Stillen Stainless Steel Muffler
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3/31/2000

* Editor's Note : This modification is currently un-installed and I am back with the stock muffler.  Unfortunately, after driving with the Stillen for a few weeks I learned that I just did not like the drone that it made at the RPM range I use the most (2200-2500).  It was a real shame because I love the way this muffler looks.  I still think it is a high quality piece, but sound is all a matter of taste.  Some out there may love the music the Stillen makes, and to those of you I would recommend this as a worthwhile and easy mod.  The power increase is minimal (3-5 hp) but it sure looks nicer than the stock rear section. 

Stock Muffler.jpg (122290 bytes) Installing a new muffler on the Maxima is something almost anyone can do - even someone who is not too mechanically inclined.  I chose to go with the Stillen muffler over the complete GReddy catback system primarily because I wanted to keep the stock resonator and maintain interchangeability with the stock B-pipe.  The Stillen is a direct bolt-in replacement for the stock muffler, which will allow me the freedom to replace the stock B-pipe later if I choose to do so.  The Stillen muffler is totally stainless steel, comes with a lifetime warranty, and is extremely high quality - plus it looks much more aggressive than the stock muffler.  This is a picture of the stock muffler on the Maxima.  Click on this link to hear how the stock exhaust system sounds.  All exhaust components on the car were bone stock when this wav file was created. 
Stillen Muffler - Tip.jpg (180365 bytes) Stillen Muffler (1).jpg (133737 bytes) Stillen Muffler - Baffles.jpg (171104 bytes) Stillen Muffler - Rear Flange.jpg (170646 bytes)
The above photos show the Stillen Stainless Steel muffler from a few different angles. Quality and workmanship is extremely high on this work of art.  Welds are clean and precise.  The Stillen is a straight through muffler, which means pretty much what it says.  Picture third from the left shows what the interior baffles look like with a flashlight shining through from the opposite end.  There is no maze of pathways for the exhaust to go through - in one end and out the other.
Stock muffler - B-pipe connection.jpg (143898 bytes) Stillen vs Stock (1).jpg (138664 bytes) Stillen vs Stock (2).jpg (139675 bytes)
First step in taking off the stock muffler is to use a 14mm wrench to take off the two nuts holding the muffler to the B-pipe (above left).  The muffler studs are attached to the B-pipe, so you only need one wrench to get the nuts off.  Pictures above right show the Stillen in comparison to the stock muffler.
Right Front Hanger.jpg (152674 bytes) Right_Front_Hanger_Removed.jpg (100443 bytes) This is a view looking through the right rear tire at the forward exhaust hanger.  Next step is to take a 12mm socket with a long extension and remove the hanger connection to the car.  Leave the hanger on the stock muffler.  No need to remove the rear tire.  All I did was jack the car up a few inches to give myself a little more room underneath.
Right Rear Hanger.jpg (128507 bytes) Now take the same 12mm socket and remove the two small bolts holding the right rear exhaust hanger to the bottom of the car.  This is much easier than trying to slide the muffler aft, off the hangers.  As soon as the rear hanger is off, rotate the muffler clockwise and rest it on the ground.  I used an old carpet to make sure that the muffler didn't get scratched.  The only thing holding it on to the car now is the last hanger.
Stock_Muffler_Removed.jpg (162603 bytes) I thought this was a smart way to do it.  Leaving all of the hangers on the stock muffler makes it much easier to get it off the car.  It is a simple matter to transfer the hangers to the new muffler later.
Stillen-Supplied gasket.jpg (146674 bytes) Muffler Gasket.jpg (122092 bytes) Stillen supplies a gasket (far left) for their muffler which is very different from the stock Nissan crush ring (left).  Do not use the Nissan crush ring!!  Use the gasket supplied by Stillen.  Slide the gasket over the studs on the B-pipe.
Stillen Muffler (2).jpg (148527 bytes) Once you get the stock muffler completely off, transfer all of the hangers and hardware to the new muffler.
Stillen Muffler Installed.jpg (160116 bytes) Now all you have to do is reverse the process to install the new muffler.  Attach the left rear hanger + muffler back to the car and then rotate the muffler up counterclockwise to meet the car.  I was able to re-attach the right rear hanger to the car and then jiggle the muffler back onto the B-pipe studs.  I didn't even need to hold the muffler up with my nose or anything.  Stillen does not provide any instructions with their muffler, so I had to come up with my own inventive way to do the installation without requiring 3 arms.
Stillen Muffler Rear Section.jpg (172498 bytes) I was very impressed with the quality of this product and the ease with which it installed onto the car.  The Stillen muffler will drone a little bit louder than stock in the 2200-2500 RPM range, and a lot more on hard acceleration.  Whether this bothers you or not is all a matter of taste.  Click here for a wav recording of the new exhaust.  Thanks to Ryan over at Stillen for his assistance in arranging this.  It is a nice piece of work which looks great, sounds great and most importantly, frees up a few more horsepower!!
 

 

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