Have you ever wondered how the muffler on your Volkswagen MK5 GTI works, and what makes aftermarket mufflers sound considerably different? Our MK5 GTI has been in the hands of the highly capable, Charles (HumbleMechanic) Sanville. Seeing as the entire exhaust from turbo back needed replacing, Charles took the opportunity to dissect the muffler and resonator for us to take a look inside.
Once the muffler and resonator are cut open, you can see the simple, yet sophisticated design inside. Much like a suppressor for a firearm, your muffler uses a system of internal baffles. Exhaust gasses are directed through the baffles, some of which are filled with stranded fiberglass insulation. The amount of gas that flows into each baffled section is controlled by perforations in the pipe itself. More perforation equals a more muffled exhaust. Other factors determine the sound of your exhaust; the size and shape of the baffles, the shape and spacing of the pipe perforations, and even the type of fiberglass insulation used. You can see the similarities between the main muffler and the smaller resonator. Every design element is deliberate; some to accentuate cracks and pops and some to remove drone.
Charles also gives us a quick glimpse inside the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is comprised of a honeycomb structure made of precious metals such as Platinum, Rhodium, or Palladium. In a nutshell, these metals work as a catalyst to split the harmful molecules in pollutant exhaust gasses into their basic atoms. These are then converted into Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, Oxygen, and water which exit from your tailpipe. The reason catalytic converters are so expensive and regularly stolen is due to those precious metals inside.
Now that you understand how your cat-back exhaust system works, you can potentially make your own modifications. Don't forget, you can get aftermarket exhaust systems from us, and they too come with our Lifetime Replacement Guarantee.
Be sure to check the video below on HumbleMechanic's YouTube page, and don't forget to subscribe to get all new videos pushed right to your inbox.
Writer/Editor at FCP Euro and owner of a daily R53 MINI Cooper, a track-built R53 MINI, and a 1997 Dakar Yellow E36 M3 Sedan. ••• Instagram: @evan.madore