2018-2019 Mustang GT Borla ATAK Cat-Back Exhaust W/Bright Carbon Fiber Tips Review & Sound Clip

2018-2019 Mustang GT Borla ATAK Cat-Back Exhaust W/Bright Carbon Fiber Tips Review & Sound Clip

Hey, guys. Adam here with americanmuscle.com. Today we’re taking a closer look at, listening
to and installing the Borla ATAK Cat-Back Exhaust with Bright Carbon Fiber Tips available
for the 2018 and newer Mustang GT without active exhaust. And full disclosure, guys, we’re working with
my buddy Justin’s 2019 GT without the active exhaust and it does have the 10-speed auto,
so that’s what you’re hearing in our sound clips. If you’re working with a 6-speed, you might
get a little bit of a different sound clip result. This is the working with the 10-speed auto,
so you’ll see a lot of upshifting and a little downshifting in both regular driving mode
and in sport mode. With all of that said, you’ve just heard our
sound flips, guys. I’m giving this one the full five out of five
on our loudness meter. Borla ATAK is known to be one of the loudest
options in the category, but they do have a patented technology with the Acoustically
Tuned Applied Kinetics muffler or the ATAK muffler which is going to help give you the
most volume without distorting that tone, so it really keeps a good high-quality pitch. There is a very little drone inside the cabin
which I think is a really big seller for something that has five out of five on the loudness
meter. Typically, when you get that loud and volume,
you’re gonna start distorting and you’re going to get a lot of noisy vibration, harshness,
and drone inside the cabin. With that ATAK muffler, it’s not going to
be the case here. So wide open throttle on the highway. Of course, it’s gonna be pretty loud but other
than that you can expect to be able to have a conversation easily inside the cabin and
while also listening to your favorite music without this having big interruptions. At idle, you can expect a deep, throaty rumble
and as you get through the lower end of the RPM band, it’s really going to give you a
nice, aggressive tone without being overwhelming. It’s really at wide open throttle that you’ll
wake up all that volume. Now the kit head to toe is gonna have 304-stainless
steel, highest quality exhaust materials from the category, so expect the premium stuff
here, everything from welds to construction, a 3-inch diameter with a tubing which is a
little larger than some of the other ones in the category for a better airflow, mandrel
bends throughout the tubing. And I’ll walk you through all of the differences
between the two kits a little bit later on. Just know it’s got the highest quality stuff,
an X-Pipe for your mid-pipe leading that factory resonator. And at the end here, dual 4-inch carbon fiber
tips on both sides. Now again, I’ll zero in a little bit more
on the details later but this look might not be for everybody. This has that carbon fiber sleeve over your
tip here. It’s got vented veins on the inside for heat
dissipation so your carbon fiber stays intact. And look, it might not be for everybody, but
if you don’t really like the carbon fiber tips but you love the sound this is producing,
there are some other options in the category with the same Borla ATAK system with different
tips. There’s black chrome, there’s polished chrome,
so really you can’t go wrong with the Borla ATAK. There’s a lot of options out there for any
personal preference. Now, this kit does come with a premium price
tag and that is gonna be tacked up a little bit because of the carbon fiber here. So expect to be spending between $1900 and
$2 grand for this cat-back. So you’ll be digging deep in the wallet, but
it does come out with premium quality. Best high volume kit on the category in my
opinion. It’s also going to have the best materials
and it’s going to have some really unique tips. So if you like the carbon fiber, this is really
going to make the rear end standout. Install, two out of three wrenches on our
difficulty meter. It’s not gonna be that hard but it is gonna
be a little bit more involved in a simple cold air intake, for example. Now you’re not gonna be doing any cutting,
you’re not gonna be doing any drilling, no welding, none of that nonsense, it will bolt
right up. I’m gonna take you through every step of the
process. It took me about two hours or so from start
to finish. Depending on your experience, that may vary. What do you say we get started? Tools used in this install include an impact
gun or a ratchet, an extension, 13 and 15-millimeter deep sockets, a flathead screwdriver and a
mallet. Now the first step of the uninstall here under
our 2019 GT is to loosen up both of the band clamps holding your stock exhaust to the headers. Now what we’re gonna do is grab our 15-millimeter
deep socket and loosen up the two bolts here and on the second one. Now we’re not gonna fully remove them, just
get them loosened up so we’ll be able to slide the rest of the exhaust out of place. Now the next step here is to go right under
your crossmember here and we’re gonna remove the brackets holding our factory hangers to
the frame, and these are 13-millimeter bolts. You have the option of sliding the hangers
out of these brackets but I find it to be way easier to just grab an extension and my
13-millimeter deep socket and get these bolts removed. Go right on over the rear sway bar, just pull
those bolts out. You want to keep these because we’re gonna
have to reuse those once we install our next exhaust. Now with those bolts removed, these brackets
are actually hooked on into this crossmember. So we’re gonna lift up and just unhook them
and just rotate it down out of the way. The same thing on both sides. With the clamps by your factory manifolds
or your headers loosened up, we’ve got the frame disconnected from those brackets on
the hangers. At this point, we’re gonna disconnect the
stock exhaust from the headers and I got my buddy Scott here to help me lower it down. If you’re working on the ground on jack stands,
it’s going to be a little bit easier for you to do by yourself, but since we’re so high
up in the air, you’re gonna want to have a buddy with you if you’re working on a lift. So once we get these disconnected, we’re just
gonna slide the whole factory exhaust out of the hangers by the exhaust tips toward
the front of the vehicle then we’ll be able to set it aside. On these clamps, there’s a little bit of a
tab holding this on, so you might need to grab a flathead and just peel up on that locking
tab that holds it in position. So we finally got our factory exhaust off
of Justin’s 2019 GT. It’s on the ground here sitting next to our
Borla ATAK. I wanted to take you guys through some of
the similarities but mainly the big differences between the two kits because there are quite
a few. Now, starting at the front of the vehicle
you’ll notice that the factory exhaust has that factory resonator where your mid-pipe
is. That’s gonna really dial down that sound,
mute some of the aggressive tones that you’d otherwise really like from the 5.0. I will say that this exhaust does sound pretty
good from the factory. For a factory car, I’d give it a lot of credit. The 5.0 sounds pretty aggressive. But that resonator is really going to bring
back down some of those volume tones. And I think going over to your X-Pipe here
from the Borla ATAK system is gonna do wonders for not only volume but also power. The X-Pipe is known to be a little raspier
and a little louder than a factory resonator or even an aftermarket H-pipe. It has that crossover section in the middle,
so it’s an unrestricted airflow and because of that, you’re gonna bump up some of the
horsepower and torque figures. Now moving on, you’ll notice the entire exhaust
here is a 3-inch mandrel-bent tubing, which is one of the larger tubings as far as aftermarket
is concerned in the category. You’re gonna get really good airflow from
the mandrel-bent tubing as opposed to your factory exhaust which can have some of the
kinks in some of those bends. Now before we get to our mufflers, right behind
that, you’ll notice a unique section in our 3-inch tubing. Now that is the polyphonic harmonizer which
is a patented technology for Borla’s systems. Now Borla is able to change the length and
size of each individual chamber to really hone in on the specific sounds you get with
each individual application while also canceling out all of the unwanted or distorted frequencies
you’d get with some of these louder systems such as the ATAK. So this chamber, the polyphonic harmonizer,
in combination with the ATAK muffler, I think produces one of the more unique sounds, especially
for the ’18 and ’19 gen. Moving along, you’ll notice that the mufflers
are a little different. Now these are the Borla ATAK mufflers, otherwise
known as the Acoustically Tuned Applied Kinetic mufflers. What that basically means, now I’m not gonna
jump into all the physics of it, but what that basically means is you’re getting the
highest possible volume without distortion. That’s a really big focus on the ATAK system. They focus on giving you volume but without
all of the unwanted drone inside the vehicle. So, as you heard from our sound clips, it’s
not very droney inside. It’s loud in the exterior, but inside you
can really keep a conversation and you can really listen to music peacefully, even on
the highway at highway speeds. So that muffler there really focuses on not
distorting that sound. So it gives you a really aggressive tone,
a really loud tone but it still has that really good quality. So one of the biggest differences as far as
an exterior standpoint is concerned is the tips. Now you’re still keeping the quad tip that
you would expect from a newer S550. In this case, you’re moving from your factory
3-inch slash cut tips and the chrome polished stainless steel finish to carbon fiber. Now as you can see, directly inside there
is what you would expect to be a normal tip around 3 inches but on the outside there’s
more of a carbon fiber sleeve that goes over the top of that. Inside there I would call something like vented
veins, which are typically going to be used to, you know, expel some of that heat, dissipate
some heat, which is going to keep the carbon fiber from warping, keep the carbon fiber
from discoloring and changing. So good quality. I would say about a 1/4-inch thick carbon
fiber going over the tip, but it’s not full on made from carbon fiber. It’s really a sleeve going over the metal
pipe. It still looks pretty good from the exterior
standpoint but looking straight on you can see some of those veins. Some guys might really like that, some guys
might not. Personally, for me, I wish that the sleeve
was built into the carbon fiber tip but for heat dissipation’s sake it does make sense. So 4-inch dual tips on both sides, carbon
fiber finish and has the Borla name printed right on top. It has the red stripe in the Borla logo so
it adds a little pop of color to it. So on the car, I think that’s gonna look pretty
good. So I want to show you guys how this gets installed. Now we have to transfer over these hanger
brackets from the factory hangers over to our new Borla system. So, I’m gonna use a hanger removal tool. I’m just gonna slide this in and pop this
right off. All right, now we can take this off and just
transfer them right over. Now when you transfer these over, you want
to take note of this little tab here at the top. This you want facing the front of the vehicle. Just slide these right over top and rotate
them down and out of the way. Now we have to pop off the factory band clamps
at the front end of our exhaust, our factory exhaust, and we’ll transfer those over to
our factory manifolds on the car. So you just want to slide these off and out
of place. I’m gonna take these right on over to the
car. Now transferring these band clamps over to
the factory manifolds, you want to make sure that this little retainer tab is lining up
with the welded on little button on the end here. That’s gonna retain this clamp into position
and that’s how you know it’s exactly where you want it to be. So we’re gonna slide that into place and just
line that up so the tab is just behind it and you just push down on that. Now it’s in perfect place. Do the same thing for the other one. Next up is our X-Pipe. Now you’ll notice at the end here there are
adapters inserted into the inlet side of the X-Pipe. Now, these are going to adapt it, so it’d
work with your factory manifolds. If at any point you upgrade to long tube headers
that have somewhat of 3-inch inlet, or 3-inch outlet rather, you can remove these and still
use the same system without needing to pick up any additional parts. So if you’re using your stock manifolds, you
want to make sure these are still on the X-Pipe. If you have an aftermarket header, shorty
or long, you can remove these and use the X-Pipe alone. So since we’re working with all stock, we’re
gonna leave them on. With that said, you also want to make sure
that these clamps are in place before you put it on. Now I’m gonna tighten these down once we get
it in place. We’ll tighten these down to the band clamps
and then these to the adapters. Once you have that seated all the way back,
tighten up the band clamps then adjust these clamps to tighten down the adapters. All right, we’re just doing this with a 15
deep socket. Now you can take these clamps, rotate them
into place and use the same socket to tighten those down. Next up is our passenger side pipe that’ll
connect to our subframe using those factory hangers. And what we’re going to do is make sure we
have another clamp over at the inlet side, slide that over the passenger side of the
X-Pipe. Now you want to make sure when you’re sliding
this into place, you’re sliding it in so the hanger matches up properly to the subframe. You don’t want to go too far in or not enough
in. So keep an eye on these little slots here
and make sure you’re not gonna have any exhaust leak and check on the position. It’s looking pretty good. So I’m gonna tighten up this clamp. Just get it nice and snug with our 15 socket. All right, now we can do the same thing with
our driver’s side. Now the next step, we have to rotate up and
connect these hanger brackets to the slots that we’re removing from on the subframe. Now I always like to leave all of the previous
clamps just a little bit loose, just snug enough that it’s connected and won’t shuffle
around but still leaving a little room for adjustment to make this part a little bit
easier. So you want to be able to rotate these upward,
move the pipes and connect those to the slots. All right, so you can do that for both of
them. When you tighten them down, you want to make
sure these aren’t slanty. You want them straight. That’ll help you position everything properly. Grab the factory 13-millimeter bolts, thread
them in by hand, just a couple of threads. Grab a 13-millimeter deep socket and I use
an extension to go right on over the sway bar and tighten them down. All right, then we’re gonna start on our passenger
side for the muffler and tips. Now when you’re installing these, you want
to make sure you have a clamp over the inlet side but your hanger is going to get installed
first. So slide this into the isolator underneath
where your tips would go at the rear valance and then line up your pipes. Once you line that up, get it nice and adjust
it where you want it to be. Rotate your clamp into position and you’ll
tighten those down. All right, now we can do the same thing for
our driver’s side. All right. Seat them where you want them, rotate your
clamp into position and tighten it down. Well, guys, that’s gonna wrap up my review
and install for the Borla ATAK Cat-Back with the Bright Carbon Fiber Tips for the 2018
and newer Mustang GT without Active Exhaust. If you want to pick this one up for your own
S550 you can do so right here at americanmuscle.com.

About the Author: Michael Flood


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