Ford 2.3L Exhaust Modifications

I tested out the catalytic convertor to see if it was plugged and affecting the performance. I pounding out the innards. There are screens at each end of the catalytic converter that must be removed before the innards can be removed. In my case, it was severely restricted and after unplugging it, the performance improved substantially - especially the gas mileage which increased dramatically on the highway! I eventually replaced it with a straight pipe which is very easy to do (easier than pounding out the innards)!

A couple of turbo style mufflers.

I drove for a couple of years with just a stock muffler (no cat) and it finally wore out. I replaced it with a Cherry Bomb Turbo muffler (not the fiberglass pack) because it was 1/2 the price of a stock muffler and what a great performance increase - highly recommended! It's a little louder than I like but it sure makes it fun to drive.

I was having off and on again "Check Engine" light coming on while driving due to the big 19 lb fuel injectors. The error code was "rich on part throttle". The Cherry Bomb muffler leaned out the fuel mixture and the error code disappeared - BONUS!

I recommend going to a free flowing non catalytic convertor exhaust system if possible. I do NOT recommend adding headers. The stock exhaust manifold is well designed and perfectly adequate up to 5000 rpm. If you have a pre 90s 2.3L, you may want to consider swapping in the header style cast exhaust manifold from a 90s Ranger - they 're plentiful at the junkyards and cheap.

Ranger Stock Exhaust Manifold

I've studied swapping in headers and free flow exhausts for about 40 years now and have concluded that any performance gains you will see from headers will only been seen above 5000 rpm. Around 3000 rpm, you won't seen any performance increase at all. I've left it at the stock 2" dia piping as I've heard that going larger will hurt your bottom end torque which is exactly what I don't want to do.

Exhaust Wrap

Exhaust Wrap

I picked up some exhaust pipe tape/wrap (header wrap). It is an insulation material that you wrap your exhaust pipe and manifold up with to keep the heat in. It's costs about $50 for a 2 inch x 50 foot roll. It serves two purposes:

  1. Keeps the underhood temperature lower. Engine runs cooler and cooler air to the intake. Supposed to make underhood temperatures lower by 50%
  2. Keeps the hot exhaust gas in the exhaust pipe which increases the exhaust gas speed providing better scavenging of the cylinders during the exhaust cycle. Engine breathes better. Supposed to be good for 2 or 3 hp.

How to wrap your exhaust

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Copyright February 2011 Eugene Blanchard