Over the last year and a half, the sixth-gen Mustang 2.3-liter EcoBoost has proved it has the performance and the capabilities to appeal to a wide enthusiast-oriented audience, especially when modified. One of the first modifications to get the ball rolling when it comes to making power with the Mustang EcoBoost is usually, of course, upgrading the exhaust system.
Gibson Performance Exhaust out of Corona, California provides enthusiasts with a precision cat-back exhaust system for the 2015 and newer Mustang EcoBoost. The company provided one of its exhaust systems to install on a reader’s car, which is an upgraded 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost-equipped with the optional Performance Pack package.
Follow along as we discuss the features and performance benefits of this exhaust system with Gibson, as well as highlight the installation procedures and examine the horsepower gains with before and after dyno tests.
Benefits By Design
Our exhaust uses the company’s ‘CFT’ muffler design, which we discuss in greater detail below.
Our install consisted of using Gibson’s Cat-Back Dual Exhaust System (PN 619014-B) for the ’15 and up Mustang EcoBoost. We opted for the company’s Black Ceramic style system, which features an optional ‘Heavy Duty Black Elite Ceramic Coated Finish’ on the exhaust tips for a stealthier appearance.
Gibson Dual Stainless Steel Cat-Back Exhaust System
2.25-inch mandrel-bent stainless steel tubing
4.5-inch black ceramic round slash-cut intercooled tip
Baffled and chambered designed CFT muffler. No internal packing, minimal interior drone, and aggressive sound
Includes all hardware and factory style hangers for easy bolt-on installation.
The system features a full stainless steel mandrel-bent construction and is 2.25 inches in diameter, exiting to a pair of 3-inch inlet and 4.5-inch outlet round slash-cut intercooled tips.
We asked Shawn Gibson of Gibson Performance why the system utilizes this style of design, and what the benefits are. “The Mustang EcoBoost required extensive harmonics tuning to provide the sound and power gains we felt owners would be happy with,” Gibson said.
Gibson continued, explaining the size of the exhaust piping and muffler lengths all play a critical part in producing the best sound and power. “We never know if we’ll be increasing or reducing and exhaust pipe size until we can learn what a new model vehicle needs,” he said. “In general, a larger diameter exhaust pipe creates more flow and more sound, however, our engineers will do what’s best for every vehicle.”
“Our Gibson SuperFlow Exhaust systems are designed specifically for the vehicle,” Gibson said. “We understand that most owners want more power, more sound, and to have great style. This particular system from the factory has a high pitched tone, so we set out to create a sound that the owner can be proud of. Our varied exhaust pipe sizing helps Mustang EcoBoost owners by providing a very large power improvement.”
Most turbocharged vehicles utilize a consistent size tubing diameter throughout their construction. The Gibson exhaust resembles a step-up style construction which is similar to what we would normally see in aftermarket exhaust manifolds for high-horsepower applications.
Research, Development, And Manufacturing
The Gibson Cat-Back exhaust uses the company’s CFT style mid-muffler.
When a new platform is released, Gibson said that testing is absolutely key to creating a successful aftermarket solution. Gibson explained the research and development process, followed by the manufacturing process.
From mufflers, exhaust tips, headers, to complete cat-back systems, we make all of it within our walls. – Shawn Gibson, Gibson Performance Exhaust
“When we first get a new vehicle like the Mustang EcoBoost, we look at what the factory has created,” Gibson related. “We use our 25 years of experience to identify potential hiccups in the factory design where we can improve flow and sound performance.
“We take some baseline dyno runs to understand where in the RPM range power and torque is being produced. We then compare that with where we feel the owner would best benefit from more power and torque.”
“Our Corona facility houses fine craftsmen and machinery to produce all of our products in-house,” Gibson told us regarding the manufacturing process. “From mufflers, exhaust tips, and headers, to complete cat-back systems, we make all of it within our walls. Walking through our facility you would see stations for each major component. Racks of high-quality stainless-steel tubing are on standby to be mandrel bent into the exact shape of the EcoBoost Cat-Back exhaust system.”
Gibson relayed that research and development for a specific vehicle can take up to several months to get it just right, and that by the time it's completed, they will have created a system that performance enthusiasts can be proud to install and listen to; establishing a smooth 100 percent bolt-on installation.
Gibson continued, “The muffler station will have our craftsmen assembling and welding the vehicle-specific mufflers. Once those components are ready, tubing and mufflers are welded together, then sent to the finishing process, followed by wrap and packaging. While it sounds so simple, it takes many people to complete one single exhaust system, and we’re proud to see it happen under our roof in the USA.”
Our starting point is a 2015 Mustang EcoBoost with a modified stock exhaust. Not much for a performance application.
Although our 2015 Mustang EcoBoost came to us equipped with a custom-fabricated 3-inch down-pipe, (requiring some additional cutting and welding), installing our new Gibson exhaust system only took about a half-day to complete thanks to the Bendpak XP10-ACX two post car lift in our tech center.
Installation begins with disconnecting the negative battery cable. Gibson recommends this as it will allow the car’s computer to reset and recognize the new exhaust.
Upon examining this particular EcoBoost's exhaust setup, we determined we would have to fabricate a 3-inch to 2.25-inch adapter coupler to join the new Gibson Cat-Back exhaust to the existing custom 3-inch catless downpipes. Normally, this wouldn't be the case, as the new exhaust from Gibson is designed to bolt-on to a factory catted down pipe for a 100 percent direct fitment.
After fabricating our adapter coupler, we took to supporting the front of the factory exhaust using a muffler stand. We then marked the area where we would be making the incision with a Sharpie pen, then proceeded to hit the custom downpipe with some good ol' Sawzall action.
Next, we removed the factory cat-back exhaust by unbolting the rear exhaust hangers located behind the differential, followed by shifting the factory mufflers forward to loosen them from the exhaust hanger locations.
This particular EcoBoost’s factory exhaust was modified by removing the factory resonators. The new Gibson exhaust however, weighed a total of 15 pounds less than the modified factory cat-back. It’s also important to note that we reused the OEM exhaust hangers for the new Gibson exhaust system.
Installing the new Gibson exhaust system commenced by assembling the rear portion of the exhaust system. We then mocked up the middle portion which utilizes the CFT muffler and X-pipe crossover. This is where we needed to modify the new Gibson exhaust to accept our custom adapter coupler.
After modifying the adapter coupler and the Gibson muffler, we then proceeded to mock up the Gibson Cat-Back to the existing 3-inch down-pipe using our modified adapter coupler. After we ensured everything fit correctly, we welded everything together using our Miller Millermatic 252 MIG welder as shown below.
Next we installed the exhaust clamps provided by Gibson. The clamps install after the X-pipe where the exhaust meets the differential pipes. Finally, we installed the provided exhaust tips, adjusting them to our liking and tightening everything up to specifications provided by Gibson.
The final product looks pretty good if we do say so ourselves!
It’s important to keep in mind that our ’15 Mustang EcoBoost test subject was modified upon arrival, and prior to the Gibson exhaust install. The owner had installed typical Mustang EcoBoost upgrades, which included an aftermarket intercooler, charge pipes, the aforementioned custom downpipe, a cold air intake, and a custom tune.
To put things into perspective, in our experience, a completely bone-stock Mustang EcoBoost will typically dyno around 260 to 270 horsepower and 280 to 290 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. This of course depends on a few variables, such as weather, humidity, elevation, etc.
A Stock Mustang EcoBoost dyno versus our modified Gibson exhaust-equipped Mustang EcoBoost.
Post installation of the Gibson Cat-Back exhaust and a tune, our Mustang EcoBoost laid down a respectable 300.8 horsepower and 333.6 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels on our in-house Dynojet dyno. Not bad for a half day of installation, tuning, and a few dyno pulls, eh?
We’re diggin’ the stealth matte black finish on the exhaust tips.
Prior to installation of the new Gibson Cat-Back exhaust and the updated tune, the owner says the car felt both down on power and sound. He exclaimed that his EcoBoost, while lively with a nice punch, was lacking the true sound and performance that it needed. It’s clear that the performance from the new exhaust is there, but what about the sound? Gibson explains how the company puts an extensive amount of time and effort into its exhaust systems by ensuring every bend or muffler incorporated serves a purpose for both sound and performance.
“Testing, testing, testing,” Gibson said. “CFT technology within our cat-back systems can outperform a muffler replacement because we’ve spent the research and development time to learn where potential drone problems arise. The muffler length and inlet/outlet sizes (including muffler placement) help us determine the right combinations for the best sound with minimal to no drone.”
Up close and personal with the Gibson cat-back reveals the quality and construction of this exhaust system.
“We determined many years ago that a muffler without packing not only allowed us to tune the sound, but improve the longevity of the muffler,” Gibson said. “The CFT design utilizes a large fluted X-chamber that drives and controls exhaust gases into and out of the muffler. Muffler length can change how aggressive the sound is, as opposed to forcing muffler packing into the muffler which eventually burns out, rots or gets blown out.
In the case of the Ecoboost Mustang, we choose CFT technology over our MWA SuperFlow technology because of the sound we were looking to achieve. Another aspect of our R&D process where we test what will meet and beat the demands of enthusiasts.”