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Can I drive around with my muffler detached?

psteng19

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2000
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The pipe leading to the muffler was quite rusty and damaged. It finally got severed when I ran over something and now it's completely detached from the muffler, so I'm basically going to be driving around with a non-functioning muffler.

Other than the added noise (and perhaps getting ticketed by a cop, so all legal stuff aside), is it 'ok' to drive around without the muffler?
('ok' meaning good for the car)

This will be short term (some short distance highway and a bit of local) until I can get it fixed on Friday.
 
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Miramonti

Lifer
Aug 26, 2000
28,649
98
91
Its ticketable in most places. I'm not sure what they get you on, noise ordinances perhaps, but its usually only a 'tack-on' if you get stopped and ticketed for something else.
 

WA261

Diamond Member
Aug 28, 2001
4,631
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it will not dammage yor car...you can prob get away with it like that untill its time for inspection
 

pyonir

Lifer
Dec 18, 2001
40,856
311
126
i haven't had a muffler for over six months. passed numerous police and never had a problem. although i haven't been stopped for anything else either soooo....
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
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The muffler may generate some backpressure that the engines expects. This would then effect engine perormance specs.
 

cjchaps

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2000
3,013
1
81
I assume you have a regular car without a turbo or supercharger? If so, then most likely your cars performance will be worse than it is with a muffler because the back-pressure the muffler creates helps give you more low-end power. Also, the muffler could be spewing exhaust gas in places it shouldn't go. You are not going to damage the engine or internals or anything without having the muffler.
 

MichaelD

Lifer
Jan 16, 2001
31,529
3
76
You'll be fine until Friday. Don't beat on the car, though. Keep full-throttle blasts to a minimum (even if it does sound Kewl...) Mufflers create backpressure, which is essential to the proper operation of the motor. Particularly if it's fuel injected.

Again, you'll be fine until Friday. Don't get pulled over. :p
 

psteng19

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2000
5,953
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no super/turbo here.
N/A 4 banger 1.6 liter... GA16DE in a '95 Sentra
Thanks guys.

<-- vrmmms away in his rice-mobile-sounding econobox :p
 

Demon-Xanth

Lifer
Feb 15, 2000
20,551
2
81
It could cause a problem with your valve train. But that depends on the engine and the rest of the exhaust (often a cat is enough backpressure). Most engines make more power w/ some back pressure unless modifications elsewhere compensate for the lack of back pressure.

There's a phenomenon called "sucking a valve" where very little back pressure causes stress on a valve that it wasn't designed for. I've heard from numerous car nuts that it can happen and a few ricers who say "Running without a muffler won't hurt anything, but 5000 miles after pulling the muffler off I needed to replace my valves"
 
Jan 18, 2001
14,465
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<< This will be short term (some short distance highway and a bit of local) until I can get it fixed on Friday.
>>



that is very short term... I wouldn't worry about it, other than the embarassing loudness of being that your rides is suffering from.

 

morkinva

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 1999
3,656
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71


<< no super/turbo here. N/A 4 banger 1.6 liter... GA16DE in a '95 Sentra Thanks guys. <-- vrmmms away in his rice-mobile-sounding econobox :p >>



A 'Twinkie' !
 

Scootin159

Diamond Member
Apr 17, 2001
3,650
0
76
Just a few things to make sure of:

That the remaining portions of the exhaust aren't dragging (or close), as they may be 'ripped' out if they catch. Also make sure that everything is still well attached & won't fall out if you hit a pothole.

Keep the high-revving to a minimum as everyone else has said here (but just till friday I wouldn't even worry about it).

Be light on the gas near cops ;)

Also remember that your exhaust is coming out from under your car, not behind it. Roll down your windows if you get stuck in traffic or a long stoplight. You don't want to be breathing that exhaust.

I had what you are describing (I think) happen to a 4banger of mine as well. Exhaust pipe came detached right after the manifold. I drove it like that for about a week, and had no problems with it.
 

LAUST

Diamond Member
Sep 13, 2000
8,957
1
81
Man a 95 with a rusted off exhaust.. you must live where they either dump a lot of salt on the road or your near the ocean.

I love my Stainless and Aluminized exhaust ;)
 

BooneRebel

Platinum Member
Mar 22, 2001
2,229
0
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As far as the car itself is concerned it's actually better. The exhaust is less restricted which means that your engine will perform more efficiently. That's why race cars run straight pipes (no mufflers).

However, it will be louder so you have to consider if getting ticketed is worth the risk. In addition, since the exhaust system is now several feet shorter, the exhaust doesn't properly flow to the edge of the vehicle (i.e., it's now dumping directly under your car). So you're going to be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning (especially if you leave the car at idle for any length of time). If you stick with getting it fixed on Friday then you're probably OK, just don't plan on leaving it as a performance mod. :D
 

IGBT

Lifer
Jul 16, 2001
17,725
52
91
Ahh..for a short while you can prob.slide with it. Probably isn't any louder then a motorcycle with a glass pack. And them things are roaring around and the cops dont tag them guys..some of thse things are realy loud. Bet those guys are deff as a post after a few years.
 

mAdD INDIAN

Diamond Member
Oct 11, 1999
7,804
1
0


<< Man a 95 with a rusted off exhaust.. you must live where they either dump a lot of salt on the road or your near the ocean.

I love my Stainless and Aluminized exhaust ;)
>>



Come to Canada man (specifically Toronto)..this winter...the roads have been white with salt, not snow.

 

Jzero

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
18,834
1
0


<< As far as the car itself is concerned it's actually better. The exhaust is less restricted which means that your engine will perform more efficiently. That's why race cars run straight pipes (no mufflers). >>


I thought that this didn't hold true for little 4-bangers, which is why the import crowds favor those cat-back systems. I could be wrong.

Anyway, why don't you save the money on a new muffler and instead buy some Type-R and Mugen stickers and maybe some cheap plastic body embellishments, and a custom Honda badge?
Don't forget to park across 3 spots whenever you go to the mall!
:)
 

hoihtah

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2001
5,183
0
76
as demon-x mentioned earlier...
your muffler not only serves your car as a sound damper,
but also as a back pressure creater. :)

this is one of the things most overlooked by many people.

people attach 3-4 inch tailpipe with a performance muffler, thinking that larger the whole better the performance,
but this isn't necessarily true.

you'd have to retune your engine to work with the lack of back pressure.

in practical sense, however, you're not doing a great damage...
not enough for you to tow your car to the nearest body shop right now.

but i'd suggest that you get yourself a muffler sooner than later.
it'll do much good to your eardrums. which'll cost lot more to replace than your muffler.
 

LAUST

Diamond Member
Sep 13, 2000
8,957
1
81


<< Come to Canada man (specifically Toronto)..this winter...the roads have been white with salt, not snow. >>


Ouch... if I ever visit I'll be sure to have my truck undercoated twice ;)
 

hoihtah

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2001
5,183
0
76


<<

<< As far as the car itself is concerned it's actually better. The exhaust is less restricted which means that your engine will perform more efficiently. That's why race cars run straight pipes (no mufflers). >>


I thought that this didn't hold true for little 4-bangers, which is why the import crowds favor those cat-back systems. I could be wrong.
>>



jzero...
you are completely correct.

and as for boonerebel...
you're mistaken to think that no muffler is better for your car.
as i stated earlier ... with lots of others....
back pressure is something that's needed... and will do damage over a period of time... as well as reduce the performance.

think of it in this way,
let's say you're blowing up a balloon.
you know that it'll take more effort to blow air into a balloon than just exhaling into an open air.
so before you put your mouth to the opening of the balloon, you take a big inhale.
and you naturally blow harder into the balloon.

let's say i made a large hole in that balloon on the other end.
you unknowing this, you blow hard as if the balloon had no hole.

what do you think will happen to you afterwards?
how bout the duration of your blow? do you think you can blow hard into this balloon as long as you would have if there was no hole?

as i said earlier, your car is tuned to having that back pressure.
and it'll perform as if the back pressure is there.
while you may be able to let the air out faster,
it won't be good for your car.
 

Scootin159

Diamond Member
Apr 17, 2001
3,650
0
76


<<

<< As far as the car itself is concerned it's actually better. The exhaust is less restricted which means that your engine will perform more efficiently. That's why race cars run straight pipes (no mufflers). >>


I thought that this didn't hold true for little 4-bangers, which is why the import crowds favor those cat-back systems. I could be wrong.
>>



Actually I thought 4 bangers need more back pressure. It's the big V8's the benefit from the straight exhaust. Or am I the one who is backwards?
 

BooneRebel

Platinum Member
Mar 22, 2001
2,229
0
0


<<

<<

<< As far as the car itself is concerned it's actually better. The exhaust is less restricted which means that your engine will perform more efficiently. That's why race cars run straight pipes (no mufflers). >>


I thought that this didn't hold true for little 4-bangers, which is why the import crowds favor those cat-back systems. I could be wrong.
>>



jzero...
you are completely correct.

and as for boonerebel...
you're mistaken to think that no muffler is better for your car.
as i stated earlier ... with lots of others....
back pressure is something that's needed... and will do damage over a period of time... as well as reduce the performance.

think of it in this way,
let's say you're blowing up a balloon.
you know that it'll take more effort to blow air into a balloon than just exhaling into an open air.
so before you put your mouth to the opening of the balloon, you take a big inhale.
and you naturally blow harder into the balloon.

let's say i made a large hole in that balloon on the other end.
you unknowing this, you blow hard as if the balloon had no hole.

what do you think will happen to you afterwards?
how bout the duration of your blow? do you think you can blow hard into this balloon as long as you would have if there was no hole?

as i said earlier, your car is tuned to having that back pressure.
and it'll perform as if the back pressure is there.
while you may be able to let the air out faster,
it won't be good for your car.
>>

That's quite a rant about balloons, blowing, etc. You might be working harder to blow up a balloon as opposed to breathing with no restriction, but do you think you're actually moving more air? No, your're just working harder to move a similar volume. At the end of the day, who do you think is going to be in better shape? Someone breathing normally or someone that has had to exhale into a balloon?

However, I stand by my statement that the engine will run more efficiently. Your engine is basically a big air pump. Anything you can do to increase the flow of air through it will give you more power. Whether that's putting on a K&N air filter, new intake, exhaust, header system, etc., you're improving the flow of air through the system. Past the slight scavenging effect that the exhaust pipes provide, a muffler itself hurts performance. It's a shame your little import job can't handle it.
 

clarkmo

Platinum Member
Oct 27, 2000
2,615
2
81


<< It could cause a problem with your valve train. But that depends on the engine and the rest of the exhaust (often a cat is enough backpressure). >>


But then the squealing will probably get you ticketed and then the ASPCA will get involved. You don't want that.
 

Soybomb

Diamond Member
Jun 30, 2000
9,505
1
0
Boy some days I'm glad I've got a turbocharged car with the exhaust exiting at the back of the drivers side door with no muffler. Then I don't even have to get into these back pressure debates, because I can promise you I dont need it :)
 

Zenmervolt

Elite member
Oct 22, 2000
24,510
11
81
<<Actually I thought 4 bangers need more back pressure. It's the big V8's the benefit from the straight exhaust. Or am I the one who is backwards?>>

Depends on engine tuning. You can tune a 4-cyl to get a benefit from straight pipes, but from the factory the engine is tuned for an exaust system. In most cars though the muffler alone is simply noise supression. The cat usually provides more than enough back pressure as someone has already said. If your exaust system has a resonator, chances are you won't even violate noise ordinances without the muffler. Had the cheap Midas POS muffler fall off my car last summer (it disconnected where the B-pipe joined the muffler and everything else was still on fine) and while it was louder at idle, there was no noticeable difference in sound or volume at wide open throttle. Also, there was no noticeable difference in performance, etc. If it's just the muffler and nothing else, there is very little chance that it will change backpressure enough to make any kind of difference. Now, if the manifold has come apart from the cat (trust me, you'd know if that happened, LOUD!) then you'd have problems with backpressure, or lack thereof.

ZV

EDIT: In all engines, completely removing the exaust will result in an increase in power at W.O.T., but backpressure (in certain amounts) is beneficial to low-end torque. As for it creating valvetrain problems, I'd want to know just how many of the people who removed the muffler then needed new valves 5000 miles later were also spending 90% of their time at or beyond redline after removing the muffler. Sounds to me kind of like saying that using Hoosier racing slicks causes cars to wear out faster, only people who race (and thus heavily stress) their cars use Hoosier racing slicks, and only people who are going to punish their engines remove the exaust system. There are too many other variables to pin it conclusively on a lack of backpressure.

EDIT #2: Just rememberd this, I know that open headers can lead to burnt valves but I'm not quite sure why. I'd always thought that burnt valves stemmed from excess heat. Anyone care to enlighten me?
 

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