Started off by looking for an exhaust fairly OEM looking, quiet, stainless construction, and of good value. I was able to get a very good price on a Borla Hush cat-back #140053, so I ordered it up Nov 2006. My initial impressions were good. It was not polished and seemed to be well assembled. The slip joints and strap style clamps are a nice touch. I was a bit skeptical in two areas.
1) The flanges are not stainless (as noted on their website "Only the flanges are not stainless. In our twenty-year experience, we have found the 3/8"--1/2" flanges are so thick they will never affect the performance or longevity of the system". Experience also tells me what the flanges are going to look like in due time.
2) Steel push clips are used on the hangers to serve as rubber isolator stops. I envisioned those clips moving around before they eventually rust away.
The flange bolts are steel but I had no expectations of them being SS.
Install went as well as expected. I knew ahead of ordering, that a separate adapter (extra cost ~$50) was required if this was to be bolted to a true 3" downpipe. Since I was running a OEM downpipe the included adapter worked fine with my donut style connection. I even reused the original gasket. It was installed quickly, sounded good, and never experienced any drone. There is this rubbing noise on a heavy deceleration which I just learned to live with.
**That rubbing noise was the pipe making contact with one of the rear outrigger/diff carrier bolts. I heated the area up cherry-red and added slight clearance (beat it in). Noise is now gone.**
The dual tips look good but are pretty much butted right against each other. I sometimes find debris jammed in there and it is hard to clean them up when you can't get in there easily. Wish they were just a hair further apart. Over time it may have increased in volume (as most exhausts do) but only slightly.
I was under the car last night, made some observations, and decided it was time to document my experience with this cat-back exhaust. There is 5.5 years and probably 80k of Midwest use on this exhaust. Mind you that this car was hardly driven in our winters and has had very few short trip heat cycles.
1)The steel hanger clips rely on tension to hold themselves in place. This is hardly any match for a fairly heavy exhaust system shifting to the side during hard cornering. One clip has no tension and moves freely with my fingers. I am more surprised it is still on there. Another is still in place and the last one is missing.
2)The flange is scaled in rust and partially rusted through. Does it affect performance? No, since I experienced no leaks. Does it look like utter crap? Yes, why yes it does. It would probably bolt up and seal again but I was skeptical that the flange could endure a much longer lifespan.
3)The steel bolts are now fused to the downpipe threads even though anti-sieze was used. I expected that though, should have switched out the steel bolts to SS ones and periodically re anti-seized them from time to time. The DP captive nuts had to be cut off.
4)My other thought was of the lack of any flex joint. Especially with bolting to a 3" downpipe using the appropriate adapter. The absence of the donut style joint will remove what little compliance flex there is in the whole system. No experience if that actually causes issues or not, it was just a concern.
All and all I would say that this CBE was a good purchase. If I was to reuse it with a 3" downpipe I would probably get (or build) the adapter using a SS flange and add in a good quality flex joint. I wish Borla would consider building their exhausts with SS flanges and revise the hangers with a incorporated SS stopper instead of those steel clips.
Also worth noting that Borla exhausts are 100% hand assembled in Johnson City, TN and Oxnard, CA. The 304SS materials are from various sources and only come from overseas to meet high volume demands. Some of there chrome exhaust tips are plated overseas due to processing requirements.
**Out of curiosity I read up on Borla's million mile warranty. So I contacted my retailer with my original invoice email and asked if they would contact Borla to see if they can replace some of the rusty parts. After a short wait I was told that Borla sent a package from Johnson City, TN to take care of me. Inside was a complete hardware kit with OEM DP adapter, bolts, clips, and band clamps. Wow I was pretty impressed and pleased. See it never hurts to ask and it is wise to keep your invoices.