Brad Kowitz from TrailRecon (Ig: @trailrecon) recently trusted his precious Jeep Wrangler JK to our Tech Center for a week to allow our team the chance to develop a new stainless-steel axle-back performance exhaust system for it based on the recent Wrangler JL Overland Series exhaust technology. This JK was actually the vehicle he and his son started their channel with years ago. Along with his excitement over the new exhaust, Brad was also really looking forward to seeing exactly what goes into creating a cutting-edge exhaust kit.
Measure With Lasers—Cut Once
Brad collaborated with our very own Richard Waitas at every step in the process. To begin with, Rich took some time to go over MagnaFlow’s design process and explain how 3D laser scanning is used to precisely measure every millimeter of the underside of the vehicle so that the team can see exactly how much space they have to work with in addition the undercarriage’s layout.
The scanning process begins with small markers being placed all over the vehicle’s stock exhaust and surrounding areas, which the laser utilizes to make precise measurements. Our lasers produce such a detailed image that they even picked up Brad’s license plate!
How It’s Made
Next, Rich gave Brad a tour of our manufacturing facility while the team began using the 3D scans to mockup a prototype exhaust design. Brad found the robots that work alongside our human welders and builders fascinating. However, he also liked to see that our production line isn’t fully automated. This allows the humans and robots to work alongside each other while playing to their respective strengths.
After touring the production line, Rich gave Brad a look at our cavernous distribution area, which takes up nearly 50% of the footprint of MagnaFlow HQ. Brad was particularly blown away by the sheer volume and variety of jigs that we keep stored in order to allow us to manufacture the myriad exhaust products that we offer.
It was then time to go back and continue work on the new Jeep JK exhaust, where Rich took a couple minutes to go over MagnaFlow’s NDT (No Drone Technology) resonators and explain their function before leading the way to the metrology room. In here, Rich demonstrated how we utilize 3D printing in order to allow for rapid iteration and prototyping.
Going With the Flowbench
Brad was really pumped to check out our flowbench, which Rich demonstrated by hooking up various exhaust components to demonstrate differences in airflow. After watching how we use a mandrel to bend pipes without distortion, it was finally time to mockup the new exhaust design and see how well it fit.
Both Brad and Rich noted how some of the last measurements were made with an old school ruler and protractor, before scanning the mockup again in order to create the final design. Once the mockup stage was completed, Rich went over the differences in design between the stock exhaust system and the new MagnaFlow aftermarket performance kit.
In addition to the much smaller muffler in the new system, the whole setup actually sits significantly higher up in the vehicle than before, greatly increasing ground clearance. The kit also features a turndown exit that improves both clearance and departure angles.
Once the finalized design was installed on Brad’s Jeep it was finally time for a test drive. Like many of our Overland Series exhaust systems, Brad’s new kit has an accessory bypass port on its muffler. This allows for various NDT resonators and pipes to be attached to allow you to tune out drone and dial in the exact type of tone that you want.
Cranking It To 11!
After trying out the quietest and calmest configuration first, Brad seemed to settle on the loudest and most exciting configuration in the end, which we were certainly happy to see. For his part, Brad had a great time running his JK on our dynamometer and seeing the performance gains made possible by his new custom MagnaFlow system.
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