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Borla Cat-back install on my 2014 Explorer Sport

Discussion in 'Modified 2011- 2019 Explorer Sport Tuning' started by fjc2, October 7, 2018.

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    1. fjc2

      fjc2 Elite Explorer

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      Due to other life issues, I never got around to modding my 2014 Explorer Sport the way I had originally planned. Time to change that! First project, a new exhaust system. After much research and a ton of video watching, I decided to go with the Borla. A good friend of mine swears by them.

      The next debate was if I could do this install myself, or if I needed to pay someone. The Borla instructions looked simple enough, though their system does require that you cut two pipes on the existing system. However, this also means you don't have to deal with ANY rusted/frozen bolts. I'm not a mechanic. I'm not even an amateur one, really - I can change my oil, change cabin air filters, and if I stretch I can swap out spark plugs. Recently, however, I bought some nice 10" rise ramps which gave me a ton of clearance under the vehicle, so I decided to go for it. I figured worst case, I have to drive it with no exhaust to a muffler shop and pay them to install! So, I ordered the Borla for my 2014 Explorer Sport (their part number 140656).

      The big box of noisy fun:

      borla1.jpg

      Opening the box, it was all packed nice and securely with a ton of expanding foam packing material.
      borla2.JPG

      Bonus! A hat!
      borla3.JPG

      My first step was to unpack it all, lay it out carefully on my garage floor, and verify that I had all the parts. I didn't want to pull the stock exhaust off then find I'm missing a clamp or pipe. Here it is, layed out on the floor.
      borla4.JPG

      It all goes on with hangers (more on that in a minute) and clamps. 7 clamps total.

      Time to get the Explorer up on the ramps. These RaceRamps are expensive, but very nice. Nice shallow angle to drive up, I never feel like I have to give it so much gas that I'm going to overshoot.
      borla5.JPG

      I wanted a bit more room toward the front, where the pipes need to be cut, so I jacked up the front passenger side and put some 4x4's underneath. In this picture I've also moved the floor jack under the car, lightly supporting the stock exhaust so that it won't try to move downward and pinch the sawzall blade as I cut.
      borla6.JPG

      Under the Explorer there's a large muffler. You cut the two pipes right in front of that muffler, on the side toward the front of the car. The Borla instructions show it nicely. Make sure you have a good blade, and keep in mind that the two pipes are relatively close, so be careful that when you're cutting one pipe, you aren't just bashing the front of the sawzall blade into the side of the other pipe. There's plenty of room with no cables or hoses near here.

      The cut pipes. Note that I have a jack stand supporting the forward portion that goes to a catalytic converter and the downpipes.
      borla7.JPG
      At this point, the only thing holding on the stock exhaust are exhaust hangers. No bolts, just hangers. If you aren't familiar with these (and I wasn't at all until I started researching 2-3 weeks ago), these are large rubber grommets that hang from hangers on the car. The exhaust has hangers welded onto it that go into the other end of the rubber hanger. Here's one from my car - you can see how the exhaust hanger has a ton of surface rust, while the hanger mounted to the car is corrosion-free.

      borla8.JPG

      Now the job was to get the exhaust hangers out of those rubber hanger pieces. They do NOT want to slide out of there- the rubber is pretty stuck to the exhaust hanger, and the rust certainly makes it hard to slide them off. The solution here is to spray some silicone spray on the hanger and rubber piece. Don't use oil, it will degrade the rubber over time. Also, there is a special tool just for getting these off, made by Lisle. It's $18 on Amazon and I don't recommend trying this without that tool!
      lisletool.JPG

      Here you see that same rubber hanger after I sprayed some silicone spray on it, and I have the Lisle tool in place. The red arrows point to the two sides of the tool - it's basically a specialized set of pliers to push the end through the rubber hanger.

      borla9.JPG

      And here it is after the exhaust hanger is out. The large rubber hanger should stay on the car.

      borla10.JPG

      I worked my way back removing these hangers - there's 5 of them. The last two, directly above the exhaust tips were the hardest, as it was impossible to get the tool positioned. For those, I just sprayed silicon on the vehicle side of the hanger (non corroded upper hanger), and managed to slide the entire rubber piece off the car. At this point the stock exhaust can fall down so make sure you have it supported. Here it is, on the floor after I pulled it down off the jack stand. You can see the rubber hangers still connected to it, right above the tips.

      borla11.jpg

      Now it was easy to use the Lisle tool to remove those, and then I just slid them back onto the hangers on the Explorer.

      OK! Now the stock exhaust was off. The hardest part is done! I think I had that done in about an hour. Putting the Borla system on is a piece of cake, since it's all in sections. Borla tells you to start from the front where you cut the pipes, and install piece by piece. Make sure you slide clamps over the connections before you slide the pipes on, but do not tighten them at all yet. Pro tip I learned the hard way - think about the orientation of the nuts, I didn't and that caused me to have a few clamps a bit harder to position. As you go along, you'll be sliding sections on and hanging them on the hangers - they'll go into the rubber hangers easily as it's nice clean stainless steel. A squirt of silicone spray helps as well. No tool needed, I could slide them on by hand. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures along the way here, but it's very easy and the Borla instructions were fine.

      Once it's all on, it's time to play with the exhaust tips. Get them set where you want them, centered and so that both are sticking out the same distance. Then, working from the back to the front, tighten the clamps. I only lightly tightened them at first - tight enough so that the pipes couldn't slide, but not torqued down yet. Keep checking to make sure the exhaust tips are still positioned correctly. I used a cordless impact wrench to lightly do this. Here's the exhaust on my car, some of these may be before I tightened the clamps. When I tightened them, I tried to position the bolts as much to the side as possible. In some areas that wasn't possible, or I was concerned the clamp bolt would be too close to the underbody and might rub/rattle.
      borla12.JPG
      borla13.JPG

      After that, I went back with a torque wrench and tightened them down to the Borla torque recommendation.
      You're done! Borla recommends you fire it up and use soapy water with a spray bottle to check the connections for exhaust leaks - I didn't find any.

      borla14.JPG

      I took it out for a test run (in the rain, unfortunately) - it's just the sound I wanted. Deep, throaty growl when you start or any time you hit the gas. When just cruising, it sounds nearly identical to the stock exhaust. I can't wait to drive it some more today!

      Yep, drove it in the rain and now the tips are no longer spotless.
      borla15.JPG


      Total time it took me - I started around 9am, and had it completely done at 12:45pm. And I took a break to eat a meal and have a cup of coffee after the stock exhaust was off. I figure it was about 3-3.5 hours of work, and that was taking my sweet time.
       
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    3. gax279

      gax279 New Member

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      Great write up and pictures! Congrats on the DIY project-that feeling of "accomplishment" is a nice one.
       
    4. gmcv893

      gmcv893 New Member

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      Nice write up on the exhaust. I'm on the fence about doing this on mine since I still want to keep it a quiet ride. What are your thoughts on the setup? Any drone in the cabin? Can you post a audio clip of the final product?
       
    5. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Here is a clip I found using the Forum's handy 'Search' feature. Not sure if it is the same system. My Platinum Explorer

      Peter
       
    6. gmcv893

      gmcv893 New Member

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      Yeah I've watched this, and still kind of on the fence. Hard to make a six cylinder sound "meaty", and not end up with the raspy tin can sound.
       
    7. fjc2

      fjc2 Elite Explorer

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      I don't have any audio clips as of yet, but it sounds to me just like the Borla video here. (Note - that video starts out showing the stock sound, keep watching to hear the change with the Borla setup).

      I haven't noticed any drone at all. When holding speed, such as 45 down a road, it really doesn't sound much different than the stock exhaust. It comes alive any time you hit the gas. This morning I went through McD's drivethru, and rolled all the windows down while I was waiting in line with the building right next to me. You know how that always seems to amplify sounds from your vehicle? I thought mine sounded great. Not far off stock while idling there, but deeper.

      I agree, it'll never sound like a Mustang GT V8 - but I'm ok with that; it's not what it is. But this is a much sportier sound, and it doesn't sound like every other Explorer out there.

      The other video posted above (Jon Noriega's Explorer Platinum) - I *think* he also has different downpipes. I'm still running the stock downpipes.
       
    8. 04mach1

      04mach1 Active Member

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      Nice write up !!
       
    9. SickSix

      SickSix Member

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      Excellent write-up!
       

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