Clear Image Automotive catback system on Fleetwood - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Clear Image Automotive catback system on Fleetwood

I'm trying to find anyone who's had a catback system from Clear Image Automotive installed on a Fleetwood.We're running into a little issue figuring out where to add the extra length. Dan said that he has sold his catback systems to a few Fleetwood owners, but never heard of any issues installing it. I am aware that an additional 6" needs to be added to accommodate the extra length of the D-body, but not sure where to add it.

It sounds like the ones he's sold to Fleetwood owners were his standard Impala catback, and then I assume whatever shop actually installed them just cut the intermediate pipes apart and added in the extra length and possibly a bend or two to make everything come out correctly. As I understand it, the exhaust system between the B and D body is exactly identical, except for the intermediate pipe (ignoring wagons, different tail pipes on those I think).

My initial thought was to just add the extra length at the end of the intermediate pipe before the muffler, but Dan said that would create an issue because his system is a little different than stock, and the mufflers are mounted at an angle, so adding extra length straight at the end of the intermediates would throw off the location of the mufflers.

His suggestion was to add the extra length to the hookup pipes, and because he wasn't certain of the exact length to add, was going to make them as two piece units with more length than I needed, and then the shop could figure out exactly what was needed and trim them back to fit perfectly.

At first I thought that would work, but I later realized that adding extra length to the hookup pipes would throw off the starting location of the intermediate pipes, losing access to the factory mounting points, and potentially also causing interference issues with the transmission cross-member, particularly on the drivers side.

So I'm hoping I can find someone who has had Dan's catback installed on a Fleetwood and can help us out or get us some pictures. Although I suppose worst case, I just have him leave the system alone and make it the same as he would for a B-body and then just have the shop that installs it deal with it.

As always, any info would be appreciated. Thank you.

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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 08:04 AM
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Lookat Post #43 here:
Few questions...

You'll want the extended length stuck up front to retain orientation of everything aft starting from the muff inlet (especially the OTA which a real PITA with any 2 1/2". I believe the wb difference B v. D body is 5.6". An X- or H-pipe is the accustomed way to make up the difference, and pretty much mandatory for any install - for a number of reasons - offline torque and antidrone the biggest two.

The stock Cady muffs may be 19" long, and alotta aftermarket seem to hover in the 14-16" range. I don't see that causing much head-scratching if buying everything as an "SS kit" as I and others do/did.

I think Dan's thrown you good suggestions. Good luck.

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Last edited by 96 Black; 05-28-2016 at 07:40 AM.
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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His kit already incorporates a balance pipe, and he changes the mufflers to a center in/center out design for the 2.5" setup. I had asked about longer case mufflers but there are no other options for longer ones if I stick with the mufflers he offers. Adding the length to the cat delete pipes like he wants will create installation issues I believe, it has to be added to the intermediate pipes. I'm just hoping to find someone who has done his kit on a Fleetwood so I can find out where exactly they added the extra length. I think the only other thing Dan mentioned was make the balance pipe longer, but then it would be crazy long and he wasn't sure that was a good idea.
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by schlicky13 View Post
His kit already incorporates a balance pipe, and he changes the mufflers to a center in/center out design for the 2.5" setup.
Dan's 2-1/2" system is set up for offset/offset mufflers. The pictures on the website and the text are WRONG, as confirmed to me yesterday by Dan, after I had already bought center-outlet mufflers. Now I have a pair of useless 17748 turbo mufflers...
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 11:18 AM
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I'm not gonna be much help but here is my thread with pics
Angelo's Exhaust Thread

This is the part i would pay attention to in 96black post
(especially the OTA which a real PITA with any 2 1/2".

This is where i had the most pain.
Mine rubs on the sway bar when you hit a pothole.

It's hard to give advice, but get car on lift and look for the hard spots and easy spots to make alterations to the system and go from there.

-ALF out...

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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-01-2016, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by erenaud View Post
Dan's 2-1/2" system is set up for offset/offset mufflers. The pictures on the website and the text are WRONG, as confirmed to me yesterday by Dan, after I had already bought center-outlet mufflers. Now I have a pair of useless 17748 turbo mufflers...
I've recently seen similar info on other threads while researching my own exhaust questions on these cars. Somewhere I saw that Dan posted a comment mentioning that he had somehow lost the ability to access and make changes to his website, thus it hasn't been updated in years.

Seems to me it shouldn't be that hard to regain access, but not everyone can be a computer nerd like me. I'm also getting mufflers from him though so that my entire system will be stainless for longevity, so I shouldn't have any issues with getting the wrong mufflers.

I am definitely glad I contacted him first before doing anything since as you said a bunch of the stuff on his website is either outdated or at this point just plain wrong. By doing so I found that I could pretty much have the entire system (headers to tips) made more or less the way I wanted, we just need to figure out the extra length for the Fleetwood.

He and I are going to chat sometime tomorrow, he said he's got some more ideas. I figure worst case scenario, I just have the system made the same as he would for the Impala, and then either have an exhaust shop install the system and add the extra length, or I can cheat and use a couple flex pipes to gain the length where I need it.

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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-01-2016, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by angelo View Post
I'm not gonna be much help but here is my thread with pics
Angelo's Exhaust Thread

This is the part i would pay attention to in 96black post
(especially the OTA which a real PITA with any 2 1/2".

This is where i had the most pain.
Mine rubs on the sway bar when you hit a pothole.

It's hard to give advice, but get car on lift and look for the hard spots and easy spots to make alterations to the system and go from there.

-ALF out...
I don't know exactly what Dan does, but he claims on the website that he intentionally makes his OTA pipes differently than either the stock or the other aftermarket stuff out there so that the 2" will fit easier. He can also supposedly do 3", but I don't foresee ever being at a point where I'd need that much exhaust flow. And I think with the 3" his site does say that clearance can be an issue, though I'd have to go back and read the listing on his site again to be sure of that.

The sway bar is interesting, don't think I've heard anyone mention hitting that with their exhaust. I did look at your thread and watch your video, and if you have a true Impala I'm thinking a part of your issue there may be the lower factory suspension (assuming it hasn't been lowered further with aftermarket parts). I suspect that would leave less room between the rear axle and the underside of the car.

If your car is a Caprice made to look like an SS and still has a stock height suspension, then I'd be a little more concerned since I think the stock Caprice and Roadmaster suspension has nearly the same ride height as the Fleetwood. And at this point, I really have no desire to lower my car, if anything I'd like to raise the rear up a tad, give it a little bit of a raked look.

I'll just have to see what I'm working with once Dan gets everything made and delivered to me. I used to have access to a car lift whenever I wanted, down at my dad's shop, but I'm not really talking to him anymore. Long story, one of those you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family deals, he's got his demons and until he's ready to work on that, I'm out. So I'm stuck working on everything in my driveway on jack stands.

Maybe while I'm waiting on Dan's stuff I'll get ambitious and finish stripping the junk car in my garage and get rid of it. It's a little cramped in there, especially with such a big car, but at least then I can work inside in the A/C.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and input so far. And perhaps we'll get lucky and after guinea pigging this thing with me, Dan will have the specs to make a perfect catback system for the Fleetwoods.

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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 02:39 PM
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Hi,
Yes mine is an SS WX3 in my sig.....
Since were bench racin' this is my thinkin'
the Pypes-X bends up to tuck the muffs close to the body. I would have cut the pipe there and rotated it so the tuck would
move the muffs closer to outside of the body when attached, if you get me....

That way they could bolt muffs to x-pipe and to OTA on the other end. Hence getting the OTA's installed so they don't hit anything.
My guys had limited tools so they welded muffs at an angle to the end of the x-pipe and at the OTA end so the muffs aren't actually slipped onto any pipe at either end. Sucks, but when you mix and match parts like i did that's what you get.
Not to mention my muffs are center out/in and this car is made for offset muffs, which i could have gotten, but more $$$.

I suspect you will have a better fitment due to length is your issue and not pipe position.
I think you should bolt in the x-pipe, position the OTA's so they hit nothing and build the middle around that, but that is not an easy thing to do with you in Iowa and Dan in WA.

Good Luck.
-ALF out...
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 11:09 AM
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Clear Image Exhaust install at MVP Automotive


Good pics in here for reference
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-05-2016, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Spoke with Dan on the phone again the other day, he's been great to deal with throughout this. He's going to add the length at the front of the intermediate pipes. I still think adding it to end of the intermediates would be better, but with the way his system is designed and without a car on hand to test fit and measure stuff, he has no means of figuring out exactly how to make it that way, short of doing some trigonometry and hoping for the best.

He did say that at least where the intermediates attach to the hookups/cats, you pretty much have to abandon the factory mounts. He said way back when he started he used to try and make it so you could reuse those, but it was just to difficult. Makes me really wish I still had access to a machine shop with a CNC, I could sort that problem out in a couple hours.

After looking through the "Clear Image Exhaust install at MVP Automotive" thread and looking at the pictures, I have a new concern though. Seeing how tight the balance pipe is to the driveshaft, it makes me wonder if pushing that back 6" will cause it to make contact with the driveshaft as it gets lower on the way to the rearend. I know the D-bodies are stretched in that area, and as a result have a longer driveshaft than the B-body, so it may work out, but I feel like this is going to be a wait until I actually get it and see what happens situation. Worst case, I can always remove the extra length from the front end, and have the shop add it to the back end.

I also questioned him on clearance with his OTA pipes and he was very confident that there won't be any issue with his system. He reiterated that how he makes his catback alters the routing a little bit, and even in his personal, lowered B-body he has no trouble fitting his 3" system, let alone the 2". And with the additional height of the D-body suspension setup, I should have loads of room between the rear axle and the underbody.

So for now, I think things are pretty well set, I just need to wait for everything to arrive. He did say that stuff was starting to come in to his shop for my order and that he'd send me some pics, so I might post those up when I get them.

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