Whether you want to wake folks halfway across town every time you fire up your truck or just add a little more rumble that shows off the power of everything you have tucked under the hood, there are an almost unlimited amount of options available to make your truck sound more aggressive.
To make your truck sound more aggressive, you can upgrade to aftermarket short or long tube headers, or a mid-pipe set up that’s really dialed in, a catback combined with the new air intake system will also do it, forced induction, an aggressive muffler, or even just a couple of exhaust tips.
With so many different options to pick and choose from for getting the perfect sound you want from your truck is easier than you think. Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these recommendations and see how you can make your truck more aggressive and what upgrades make sense for your truck.
Upgrades To Make Your Truck Sound More Aggressive
These are upgrades that will require spending some money on, with some that will cost thousands of dollars and some that will cost under a hundred dollars. We’ll start with the most obvious and most affective and rewarding and go from there.
Aggressive Sound From Aftermarket Short or Long Tube Headers
Cost: $400 – $1200
Chances are the exhaust manifold on your truck from the factory is designed to do anything but help your truck rumble and scream. Truth be told, the overwhelming majority of OEM exhaust manifolds are designed to help you squeeze a little more efficiency out of your vehicle – not to crank up the volume.
A smart upgrade you can make (without sinking your fuel efficiency along the way) is to swap out the stock headers on your engine for some that have been tuned with sound in mind. Aftermarket headers are usually made of sheet steel so they are thinner and muffle less sound so more of it escapes.
Short tube headers are going to give you a time of volume, but long tube headers are where you’re going to see the most improvement with performance. Longer tubes are little more involved in the installation department, though. And they are a little more pricey (obviously).
The long tube headers run all the way down to about the middle of the transmission and one problem with them on street trucks is that there is no place for your normal catalytic converters, and this is illegal in most states. It is meant to be ran on racing, off-road applications only. They do make special cats you can get for these so make sure to look into that with your exhaust installer.
At the end of the day, though, this is a project that most truck owners could tackle all on their own. This is something you could knock out in a weekend and totally change the sound of your vehicle.
Consider Dropping in a Mid-Pipe
Cost: $500 to $800
If you are going to go with new headers you want to consider getting mid-pipe upgrades, too.
The quality mid-pipe is going to open up your exhaust a little bit, letting more exhaust flow through at once – but also improving the draw of your exhaust system as well. That’s going to get things moving quickly and that’s going to jack up the volume of your exhaust as well.
You have a couple of different options with a mid-pipe set up.
Cross pipes basically have two intersecting mid-pipes in the shape of an X. Exhaust will flow from the engine down each pipe, crisscrossing in the middle, and when the hot exhaust slams into each other it’s going to start to growl and scream.
H pipe setups aren’t quite as loud but do add a sort of cool rumble to your truck that’s difficult to pull off with other exhaust setups. This kind of mid-pipe set up gives you better performance and better performance at lower RPMs as well.
Choosing a mid-pipe set up that works for you is really all about the sound you want to squeeze out of your truck! You really can’t go wrong with either one of the options highlighted above.
You Want to Get Loud? – Catbacks Will Do the Trick
Cost: $500 to $1000
A really quality catbacks system is going to strip out everything between your catalytic converter and the tips of your exhaust system, replacing it entirely.
Every catback manufacturer has a different style and system that they feature. Some remove OEM resonators, some totally transform the muffler geometry, and some eliminate mufflers entirely. You’re going to have to do your research to find an option that has the sound you want.
One of the most important considerations when purchasing catbacks, though, is whether you’re going to go with a glass packed muffler system or a baffled muffler system. Glass pack systems sound incredible, but will wear and degrade over time – changing the sound along the way (and will need to be replaced).
Baffled systems are little more resilient and have that kind of classic muscle-car sound so many people are after.
Get More Air Into Your Engine with a New Intake
Cost: $30 to $1000 (depends on how simple or complicated you want to make this)
A new intake (either a short ram air intake or a cold air box) eliminates the inevitable OEM restrictions you’re going to have on your stock intake – getting a lot more air into your system and producing a lot more energy for your exhaust, too.
Throttle body spacers and performance throttle bodies can change the way your truck rumbles as well.
This upgrade isn’t going to change the way your truck sounds a ton (and it isn’t going to ramp up the volume in a big way), but every little bit helps if you’re doing multiple upgrades.
Forced Induction is Worth Considering
Cost: $2,000 to $15,000+
A supercharger system isn’t going to be the cheapest upgrade you can make, but it is going to be a game changer as far as the sound and volume your truck puts out is concerned.
Turbocharging is another way to go. You’re going to see huge performance increases if this is the modification you start to make, but again you’re going to be in it for a decent chunk of change.
Maybe that make sense for you. Maybe you can get away with some of the other upgrades we had mentioned earlier before deciding to go down this road.
Throw Tips on Your Pipes
Cost: $20 to $300
Finally, if the above options are a little out of your budget, you might want to think about just throwing some aftermarket exhaust tips on your truck and seeing if that’s enough to get the sound you are hunting.
Aftermarket exhaust tips are really affordable (especially compared to some of the other modifications mentioned earlier), simple to install on your own, and you can try all bunch of different configurations to change the sound profile and volume of your truck.
Of course, tips can be combined with other upgrades to really take things to the next level.
At the end of the day, you’ll have no trouble finding upgrades that can crank up the volume of your truck but also change the sound profile of your exhaust system, too. You’ll probably have to do a couple of different upgrades to get both the volume and the sound you want, though.
Tinker around with different combinations to find something that really resonates with you.
Don’t be afraid to jump on YouTube and listen to trucks that have had the upgrades you want already. Ask around at car shows (or even flag people down you hear a truck rumble on the road) and see what they’ve done to get the sound you like. I know I’ve spent hours on YouTube listening and taking notes to dozens of different configurations and am still on the hunt for the perfect setup.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.