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Bassani Exhaust - Jeep TJ

Story and Photos By Kevin Curry
Videos By Rick Jones

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Bassani Exhaust
The Bassani's skid plate alone is worth the price of admission
For a while, we have been thinking of ways to squeeze a little more power out of Texas4x4. First, it was the K&N air filter, which helped quite a bit, but we still wanted a little more.

Recently, we were given the opportunity to test out a new product for the Jeep TJ made by a reputable after-market exhaust company known as Bassani. Known in the street circles, the Xhaust ST has a reputation for extreme performance. Bassani wanted to take their line one step further by entering the off-road market. ST stands for “Street Thunder” but don’t let the name fool you. The system is designed to work superbly off-road, as well.

The Street Thunder, 'ST' Series, produce significant performance increases over stock systems. These systems emit deep "baritone" exhaust notes, somewhat louder than stock. The 'ST' Series is best suited for street performance vehicles and is "street legal" in most states.
- Bassani

What’s it all about?
Made in the U.S.A., it’s all about quality and performance. Having cracked open the box, it was apparent that Bassani takes great care in making sure their products are packed carefully, so they get to their customers in one piece. It took about ten minutes just to unpack it all, but that was a small price to pay, in our opinion.

Bassani ExhaustAll pieces are heavy-gauge, polished stainless steel. In order for the exhaust to work off-road, the muffler was built with a welded-on skid plate, which we knew would come in handy on the trails, having destroyed mufflers on other vehicles in the past.

Could they make it any easier to install?
We don’t think so, although we had a muffler shop on stand-by. The kit came with no instructions – seemingly for a reason. We didn’t need them! Once it was all unpacked, we pieced it together and laid it out on the trailer with the mounting brackets in their respective positions. It was all there right down to the last stainless steel U-bolt.

Installation
To say we got lucky is an understatement. It just so happens the brazing between our existing muffler and the catalytic converter failed to adhere when the system was installed. What does that mean? Once the mounting hardware was removed and the tail-pipe was torched off, the muffler only took a few twists to reveal a clean exit pipe off the cat for the new Xhaust muffler to attach to. We can’t say you will be so fortunate when you install yours, but one can hope.

With the first U-bolt put together and slid onto the input pipe, the muffler was twisted snuggly onto the output of the cat. The U-bolt was clamped on, but only loosely to allow for later adjustment.

Bassani ExhaustNext, the other U-bolt was slid onto the tailpipe, which was threaded through the suspension until it met the output of the muffler. Again, the U-bolt was clamped down loosely.

The hanger for the tail-pipe fit perfectly in place of the stock mounting hardware and was cinched down with the bolts from the kit. One of us got underneath the muffler while the other maneuvered the tail-pipe until it lined up with the hanger. Again, a perfect fit as expected.

The U-bolts were cinched down and we were done!

Music to our ears
Not knowing anything about the product first-hand, one of the fears we had was this setup was going to have our rig sounding like an import boy-racer car. You know the type. The one which, with a load is put on the squirrels sounds like a well-tuned weed eater. All it took was a turn of the key and the spike in RPM as the engine kicked on and all of our fears were gone. It was like being in an opera as we listened to the pleasing resonance.

Comparison
I had my buddy jump into the driver’s seat of his stock TJ, crank the engine and goose the throttle a few times while I recorded the sound of the exhaust with the video camera. Honestly, a stock TJ at the tail-pipe doesn’t sound too shabby. I had him repeat the steps, but this time in my TJ with its newly-installed vocal chords. The difference was astounding. It was easy to hear the free-flowing difference.


Bassani ExhaustThe Test
The time came to put a load on the engine to really hear the results. We pulled the TJ out of the driveway and took off down the street. Right away, the sound was different than before. When the engine hit about 2000 RPM an ear-pleasing tone was emitted. We were happy.

As far as performance was concerned, it was not immediately apparent and that was expected. Being that the engine is computerized, we knew that it would take a little time for the ECM to dial in. Also, as with all new high-performance mufflers, this one needed to be burned out. A couple of weeks later, the system began to show its true shine. The tone got deeper and for a bit of a larger RPM range.

We also noticed a lack of the ever-so-slight hesitation that we used to experience when stomping on the accelerator. The acceleration through the power-bands is noticeable, as well. Now, a few months later, it’s even better. We don’t make it a habit of monitoring fuel economy since we are geared low and are running 35-inch tires, but we believe if we did, however, a gain in MPG’s would certainly be realized, albeit slight.

Listen to the Difference

Before
After

The Verdict…
If we had to do it all over again with another rig, we would – and would not change a thing. It’s hard to want to change a perfect installation. It’s the type one dreams about when taking on such a project. The whole project – from unpacking the box to cinching down the last nut took about an hour.

Because this is a trail rig and not some show-queen, we’re not much into the aspect of looks, but if we were, we’d consider this a real beauty, as the stainless steel luster would, without a doubt, help win the show-rig owner a trophy.

Combining a great exhaust tone, good looks, and a durable, armored muffler, Bassani has a real hit on their on their hands with the Street Thunder.

RESOURCE
Bassani Manufacturing
2900 E. La Jolla
Anaheim, Ca 92806
Toll Free (866) 782-3283
www.bassani.com

 

Kevin Curry

Kevin Curry is a staff-writer at Rockcrawler.com and resides in the great state of Texas.

When Kevin is not disturbing his neighbors with his new exhaust, he spends time playing with his Ford Super Duty pickup.