Aftermarket Exhaust and Active Exhaust Systems
Many people have asked MRT if they can install an aftermarket exhaust if their vehicle already has active or dual-mode exhaust functions. Will the active exhaust system prevent them from experiencing the full roar of performance tubing, mufflers and resonator deletes? We’re here to get to the bottom of this increasingly common dilemma.
What is an Active Exhaust System?
First, we need to discuss how an active exhaust system works. Many modern vehicles have electronic “flapper valves” near the rear of the exhaust tubing. These valves open and close to modulate how many unmuffled exhaust notes flow through the exhaust, which changes the sound and volume. The idea is that you have a quieter exhaust mode for city streets and residential neighborhoods, then switch to a more aggressive sound on highways and open roads.
A dual-mode exhaust has two sound levels while some systems have several modes to give drivers even more options. However, even the loudest mode on a medium dual exhaust typically only has about a medium decibel level because of factory restrictions.
How Does an Aftermarket Exhaust Affect an Active System?
An aftermarket exhaust will amplify the sound level in each mode, giving your vehicle a more aggressive sound no matter what you’ve set the system to. Installing a new system changes the Get Noticed factor on two levels: you get the more muscular sound and you get a visual boost from the exhaust tip changes.
One drawback to adding a performance exhaust to a vehicle with an active exhaust system is that it will cause the Check Engine Light (CEL) to come on. This is because when you install the aftermarket tubing, you’re also affecting the flapper valves. If you don’t want to deal with a CEL, the best aftermarket choice is to replace the mid-pipe exhaust section with a resonator delete or muffler delete exhaust, which leaves the valves in place.
Maximum Active Exhaust Performance
But only upgrading the mid-pipe means your sound and power gains will be limited. Full-time cool demands an axle-back or cat-back exhaust. So when you install one of these aftermarket systems, you’ll either need to also install a module or come up with an ECU tune to manage CEL activation.
Our Ford and Dodge Active Exhaust Power Plate is an easy module for aftermarket exhausts. This plate mimics the factory flapper valve so the CEL doesn’t come on. It’s made of T304 stainless steel just like our aftermarket exhaust tubing and is even easier to install. Add one plate for each dual mode or active exhaust valve to remain tune-free. (Note most V8 exhaust systems will require two power plates.)
MRT Performance Exhausts
Aftermarket exhaust systems are designed as better breathing systems that are lighter than the factory setup. They also often have larger tubing versus stock to increase flow. And by adding them to a vehicle with active exhaust, you can control just how aggressive the sound gets. Shop our selection of performance systems that are handcrafted in the U.S.