Hooker BlackHeart Exhaust Install on a 2016 Camaro SS

Sixth-Gen Symphony: Hooker’s BlackHeart axle-back exhaust adds power and sound to Chevy’s latest Camaro SS

Wes Duenkel Jul 20, 2016 0 Comment(s)
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Ever since Chevrolet re-introduced it in 2010, the Camaro SS has been a huge hit with late-model muscle car enthusiasts. The latest generation enhanced what made the Camaro great: aggressive styling, four-seat practicality, and powerful engines—and ditched what sucked: weight! The sixth iteration of the legendary Camaro is nimbler, more refined, and faster than any that has come before.

The only thing better than the success of the 2016 Camaro is how well it responds to performance modifications. GM’s latest LT1 small-block is proving to be an excellent instrument with which the automotive aftermarket can play its music.

The 2016 Camaro is available with a dual-mode exhaust with valves that open up the exhaust when you put your foot in the throttle. Besides options for manual and automatic-transmission models without the dual-mode system, Hooker offers two BlackHeart axle-back options that retain the dual-mode feature: a single transverse muffler system with a built-in internal X-pipe and a dual transverse muffler system.

For our installation, we chose the single transverse muffler option for more of a milder, deeper tone at cruising speeds when the valves are closed—that doesn’t sacrifice performance. For those who demand more of an aggressive tone, the dual transverse muffler system would be the one to choose.

All of the BlackHeart systems feature lightweight 18-gauge 304 stainless steel tubing and snazzy 4-inch, dual-wall 304 stainless steel quad tips laser-etched with the Hooker BlackHeart logo.

Follow along to find out how, after a coupe of hours’ time, you can enjoy an improved kick in the pants and a kick to your eardrums from your 2016 Camaro with Hooker’s BlackHeart axle-back exhaust system.

Hooker Blackheart Axle Back 2/25

01. Hooker BlackHeart offers several axle-back options for the 2016 Camaro, including systems for models with or without the dual-mode exhaust and with or without factory-style functional AFM valves. Our test car was equipped with the dual-mode exhaust. Shown here is the dual transverse muffler system with the dual-mode exhaust valves, which eliminates a “crushed” section of the OE mid-pipe.

Single Transverse Muffler System 3/25

02. For our installation, we chose the single transverse muffler system for cars with the dual-mode exhaust. It’s the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” option, with a noticeable but mellow cruising tone that gets rowdy when the dual-mode valves open up.

2016 Camaro Dynojet Chassis Dyno 4/25

03. Before putting Hooker’s 2016 Camaro under the knife, we strapped the car to Hooker’s in-house Dynojet chassis dyno to get a baseline reading. The stock Camaro pumped out 407 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque.

2016 Camaro Ss Oem Exhaust System 5/25

04. Because there aren’t any convenient rearward junctions on the OEM exhaust system on the 2016 Camaro, the BlackHeart axle-back system installation begins with cutting the factory exhaust. Per the instructions, Hooker’s installation specialist Alan Pendley began by measuring back from the bend just ahead of the hanger near the differential.

2016 Camaro Oem Exhaust Pipes 6/25

05. Pendley used a reciprocating saw to cut the OEM exhaust pipes on either side. The section ahead of the cut will be where the BlackHeart axle-back system connects to the OEM mid-pipe.

2016 Camaro Ss Dual Mode Exhaust Actuators 7/25

06. Next, Pendley removed the dual-mode exhaust actuators from each side and stored them up inside the bumper cover.

2016 Camaro Ss Rear Exhaust Isolator Brackets 8/25

07. Pendley then removed the rear exhaust isolator brackets from the chassis.

2016 Camaro Ss Rubber Isolators 9/25

08. After spraying the rubber isolators with penetrating lubricant, Pendley pushed the exhaust hangers out of the rubber isolators.

2016 Camaro Ss Lower Oem Suitcase Muffler 10/25

09. With the exhaust free, Pendley and Jehan Tetangco lowered the OEM “suitcase” muffler to the ground.

Hooker Blackheart Exhaust System 11/25

10. Why does the Hooker BlackHeart system add power? One reason may be evident in this photo: the OEM pipes that go under the axles are heavily crushed at the factory to clear something … we’re not quite sure. Regardless, it’s engineering like this that makes you scratch your head!

2016 Camaro Ss Hooker Blackheart Exhaust Install 12/25

11. With the OEM system removed, we laid the BlackHeart system alongside for a comparison shot. The BlackHeart system’s smooth, 3-inch diameter bends and kink-free tubing is clear, as well as the dual-mode muffler bypass layout.

2016 Camaro Ss Hooker Blackheart Exhaust Install 13/25

12. Hooker includes an adapter to connect the 3-inch axle-back tubing to the OEM 2.75-inch tubing. These adapter pipes allow the consumer the luxury of converting the BlackHeart axle-back into a complete full exhaust system in the future by simply removing the adapter pipes and mating the BlackHeart axle-back to available BlackHeart mid-pipes. Pendley began this part of the installation by slipping a band clamp and adapter over each of the OEM pipes.

2016 Camaro Ss Hooker Blackheart Exhaust Install Axle Tubes 14/25

13. Next up was to install the axle tubes and 3-inch band clamps over the adapters, followed by securing the front rubber isolators.

2016 Camaro Ss Hooker Blackheart Exhaust Install Clamps 15/25

14. To allow for adjustment later, Pendley loosely installed the clamps.

Pendley Inner Tips Clamps Hooker Blackheart Exhaust 16/25

15. Pendley installed the inner tips and clamps then installed the OEM isolator brackets on the tips’ hangers.

2016 Camaro Ss Axle Back Position 17/25

16. Tetangco and Pendley lifted the BlackHeart axle-back into position and supported the system by the muffler tubing and rear isolator brackets.

2016 Camaro Ss Front Muffler Bangers 18/25

17. Pendley installed the rubber isolators onto the front muffler hangers.

2016 Camaro Ss Exhaust Isolator Brackets 19/25

18. The exhaust isolator brackets were then secured with the OEM hardware.

2016 Camaro Ss Pendley Bypass Pipes 20/25

19. Pendley connected the outer bypass pipes to the muffler assembly.

2016 Camaro Ss Hooker Blackheart Exhaust Install Pipes 21/25

20. A tab on each pipe keeps the tips aligned after assembly. Pendley loosely installed the supplied bolt through the tabs.

2016 Camaro Ss Dual Mode Actuators 22/25

21. With the clamps loosely installed, Pendley attached the dual-mode actuators to the BlackHeart muffler bypass pipes then aligned the components and tightened all the clamps and fasteners securely.

2016 Camaro Ss Hooker Blackheart Exhaust Install Laser Etched Tips 23/25

22. The laser-etched tips fit the rear bumper cutouts, and the character of the Camaro SS, perfectly.

2016 Camaro Ss Hooker Blackheart Exhaust Install Dyno Gains 24/25

23. Back on the dyno, the results were impressive. Max gains were 15.2 wheel horsepower and 21.5 lb-ft of rear wheel torque, but equally impressive was how the Camaro picked up power across the entire powerband.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro Side View 25/25

24. Out on the road, we were equally impressed with the sound of the system. During steady cruising the exhaust was noticeable, but subtle. Under load with the muffler bypass valves open the sound transitioned to aggressive and powerful, yet still civilized. The exhaust fit the refined, “dual purpose” nature of the 2016 Camaro SS perfectly.

Sources

Hooker BlackHeart Speed Exhaust
270-782-2900
www.hookerheaders.com

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