We all spend countless hours prepping our racecars. However, many of us have another vehicle, which gets us to work, the local hardware store, to pick up the kids from school and, of course, to tow the racecar. Sure, most modern trucks are fantastically capable machines straight from the factory. But for most of us, that isn’t enough. We want to tinker, modify, and make the tow vehicle our own. In doing that, we can apply some of the knowledge we have learned from in racing efforts to our tow vehicle.

In this story, we will examine some simple items we can add to our favorite tow vehicle, which not only make it perform better, but also make it a much more enjoyable vehicle to drive on our daily ventures and something we can call “our truck.”

Without a doubt, the simplest things we can replace on our vehicles to increase power are the factory intake and exhaust systems. They typically prove to be a restrictive point in the airflow path of our engines, and installing something less restrictive nearly always proves to increase horsepower and fuel economy — which are both something we’d all love for any towing vehicle. Plus, aftermarket exhaust just sounds that much cooler.

For the first part of our install, we will focus on the intake system for our Toyota Tundra 4 x 4 with the 5.7-liter V8 engine. AEM Induction Systems is a leader in the industry, with some of the most well-thought-out products on the market today. AEM supplied us with one of its Brute Force Intake systems. Designed to eliminate much of the restrictive nature of the factory intake system, the new AEM induction system provides an additional six horsepower across the board.

Installation of the system is a snap. On a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the most difficult task requiring significant mechanical ability, I would say this installation rates a one or two.

The second item we focused on in this build was the factory exhaust system. When considering the plethora of exhaust systems we had to choose from, we kept coming back to Borla, a company widely known in the industry for making one of the highest quality exhaust systems on the market. Borla systems produce a unique tone that isn’t overly intrusive while driving, yet still frees up horsepower while also sounding fantastic. A call to our friends at Borla yielded a side-exit, cat-back dual exhaust. Why side exit? Because this is a towing vehicle of course. We want to throw those exhaust fumes out the side and not out the rear at our trailered vehicle.

Like our induction system, the Borla exhaust is another simple modification that anyone with the willingness to attempt the install can tackle with a simple set of hand tools and a little patience. Using our same scale from 1 to 10, this install would rate a two in my opinion.

Begin by removing the engine cover, the stock air box and elbow, by unfastening the clips that hold the top of the air box together.
Begin by removing the engine cover, the stock air box and elbow, by unfastening the clips that hold the top of the air box together.
Then locate the two 10 mm bolts holding the stock air box in the car and loosen the hose clamp holding the elbow to the stock throttle body. Remove the electrical connector from the airflow sensor and pull out the stock system.
Then locate the two 10 mm bolts holding the stock air box in the car and loosen the hose clamp holding the elbow to the stock throttle body. Remove the electrical connector from the airflow sensor and pull out the stock system.
Then remove the 10mm head bolt holding the washer fluid bottle in. This will be used to locate the new heat shield for the induction system.
Then remove the 10mm head bolt holding the washer fluid bottle in. This will be used to locate the new heat shield for the induction system.
It is easier to install the rubber isolators before installing the heat shield along with the rubber edging for the elbow hole and the seal for the gap between the top of the heat shield and the hood. Be sure to install these items at this stage as well. Now install the new head shield using the provided hardware.
It is easier to install the rubber isolators before installing the heat shield along with the rubber edging for the elbow hole and the seal for the gap between the top of the heat shield and the hood. Be sure to install these items at this stage as well.
Now install the new head shield using the provided hardware.
Move onto installing the provided smaller diameter hose that will eventually replace the hose that went to the stock induction system.
Move onto installing the provided smaller diameter hose that will eventually replace the hose that went to the stock induction system.
Remove the airflow sensor from the stock induction system and reinstall it in the AEM induction system aluminum elbow.
Remove the airflow sensor from the stock induction system and reinstall it in the AEM induction system aluminum elbow.
Install the elbow and the provided rubber coupling using the hose clamps and two nuts/washers locating it to the heat shield.
Install the elbow and the provided rubber coupling using the hose clamps and two nuts/washers locating it to the heat shield.
Now simply plug the wiring into the airflow sensor. Don’t forget the hole in the heat shield that locates the wire loom holder.
Now simply plug the wiring into the airflow sensor. Don’t forget the hole in the heat shield that locates the wire loom holder.
Remember the small vacuum line left over in the box.
Remember the small vacuum line left over in the box.
Now reinstall the engine cover and you are done.
Now reinstall the engine cover and you are done.

Be advised, intake noise will increase with this new system. While not overly obnoxious, some may find they actually prefer it. To get an idea what the new intake sounds like, watch this video here.

Exhaust system upgrade

For the exhaust upgrade, begin by removing the clamp holding on the rear section of the exhaust and move onto the rubber hangers. A little WD-40 and a pry bar will do wonders here.
For the exhaust upgrade, begin by removing the clamp holding on the rear section of the exhaust and move onto the rubber hangers. A little WD-40 and a pry bar will do wonders here.
The trick here to getting this rubber hanger undone is to pull the rear section back toward the rear of the truck to separate the exhaust joint letting the front section hang down. Then pull the rear section forward to slip it out of the rubber hanger.
The trick here to getting this rubber hanger undone is to pull the rear section back toward the rear of the truck to separate the exhaust joint letting the front section hang down. Then pull the rear section forward to slip it out of the rubber hanger.
Remove the four bolts holding the factory exhaust to each catalytic converter. These can be rusty and difficult to break loose, so apply a liberal amount of PB Blaster to the bolt and threads. You will need them again to install the new Borla system. Next separate the factory exhaust system from the rubber hangers holding the muffler section to the car. Keep these so you can reuse them for the new Borla system. There is no trick here, just use WD-40 and a pry bar and pry those hangers off the system. Try to support the stock muffler section with something because it’s heavy and awkward.
Remove the four bolts holding the factory exhaust to each catalytic converter. These can be rusty and difficult to break loose, so apply a liberal amount of PB Blaster to the bolt and threads. You will need them again to install the new Borla system.
Next separate the factory exhaust system from the rubber hangers holding the muffler section to the car. Keep these so you can reuse them for the new Borla system. There is no trick here, just use WD-40 and a pry bar and pry those hangers off the system. Try to support the stock muffler section with something because it’s heavy and awkward.
Now we move onto the fun part, installing the new Borla system.
Now we move onto the fun part, installing the new Borla system.
I started by installing the new rear hanger provided in the cat-back kit.
I started by installing the new rear hanger provided in the cat-back kit.
Then I moved onto installing the front part of the new system, which is simple. Use the bolts you saved from the stock system to attach the new front pipes loosely. Finger-tighten the bolts so the new front exhaust section can still be moved.
Then I moved onto installing the front part of the new system, which is simple. Use the bolts you saved from the stock system to attach the new front pipes loosely. Finger-tighten the bolts so the new front exhaust section can still be moved.
Once you have those on, install the middle section containing the new muffler. Be sure you slide the clamps on the exhaust pipes before you install the middle section. You’ll be mad at yourself if you forget to do this.
Once you have those on, install the middle section containing the new muffler. Be sure you slide the clamps on the exhaust pipes before you install the middle section. You’ll be mad at yourself if you forget to do this.
Now move onto installing the last two section of the system.
Now move onto installing the last two section of the system.
Install the passenger side first again, sliding the provided clamp over the pipe, then slide the hanger into the rubber hanger, and slide the pipe over the middle section. For the driver side section, you’ll have an easier time routing things now because you already installed the rear hanger. (The directions said to remove the spare tire, but I found it relatively easy to skip this step and leave it in). Again, slide the clamps over the pipe, slide the hanger into the newly provided hanger, and the pipes over the joints. Before clamping everything down, get out from under the truck and walk behind to make sure both tips line up. Adjust things at the rear to make sure they do. Then begin tightening all the clamps up starting from the rear and working your way forward finishing with the exhaust-to-catalytic converter connection bolts.
Install the passenger side first again, sliding the provided clamp over the pipe, then slide the hanger into the rubber hanger, and slide the pipe over the middle section. For the driver side section, you’ll have an easier time routing things now because you already installed the rear hanger. (The directions said to remove the spare tire, but I found it relatively easy to skip this step and leave it in). Again, slide the clamps over the pipe, slide the hanger into the newly provided hanger, and the pipes over the joints.
Before clamping everything down, get out from under the truck and walk behind to make sure both tips line up. Adjust things at the rear to make sure they do. Then begin tightening all the clamps up starting from the rear and working your way forward finishing with the exhaust-to-catalytic converter connection bolts.
Install your Borla stickers and head on out to hear how your new exhaust system sounds!
Install your Borla stickers and head on out to hear how your new exhaust system sounds!

To hear how the truck sounded before and after, review this video!

 

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Image courtesy of Jeremy Croiset