There is a difference and the difference means increase performance and durability.
Tubing is tubing – right? Exhaust tubing is all the same and delivers the same flow characteristics.
To build a proper, state-of-the-art exhaust system today takes quality materials and quality bending techniques to retain a consistent internal tubing dimensions. Both elements are incorporated into every Legato Performance exhaust systems we sell. Remember, the air flowing through your exhaust is hot – real hot – and as such it heats the metal and causing repetitive expansion and contraction. A quality exhaust material must be able to handle this environment without cracking. It’s no joy ride for certain.
Legato Performance uses 16-gauge 409 stainless steel tubing – the gold standard for quality performance exhaust products today. Other less quality aftermarket exhaust systems that feature 18 or even 20-gauge materials are available – stay away. These lesser systems will bend and break with time causing either damage to the underside of your vehicle or, much worse, exhaust leaks that can endanger you and your passengers. Don’t cheap out!
All of our products include mandrel bent tubing. Mandrel bending means that all tubing curves are smooth and consistent – in contrast to compression bending where the metal is squeezed to allow the tube to make the turn. Compression bent tubing is very common with exhaust shops which cannot afford a mandrel bender. A mandrel bender inserts a series of “balls” into the tube supporting the inside of the tube during the bending process. This process avoids any reduction of the internal size or wrinkling of the inside radius of the curve, which will also interrupt airflow.
The 409SS tubing is more malleable than the higher cost 304SS that contains more chromium content making it more brittle. This is why we don't make our mufflers from 304 or anywhere where we make a TIG weld. In terms of durability, there is nothing better. We do, however, use 304SS for our tips where brittleness is not an issue and a high shine is needed – and better than chrome plating, which can flake and peel off over time.
Our choice of 16-gauge stainless steel tubing is because it strikes a good balance between strength and weight. A heavier gauge metal increases the weight of the exhaust system needlessly and makes it that much harder to install. All Legato Performance Exhaust systems are designed to be installed by a novice enthusiast at home in the driveway safely supported on jack stands – even though a vehicle lift makes things easier. Legato Performance is staffed by enthusiasts who know well the challenge of working on their vehicles. Excess weight only makes installation more difficult.
At Legato Performance we focus on great sound, great fitment, great durability, maximum performance and mileage gains – and solid customer service. We hope you will give us a chance to make your vehicle a lot more awesome!