How To Install An Axle-Back Exhaust System On A 2011-2013 Mustang GT
For our second modification on our new project car we decided to try out Borla's Atak axle-back exhaust system. Borla is one of the biggest names in domestic performance exhaust and it's easy to see why when looking at the build quality and fit & finish on their systems. Their sturdy, lightweight construction is superb, and more importantly, the sound they produce is nothing short of stellar. Being an axle-back system we were expecting a mild sound, however this system really screams. Not in a bad way though, it really suits the new 5.0 very well. There is no rasp whatsoever, just a deep, powerful tone that screams Mustang 5 liter power! Even better than the sound when you're on the throttle is the gurgling and popping you get when decelerating in gear. This axle-back is perfect for someone looking for a nice grunt on throttle, an aggressive deceleration pop and gurgle and when you're just cruising around it's very composed. Nothing that will annoy your neighbors or Johnny Law. Now on to the install guide. It took us about 2 hours to do the install with the car on jack stands. Please note that this guide is based on the new 2013 Mustang and the process may slightly differ from 2011 and 2012 GTs.
Ratcheting Socket Wrench
After the car is safely in the air, the first bolt to remove is the bolt on the exhaust clamp that holds on the rear mufflers. This clamp will be re-used on the new axle-back system so be sure not to damage it. Once you remove the clamp bolt, be sure to retain all the factory hardware and set it aside so it can be used when installing the clamp on the new system. The clamp is welded to the stock system by a small tab that we will remove when the muffler is off the car.
Next, remove the muffler hangar from just behind the rear bumper.
Next, there are two bolts holding the hangars at the rear of the muffler tot he underside of the car. This bracket must be removed from the car and re-used on the new system. The image below shows the location of the 13mm bolts that hold the bracket to the underside of the Mustang.
Be sure to support the muffler when removing this bracket, once it is remove the mufflers will drop from under the car. We learned this the hard way! The photo below shows the passenger side muffler removed with the hangar bracket attached.
Follow the same steps on the driver's side muffler. Remove the clamp hardware first and then the hangar right behind the rear bumper.
The driver's side muffler has a slightly different hangar design, instead of using two 13mm bolts it uses three. After removing the three bolts in the locations shown below, the muffler will drop from under the car.
Below is a comparison of the stock muffler next to Borla's Atak axle-back muffler. Notice how much smaller the Borla muffler is and the larger tip. It's a fantastic looking system that fills the rear opening better as well as saves weight over the stock mufflers.
Now that both mufflers have been removed, it's time to transfer the necessary hardware to install the new system. First remove the factory clamps from the stock mufflers. They are welded on by thin metal tabs. We simply moved them back and forth (sort of like breaking a paper-clip) until they broke free from the tabs.
The next step is to remove the hangar brackets and install them on the new mufflers. Make sure you install them in the correct orientation or the exhaust won't bolt up properly.
Now you're ready to bolt the new system under the car. Start by slipping the new hangar into the hangar bushing behind the rear bumper. After that's in, bolt the hangar bracket at the back of the muffler to the underside of the car just as you removed it. Once all the hangars are in, simply reinstall the factory clamp and tighten it to complete the installation. Make sure the clamp is on straight to avoid an exhaust leak.
Repeat these steps for both sides and you're done! Now it's time to enjoy the new sound! The photos below show how the Borla Atak mufflers look from behind. Great fit and finish for an aftermarket system.
In conclusion, we definitely recommend replacing the rear mufflers on the new 5.0. From the factory they already sound good, but in order to really give the car that signature Mustang sound you can't go wrong with an axle-back system. Not only are they affordable, they don't make the car too loud. If you're looking for something low key that will still turn heads, look great, not void your warranty and please your ears, you can't go wrong with the Borla Atak axle-back system for the 2011-2013 5.0. You can find this system on our store by clicking the following link: