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Many years ago while my car still had the L99 Engine and a single exhaust, I decided to install the Flowmaster American Thunder Catback System (#17118) on my 95 Sedan. It was/is a very nice system but is no longer available. The only drawback to the system for me was the 2.25" diameter and the H pipe vs a X pipe crossover.

I installed this system myself, using Band Clamps and it never leaked or caused me any problems. I dont have the luxury of a Lift but did this with the car on Jackstands and laying under the car. Until a small block of Wood in the road hit the system and bent a pipe, I was wondering if this thing would ever rot off.

Finally decided to remove it and go with a 2.5" catback setup from Dan at Clear Image and his setup is very nice. What I would like to do here is just provide some pics of the old system, the New system and some of what I experienced while doing the install. Maybe this will help others that are interested in doing this themselves and maybe saving a little money.

Attached are pics of the old FM system.

continued.......
 

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couple more random pics of the old FM system attached here.

While the removal was pretty straightforward, I did have to cut the tails to get it removed from the car. If you look closely at the pics, Flowmaster did a very good job to keep the Pipes tucked up under the car especially where the pipes lead into the mufflers.


continued.....
 

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CIA time...

I contacted Dan to discuss a system and what would work for my needs. While I really wanted Stainless, I could not afford that and chose to paint the Pipes before install. I would highly recommend if you can....to upgrade to the Polished Stainless Tail Pipes. These are part of the system that gets seen the most and they look great.

I got the 2.5" Aluminized System and went with Dan's recommendation and got the Sportsman XL Mufflers and couldnt be happier. While I wanted loudish, I did not want obnoxious. I would compare these to the old FM mufflers as far as noise level but they sound even better when you get on the gas. I'm sure sound will increase a little when I switch out to the Tri-Y's and Dans Cats. I will report back if the noise level is noticeably louder.

While the system fit very well, it does appear to hang a little lower under the car than the FM setup, its a little tougher to get the X-Pipe section to clear the Driveshaft. What I did, was placed Jack stands under the Frame and let the Axle hang as low as it could and kept a 1/4" clearance to the D/S. Then before tightening it all down with the band clamps, I raised the Axle to simulate ride height and make sure all components were clear.

Another issue was with the Driver Side Muffler hanger. I noticed that the one section of pipe was a little too long and would have hit the differencial case as well as the ABS wire. While Dan felt the Band Clamps could be a problem (he recommended welding), I had a feeling they would not interfere and they did not, fit well around the Axle and hold the system together very well.

The band clamps were purchased from JEGS for $7.99 each and you will need 10 of them with his kit. What I did find was as tightening the band clamps, it was tough to get them to tighten as much as I had wanted. I backed off the Nuts a little, put some Antiseize on the Threads and under the Nut. Doing this made it much easier to clamp these things down fully and think the Stainless clamp actually stretches a little for a tight leak free joint. Also, before assembly, I used a little RTV High Temp Red on the slipjoints. Not a lot, just a little coating to help seal things.

The attached pics show the system parts before they were installed and just painted. In the 1 pic, you will see the painted system plus the unpainted Aluminized Tails along side of the Polished Stainless Tails. These tails are very nice and glad I got them. You will also see the Hanger interference and where I cut it off.

Hopefully, this thread will show that you can install a system yourself even if you dont have a lift. I was a little concerned that I could have done a little better alighing the pipes, so within days of the install, I contacted a Muffler shop just to see if on the lift they could do any better adjusting it for more clearence. After they got it up on the lift, he said it looks great and "we really dont see anything that needs adjusted" and complimented me on the install. When it was off the lift, I asked him what do I owe ya....he said "nothing, we didnt do anything". So overall, Thumbs Up to Dan and his ready to install setup.
 

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some more random pics....
 

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Just a couple of the tails. Sorry the car is filthy and the back shot is kinda dark but it was late when I took this....
 

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I am happy with my Spintech XL's also. Mellow but noticeable note

If you want loud get the ProStreets

I have shorty headers/383 H/c and also have the DynoMax resonators which likely make them quieter than just the straight pipes you have. When I had a over the axle pipe off these XL's are way louder
 

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Nice Job !
post up when you get a vid.
-ALF out...
 

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How are the painted bits holding up in the PA weather?

Contemplating going the same route
Changing the oil tomorrow and curious to see myself 0:).

I'll let you know and maybe get some pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
So after a Year+ the Paint seems to be holding up pretty well.

From what I could see, there is some pitting near the Ball Socket and some of the Band Clamp "Bolts" are rusted up pretty good already. Overall, it looks like it was worth "my" time to prep/paint. Maybe could have been better if I waited til warmer weather to paint instead of a cold Garage during the Holidays.

It sure is better than the rest of the underside of the car. What can I say....She's a Driver. >:)


EDIT - WTFing...F!! - Not sure why the Pics are upside-down and it's annoying as He!!. I tried posting them a few times and even "purposely" flipped them 180* once and they were still flipped. If anyone can tell me how to edit the attachments I will. This Forum (NOT it's Members :>)) has been acting Weird lately with posts and trying to use "Classic" View in both Browsers.
 

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Thanks for the update. Certainly looks like it was worth the the extra effort.

When i Frankenstein my system together, i definitely will be painting the Dynomax OTA pipes which i have sitting in the garage rafters.
 
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