At the end of last year, we published our initial review of the Hooker Blackheart exhaust system for the JL Wrangler. At the time it had only been on the Jeep for a brief period and I feel like it’s time for a long term follow up.

Why do we change our exhaust systems?

It’s a weird question for me to ask. I know why we do it. I certainly know why I change an exhaust system but many people new owner’s don’t know and many non-owners misunderstand why we change from the factory system.

Some of my reasons to change an exhaust system.

  • Lighter weight.
  • More ground clearance.
  • Better sound.
  • Increased horsepower potential.
  • Better looks.

What do I think of the Hooker Blackheart system now?

The last review focused on performance gains and left us wanting for more. That’s the problem. A new exhaust isn’t going to add as much power to a bone stock vehicle and certainly won’t show massive gains on something like my Jeep with heavy rims and tires, at the time non-optimized gearing, and a generally lazy motor.

Today I want to talk about the intangibles this system provided that improved much more than just how much peak power was available at the rear wheels.

Lighter weight.

Shedding weight from your vehicle cannot be understated. It helps acceleration, fuel efficiency, shortens stopping distance, and improves handling. Trading the heavy stock exhaust for an aftermarket kit also allows you to add weight in other areas and keep your vehicle from gaining. Think of it as losing fat and gaining muscle.

More ground clearance.

The muffler sits slightly below the frame rail but above all of the surrounding skid plates.

Using a smaller muffler, rerouting the pipes with smoother bends, and tucking the exhaust higher in the chassis all contribute to more ground clearance. The tailpipe on the Hooker system is even with the rear bumper, the factory unit had the entire opening below the bumper. If you take your Jeep off-road you will eventually crush the factory outlet.

Better sound.

https://4wheelsandamotor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/4WAAM-Hooker-Blackheart-Cat-Back-Exhaust.mov
I just love the sound of this exhaust. Most V6 exhaust notes are too high pitched but this is a nice low frequency.

Seriously, this is the easiest one to justify. A pleasing exhaust note makes the primal side of anyone happy.

Increased horsepower potential.

Most factory exhaust systems are a compromise for sound, longevity, and cost. Aftermarket systems can shoot for the moon on any or all of these factors and are only limited by your budget.

Bolting on a new exhaust may unlock some performance. More importantly it raises your capacity for horsepower. You are no longer constrained by the factory compromises. A free-flowing design like the Blackheart series for the JL allow you to get the most out of other performance modifications.

Better looks.

This is a subjective category but most aftermarket exhaust have upgraded tips or are made form better materials than the factory exhaust. Not only does your ride sound better it looks better as well.

Do I still like the system?

Yes. It still sounds great after 8+ months of daily use. It has not developed any rattles, the finish is not as shiny but has a natural warm color from use. On the occasions I have been able to go off-road I have never once worried about hitting the system.

I am working on getting some updated performance numbers using our trusty G-tech Pro. New gears, unlocked PCM, and some programming really opened up some hidden power.

You can still get your system for $359.96 direct from Holley Performance

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William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role. He also wields a freely shared...

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