When new, a Mopar C-Body was a status symbol as it meant you could afford one of the most comfortable and roomiest offerings by the Chrysler Corporation. The C-Bodies also offered the best ride qualities, with a long wheelbase and straight-tracking torsion bar suspension, and we feel their sheer bulk makes them some of the safest cars produced during that era as well. And while C-Bodies like our '69 Newport convertible are still desirable and collectible, certain sectors of the aftermarket have been slow to provide many of the parts needed to restore these cars, which might be why we don't see more of them at the events we attend or while driving on the road.
Fortunately, Tube Technologies Incorporated (TTI) hasn't forgotten about those of us who love C-Bodies, offering both headers and exhaust systems for both standard and station wagon versions of Chrysler's biggest cars. When we purchased our Newport, our intent was to make it a driver that we could fix up as we go along, and drive this car we have. In fact, after performing some necessary maintenance and upgrades to the brakes, suspension, and engine, we've put several thousand miles on the car, including a nearly 2,000 mile round trip last summer to the Mopar Nationals and back from our Florida home. And even though we replaced the exhaust manifold gaskets and hacked together some decent exhaust for our car to get it on the road, exhaust leaks and sub-standard exhaust components resulted in leaks and our lack of tailpipes meant a substantial amount of exhaust fumes were entering the cabin of our Newport. Additionally, the mufflers installed on our Newport weren't exactly quiet, and the constant drone of exhaust mixed with the vibrations of the exhaust tubes hitting the car's floor made for a noisy ride. Needless to say we needed a good exhaust system if we wanted to continue enjoying the car, and our research led us to two distinct options.
The first option for new exhaust was to simply take our car to a local shop and have them bend up and install a new system for us. And although it can be convenient to have a local shop do the work, there are several drawbacks to this option. First, the factory exhaust manifolds on our Newport are more than 40 years old, and were never known for their exceptional flow capabilities. Additionally, the manifold-to-cylinder head mating surfaces of factory manifolds warp over time, making it difficult for the gaskets to seal and lead to annoying leaks between the manifolds and cylinder heads. At the "donut" gasket area where the manifold attaches to the exhaust pipe corrosion causes another problematic area to seal. Yet another drawback to the local exhaust shop is that the tubing benders that most shops use actually crush the pipe at the area of the bend, which restricts flow and robs power. If you think it's less expensive to use a local shop, think again. The shop we went to quoted us over $600 for dual exhaust and mufflers, more expensive than a full system from TTI, and this didn't offer any option for replacing our aged factory manifolds.
Because of all these reasons, we decided our best option would be to get a pre-bent exhaust system and a pair of aftermarket headers, and install it ourselves. We checked the TTI website, www.ttiexhaust.com, to see what they had for our C-Body. Catering to Mopar enthusiasts, TTI hasn't forgotten about those of us who prefer the largest Chrysler products, offering long-tube headers for '65 to '73 C-Bodies featuring 1 7/8-inch primary tubes and three inch collectors. Smaller primary tubes might make more sense for our stock 383 four-barrel engine, but these headers should provide unrestricted flow and will give us room to grow as we modify our engine with an aftermarket camshaft, cylinder heads, and other components. The TTI headers work with either a stock starter or Chrysler mini-starter, and we chose the ceramic coated units so they'd look good for a long time to come.
To back up our headers, TTI offers complete 2-1/2 or 3-inch exhaust systems made from 16-gauge aluminized pipe, and fitting either factory exhaust manifolds or aftermarket headers. Like all of TTI's exhaust systems, the C-Body systems are CNC fabricated for accuracy and proper clearances, and mandrel bent so there is no restrictive crushing of the tubes at the bends. Each TTI exhaust system features an H-pipe crossover, and is available either with or without mufflers. We ordered TTI's 2.5-inch diameter kit for our car that included Dynomax super-turbo mufflers since they flow great, and don't drone like some other performance mufflers when cruising at highway speeds. Our parts arrived quickly, and we were impressed at the care TTI takes in packaging their products. The headers and exhaust components were wrapped individually in bubble wrap, then plastic, and boxed in heavy-duty cardboard containers. Even better, each end of the exhaust tubing had a protective plastic cover to keep the ends from being dinged, ensuring all the parts would slip together easily. We were eager to get our exhaust installed, but first decided to put the Newport on the chassis dyno to get some power and torque numbers prior to installing the new headers and exhaust system.
1 The TTI C-Body headers feature 1 7/8 inch primary tubes and three inch collectors. The
2 Here's the old exhaust, hacked together from the remains of what was on our car when we
3 TTI exhaust systems that come with mufflers generally come with Dynomax Super Turbo muf
4 Installing the headers is performed from under the car, and the engine needs to be jack
5 The exhaust installation starts with the tailpipes and hangers, and works forward towar
6 We had previously installed an aftermarket rear sway bar on our Newport, and had a slig