The Nissan Navara: What It Offers and How to Improve Its Performance

The Nissan Navara is one of the most popular trucks in Australia as it is considered to provide a car-like driving experience with the perks of an all-terrain vehicle that can withstand a ton of abuse and go through anything you put it against. It’s one of the most efficient vehicles in terms of fuel economy, and is one of the best towing vehicles with a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes. Unlike most other trucks that use simple leaf-spring suspension, the Nissan uses a complex, multi-link arrangement that utilises coil-springs instead. Furthermore, it’s available in 5 trim levels and 2 bodystyles, including a king cab with a longer load bed, short rear doors and occasional rear seats, and double cab with a shorter load bed, four full doors and proper rear seats. Additionally, as is the case with most trucks, the Navara is available in special editions, so if you’re looking for something more unorthodox, keep an eye out for the latest models and variations.

Nissan Navara exhaust upgrade

However, as is the case with most trucks, the Nissan Navara has room for improvement in terms of performance, sound, look and fuel economy in the exhaust system department. After all, Nissan’s goal, as well as every other manufacturer’s goal, is to put out vehicles at the best possible price, and that’s only possible if they’re cutting corners. Not saying there’s anything wrong with the stock Nissan Navara exhaust, but there are far better alternatives that can boost its performance at an affordable price. When looking for a Nissan Navara exhaust upgrade, you’ll come across hundreds of different options, and picking the most suitable one will take a lot of careful consideration. Of course, you want an exhaust that will fit your Nissan Navara’s specific model, make and year, and that’s usually the best way to narrow down your search. Further, you’ll want to decide whether you want a full Nissan Navara exhaust upgrade, a cat-back exhaust upgrade, or an axle-back upgrade. Depending on your budget and preference, your choice will vary.

Full exhaust upgrades, also known as header-back exhaust systems, are the most expensive solution, but it’s also the biggest upgrade. It will improve your Navara’s horsepower, torque, mileage, change it’s sound, and look. Header-back exhaust systems require installation by a certified mechanic, as taking out the stock exhaust system and putting the aftermarket one is a lot of work. Cat-back exhaust systems, as their name implies, replace everything from the catalytic converter to the exhaust tip. That being said, they’re more affordable than header-back exhausts, but more expensive from the axle-back exhausts. If you’re confident the headers of your Navara are efficient enough to not create backpressure, perhaps a cat-back Nissan Navara exhaust upgrade is the best solution for you. And lastly, axle-back exhaust systems are recommended if your goal is to change how your Navara looks and sounds, as all it replaces are the mufflers, the exhaust tip and the pipes that come after the axle.

header-back exhaust systems

After you’ve decided on the type of exhaust system you want to go for, it’s time to consider the materials you want the exhaust to be made off. Generally, you can choose between mild steel, stainless steel and aluminised steel. Mild steel is the most affordable option, and naturally, the lowest-quality one. Aluminised steel is more expensive, more lightweight and has decent corrosion resistance properties. Aluminised steel is ideal for vehicles that are driven in dry areas, as it performs incredibly well under extreme heat. Stainless steel is the most expensive option out of the three, but is also the most durable one and has outstanding resistance properties. A stainless steel exhaust will likely outlast the lifespan of your Navara, making it a great life-long investment.

Then, you have to decide whether you want to invest an extra buck into picking a system that features mandrel-bent piping. There are two popular types of pipe bending techniques for manufacturing exhaust pipes – crush and mandrel. Crush bending refers to the tube bending process where only a radius die and backing shoes are used, without a support mandrel to keep the inner diameter of the tube consistent. Consequently, the bend of the pipe is contracted, which leaves a slight depression inside it. This type of bending is the most economical one, which is why vehicle manufacturers use it most.

Mandrel bending

Mandrel bending, on the other hand, provides a smooth, uninterrupted product that’s completely free of creases and kinks. The mandrel that’s placed inside the pipe during the bending process supports the inner walls as, resulting in a bend that’s free of any profile and diameter changes. Additionally, the mandrel is lubricated with lithium grease in order to provide a smooth gliding action inside the tubes when they’re being bent. As a result of the complicated process, mandrel-bent exhaust systems are more expensive and are considered high-performance.

And lastly, as briefly aforementioned, you need to consider the fit and clearance. Aftermarket exhaust systems can be either welded-on or clamped together. The Nissan Navara exhaust upgrade can come in a pre-formed kit that’s specifically shaped to fit your Navara, or you can have one custom-bent for your specific application. Pre-formed kits are the most common approach, as custom fits are only needed for specific applications. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to cost, and how much work you want to do on your own. The pipe diameter should be appropriate for the engine size and the existing and planned horsepower level. Generally, performance V-4 engines require pipe diameters in the 2.5 to 3.5-inch range.