2011-2014 Mustang GT Exhaust Buying Guide

2011-2014 Mustang GT Exhaust Buying Guide

Last Updated July 21, 2021 | Andrew Boyle

With the Mustang living and breathing better than ever, there is always a need for that deep, throaty, and aggressive exhaust note that you just can’t get out of factory exhaust systems. That’s where your friends at CJ’s step in with a huge inventory of various axle-back, cat-back, and side-exit exhaust systems from well-known brands such as Ford Performance, Magnaflow, AWE, Borla, MBRP, Flowmaster, Corsa Performance, Cervini's, Roush Performance, and many more!

You essentially have a few main options when it comes to picking up exhaust for your 2011-2014 Mustang GT. Beginning at the headers, you can pick up a set of long tubes or shorties. After that, you can pick up a cat-back which will ultimately replace the factory resonators installed in your over-axle pipes and connect directly to your factory head pipes. If you’re on more of a budget, then an axle-back could do the trick. Less performance oriented, axle-backs utilize the factory exhaust system all the way up to the muffler. You would just replace the mufflers to a different, more straight-through design for a more aggressive exhaust note.

2011-2014 Mustang GT Axle-Back Exhaust

For those who are looking to increase the volume of their exhaust note without breaking the bank, an axle-back kit for your Mustang would be a great choice! Keep in mind, since you’re essentially only swapping out the mufflers, there is little performance benefit from an axle-back kit, but you’ll definitely notice the change in exhaust note!

If you’re looking to rid of the quiet, restrictive factory mufflers then a set of axle-back exhaust from CJ’s is exactly the medicine you need.

In terms of installation, it couldn’t be easier. Simply loosen the exhaust clamp holding your factory muffler to the intermediate pipe, pull the muffler out of the hangers and replace with your new axle-back kit! No cutting or welding required on most axle-back options. Be sure to check the manufacturer's installation instructions before installation.

2011-2014 Mustang GT Cat-Back Exhaust

For the best middle-of-the-road approach, a cat-back exhaust system would be your ideal choice. With the addition of a free-flowing over-the-axle pipe and high-flow muffler, you’ll be able to see some measurable power gains, all at a good price. With a cat-back system, you’ll be able to rid of not only the quiet, restrictive OEM mufflers, but you’ll ditch the factory resonators for a better exhaust note and higher-flowing exhaust.

No cutting is required for installation, and any aftermarket cat-back exhaust kit will install right in place of your factory intermediate pipes and mufflers!

2011-2014 Mustang GT Headers

If you’re looking to drastically increase performance more than anything else, then a set of headers would be ideal for you. You will definitely notice a difference in exhaust note depth and volume, but in most cases, those who are looking for maximum power output are the people who pick up headers for their Mustang

There are two different types of headers you can pick up for your Mustang: long tube and shorty. Long tube headers are for those Mustang owners who want to get maximum flow in the top end of their power band allowing for the largest power increases possible out of an aftermarket exhaust system.

On the other hand, shorty headers are available, but many have said the factory exhaust manifolds flow almost as well as a shorty header. So, if you’re looking for a set of Mustang headers, our recommendation is to pick up a set of long tubes.

Remember that most long tube headers will require the use of either a mid-pipe that is included in the kit or that particular brand’s mid-pipe. Only a handful of long tube header offerings are made to connect to factory-sized cat-backs, so be sure to double check before purchasing!

Installation for headers is a lot more involved than axle-back or cat-back installations. It requires the removal of many engine accessories to mount properly, so we suggest you have a skilled technician help you out with the install.

To Tune Or Not To Tune...

To put it simply, any time you mess with your factory catalytic converters, you should get a tune to support the change in the emissions system. So, if you were to only add an axle-back or cat-back system, then you would not need to pick up a tuner.

However, if you were looking to pick up a set of long tube headers, then you will be required to replace your factory catalytic converters with either high-flow cats or an off-road mid-pipe, deleting the catalytic converters completely. Due to these changes, it’s important you get a proper tune to support the changes to your vehicle’s emissions system.

CJ’s carries hundreds and hundreds of different options for your 2011, 2012, 2013, or 2014 Mustang GT. With that kind of selection, it can be difficult to choose your favorite and be happy with that decision. To top it off, it can be even more frustrating to not know what that exhaust system may sound like on your car -- that’s why we try to do as many installation and sound clip videos as possible right on our YouTube channel!

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About the Author

Andrew is a Jeep TJ owner and car industry aficionado with over 150 articles under his belt. Read full bio →

2011-2014 Mustang GT Exhaust Buying Guide

2011 was a monumental year for Ford, Ford Racing, and the S197 platform. This year, in particular, introduced an all-new 5.0L “Coyote” V8 with twin-independent variable camshaft timing pumping out a nasty 412 horsepower and 390 lb/ft of torque, which was then bumped to 420 for 2013-2014 GTs. Compared to the 2010’s outgoing 320 horsepower, this was quite a jump in power for nearly the same price. After picking up your new pony, the next step is always a good sounding exhaust system!

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