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Exhaust Note Symphony

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Post by Joltin Joe Mon Nov 15, 2021 9:48 pm

Hotrod, Jerry, Bruce: another question: does anyone know if it's possible to duplicate the sound of a Healey?
Particulars:
Saxon: Ford 302 V8, Offenhauser intake, mild (600cfm) 4106 Edelbrock 4-bbl.
Healey (BJ8) Austin 2,912cc I-6, twin SU HD8.

As we all know, Donald M and Co were constantly complaining about the obsolete, end of useful life, motors BMC forced on them. So, it's not like that lovely sound came from anything special or exotic, right?
My gut tells me it's all in the exhaust system, no? I mean, how complicated can it be?

Please, guys, enlighten me?

(God! But I loved that sound ...)

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Post by David V. Tue Nov 16, 2021 1:26 am

The Healeys had 6 cylinder engines, so by their very nature the firing order on them is different. With the right exhaust combination you can get the v8 to sound more raspy but you'll never get a 6-cylinder tone out of it short of swapping for an actual inline-6 (E.g. a Nissan L28 would probably be the most straightforward engine swap).
The most exotic sound you can get out of a V8 would be with something called 180-degree headers, but it wouldn't sound like a Healey and you'd have a hard time routing those pipes under the hood.
Speaking from experience, I had a phase where I was trying to Healey-ify my Sebring. Over time I started appreciating the Sebring for its own merits. I think you might have more fun if you consider the Sebring a blank canvas. It already has the shape we know and love, the rest is up to us to get creative with Smile
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Post by Hotrod Tue Nov 16, 2021 10:47 am

I agree with what David said, but there is one suggestion I have. You could go to a large diameter single exhaust system. I know that sounds crazy, but it puts all the exhaust notes coming put of one tube. The individual cylinders combine into a smoother sound. I know this because my car came with a single exhaust and it had a nice smooth sound.

Single exhaust will generally hurt performance, but that can be minimized by using large tubing and a long merge collector to bring the piped together. The late model folks have to go this way if they live in an emission controlled area if their cars came with a single.

My car had a 3" chambered muffler like a Flowmaster dumping into a 3" glasspack style muffler. I must say it had a very nice unique sound and wasn't terribly loud.

As I said, just a suggestion.
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Post by Stevez Tue Nov 16, 2021 11:59 am

I too very much like the sound of a Healey straight 6 and thought about a means to duplicate. But, I’m coming from a different set of parameters, I’m installing a Ford 2.3l EB out of a Mustang. Since it has a turbo there is already a pretty much unresolvable noise difference from a Healey straight 6. A single exhaust, in my case, is pretty much a given even though EB Mustangs typically go from single down pipe (3”) to dual exhaust. Not at all crazy about that sound. Sooo, I’ll just have to experiment and get some thoughts from the local exhaust fabricator. I will certainly bring an audio recording of a Healey straight 6 with me. 😂

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Post by Joltin Joe Tue Nov 16, 2021 1:35 pm

As usual, you guys are the best; David, Hotrod, Stevez, thank you all much. Who knew you could wring damn near 350 HP out of a 4-cyl!? Certainly not my dumbass!
Will Stevez be the first guy in our group to do such a thing?
On a historical note, when Roger Menadue heard BMC were shoving that 2660 I-6 on them, he was furious. And he was right. The six cylinder put up worse numbers than the 4-cyl. He goes on and on extolling the virtues of that I-4 over the 6.
So, I doubt he'd be surprised Stevez EB could do those amazing numbers. If I read it right, even the base engine is rated at 270 HP. Tweaking it (like Stevez) pushes it to 345 HP.
Again, who knew?
I'm going to take your (collective) advice viz the single larger exhaust (3" Flowmaster) coupled with Mike's glass pack suggestion.

Again, David, Mike, Steve, thank you for the help.
Joe
(David, another request: can you "shrink down" the size of my car photo? I can't. Not sure why it's so big, but it covers the left margin of text, thanks)

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Post by Hotrod Tue Nov 16, 2021 5:58 pm

i was in a hurry this morning when I posted that.  Here is a little more to go with it.

The type of merge collector I was talking about was something like this:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

This will help reduce the backpressure at the junction of the 2 pipes.  Since you have a 302, the power losses may not be as bad as they might seem, especially compared to something like a 350.

I'm not sure that the Flowmaster type muffler is really required. I think mine was actually a Thrush, but it was just like a Flowmaster series 40.  A long, large diameter glasspack might be all you really need.  That is just the way mine was setup, but I think I would try running without it to start with.  You could always add it later if you thought you needed it.  I have a feeling that it was added to my exhaust to quiet the sound down.

FWIW - Large diameter exhaust enhances lower frequencies just like the large tubes of a pipe organ.  So you will be getting a low tone exhaust note.  Go smaller if you want a higher pitch, but that will increase backpressure.
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Post by Joltin Joe Wed Nov 17, 2021 5:51 pm

Mike: you inspired me to do a bit more research. You (and everybody else that chimed in) are spot on the money as to:
1. why Healeys sound the way they do;
2. how to duplicate that sound as near as possible.

I went to a few Healey sites where such things are discussed. The consensus is, yes, the firing order is a factor, as is the headers, and, of course, the exhaust system.
One guy claimed he duplicated it (more or less) with an older Nissan (Datsun era) 260 Z engine. Another actually paraphrased you, Mike, right down to the brand! He was talking about a "Ford V8" (without ID-ing it), saying a "... a Flomaster [sic] setup into a long glasspak ..." came as close as he'd ever heard.
Seems like everyone agreed on the single exhaust and 3" pipe.
These comments came from guys in the UK, Australia, Netherlands, as well as the USA. So, if your "ears are burning," Mike, it's you being paraphrased globally.
Thanks for the insight.
Joe

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