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What Makes Up Your Tacoma’s Exhaust & How to Upgrade

What Makes Up Your Tacoma’s Exhaust & How to Upgrade

Aside from helping you pass inspection, most people don’t really take a second look at their exhaust system. But did you know that your exhaust has a direct impact on the performance and longevity of your Tacoma’s engine? It’s the reason that many drag racers and off-roaders install turbochargers and superchargers on their engines to improve their horsepower and top-speed. But many people don’t really know much about their exhaust or how it’s routed in their Tacoma. For this reason, we’ve prepared this detailed guide to help you understand more about your exhaust and choose aftermarket options that improve the performance and fun of your Tacoma.

Shop Tacoma Exhaust Systems

Aftermarket exhaust systems are like an attitude adjustment for your Tacoma. A cat-back exhaust will change the sound of your engine as well as free up some extra horsepower. Some systems are even engineered for off-road purposes, changing the mounting of the piping to be tucked up close to the underbody.

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How is the Tacoma’s Exhaust Routed?

Your factory exhaust system consists of a few primary components:

  • Exhaust manifold
  • Catalytic converter
  • Mid-pipe
  • Muffler
  • Tailpipe

The purpose of your exhaust system is to improve fuel consumption, engine performance, and reduce noise in your engine. As your engine goes through each combustion cycle, hot, excess gases build up in your engine. These gases are collected by the exhaust manifold in the engine’s cylinder head, where they are diverted to the front pipe.

As these gases exit your engine, they are catalyzed into a less toxic gas by the catalytic converter. From there, they are routed through the mid-pipe and past the muffler to reduce sound and exit out the tailpipe. While this is a very crude diagram, it represents the basic components of your 2005-2019 Tacoma exhaust system.

What’s keen to note is that factory exhaust systems are not designed to deliver performance to your Tacoma. On the contrary, their two main functions are to filter out harmful toxins and reduce the sound of your exhaust. On your Tacoma, you’ll also find a resonator that further works to reduce noise coming out of your exhaust.

You may have noticed that a V6 and more powerful engines tend to have a higher exhaust note, characterized by its aggressive rumbling sound. While performance will not differ -from the perspective of the exhaust- the exhaust note will differ drastically. This is why a V6 may have a more rumbly noise to it than a V4 engine.

What is the Function of the Exhaust

The purpose of the exhaust can be classified as threefold:

  • Providing a pathway for built-up gases to exit
  • Assisting in the acceleration of engines
  • Tune the sound of your engine's exhaust note

Upgrading your mid-pipes or tail-pipes to a dual exhaust system can improve horsepower gains by allowing gases to escape faster. Even swapping out your exhaust can improve power gains by preventing back-pressure from forming and allowing a smoother flow of gas through your Tacoma.

Hi-tuck Systems and Other Mods to Keep the Exhaust Safe

You may have noticed that your exhaust is one of the most vulnerable parts of your Tacoma, especially when off-roading or overlanding. Whether you’re rock crawling or passing over dangerous obstacles, any damage to your exhaust could potentially alter your exhaust note and even be a financial burden if you live in an area with strict emissions standards.

Fortunately, there’s hi-tuck cat-back exhaust systems and other mods designed to offer greater protection to your exhaust and leave it less vulnerable to rocks and other obstacles. Essentially, the hi-tuck system is a different constructive take on the cat-back system offering greater ground clearance to shield your exhaust from roaming debris and obstacles.

Aftermarket Mods

For increased performance though, consider looking into aftermarket mods that facilitate greater airflow through your exhaust. The most common upgrades for performance include:

  • Headers
  • Mid-pipes
  • Muffler

Exhaust headers are a bolt-in accessory that offers a new take on an old concept. One of the biggest losses of performance in your vehicle is created by back pressure in your exhaust system. While all cylinders of an engine are connected to an exhaust manifold, the exhaust header eliminates back pressure by attaching each cylinder in your engine to its own exhaust pipe, which is then directed to the collector.

By facilitating a faster exchange of gases from each cylinder, exhaust headers can eliminate back pressure and offer better performance. Upgraded mid-pipes and dual-pipe systems with larger diameters can also increase the flow of pressure and gases exiting your exhaust system.

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