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Tacoma Exhaust Systems: Enhancing Off-Road Reliability and Style

Tacoma Exhaust Systems: Enhancing Off-Road Reliability and Style

There are a lot of reasons to upgrade the exhaust system on your Tacoma. Most people will tie it back to increasing performance. There are benefits for off-road trucks with the use of an aftermarket exhaust system. With an off-road vehicle building the truck up to make more power goes a long way, but other things like ground clearance are also of equal concern. Many may forget about the low hanging fruit the exhaust system can be for rocks and stumps to grab onto. This is why choosing the right exhaust for your off-road Tacoma is so important.

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The first thought with exhaust is normally sound and performance, but in the overlanding and off-roading world, exhaust systems serve an additional purpose. Upgrading your Tacoma's exhaust system to a more durable, stainless steel as well as moving it further out of harms way from rocks and other trail hazards.

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What is an Exhaust System?

The exhaust system on your Tacoma has a very basic function. Spent fuel mixtures are pushed out of the combustion chamber and away from the engine. The headers or manifolds are the first in line to help the exhaust escape.

From there the exhaust flows through the catalytic converters and out through the exhaust system. The flow of the exhaust through the system can be a bit restrictive which leaves many wanting to improve the flow to in turn build power. An aftermarket exhaust with less restrictive mufflers and wider pipes are used to do just that.

What is a Cat-Back Exhaust?

While shopping around for aftermarket exhaust systems for your Tacoma you’re going to find that cat-back exhaust systems are widely available. On a Toyota Tacoma, catalytic converters will be present in the factory exhaust. A catalyst is used to keep the truck within emissions standards. For legal purposes, the cats will always need to be present. Cat-back exhaust systems are designed to replace everything from the catalytic converter back while leaving everything from the cats to the engine in place.

Off-Road Exhaust Systems: Catalytic converters can be very restrictive but are necessary for a Tacoma that is intended for use on the street. For a Tacoma, which is intended purely to be used for off-road purposes, a dedicated exhaust may be used. These systems will usually ditch everything that is required to pass an emissions test and inspection but will improve exhaust flow and engine performance greatly.

How Pipe Size Helps Flow

The initial reason to consider upgrading the exhaust is to increase flow. Wider pipes are generally used to address this issue. Small diameter pipes have a hard time allowing air to be pushed through and this will mean that some exhaust can be stuck in the combustion chamber. Wider pipes allow the air to flow more freely which means less exhaust will be left behind and more power can be produced.

Hi-Tuck and Off-Roading

The factory exhaust and aftermarket kits can hang pretty awkwardly for an off-road truck. These systems can have low points that rocks and stumps can easily grab onto and remove. This is a major vulnerability.

If a stump or rock pinches the exhaust or bends it in such a manner that exhaust can’t flow through, some major issues and mechanical failures can occur. A hi-tuck exhaust is designed to tuck the system as closely to the body as possible in an effort to minimize the threat of this issue. For crawlers, these exhaust systems are a must.

Where to Exit the Truck

Exhaust systems can have multiple exits and end points. This needs to be considered when selecting the right exhaust for an off-road truck. Side exit and rear exit systems will be present and one of the two is better for off-road use.

With a rear exit system, the exhaust ends right at the rear bumper near the center. Off-road a rear exit system stands a good chance of getting banged up because of how the rear bumper will wind up close to the ground often.

With a side exit system the pipes dump near the rear bumper but far enough away to keep them out of harm’s way. The best choice would be to select an exhaust that dumps before the rear axle. Keeping the exhaust as far away from the rear bumper as possible is the best way to keep it out of the way of danger.

How to Install

There are plenty of exhaust shops around the world that would be glad to install an exhaust system for you. With an aftermarket kit that has everything you need, you may be tempted to take on the task of installing the exhaust yourself. Installing an exhaust kit is a fairly straightforward task and is something you can do in a very short period of time with the right equipment on hand.

Welding: A welded exhaust system is the type of system that uses the method of welding to permanently fuse the components together. Welding the exhaust is the best way to ensure no leaks will occur. This also means that once the exhaust is in place, it cannot be reconfigured. A system like this will use hardware to mount the aftermarket system to the vehicle’s existing flanges.

Components like pipe joints and mufflers will need to be welded in place. Most any kit can be installed with or without welds but the welding will require ample experience and possibly even the help of a professional.

Modular: To rig up a modular exhaust system means that the system will be able to be changed down the line. A modular system relies on clamps to keep the system connected. No welding for these kits is required and this is something you can easily do within a few hours. The reason to use a modular system is so that pipe configurations and mufflers can easily be swapped out.

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Pre-Runner, X-Runner, SR, SR-5, TRD-Sport, TRD-Off-Road, Limited, TRD-Pro