Safety Technology

Custom Camaro ZL1 Exhaust Pipes Are So Loud They Blow The Airbags

This makes those exhaust systems that start car alarms look tame.

There’s a famous old video floating around in the depths of YouTube depicting one of the more hilarious moments of John Hennessey’s life. In it, Hennessey is testing a Cadillac CTS-V that his shop has tuned to make 700 horsepower. During a quarter mile run, the abrupt changes in G force convince the car that it’s been in an accident and the safety technology kicks in. The car promptly calls GM’s OnStar service where an operator asks if everything is okay.

And then a few years later it happened again, this time behind the wheel of a 650 horsepower Camaro Z/28. None of those scenarios, however, compare to the slightly traumatic moment that happened to YouTuber GuitarmageddonZL1 when he was behind the wheel of a Camaro ZL1 (which comes stock with 650 ponies) when his new exhaust system caused the airbags to blow.

In all fairness, as loud as the exhaust is, it’s unlikely that the high decibel vibrations alone are to blame for the incident. Instead, it’s the custom Noweeds exhaust diverter system he installed a day earlier. Somewhere in the design process, the tuner didn't think to be careful for the airbag sensors that run near the aftermarket pipes. While testing out the result of his installation work, the heat and vibration from the exhaust tricked one of the airbag sensors to think that the Camaro had crashed, triggering the airbag. If you care to beat around the bush, skip to the 10:00 minute mark and wait for the airbags to go off about 20 seconds later. Take note, there is plenty of NSFW language.

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