Upgrading the exhaust

The MX-5 is a great sports car and I think Mazda's design choices were largely correct but I'd always wished the exhaust was a tad more gruff and throaty to match its perky engine and quick handling. While looking for an after-market exhaust I knew I didn't want to end up with a loud-n-proud boy racer kind of exhaust as I felt that'd be OTT and out of character with the other upgrades I had in mind. After a lot of thought and hearing the Cobra exhausts in person at Japfest in 2019, I settled on the Cobalt exhaust sold by Moss Europe.

When you're trying to disconnect the exhaust from the car you need to remove the bolts holding it to the rest of the exhaust system; which were surprisingly easy to do as I'd have expected a little corrosion considering they're under the car.

The remaining task is to coax the rubber fixings that hold the exhaust in place off of the metal bars that are welded to the exhaust.

he rubber fittings that hold the exhaust in place
The rubber fittings that hold the exhaust in place.

The big secret to easing off the rubber fittings is plenty of WD-40; although this becomes a bit of a double-edged sword. I discovered you need to wiggle the rubber fixings after the first round of WD-40 to allow the lubricant to penetrate the small gap between the rubber and the metal bar; then add a second dose and again wiggle it. My advice is to leave it for 10 minutes, go and wash your hands and find some rubber gloves. The WD-40 makes everything quite slippery, the additional grip the gloves provide helps to redress that balance. After some coaxing and a whole lot of wiggling, I managed to persuade the rubber back off.

Mazda's stock exhaust
Mazda's stock exhaust.

Once free, I gently pushed the right-hand side fixings halfway on again to hold it everything in place and went to work on the other side. As a precaution, I positioned a large wooden block under the exhaust to prevent the side I'd just freed from crashing down to the ground and placing unwanted strain on the side as I coaxed the remaining rubber fixing free. Eventually, I was able to slide the stock exhaust out from under the vehicle.

Cobalt exhaust from Moss
Cobalt exhaust from Moss.

Once free of the car I was able to remove the rubber fixings from the vehicle which was much easier without the exhaust in the way. I decided to fit them to the new exhaust before sliding the whole assembly under the car. I jacked the exhaust up on wooden blocks to allow me to connect it to the rest of the exhaust system, taking care not to only tighten the bolts just enough to hold it in place. Pushing the rubber fixings back onto the metal bars that hold the exhaust in place was absurdly quick and easy given how long I'd spent getting them off!

Under the back end showing the rubber exhaust hanger
Under the back end showing the rubber exhaust hanger.
The finished exhaust
The finished exhaust
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