In the past couple of issues, we have shown how to build some pretty exotic headers and exhaust systems. We thought we might be missing a segment of do-it-yourselfers who are not ready to build a custom set of headers, but can definitely tackle welding up some pipes. In this issue we put the finishing touches on a mild V-8 swap into a ’63 Nova wagon. We used as many bolt-ons as we could, but when we got to the exhaust we just couldn’t find a bolt-on kit. Luckily, there are a few builder-type set-ups available, like the U-Fit exhaust kit from Flowmaster.
The U-Fit kits are available in 16-gauge aluminized or stainless steel in 2.25-, 2.5-, and 3-inch diameters. The U-Fit kits include the front adapter pipes, intermediate pipes, H-pipe assembly, over-the-axle pipes, and your choice of optional tailpipe exits. Each piece has a slip-fit connection to ease assembly. The kit doesn’t include some of the things you’ll need to build a complete system, like mufflers and hangers.
For this early Nova’s 290-horse small-block crate engine, Flowmaster recommended the 2.25-inch system. This is plenty for the mild Mouse, but just as important, it gives us a bit more clearance for the steering area, which is pretty tight on this generation Nova with headers.
We wanted this car to have that "Flowmaster sound" so we grabbed a set of the company’s 40 Series two-chamber mufflers. The 40 Series muffler delivers an aggressive exterior and interior tone. It is constructed of 16-gauge aluminized steel and fully MIG-welded. There are quieter options in the Flowmaster arsenal, but we are still into that aggressive exhaust sound so we stuck with the 40s.
Since it would be really difficult to shoot the pictures and do the work, we hooked up with Josh Gledhill, owner of The Muffler Man in Placentia, California, to install the system. Enlisting the help of a professional was the smart thing in our case--not that this is a super difficult job to do, but our welding skills leave a lot to be desired. Not only can Josh lay an awesome bead, he also clued us in on a bunch of tips that we’ll pass along to you.