How a Cherry Bomb Exhaust System Worksby Isaiah DavidUpdated July 10, 2023
Cherry Bombs Defined
All automotive exhaust systems serve two basic purposes: reducing the pollution from engine exhaust, and muffling the sound coming out of the engine. Cherry bomb muffler design is known for a full, booming rumble, but they don't actually create the exhaust sound. Rather, they simply muffle the sound coming from the engine less than normal exhaust systems. Hotrods, race cars, and old school muscle cars like Camaros are most commonly associated with cherry bomb performance exhaust.
All exhaust systems start with a catalytic converter. The catalytic converter contains a catalyst - a chemical which enables certain chemical reactions. This turns carbon monoxide into less harmful carbon dioxide, and also reduces the output of some other harmful emissions from exhaust gases. It also muffles the noise level somewhat by slowing the flow of gas from the engine. The part that provides most of the sound reducing power, however, is the resonating chamber. The resonating chamber has a special shape which reflects sound waves back, canceling them out and decreasing the volume decibel.
Cherry Bomb Glasspack Mufflers
The biggest difference between regular exhaust systems and cherry bombs is that the latter don't have a resonating chamber for interference in exhaust flow. Instead, they have a aluminized steel straight pipe with holes running down the sides of it. The tube is covered in fiberglass and includes a signature red powder coating. This provides some muffling, particularly with higher frequency sounds. The low pressure waves from the engine, however, go straight through the tube without much muffling, resulting in a low, throaty growl sound level.
Other Exhaust Tricks
Cherry bombs are often used in a system designed to maximize the flow of gasses and allow as much sound as possible to go through. For example, some of them use partial cut-off systems which allow some of the gasses from the engine to bypass the catalytic converter, increasing the volume. Others use multiple exhaust tubes, which also allows the gas to flow out faster, making more noise.
Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.