What’s to be gained by upgrading the factory exhaust system on your GMC Sierra pickup to an aftermarket exhaust system and then which system would be the best for you to invest in and install to get the benefits of your efforts? Making this modification has two major benefits, sound and performance.
Sound will be the first thing that you want and notice. The factory system is somewhat restrictive, lacking that aggressive and impressive roar. Performance will be enhanced due to the fact that your engine will be able to breathe better. Getting exhaust gases to flow out the exhaust system with less effort from your engine will allow for increases in horsepower and miles per gallon. Let’s review six of the best after market exhaust systems for GMC Sierra pickups.
Best Exhaust System for GMC Sierra – Top Picks:
|BORLA 140572||FLOWMASTER 817689||Borla 140537||MagnaFlow 15267||FLOWMASTER 717787||Rough Country 96007|
|OEM Part Number||140572||817689||140537||15267||717787||96007|
|Engine Type||5.3(V8) / 6.2(V8)||4.3(V6) / 5.3(V8)||4.3(V6) / 5.3(V8) / 6.2(V8)||4.3(V6) / 5.3(V8)||5.3(V8)||5.3(V8)|
|Item Weight (lbs)||61||65.8||62||57||41.6||64|
|Latest Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
Important Factors To Consider
What makes one exhaust system better suited to your requirements than another. There are several factors to consider:
Sometimes the only reason a truck owner invests the money for a aftermarket exhaust system just to improve the sound of their truck. A throaty roar can improve the owner’s driving enjoyment and pride of ownership. That said, the aggressive sound needs to be manageable to the point that it doesn’t drown out conversation in the cab, droning on excessively.
Best Exhaust System for Sound: Flowmaster 817689
Aftermarket exhaust systems are designed to improve your engine’s ability to breathe. The easier it is to push exhaust gases out through the system, the better your engine will perform. This performance gain will be noticed in fuel mileage, horsepower, and towing. A premium system should be utilizing mandrel bends in the pipes that will help eliminate chokepoints that slow down the flow of exhaust gases.
Best Exhaust System for Performance: Flowmaster 717787
Durability is determined by the quality of the materials used and the ability to resist corrosion and rust. And not just the exhaust pipes, but also the included clamps and hangers. Many times durability can be affected by the climate you live in. If you live where there is a lot of snow, and roads are treated with salt, which may affect durability. The same is also true for hot, humid regions of the country like Florida.
ATAK Cat-Back Exhaust Systems
Sometimes in an effort to save money, many people will invest in the best system that they can fit into their budget and then do the installation work themselves. Being able to afford top-of-the-line sounds great but let’s face it, we don’t all drive Rolls Royce or Lamborghini automobiles. Affordability requires a fine balance between cost and overall performance. Nobody wants to invest their hard-earned money on something that is going to fall apart and not deliver any value over time.
Best Exhaust System for Affordability: Rough Country 96007
Borla 140572 Cat-Back Exhaust System
If you would love to have your GMC Sierra sound like a 1970’s big block muscle car, this exhaust system should be your answer. The Borla 140572 will add hidden horsepower, fuel economy, and best of all, more driving excitement. It is built from high quality T-304 stainless steel for durability and has a bright chrome stainless steel tip.
The 300-series stainless steel pipes have mandrel bends that guarantee maximum exhaust flow, which will equate to more power and better gas mileage. This system extremely durable and is backed by Borla’s million-mile warranty. The acoustically tuned sound created by the Borla system is unique and easily identifiable to auto enthusiasts.
- T-304 stainless steel construction
- Heat shield for brake cables included
- Aggressive sound
- Increased power and mileage
- Noisy on startup
- Most expensive system reviewed
Flowmaster 817689 Outlaw Cat-Back Exhaust System
If you want to put the fun back into tooling around in your truck, this Flowmaster exhaust system might be your answer. The output of the Outlaw exhaust system is extremely aggressive, so do your best not to break any neighborhood glass when you put your foot into it. And it won’t backfire or make popping sounds as you rev it up.
It has stainless steel construction with ceramic black tips, making it a rust-free system. It is lightweight; slightly less than 66 pounds in total weight, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Extremely durable construction
- Installs in about 1 hour
- Included accessories subject to rusting over time
- Tends to “drone” in V4 mode at highway speeds
Borla 140537 ATAK Cat-Back Exhaust System
This ATAK (Acoustically Tuned Applied Kinetics) exhaust system is loud enough to draw attention without drowning out conversation inside the cab. The Borla exhaust system is custom-tuned to your specific vehicle to deliver the highest dB level sound without the annoying distortions created by other after market exhaust systems. If you want your truck to sound like a truck, not some souped-up teenager’s rice rocket, the 140537 is worthy of consideration.
This Borla system has chromed stainless steel tips that will look great sticking out the backside of your truck. Because the system is constructed with smoother mandrel bends in the pipes, you are certain to get improved power along with satisfying performance gains.
- Quality aircraft-grade materials guarantee durability
- Amazing sound without being obnoxious
- Ease of installation
- Requires a larger dollar investment
- Doesn’t come with clamps
MagnaFlow 15267 Performance Cat-Back Exhaust System
The MagnaFlow is 409 stainless steel exhaust system that will deliver better power (3-23 HP) and performance gains, with a throaty growl. It’s not excessively loud, so if that is what you are after, you should look somewhere else. It is designed to bolt on at the factory locations, making installation easy, and this exhaust system is 50-state legal, which is important if you live in a state like California.
It has 20% less bends than the stock exhaust system that came on your truck. The MIG welds in the MagnaFlow are over-lapping, making for tight, leak-free seals at every joint. The metal is heavy-gauge and the clamps are heavy duty. The system’s tips are chromed for a great custom finished look that will make you a proud owner. The only problem other owners mentioned was that it tends to drone when your truck is cruising at highway speeds and goes into the V-4 mode.
- Mellow, low exhaust sound
- Costs less than many similar cat back exhaust systems
- Chrome tips subject to rusting over time
- Owner complaints concerning flapper valve operation
Flowmaster 717787 Cat-Back Doss Exhaust System
This is one of the newer systems in Flowmaster’s line of exhaust systems. It has dual 2.5-inch tailpipes constructed from 409S stainless steel with black 4-inch tips that exit just behind the rear tire.
The 717787 system produces a moderately aggressive sound, it is not super loud. It has been dyno-tuned to deliver better vehicle performance. It is easy to install, you will have more trouble removing your stock system than you will installing this one. Great sound, added to great performance, makes the Flowmaster 717787 a excellent choice for your GMC Sierra pickup.
- Easy installation with all fittings included
- Delivers better torque and horsepower
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Loud on takeoff
- Drones in V4 mode at highway speeds
Rough Country 96007 Dual Exhaust System
This Rough Country exhaust system will deliver a satisfying sound without being so loud in the cab that it interferes with conversation or the ability to listen to the radio. It sounds so good in fact, that you may see a decrease in fuel mileage because you will constantly want to shoot off the line just to hear the exhaust roar.
This system provides the ability for you to have the pipes exit on the sides or out the back, which is a nice option. The tips are 304 black stainless steel for a great look and added durability. It installs on the factory hangers and the claps are all stainless steel also.
- Rear or side exit option
- 304 stainless steel clamps
- Aggressive sounding
- Made in China
- Pipes are of a less grade of stainless, not 304-grade
Exchanging your stock exhaust system for a performance system comes with several benefits. Most truck manufactures leave room for performance improvement as a way of cutting production costs. Stock systems usually have crush-bent pipes. Crush-bent pipes have crinkled areas, which decreases pipe diameters that slow down exhaust gases. Mandrel bends, which are found in most aftermarket systems, are smoother and are of a constant diameter, assisting in expelling gases. You don’t have to live with the manufacturer’s exhaust system choices.
For one thing, a performance system will free up some of your engine’s power by allowing the engine to breathe better. Another benefit is an improved more aggressive sound. You want your truck to sound like a truck, not a wimpy 4-cylinder economy car. A final consideration for installing an aftermarket exhaust system involves fuel economy. Because you truck’s engine can expel exhaust gases easier mileage will improve unless you get a case of the lead-foot because you enjoy hearing the throaty roar.