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Exhaust Systems Explained


I want to make my car sound a little better. At the moment it is too quiet and I want a simple cheap modification to make a bit louder, but nothing stupid. I have heard removing the mid-silencer is a good option.

An issue that I am having is understanding all the components of an exhaust system and all the terminology. Would anyone be able to confirm all parts labelled in the photo attached?

Many thanks

Year, make, model, and engine please.
Put a loud muffler on a four-banger and it’ll sound like a popcorn machine on steroids. We call them “fartcans”.
Put a loud muffler on a V6 and it’ll sound like it needs a muffler. My neighbor did this. His car sounds like a junker now.

It’s a Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring

It’d sound like a fartcan.
But if you really want one, I’m sure there are options on the internet. Of course they’ll probably void your warranty for most anything engine or exhaust related.

@jackocooper I suspect you are not in the United States, which most of the regular posters on this site are. That makes it hard to give advice not knowing your local laws and the fact that very few of the excellent mechanics that post here have even seen a Vauxhall. You should search for a Vauxhall specific forum. The same applies to the Alfa Romero in your other threads.

1 is the exhaust manifold flange 2 looks like the flex coupling or a pre-catalyst, 3 is the catalytic convertor 4 is another flex coupling?? 5 is a mid-silencer (muffler for we in the USA) 6/7 is the mid pipe and there are fittings but I can’t really see what those are - maybe band clamps? 9 is a flange 8 is a silencer (or muffler).

If you touch anything in front of 5, you won’t pass MOT if you are in GB.

You can easily remove 5, the mid silencer and replace it with a straight pipe. That would be cheap but I doubt it would make it sound much better plus you’d likely get an annoying drone inside the car. That is why its there. Replacing both rear silencers with sporty ones would make it sound a bit louder but may also make it sound fart-y as the others suggest. And it would cost quite a bit. Too loud and you may not pass MOT.

Why do you want to make the exhaust louder? The only result is to annoy people.


Unless your car is so quiet that visually impaired people can’t hear it, there is no such thing as “too quiet.”

I’m shocked at how many condominiums ban motorcycles just because people with loud pipes ruined it for the rest of us.

great thanks for your reply. Am i right in saying that not all cars have a mid silencer?

Given that he is driving a Vauxhall of fairly recent vintage, it is a sure thing that he does not reside in The US, and–most likely–lives in The UK.

For the OP’s benefit, I will point out that Vauxhalls have not been sold in The US since the early '60s.

Yeah I’m in the UK

From a Google search on Vauxhall General Motors …

“Vauxhall Motors is a trading name of General Motors UK Limited & is one of the oldest established vehicle manufacturers and distribution companies in Great Britain.”

The OP’s exhaust system is likely very similar to GM cars manufactured in the USA.

I was also curious about the term “resonator” as applied to exhaust systems. Where does that part fit in the works above ?

The OP is in the UK and my understanding is that the MOT ( Ministry of Transportation ) has strict guidelines so the OP should be asking these questions on a UK based forum.

Yup, you’re correct.
As others have said, we don’t have these vehicles in the U.S., where I reside, so I don’t know if yours does.

Perhaps it is similar to that of GM models in The US, but what is much more of a sure thing is that this Vauxhall’s exhaust system is identical to that of the comparable Opel model. Vauxhalls and Opels are essentially the same, with the exception of the nameplate, logo, and…maybe…some minor trim details such as tail lights.

Yes, not all cars have a mid silencer.

Back in the olden days of big V8 American cars, that mid-silencer and the rear silencers would change positions. The main silencer (muffler) would be under the rear seats and the mid (called a resonator) would be at the back of the car.

The mid silencer is usually designed to remove a drone that can occur, usually at highway speeds, and drive you crazy!

Good point!
You’re taking a chance by eliminating the resonator. I only have one experience with doing it. It was back when I was younger and pinching pennies. I had the muffler shop eliminate the resonator on a Caddy I owned. They were very concerned to do it and kept saying they did not want to take any responsibility if I didn’t like the outcome. I took the chance and fortunately never noticed any difference. But it is a risk…