot. There is one for each mount.
b.) Jack up the engine from the oil pan with a block of wood between the jack and the pan or use a hoist. If you choose to jack it up, position the jack under the rear wall of the pan where it is stronger so it doesn’t get crushed. DO NOT jack up the car from this point only lift the weight of the engine. Only lift it a few inches or just enough to install the header.
c.) The header will be installed from the top. The flange will drop through the space where the starter was and the end will swing up past the bellhousing and into position. It helps to have a second person support the header from underneath the car for this step.
d.) Place one of the gaskets between the header and the head. Install 8 header bolts.
e.) Tighten the bolts to spec to crush the gasket and then loosen them to allow the header to move a bit. This will help later when you install the H-pipe. Use Ford’s torque specs for this.
f.) Lower the engine while making sure the engine mounts line up with the K-member.

2.) Installing the driver side header.

a.) Chock the wheels.
b.) Jack up the front of the car.
c.) Support it with jack stands.
d.) The driver side header will be installed from the bottom of the car so be sure to jack it up high enough. The higher you can safely lift it the better.
e.) The flange that bolts to the head must be facing up. Lift the header through the space where the steering arm was.
f.) Place a gasket between the header and the head. Install the other 8 header bolts.
g.) Tighten them to spec to crush the gasket and then loosen them to allow for some play between the header and the head.

3.) Installing the H-pipe.

a.) Install the studs into the flange on the headers (supplied with the headers).
b.) Slide the H-pipe into the OEM rubber hangers.
c.) Line up the pipes with the header flanges and the header studs. Bolt it loosely into place to allow for some adjustment once the cat back is installed.
d.) Once the pipes are lined up, the 16 header bolts can be tightened to spec. Some people don’t install the cams and c-clips on the locking header bolts until the gasket stops moving around.
e.) It might be beneficial to support the end of the H-pipe with a jack till the catback is installed.

4.) Installing the catback.

a.) Chock the wheels.
b.) Jack up the back of the car.
c.) Support with jack stands. Let the suspension hang loose. Support the differential lightly with a jack.
d.) Install the hangers that are supplied with your catback (if there are any).
e.) Install the pipes that attach to the H-pipe with the supplied flanges and bolt them loosely in place.
f.) Slide the muffler into the rubber hangers and slide the opening of the muffler over the tube that was just installed. Use an exhaust clamp to hold it in place. Pay attention to which muffler goes on which side. They are different. One has a longer hanger than the other.
g.) Install the tailpipes over the axle tubes. Slide the end of the pipes over the outlets of the muffler and secure them with exhaust clamps.
h.) Slide the tailpipes into the new rubber hangers if applicable.
i.) Make adjustments to the catback and H-pipe. Make sure the all exhaust components clear brake lines, fuel lines, tires, the gas tank and the frame by at least ½ inch.
j.) Make sure the rear suspension will travel freely without hitting the new exhaust.

E.) Finishing up.

1.) Tighten everything up.

a.) Tighten the flange bolts between the header/H-pipe and H-pipe/muffler evenly to avoid leaks.
b.) Tighten all of the exhaust clamps.
c.) Install the O2 sensors on your new headers.
d.) Plug in the O2 sensor extensions.

2.) Passenger side.

a.) Reinstall the starter.
b.) Reinstall the spark plugs and wires.
c.) Wrap the smog hoses with heat resistant tape.
d.) Reinstall the smog hoses. Position them so they don’t touch the headers or you will see smoke (I speak from experience).
e.) Reinstall the MAF and intake tubes.

3.) Driver side.

a.) Reinstall the steering shaft. If the shaft rubs a bit like mine did you might be able to round the corners a tad with a Dremel for clearance.
b.) Reinstall the spark plugs and wires.
c.) Reinstall the dipstick.
d.) Reinstall the nuts on the engine mounts.

Congratulations! You are finished with your exhaust system installation.
Get your car off the jack stands and go test drive her.

March 2, 2004

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