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djdawson2 djdawson2 is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Evergreen, CO
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RarlyL8 muffler install and impressions

Well, I finally installed my first performance part... the RarlyL8 muffler. This happened a couple of weeks ago, ordering last minute from Brian prior to a nice little trip from Denver to Park City, Utah. I decided this was a must have after listening to my car during WOT acceleration while driving next to a concrete barrier. The sound of the stock system reflecting back at me was... uh... "disappointing" to say the least. The exhaust sound took me back in time... not the engine, but the sound of the flow of the spent gases... suddenly I returned to my childhood... my parent's Vista Cruiser wagon, equipped with a 455 that was likely breathing through a single 2 1/4 inch straw. The high velocity wheezing noise as my dad would mash the pedal to pass. Those were the days.

Figuring the 930 was entirely the wrong place to be reliving that auditory trauma, the email was sent late at night to Brian. Deep in fabricating his headers, he still happily offered to get one together and shipped to me ASAP.

The pieces that arrived were up to the standards that we've all heard Brian rant about. First class everything... including the hardware.

Pics from the install:
I had intended to remove the bumper. However, as I discovered that the Philips head screw behind the bumper trim had rusted to oblivion on the right side, I took a closer look for other options. It looked quite possible that if I removed the rear valance and heat shield, the job could be performed without removing the bumper. Removal was simple... a half dozen or so Philips head screws, and 3 10mm head bolts at the top of the heat shield. No gymnastics... it was soon out as one piece and on the floor:





Shot of the stock exhaust in place with the valence and heat shield removed:





Removing the bolts attaching the exhaust to the turbo. The 3 that are visible were very easy. I was concerned about the 4th, but it was not challenging either, using a stubby wrench. Note that my car has lived in dry climates its entire life, YMMV with rusty hardware:





Everything out:





Old exhaust removed in one piece:





Yep... got nervous when I saw the O2 bung in the new system. Would Brian have included a plug? Quickly tearing open the plastic hardware bag... relief... Brian had me covered. This bung will be good to have down the road when I install a wideband O2 sensor. Now slipping the new unit into position:





I reinstalled the bolts holding the muffler to the turbo, and reinstalled the valence/heatshield and its weatherstripping. Cake:





Fit the tailpipe, make minor alignment adjustments, and tighten the clamps:





The only loose end... the fitting from the air pump, I believe (left side of pic). I imagine it would be best to remove this entire system at some point:





Finished product, ready for a test run. Neat, great looking, and *perfect* fit:





I must admit that I wasn't expecting much in terms of power increase. If I had expected it, I would have done before and after dyno runs to satisfy my curiosity, as I live for hard data. I was pleasantly surprised. The change in the car was night and day... boost threshold significantly lower, and power greatly enhanced. Prior to muffler replacement, the car would seldom hit .8 bar on the factory gauge... usually sitting at around .6 bar at WOT. After install, boost would eagerly climb to 1 bar indicated... the combo of new muffler and boost transformed the car. Since my car has a 5 speed, improved available power in 5th became quite noticeable as well. I typically drive at 5000ft above sea level and greater. As such, 5th had always been a fairly useless gear if you were going 70mph and wanted to make even a tame pass. It always required a downshift. After install, this was no longer true.

Sound... I was apprehensive as I drove down my road... a steep 1 mile descent. I basically coast down the hill in 1st gear. The engine was cackling and popping as I idled along. I was worried further. However, as I got out on the main roads, this tendency decreased as the engine warmed to operating temperature... to the point where it was fairly minimal, and not too obtrusive. Cruising speed on the highway seems no louder than stock... very nice surprise. WOT results in a powerful sound... but really not that loud. I retained the OE wastegate muffler... and honestly, I'm glad that I did. I really wouldn't have wanted the car to be any louder.

All in all, I am 110% happy with the sound and performance. I never could have imagined such a change in the car resulting from work that took about an hour to perform.

Now... to replace those front control arm bushings and the trans output flange seals...

Dave
Old 08-28-2009, 06:32 PM
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