Tuesday, March 26, 2019

[Focus] Enhanced pops and bangs

This blog wasn't supposed to be dominated by coverage of my Skyline, but it's turned out that way. It's the car that inspired me to start writing here so it makes sense, but I want this to be a home for all my car activities, including the other wheels in my fleet.

I may do a little retrospective on the Focus and why I bought it, but for now, let's just dive right in with a modification post. The RS is a great car, fun to drive, but I wanted a little bit more aggression from the exhaust. There are many aftermarket options and they all make the car louder, I wanted a 'mature' level of noise since this is my daily driver. I got the general feeling that the Mountune V2 offered what I was after.

I ordered a V2 exhaust from Mountune USA on 5/13/18. Month after month I was told they were nearly there, coming soon, hoping to have them this month, etc. On 1/16/19 (that's 8 months) I canceled my order and purchased a V3 exhaust from Mountune UK, for nearly the same price including shipping. It arrived 6 days later.

For the install I went to Pit Row in Santa Clara, a DIY shop where you pay $35/hour and get to use their lift and tools. For projects like this it's a no-brainer.

Stock, 8k miles

I was surprised that the Mountune kit did not come with fitting instructions. For guidance, I followed along with the CJ Pony Parts installation video for other systems. The most exciting step of installation is the cutting of the stock pipe. It's routed up and over the subframe, so it can't be fished out in one piece without dropping the entire subframe. No thanks.

Pit Row did not have a Sawz-all, so I learned about the chain pipe cutter. It turned out to be perfectly-suited for the job, cutting a nice clean line through the stock pipe in a few minutes.

Stock system out. I love a low-mileage new car, zero seized fasteners or issues.

Resisted the urge to start it at this point.

New unit. Even without instructions it is pretty obvious how it all goes together. The V3 differs from the V2 in that the tips are separate from the muffler, so they can be rotated for adjustment.

The workmanship and fitment of the Mountune kit is top-notch. Pipes slip together perfectly, clamps are exactly the right size, hangers are in the right places. There was zero fiddling from the initial installation, it all fit perfectly. The new system comes with a new exhaust valve already installed.

The whole job took 2 hours from start to finish, taking our time, including a test drive to make sure everything was set up correctly. The new system is exactly what I wanted, and exactly why I kept waiting (and waiting) for Mountune. The fitment and quality are top-notch; I like the slash-cut tips, and that the stock valve is retained. The new sound is a great augmentation of the stock character - louder and more aggressive, but without being harsh or shouty. The pops and bangs are great and definitely do not sound like gunshots.

So: two thumbs up for the actual product, two thumbs down for Mountune USA. Save yourself the heartache and order from Mountune UK (although I think the system just went out of stock there...)

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