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Time for a new exhaust- which is best?

43053 Views 79 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  DjD
Time for a new exhaust system for my 67 SS.
Is Gardner still the best?
Easy to install?


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Yes - I want to go as original as possible.
Leaning towards Gardner. Have heard good things.
Just worried about the fit - cause I want to do the install myself.
And if you're up I-95 my way, I have a lift you can use. :yes:
Thanks - Yes, I do have a lift.
Will call Gardner tomorrow for a price quote.

I am sure this is not going to be cheap. :rolleyes:

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Ordered the Gardner this morning.
Pretty expensive almost $900. :eek:
Should practically install itself for that price.
they did say if it did not fall right into place - I should call.
No cutting, bending, or any mods will be needed.

They build it to order, and I should have it in a few weeks.
the other guys have a $500 system +$100 for freight.
Apparently it is difficult to install, and needs to be tweaked a bit.

It was so frustrating for a buddy of mine that he gave up, and took it to a muffler shop for them to install it - $200 (he did not have a lift)

So he spent $800 on that one about 2 years ago, and it was not as correct as this Gardner is supposed to be???
This one was $740 +100 freight + $14 for some "special clamps" that are optional but needed to be perfectly correct.
Comes with install instructions, and is supposed to lay right in place.

So - I will see when it comes, compared to that other one.
More correct, and easy to install - I will be very happy with that.

Also Gardner makes an upgraded system that is more rust resistant - another add on. -I did not get that one.
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THIS Forum is named "Restoration Corner Where originality comes first".................
Having said that NOBODY else does what GARDNER offers. The only good alternative to GARDNER is having Original/NOS pieces and put your own system together.
Yes- That is exactly what I am hoping for.
A system that looks, performs, and installs, exactly like the original pieces from 1967.

I am anxiously awaiting my Gardner delivery.
I just received the complete Gardner system for my 67 Camaro 396.

Planning to install the system myself - sometime next week.
I have to say it was really a pleasure dealing with Eric.

Everything is packaged wonderfully, and all parts are labeled so a child could fit this thing together.
After looking at the pieces - I am not as worried about doing this myself as I was initially.

I hope I feel the same way after the install

Only one concern ...
what do you guys think of the rolled seams on the edges of this muffler - is this typical?
It seems a little sloppy but I wasn't sure what to expect.
Is this normal - or should the rolls be uniform and smooth?


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That is why I am asking -
if they looked like this in 1967 as produced for GM - that that is exactly what I want.

But when I compared to the mufflers on my 60's Corvettes - the seams are rolled very neatly. That is why I questioned these?
I just sent pictures up there.
Will see what happens.

Did not look right to me either. Too sloppy even for GM :rolleyes:
I guess the Camaro Muflers look like this "right now" due to current manufacturing process?
For 3 times the price of the other guys - I kinda expected no excuses?
BUMMER - - not sure I am going to keep it.


Thanks for the inquiry. Unfortunately all of our Camaro mufflers look like that right now. I believe it is something in the manufacturing process. None of these mufflers has presented a problem in the past so I am sure you will be very please. If you do have an issue with any kind malfunction do not hesitate to contact us.

Best Regards

Eric Gardner
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I did look at my Gardner system which I installed over a year ago and the muffler seam does not look like yours,
it is consistent and finished all the way around.
Wonder if they went with a new vendor on the muffler?

Really a shame that the quality of available reproduction parts keeps fading away.
Same thing that a few others have said - none of the other Gardner mufflers look this way.

They must have switched suppliers.

Luckily - I do have a NOS muffler and some other components that I was saving for a rainy day - I guess this is a sign to use what I got. :rolleyes:
Well, you could contact Gardner and tell them you would like to send the muffler back and wait for one that is finished properly?
Nothing to lose by asking the hard questions, afterall, you paid good money.

From Eric's email this morning, I don't think that is an option. :clonk:

During my research, all I kept hearing about was Gardners amazing customer service.
I have to say - service is easy when everything goes as planned...
True Customer Service - begins when there is a problem - So far this is not going well.

This did all transpire over a holiday weekend...
And Eric did say he would call me Monday.
So, I will listen to what he has to say.
IMO The customer service from Gardner Exhaust - NOT SO MUCH.
Eric told me - This is the muffler Gardner is using now. PERIOD.

"The muffler that we were using is not as correct as this new one is now"
We went to a new supplier, and that is all I have - Take it or leave it.

What about the messy crimps? “that is how my supplier is doing them now”
Can I get one of the old ones? – “No we don’t carry those anymore”
How about a discount? “No - absolutely not”

Eric then told me:
"You can return the system, but you lose the freight both ways.
All hardware, bolts, clamps, hangers must be included or we will not refund anything at all. Those items are not sold separately.
No you CANNOT buy everything except the muffler. Gardner is the best system out there - none of the other systems are as correct -
maybe cleaner but not correct.
Heartbeat, DRclassic, Partsplace are not even close to what we make."

Why do the other vendors mufflers have nice beads what about using their supplier? –
“ I don’t know where they get their mufflers from – and I don’t care.”

This is where we stand - no discounts, no partials - you decide - if you are sending it back we must be notified ahead of time.

So guys - Help----
What do I do- eat $200 freight by sending it back. ($100 each way)
Or Install this sloppy can on my show car? and just live with it?

The third option was to wait 3 weeks and see if the next batch is any better.
But I was told not to expect much better.

He did say to me – why such a big deal? “it's only a muffler”.
I thought that was funny considering.

Below is the picture he sent me of an original next to his.
He thought that would convince me – actually made me more skeptical


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Eric did say at last-
he had just talked to the supplier, and they would try to do better.

Don't care so much about the ripples -
just did not like the raw metal shards hanging off the bead.

So lets see what happens - may take a few weeks.
Everything else is really nice - just not the muffler can.
I wonder if you can peen the bead back where it belongs yourself? It's probably pretty soft material. alan
I thought about doing that too - but when I looked closely I could see the metal was thin in places.
Stopped right there because - I did not want to puncture it.

Any pressing or squeezing looked like it would only make it worse - it is machine crimp rolled.
Would be very hard to duplicate that by hand.
They used to be made from galvanized Steel -
what ever material this is here looks to be VERY fragile.

The Gardner pipes and hardware is all super strong - this muffler is not especially durable looking.

Lets see what he sends me in a few weeks?
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Now my car is sitting idle waiting.
I wish I had bought the system from my good friend at D&R Classic.
For half the price – I would have got a suitable exhaust system that was functionally correct – with a guarantee of satisfaction.

It wasn’t even the problem with the materials (everyone makes mistakes) it was how it was handled.
This was not a surprise to Eric - he had just changed muffler suppliers.
He had to know this might be a problem – Eric Gardner is an award wining exhaust manufacturer – a professional.
Eric was not surprised by my questions, only angry that that I had the nerve to ask them.

So now I am waiting to see what the next batch of mufflers looks like - "about 3 weeks".
And that will also give me the opportunity to rethink what I did, and maybe make a different choice.
Wonder if these new cans will sound like the old ones? - it appears to be a baffles type glass pack muffler.
I will keep everyone posted on the progress.

Thanks for the encouragement and support. :thumbsup:
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I am going to stop commenting on this vendor - it helps no one.
I hate stuff like this as much as anyone.
Very sure Eric Gardner will figure this out - and everyone will be happy again.

I bet this was a loud wake up call, and they will find a suitable replacement for the lost supplier.
Would think this will now be very high priority?

Also - It seems only the Camaro style transverse mufflers are affected at this time.
The first Gen Camaro Mufflers stopped being made some years back - This is a tough one.
No other model uses the same transverse system as the 67-74 Camaros, Firebirds and Novas.
This very small market share means nothing to his BIG manufactures - this is a difficult situation.
I hope this is just a little glitch on the way to getting it right again.

As an educated car guy - I know exactly what this stuff is supposed to look like...
It is important to me to get it right, and I am sure many of Gardners customers feel the same.

I would think I'm not the only one out there who considers these cars members of the family...
They are rolling art - not transportation.
The standard of restoration is some cases is WAY better then original -
High profile customers will never accept this change in quality.

I never expected this to ever go this far.
Just assumed they would immediately understand my concerns? :clonk:
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I went with the D&R system and it really fit well. Had to do some minor tweaking and bending to one of the head pipes. All of 10 minutes. Called D&R and told them about the problem and they said thanks for the feedback. Five minutes later D&R sales rep calls me and says we are giving you a $50 store credit for your problems. I had no problem using that $50. D&R seem to do a great job. Sorry for your problems Jeff. BTW My Emissions set up from you still looks great on my '69! :)
Now that is what I call quality customer service. :thumbsup:
To be honest - D&R has always been my first choice for reproduction parts.
Not sure why I strayed on this one?
Just goes to show. :clonk:
This is not going to disappear.
Just giving this supplier a little time to make good.
I have no intention of settling for anything less then TOP QUALITY.
At the price he is charging - there should be ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSES.

And I assure you, I will have plenty more to say about this.

Good or bad you will get to read all about it.

But it is only fair to see what he will do to make his customers happy.
Even if this was not standard practice over there - maybe Gardner will smarten up, before the customers do. ;)
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