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Ford’s new heritage-inspired Bronco has taken the automotive world by storm over the past two years, and it only takes one glance at its retro design to understand why. You can count us among the legion of enthusiasts who are currently enamored with the Bronco, too – not only for its spot-on styling and impressive off-road capability, but also for its surprisingly civil manners around town and the wide range of options that are available.
Much like its direct rival, the Jeep Wrangler, the new Ford Bronco is also ripe for aftermarket upgrades, and that makes the exhaust system a primary target for owners that want to take their trucks a step further. With that in mind, Flowmaster has developed an array of cat-back and axle-back systems for the Bronco that offer a range of different designs and exhaust tones to suit owners’ needs.
“When we had a 2.7-liter Bronco shipped out to our engineering facility in Idaho last year, we already had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do,” explained Mark Emerson of Flowmaster. “It’s similar to the strategy we used when developing our systems for the Jeep Wrangler. It really comes down to giving the customers different options as far as sound level, tones, and look. And of course we also wanted to improve performance – not only in terms of output, but also capability. Because of the layout and the component locations in the Bronco, the designs are actually very similar to what we offer for those Jeeps.”
As a result, Flowmaster now has Bronco systems that can meet the needs of those who’re looking to get a meaner sound and pick up some extra horsepower as well as the folks who want to improve departure angles and make some room for more suspension travel than the factory setup can support. Let’s take a closer look at what’s on the menu.
Available in axle-back configuration for both 2.3-liter and 2.7-liter Broncos, the American Thunder system utilizes a factory-style, single-exit design with three-inch, mandrel-bent 16-gauge 409 stainless steel tubing.
“This system is great for someone who wants a more aggressive sound that isn’t over the top,” Emerson said. “And it’s a quick bolt-on install that’s going to provide extra performance.” The system uses a 60 Series chambered muffler and boasts a polished three-inch stainless steel exhaust tip for a bit of eye candy, and it can deliver output gains up to 19 horsepower and 19 pound-feet of torque at the wheels.
The chambered muffler provides a more traditional Flowmaster sound, and like many of Flowmaster’s systems, it also incorporates the company’s Delta Flow technology. In a nutshell, it’s essentially a passive noise-canceling design that helps to reduce interior resonance while maximizing performance. Strategically-placed baffles inside the muffler separate the sound waves and then direct them to re-collide with one another, which in turn reduces drone in the cabin of the vehicle without inhibiting exhaust flow.
The American Thunder system comes with factory-style exhaust hangers that install in the stock location for a hassle-free installation, and it’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
Offered in both axle-back and cat-back designs, the FlowFX system for the new Bronco uses a unique straight-through muffler design that delivers a deep, aggressive tone at moderate volume levels and provides performance gains of as much as 17 horsepower and 18 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.
Like the American Thunder system, the FlowFX exhaust utilizes 3.0-inch, 16-gauge mandrel bent stainless steel tubing and utilizes the factory exhaust hanger locations to make installs easy, but the FlowFX system offers a more custom look thanks to its dual-exit design and four-inch, black ceramic-coated exhaust tips.
“This one was modified to work with the Bronco platform in terms of the way it sits and where the inlet is on the muffler,” Emerson pointed out. “The tone has a bit more bass to it versus the American Thunder system and it sounds more aggressive, especially when you’re accelerating. It also has more of a custom look to it with the dual exit design, and with the cat-back option, you get that larger three-inch mid-pipe. That’s going to be really helpful for customers who’re planning to do engine modifications down the road. It’s important to make sure the pipes are sized correctly in order to maintain proper exhaust pulse velocity when you start bumping up the power in any engine, but it’s even more crucial with turbocharged engines like the ones offered in the Bronco. You want to get those exhaust gases out as quickly as you can.”
Also available in axle-back and cat-back configurations, the Outlaw and Outlaw High Clearance systems provide the most aggressive tone of the bunch, but these two systems go about it in substantially different ways.
The standard Outlaw series system has a similar look and layout to the dual-exit FlowFX system, but thanks to its Super 10-style race muffler, it provides an especially lively soundtrack. “It’s similar to the ones we use with the Ranger in that it has been modified to give it those exits on each side of the muffler,” Emerson said. The axle-back system provides output gains of up to 14 horsepower and 16 pound-feet of torque at the wheels while the cat-back system delivers a bump of six horsepower and seven lb-ft, of torque and both systems sport four-inch black chrome tips for a bit of extra bling.
Meanwhile the Outlaw High Clearance system uses a straight-pipe, single-exit design that keeps the exhaust tip tucked up higher in the rear of the vehicle to improve the Bronco’s departure angle, in turn lowering the chances that the vehicle will get hung on the exhaust system while rock crawling or taking on steep inclines. “It’s basically a muffler delete system,” he pointed out. “It’s a single exit design on the driver’s side, and it’s tucked up really high behind the bumper. This is going to give you the most aggressive sound, but you have to keep in mind that the turbochargers and catalytic converters act as mufflers as well.” The high clearance system is available in axle-back and cat-back configurations, both of which are made from mandrel-bent, 16-gauge 409 stainless steel tubing.