2016 Camaro SS Headers & Exhaust, Part 1

Stainless Works Exhaust for 2016, 2017 Camaro SS

How The Sausage Is Made

Part 1: It's all in the exhaust valves

The 2016 Camaro SS hit the streets with a fury - smaller, lighter, more nimble, and with a fat pushrod V8, just like a muscle car should. It’s the same 6.2L LT1 found in the Corvette, with 450 tire-smoking ponies crammed under that sleek hood. Fresh suspension geometry, adjustable dampers and huge 20-inch shoes help keep the thing hooked up and going where you intend.

There’s no doubt the 2016 Camaro SS looks amazing and is fast as hell - but how does it sound? Well, it’s a modern muscle car with big displacement under the hood, so it actually sounds pretty damn good.  But here at Stainless Works “where exhaust dreams are born”, we always feel a car can sound better. Always.

So let’s take a look at what our engineers did to develop an exhaust system for this sexy, sexy machine.

Step 1 is to get a car to use for testing and fitment. Easy enough - we went down to the local Chevrolet dealership, snagged a trio of Camaro SSs(sss) and set our engineers loose. After a thorough round of “analysis” (and new shoes for all three) we identified three main differences that need to be accounted for, exhaust-wise: Manual or Automatic, Dual-mode exhaust or not, Convertible or Hard Top.

Stainless Works Camaro SS Dual-Mode Exhaust System

Designing the System

When designing an exhaust system our engineers like to design the whole cat-back system together with the mufflers and headers. Everything as a unit. The Camaro SS, however, is a unique animal. Not only does the center section come valved or not-valved (AFM for Automatics and non-AFM for manuals) this beast also comes with two different mufflers out back. And to make things one step more awesome, our engineers decided to design two sets of headers for the Camaro SS - 1 ⅞” primaries for the stock engines, and 2” primaries for the blown engines.

For part 1 of our series, let’s dive into the two different muffler configurations on the Camaro SS.

Axle-Back and Mufflers

As mentioned before, the Camaro SS has two different muffler options, valved and non-valved, so our engineers needed to develop two different mufflers for the Camaro SS - a high-flow single-exit muffler that gives killer flow and amazing sound for the standard SS, and a set of mufflers for the dual-mode Camaros, with dual outlets and a straight-through valved section that works with the factory valve controller.

Single Exit Muffler

For the Camaro SS with the single exit mufflers, our engineers decided to give the big LT1 a bit of growl with it’s bite. So they took our tried and true Turbo S-tube muffler design and gave it a bit of a massage to tweak the exhaust note, turning the Camaro’s mean snarl into an aggressive, throaty growl. It features huge 3” inlets and outlets, with a perforated, stainless mesh-wrapped core. This style of muffler gives amazing airflow, and a deep, muscle-car tone to almost any big V8. And the Camaro ain’t any different. When you get on the gas, things get loud.

Dual-Mode Valved Muffler

The Camaro SS with dual-mode exhaust sent our engineers to the drawing board multiple times. They needed to design a muffler that featured two distinct airflow paths, activated by a custom designed butterfly valve. Under normal cruising conditions, the exhaust gasses take a leisurely path through multiple chambers, giving you a mellow, subdued tone (or as subdued as you can get in a badass Camaro SS.) Under load, or above a certain RPM, or when in “Track” mode, the butterfly valve opens - routing your exhaust into an arrow straight 3” pipe right through the muffler case. The result is a muffler with two tips, two tones, and thousands of fans.

A Story of Two Valves

Our engineers determined that both of the 2.5” butterfly valves in the factory Camaro SS exhaust system had to go. The first one is back by the rear axle, and is part of the AFM cylinder-delete system. The other valve is back in the muffler, actually built directly into the muffler case.

They were too small, and would be an unnecessary choke point in an otherwise free-flowing 3” exhaust system. So our engineers designed and built our own custom Stainless Works butterfly valve that perfectly integrates with the factory solenoid and wiring. Fully tig welded, stainless steel, smooth as butter. And it features a heavy duty return spring, eliminating the rattle some find in their factory valve - so when it is closed, it is CLOSED.

I know what you’re thinking, “Jerk, the Camaro SS with manual transmission doesn’t have Active Fuel Management or an AFM-valve.”  Yes, we know. That’s why our engineers also designed a center section with no AFM valve. Relax, without the valve it’s just a piece of pipe. No problem.

Now go check out Camaro SS Headers and Exhaust, Part II where we discuss the development of the headers for the Camaro SS, we’ll also take a deeper look at that fat crossover we’ve built for this system.

Ready to take your Camaro to the next level, or just want more info? Check out our videos, and the full list of features on this badass exhaust system.
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