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My MONZA Exhaust Installation

By Timothy Fowler

January 3, 1998

I am another MX-3 owner who works on his own car, and I figured this might be of interest to you and your web page readers. This is the abbreviated version of what happened to me when I replaced my exhaust system. As a disclaimer, I don't work for Pacesetter or know anyone who does, I just bought their product and it's working fine so far.

After the stock exhaust on my í92 MX-3 GS (1.8L V6) rusted out in a second spot I decided that patching it (again) was a lost cause. I called up the local Mazda dealer, priced out the OEM replacement for everything past the catalytic converter (about $325 U.S. plus tax) and decided that I would at least find out what a "performance" system would cost. After some web research, and a few calls I purchased the Pacesetter MONZA Performance Exhaust System (cat-back system), part# 88-1278, for $199.95 plus $25 S&H (U.S.). I really couldnít find any other manufacturer that sold a cat-back system for the MX-3, so I quizzed the guy on their 800#, talked to some of my gear-head friends, crossed my fingers and ordered it. Yes, they have a website:

What I got via UPS a few days later was a 3 piece, 2 ľ" diameter (stock is 2" diam.) cat-back system, painted black with the necessary gaskets, U-clamp, bolts and so on. The first piece is the pre-muffler, with a flange to bolt up against the catalytic converter and a slip joint connection at the other end. The pre-muffler itself is a straight-through glasspack type muffler with small louvers inside that open to the rear of the exhaust. The next piece simply connects from the slip joint to the flange connection for the rear muffler. The last piece is the main or rear muffler, with a flange connection at the front end, and a single 4"outside diameter, chrome resonator tip at the back end. I couldnít really see much inside the muffler, but the tip is a louvered glasspack resonator, painted bright yellow on the inside. This resonator tip is not subtle and will make a noticeable change to the look of your car ("Why is that huge pipe coming out of that little car?").

While the overall quality of the system was good (clean welds, even paint, solid construction) I do have one criticism of the product. On the last piece of the system, the mounting brackets on the main, or rear, muffler were significantly out of alignment. The mounting brackets held the tailpipe up against the rear bumper and pulled the muffler up and towards the center of the vehicle, against the heat shield. I was able to fix this by carefully bending the brackets with Vise-Grips and checking the fit until I had the location of the rear muffler and tailpipe corrected.

I believe that Pacesetter could significantly improve the quality and ease of installation of this system by some simple adjustment of the 3 brackets that hold and position the rear muffler (I did email them about that but I haven't gotten a response yet). Otherwise, I found the quality and fit were excellent. The first two pieces of the cat-back exhaust installed easily with no modifications. It took me about 3 hours total to install the system, by myself, without rushing (it would have gone faster if the rear muffler fit right initially).

The final question is, "What about horsepower and the sound?) Well, I donít know for sure. Pacesetter claims a 6% increase in horsepower, which would be 135+ at the engine compared to 128 stock. Since I havenít had the car dynoíd (might do that this spring) before or after, I canít say if there is an increase or not. As far as sound, itís really hard to say since my stock exhaust was leaking and LOUD before. Hopefully, I can find someone with a stock MX-3 V6 and compare at some later date.

From reading other web reviews of this product it sounds as if Pacesetter has improved the quality (somewhat) and increased the price as well. My recommendation is, if you have to replace your exhaust anyway, go for it! At the very least you will save about $100+, you might like the new look, and you might get a performance increase.

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Last modified: October 26 2007

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