One thing is for sure about exhaust: We all need it. That does not mean that all exhaust exhaust systems are equal. Some are works of art, and some are nightmares of booger welds, epoxy, coffee cans, rust, and holes. We generally prefer the former type, but not everyone can build a custom exhaust that is up to par. If we do say ourselves, our ’49 CJ-3A is almost nice enough to deserve the few times that it has graced the pages of Jp. It generally follows a pattern that has worked for years on several other flatties, and any inadequate bits are no one’s fault but our own.
One of the more hokey parts of the Flattie was our home-cobbled exhaust and fenderwell headers. OK, the fenderwell headers were nice…for fenderwell headers. But honestly, who likes fenderwell headers? The rest of the exhaust was really a stop-gap until we could figure out something that worked better. Fast forward 11 years after we first built the flattie with the Buick V-6, and we finally found a viable option that would work on many, if not any and all, Buick V-6-powered Jeeps. With a little help from Novak Conversions, a custom true dual exhaust from Chappelle’s Exhaust and Kustoms in El Cajon, California, and some Thrush Mini Turbo mufflers, our twenty-footer CJ-3A is now a lot nicer.
The Other Manifold Options for Buick V-6 Exhaust
If you own a Jeep with a Buick V-6, you probably already know that the exhaust manifold options are few and far between. For years you had two, maybe three, options for exhaust. Either you could run fenderwell headers, cut your fenders, and have obnoxious exhaust outside the frame rails just asking to get bashed on rocks, or you could run a set of stock cast exhaust manifolds from a 225 Buick V-6…which are basically two passenger-side manifolds with the driver side mounted backwards and dumping forward. These manifolds are getting hard to find as a used item, and many are worn out and cracked. Lastly, you could use exhaust manifolds from a late-model Buick car (shown). This involves one normal passenger-side manifold and one odd driver-side manifold with two outlets. With this setup you can either plug the second outlet or run the passenger-side exhaust under the oil pan and up into the driver side and send gases from both sides out the more rearward exit. This is running the exhaust as the Buick car would have had from the factory. It’s complex and certainly not ideal. Luckily for us and for you, there is now a fourth option that is much better than any of the first three. Shorty block-hugging headers from Novak Conversions.