Video: ZL1 Is So Loud It Sets Off Its Air Bags At 140 MPH

So the old adage goes, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old.” But is that really true? Is there such a thing as too loud. We know we once built a fourth-gen Camaro with long-tube headers, an off-road Y-pipe, and an SLP Loud Mouth II exhaust and it was unbearably loud. Recently, popular YouTube user GuitarmaggedonZL1 found out the hard way just how loud too loud really is.

If the name GuitarmaggedonZL1 sounds familiar, that’s because he was the first person in the country to take delivery of a 10-speed automatic equipped 2017 Camaro ZL1. And his love of ZL1’s doesn’t end there. If you’ve been on his channel, you’ll know that he’s also been building a fifth-gen ZL1 for some time before he took possession of his latest ZL1, and that’s the car we find him working on in the video.

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If you’ve ever heard an LS-powered vehicle, or any V8-powered vehicle for that matter, running straight out of the headers, you’ll know that the noise can be insane. Typically uncorking the headers is reserved for the track, though there is no accounting for taste we suppose. In our opinion, rolling around uncorked on the street is just asking for a lot of avoidable trouble and the sound isn’t necessarily “good.” It’s loud to be sure, but it typically lacks any semblance of a discernible “note.”

However, with the advent of electric cutout and adjustable mode exhaust systems you can now have the best of both world at the flick of a button. In some systems, you can even wire it so that the valves progressively open with throttle input. The “diverter valves” in question in the video are from a company called In essence, the system is an electronic cutout with two butterfly valves to either route the exhaust through the stock NPP exhaust system, or directly out of the turn downs—or an infinitely adjustable mixture of both.

Making the cacophony of sound even greater is a fairly lopey cam and a set of long-tube headers. In other words, Guitarmaggedon’s ride is pretty much set up to be as loud as it can possibly be. And, if the 10 point roll cage is any indication, this is one rowdy ZL1. Most would have been happy with the noise the brute already emits through the stock NPP (selectable mode) exhaust system, but not this guy. He’s a true believer that “loud pipes save lives.”

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Once they get the system on the car, they naturally have to take it out to put it to the test—who wouldn’t? However, as you can see in the video, the volume of noise emanating from the ZL1 is so immense that his girlfriend can’t even stand it and reaches up to cover her ears. And it’s a good thing she did since the car eventually sets off the side impact air bags from the shear noise alone. We’ve heard of cars setting off the OnStar accident notification systems from launching the car so hard, but this is definitely a first for us just based on sound alone.

While we might not be fans of running open exhaust on the street, this is still pretty impressive and really entertaining to watch. So, now you know that there is such a thing as too loud. It’s at the point that you are detonating air bags, and not a decibel before.

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About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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