From time to time we’re asked why we use External Clamps to hold our Mufflers onto the machine instead of a welded on bracket that you can just bolt on. We thought this would be a great little blog post to explain why.
The first and main reasons why we use a clamp is for its strength and durability. Aluminum is a very strong lightweight material that is hard to beat. It has a very high tensile strength and can take a lot of abuse. We use all 6061-T6 grade on our canisters, end caps, and clamps. 6061 aluminum comes in a precipitation hardened state which basically means it’s somewhat hardened and holds its shape and strength very well. Aluminum does, however, Anneal at a much lower temp than Stainless or Regular Steels.This means that at a certain temp it will become very soft and pliable.
Aluminum does not like to be bent back and forth and will almost always crack where there is a lot of stress or movement in it. So when welding a bracket onto a Canister you're technically softening up the material right at the point of the weld. This coupled with hours and hours of vibration can lead to cracking and failure. You may have seen a cracked exhaust mount on a muffler. We always strive to avoid welding onto our mufflers unless the design won’t let us work around it.
In addition, with our Bright Drip Anodizing, we can offer some pretty amazing clamp colors!
So let’s say you have an exhaust that has a cracked hanger bracket on it. This will definitely put you in a bind. You’ve got a few options, leave it and pray it doesn’t break the rest of the way if it hasn’t already, replace the ENTIRE muffler now, or take it somewhere to have it welded and repaired. Yet this can lead to another issue, welding aluminum needs to have as clean of surfaces as possible. Normally, a well-used muffler is far from a clean surface free of Carbon. So the repair is not going to look the best and most likely will further anneal the aluminum around the area potentially leading to another failure down the road. We’ve heard more than once, “I’ve welded this thing like 4 times now and have to replace it.”
Most big names will want you to just purchase an entirely new system. With a Barker’s Exhaust System you won’t have this issue with our Solid Billet Machined Aluminum Clamps. If you break this clamp you’ve probably wrecked and most likely smashed a lot more in doing so. Even still many times we’ve been able to supply customers with a new section of pipe to help get them back up and going still using the existing canister.
Another reason that really helps with durability is that the Clamp design allows for it to be placed on the muffler wherever it’s needed. Many times there are slight variations in the mounting holes on machines due to factory tolerances, minor mishaps, or from crashes that tweak the subframes or whatever. Our clamp gives some flexibility for this and basically can be placed in the optimal position on the machine.
Proof of this design for us comes in the form of Baja desert racing. Baja racing includes racing over incredibly long distances through extreme desert conditions, terrain, and obstacles. Our sponsored rider, Juan Dominguez, has dealt with exhaust mounts and cracking for years racing Baja. He has said many times it was a miracle to finish the race without an exhaust issue. After multiple exhaust brands he then found Barker’s. Before we even sponsored him, they used our same pipe for multiple races across two racing seasons with zero issues, and only required regular repacking and maintenance.
We truly do strive for quality here at Barker’s and making an entirely separate Exhaust Clamp out of a fully machined solid block of aluminum is no cheap feat. Most big brands have a chunk of Extruded Aluminum that they cut off, do a few quick machine ops, and weld it onto the Muffler. These aren’t necessarily a bad design, but the point where you weld them onto the can is almost always a possible failure point in the exhaust. This also commits the mounting holes to that point only, so there’s no room for error. Below is an example showing some of our Maverick Clamps in the process of being machined.
So we can’t say that we never weld onto a Muffler because some designs are going to require using a welded on bracket to the muffler. We can tell you, though, that when we do cracking is our main concern so we are extremely mindful of how they are welded on and what kind of stresses might be there.
We hope you enjoyed this article and it helps you gain some insight of the thinking behind the Barker’s brand. Thanks for viewing!