I Am Lexus Hear Me Roar, Politely
By: Roger Hewson
It’s no mystery that stock exhaust systems stink. No matter how good it might look or sound, there is something somewhere on most OE systems which makes them worth replacing. If this was not true we wouldn’t be writing this story, or the countless other exhaust install articles we have done.
Our victim this time is a Lexus SC430. As many of you know, Lexus is not known for their hot rod V-8 exhaust systems- smooth and quiet are more their bag. Smooth we’re ok with, quiet we’re not. Luckily neither is anyone at Blitz. After researching the limited available choices for the SC430 we decided to give Blitz a ring and try out their system.
The stock SC430 exhaust is not all that bad for a system that looks like it was run over by a forklift. Lexus decided to pinch the tubing on the system almost flat right before it bolts to the muffler. It’s an excellent decision when it comes to causing huge restrictions in exhaust flow and it’s just the thing you need to stunt top end performance. The beautiful matte black, road grime magnet of a muffler was the perfect edition to the pancake pipes positioned right before it. The factory Lexus muffler was doing everything in its power to fight off a throaty sound which is fine for the average luxury fan that needs to roll to Starbucks in stealth mode.
Because the car is a Lexus and not a 1975 AMC Pacer, we figured we should have someone who knows what they are doing install the exhaust system on a car that costs more than our collective yearly editorial salaries. After all, you break it you buy it so we found ourselves at Luxury Motorworks again, because we didn’t want to be staring at each other wondering where these spare nuts and bolts go.
Once at Luxury master technicians Jose Garcia and Jesus Gonzalez put the car on the lift and went to work at removing the enormous rear muffler and tailpipe section. Removal of the rear exhaust section was straightforward. They began by separating the stock rear muffler from the rest of the exhaust by removing the four bolts holding the flanges together. Next the left and right exhaust hanger brackets were unbolted from the body and the muffler assembly came down.
Next, Garcia and Gonzalez began removal of the center section which bolts to the cat. Before the mid section—including the stock resonators—can be removed there is an underbody brace which has to be dealt with. Once out of the way the two bolts and nuts attaching the mid-section to the Y-pipe were removed and some WD40 was sprayed on the exhaust hangers so they would pry off and the piece dropped right down.
When you place the stock exhaust next to the Blitz piece you can see why the stock pieces are so poor. The Blitz piping is slightly larger, but the bends are smoother for better flow and there are no unnecessary pinches or creases like on the stock system.
The Blitz System uses dual mufflers, not just one big muffler with dual outlets. There is even a crossover pipe between the mufflers to help tune the sound and performance of the system. There is no comparison between the systems as far as looks go. The polished look of the Blitz exhaust is second to none and the plain stock look of the Lexus exhaust is, well, stock.
Garcia and Gonzalez began installing the Blitz system by bolting up the center resonated section and hooking up the exhaust hangers. Once the first half of the Blitz exhaust was hung we could see what an excellent fit it was going to be.
The Blitz rear section was hung then bolted up and everything was tightened to the correct torque spec. You do not want to over tighten exhaust flanges like these no matter how well they are built because they will warp, causing an exhaust leak or worse, the nut will come loose and the piece could fall apart.
Once everything was bolted up the SC was lowered down and fired up so it could be checked for leaks, rattles and so Garcia could play car in the driver seat. The moment those eight cylinders fired up it filled the shop with the deep mellow throb only a V-8 can produce, something absent with the stock exhaust.
On the road the SC430 emits a proper sporting exhaust note anytime the driver gets aggressive with the throttle, and a mellow burble while cruising. You can actually hear the car now where as before it was almost impossible to tell if it were running or not. The SC now emits the proper tone a mature sport coupe should; just loud enough to hear with the top up and mean enough that you want hear the V-8 rip to redline off of every stoplight. Not bad results for a couple hours in the garage.