Chevy Impala SS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 52 Posts

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

Registered
Joined
7,879 Posts
Lookat Post #43 here:
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/36-fleetwood/244770-few-questions-2.html

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.
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

Registered
Joined
133 Posts
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...
 

Registered
Joined
2,907 Posts
I'm not gonna be much help but here is my thread with pics
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/22-exhaust/280294-angelos-exhaust-thread.html

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...
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I'm not gonna be much help but here is my thread with pics
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/22-exhaust/280294-angelos-exhaust-thread.html

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 2陆" 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. :grin2:

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.
 

Registered
Joined
2,907 Posts
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...
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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 2陆". 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.
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Just a little update, I haven't forgotten or abandoned this project, however I also haven't gotten anything I've paid for yet. I placed the order (and paid) for the headers and catback system back in late May and still haven't received a thing. Getting in touch with Dan is like pulling teeth. He never answers his phone, and lately his voicemail is always full so I can't leave messages, but I can sometimes get him to respond to emails. Shortly after placing the order when I was still having a few questions about resolving the added length for the Fleetwood, he did mention that something was backordered on his end, (flanges for the headers I think?, can't remember now) so that was going to delay it some. I didn't have a problem with that, but this has gotten kind of ridiculous, it's been nearly 3 months.

I last heard from him about a month ago, (after I called and emailed a bunch of times) and supposedly the catback was done except for welding on the tips, and he was going to ship that out right away because he said he didn't want it taking up space in his shop, and that he was still working on the headers due to the backordered pieces, (but that he did have them finally). I've begun trying to contact him again, but being the weekend I don't expect to hear anything until tomorrow at the earliest. When I've talked to him on the phone he seemed very nice and helpful and answered all my questions, but I'm definitely starting to get upset with him. I've haven't reached full on panic mode, yet, but just thought if anyone is thinking of ordering from him, this information may be helpful.

In the end I hope the long wait will be worth it, but he originally quoted me 3 weeks to make everything (and granted I expected another couple weeks once he made me aware of the back order), but 3 months is entirely unacceptable. I'd be less upset if he'd kept me informed, an update once every couple weeks or something would help greatly, (which he actually said he was going to do occasionally at the start of this anyways, but so far hasn't), just so I know I haven't been forgotten or that he hasn't taken my money and run. I know he mostly has a good reputation on here, and I'm trying hard not to lose my cool with him, but he's beginning to test even my limits.
 

Registered
Joined
2,907 Posts
I hear ya, but i think you're just gonna have to wait.
He's on FB, so maybe he's posting with a phone.

I highly doubt you have anything to worry about AFA the purchase, it's just a timing issue.
Hang in there man !
-ALF out...
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
He emailed me back already tonight, said he's still waiting on cat converters. I kind of flipped out a little at that because my system doesn't include cats, I ordered the cat delete/hookup pipes. I emailed him back and I tried to be civil, but there were some other inconsistencies. I hope you're right and that I just need to hold on a little longer, and I'll see what I hear back from him, but this is starting to aggravate me. And it turns out, it was the collectors that were supposedly backordered, found that when I went back through our most recent email chain, but he was supposed to have those in hand mid-July and that was the last thing he told me he was waiting on. For what it's worth, I recognize quality when I see it, so if his stuff is as good everyone on here leads me to believe, I'll be back on here at some point singing his praises. But for now, I'm gonna have a drink, watch the last half of the Cubs game and try to chill out a little.
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
He responded again last night, part of the issue (he says) is that he had me confused with another customer who had a similar order, but with cats, whereas mine is without cats. He said he'll ship the catback system tomorrow, it was done but thought I wanted him to wait until everything was ready. Now for the part I'm having a hard time with, he said the collectors for the headers are expected to be delivered to him tomorrow and then he can finish up the headers, send them out for ceramic coating and possibly ship them by the end of the week. However that's basically the exact same thing he told me a month ago. So, yeah, we'll see. :|
 

Premium Member
Joined
860 Posts
Research...

You may want to do a little research on this forum of other's experiences.

May things work to your advantage in getting what you want and in a timely manner.

Richard Snipes
4501 Safari in Jax, FL
 

Registered
Joined
9 Posts
schlicky13 - Did you ever get this project completed? I've recently acquired a 94 and am interested in the clear image setup as well. But would really prefer ti know how much fab is actually going to be required. Thanks.
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
schlicky13 - Did you ever get this project completed? I've recently acquired a 94 and am interested in the clear image setup as well. But would really prefer ti know how much fab is actually going to be required. Thanks.
I actually did finally finish it a couple days ago, well I'd say it's 98% done anyways. Just a couple little things to finalize and tweak yet. I finally got everything delivered a couple weeks or so ago, and spent the last week-ish installing it. So it ended up being well over 3 months for it to be completed and delivered due to, reasons, I guess, don't really want to get into it. Suffice it to say, I had to become a bit of a jerk to get results, which is uncommon for me and I don't enjoy doing that, but I have it now and for what it's worth I can say that Dan does excellent work. I'm very happy with the quality of the stuff, and being I ordered everything in stainless I was curious to see his welds (I have limited experience and kind of suck at it yet myself, but I know enough to tell a good weld from a bad one) and his are top-notch, great color, penetration, etc, and was properly back-gassed.

I did the headers first, driver side is a breeze, passenger side is a royal PITA!!! I suppose it could have been worse, but, yeah, there was a lot of cussing involved. I was a little surprised that there are no provisions for the two alternator brackets that attach to the head on that side, but I worked that out and will post pics when I get a chance. Basically the short one up front would normally need to be deleted because both heads have double bolt holes at the front and rear, and the factory manifolds use the outer holes, headers use the inner holes. And the longer one that attaches near the middle of the head, runs smack into one of the primary tubes. I was a little befuddled by that one, it'd be easy-ish enough to make the headers in a way that the bracket would clear, and after discovering this and doing some research on here I found that the Gen1 tri-y's do have the required bend in the pipe to fit that bracket, but for some reason he deleted that on the Gen2's. And being the stubborn mule that I am, I worked out a relatively simple solution to retain both of those brackets with minimal doinking around.

Other than that, once I figured out which pieces went where (there were a couple I didn't figure out until I started installing a few things and could then see what I needed and where) I was pretty easy and straightforward. Dan was fairly adamant that he wanted the system professionally installed and welded together, which I told him I would, and I totally didn't. My bad, never had any intention of going that route, I have my reasons, but I went above and beyond to ensure that it was installed well. Basically since my system is 100% stainless, I used all stainless hardware everywhere (with only 2 small exceptions that I hope to rectify at a later time) and it came out pretty darn good. I ordered a buttload of stainless steel lap band clamps from a local parts store (they were Walker/Tenneco Mega Clamps, made in the USA, I'll lookup the part number when I post about the install) and it allowed me to continually adjust and tweak things as I went until it all fit perfectly. First test-fire the only issue I had was one of the resonators popped off the OTA pipe, I forgot to tighten down that one clamp. And when I lowered the vehicle, everything cleared the rear axle perfectly on the first try, so apparently I rule. ;-)

And the sound? Oh my, the sound is angelic, music to my ears, it's phenomenal. :grin2::grin2::grin2:
I opted for the extra insulating material in the mufflers (he uses SpinTech) and also kept resonators (he uses MagnaFlows) because I wanted it quiet-ish, since it's still a daily driver and it's dead quiet at idle but with a noticeable deep, rumbling burble, and it's audible but not obnoxious under normal driving, but when you stomp on it, good god is it epic. There are a couple brief spots low in the rpm range where I get a little drone, but it isn't annoying and I'm thinking some dynamat will cure that, probably the trunk for sure since it sounds like it's occurring at the far rear of the car. Anyways, that's all the pertinent info for now I think, and I'll get a few more pics when I finish the last of my tweaks to the install and put up a full post with my workarounds for the issues I encountered.
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Oh, and one really bizarre issue I ran into that I forgot about was with the overall length of the system. When I originally contacted Dan and started asking questions and was getting my ducks in a row before ordering I brought up the issue of the Fleetwood being longer than the B-bodies and that the catback requires a roughly 6" extension. That was news to him, he said he'd sold his system to other Fleetwood owners before and never had any issues from them about it not fitting or needing extra length put in. I did some research on here and put up this post inquiring about others experience with his system on a Fleetwood and the consensus was that extra length would be needed. So I chalked up his having never heard of it to the installers just dealing with the issue and the info never made it back to him.

He did a little looking at his system and after a few pics and emails between us he found a convenient location that he could make an extension on both sides that could then be cut to whatever length I needed to make it work. In the end, I cut off over half of one of the extensions as I only needed about 4" to connect that side (actually less, but once you count the length going into the coupler), and could have gotten away with less if I'd loosened up some connections and slid the pipes back out a little, and the other side I never even used the extension. I slid one pipe back out of it's coupler a tiny bit and had enough at the other to connect it.

I suspect that I could still use a short piece of the leftover extension, or delete the other extension if I made some adjustments, but it'd be really close either way. My balance pipe is a hair off center I think, it's centered at the front, but by the rear of it when it connects to the muffler it's off to one side by a half inch or so, maybe an inch, which over that entire length isn't bad. And everything else basically came out fine, but if I really wanted that perfect, it'd be adding in the one extension or deleting the other. Now that it's installed and the car is driveable with it, I could always take it in to a good muffler shop and have them fiddle with it and get everything perfect, but I've got it dang close already, so we'll see. So I guess if you're planning on putting this system on a Fleetwood, your guess is as good as mine right now as to whether extending the system is actually required.

If I can ever come up with a definitive answer on that, I'll post it and maybe at some point drop Dan a line and see if he has any theories or things I can check to figure out the best way for him to approach it in the future.
 

Registered
Joined
7,879 Posts
...Oh, and one really bizarre issue I ran into that I forgot about was with the overall length of the system. When I originally contacted Dan and started asking questions and was getting my ducks in a row before ordering I brought up the issue of the Fleetwood being longer than the B-bodies and that the catback requires a roughly 6" extension. That was news to him, he said he'd sold his system to other Fleetwood owners before and never had any issues from them about it not fitting or needing extra length put in.

.....So I guess if you're planning on putting this system on a Fleetwood, your guess is as good as mine right now as to whether extending the system is actually required.....
Kudos on detailed write-up, and yah bring on the pics! But unless addressing some exceptional detail or concern I'm not catching, most Fleetwood'ers find the added wheelbase is typically (and amply) accommodated simply incorporating an H- or X- pipe into a regular B-body catback setup. I guess it could get to be a sort of stacking issue if you're using one of those fancy 3' long pre-welded X- assemblies, and less room to finagle the transition out of the cats and the section entering the muffs. I just handed the muff shop a $25 Summit H- kit together with a Hooker Aero catback and everything went together slick as snot.



I was a little surprised that there are no provisions for the two alternator brackets that attach to the head on that side, but I worked that out and will post pics when I get a chance. Basically the short one up front would normally need to be deleted because both heads have double bolt holes at the front and rear, and the factory manifolds use the outer holes, headers use the inner holes. And the longer one that attaches near the middle of the head, runs smack into one of the primary tubes. I was a little befuddled by that one, it'd be easy-ish enough to make the headers in a way that the bracket would clear, ...
I easily reconnected the forward brace just using the original hole, headed stud, spacer and a few more flats for perfect alignment. I saw I could get the rearward brace back on with a bend or such, but was unenthused trying.


I opted for the extra insulating material in the mufflers (he uses SpinTech)...
That made me flinch. I shy away from muffs designed with any sort of erodible packing as it seems a perpetually losing war to keep the fiberglass shards intact and as effective/quiet as when new. The impact is even greater with a part I don't want to have to consider replacing during the 12-15 year life of the system.
 

Registered
Joined
486 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Kudos on detailed write-up, and yah bring on the pics! But unless addressing some exceptional detail or concern I'm not catching, most Fleetwood'ers find the added wheelbase is typically (and amply) accommodated simply incorporating an H- or X- pipe into a regular B-body catback setup. I guess it could get to be a sort of stacking issue if you're using one of those fancy 3' long pre-welded X- assemblies, and less room to finagle the transition out of the cats and the section entering the muffs. I just handed the muff shop a $25 Summit H- kit together with a Hooker Aero catback and everything went together slick as snot.
Dan's system already incorporates a balance pipe, and with the way it's configured it would have been hard to try and cut it up and add in an additional crossover. The extensions were the best solution we could come up with, but for whatever reason, with his system very little extension, if any, is actually needed when putting it on a Fleet. Actually, the short section I added on the one side may have been needed to get one of the bends to properly clear the transmission crossmember (which I think would be a moot point anyways once I put in a tubular one) but once I get it back up on stands in a few days to finish one last thing I'll get some more pics. When I was finally finished, it was getting dark and I couldn't get decent pics underneath the car.

I easily reconnected the forward brace just using the original hole, headed stud, spacer and a few more flats for perfect alignment. I saw I could get the rearward brace back on with a bend or such, but was unenthused trying.
That was exactly what I did with the front one. I just reused some of the original spacers from the exhaust manifold bolts, with a little grinding here and there that one was easy to install. The back one was a little harder, I could either try to figure out how to bend the thick steel bar without access to machine shop anymore, or hammer a huge dent into the primary tube. Neither appealed to, I worked out a better-ish solution. It works anyway, and it's easy to duplicate, though now that I've solved it I may try to improve on it at some point later.

That made me flinch. I shy away from muffs designed with any sort of erodible packing as it seems a perpetually losing war to keep the fiberglass shards intact and as effective/quiet as when new. The impact is even greater with a part I don't want to have to consider replacing during the 12-15 year life of the system.
This might actually just be a brain fart on my part. I remember Dan telling me something about a quieter version of the SpinTech mufflers being available, it was the XP option and it was extra something, but I can't really recall the exact details now. I completely forgot about it, but I happened to glance down the inlet of one of the mufflers when checking everything out, and it appears to be a chambered design, and from the marks outside the case where there's internal welding, there appears to be a heck of a lot of baffles and chambers inside those things, so I'm thinking maybe it's not an insulated muffler. But I'm not very familiar with the SpinTechs, someone else would have to clue me in. And in any case, by not welding anything or using guillotine clamps that would have wrecked the pipes, I can easily remove them at any time and put in different mufflers of my choice if I ever do have issues with them.
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
Top