Top 5 Best Exhaust For 5.9 Cummins In 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

Your 5.9 Cummins engine is a great, respectable engine that delivers what it promises: powerful torque and horsepower that your pickup truck depends on at every speed and weight. However, you may not be utilizing all that your 5.9 Cummins engine can offer, particularly if your exhaust system is not performing well enough. 

A lot of stock exhaust systems start malfunctioning before their life cycle is up all because of rust and corrosion build-up. This can be a result of the weather as well as poor quality materials used in the exhaust system construction.

Top 5 Best Exhaust For 5.9 Cummins

Once you replace your exhaust system, you’ll be able to enjoy much better functioning of your vehicle as well as better power through your engine. We’ve included the top exhaust systems for the 5.9 Cummins on the market for you to choose from. You’ll find that we’ve included both budget and high-end exhaust systems. 

We understand that not everyone is ready to equip their vehicle with the most premium and high-end exhaust system in the market since you must have shelled out big bucks on other aftermarket customizations. An exhaust system typically doesn’t have to be too elaborate as long as it makes sure your vehicle isn’t clogged and gets the job done. 

However, don’t underestimate the power of a high-end exhaust system either — it will virtually last a lifetime and act as the backbone of your vehicle, even elongating the life of your engine.

Be sure to check out the Buying Guide and FAQs section that we’ve included at the end of this article, after the product reviews. This should help you make a more informed decision and help with the entire process. 

#1- BD Diesel 1045987 Pulse Exhaust Manifold

BD Diesel Performance 1045987 Pulse Exhaust Manifold for 03-07 Dodge 5.9L, Black

We knew the BD Diesel Pulse Exhaust Manifold had to be our top pick for an exhaust system because it truly delivers everything that you need. You get top-notch performance, better circulation and pressure emission, at a reasonable price. The high-quality build will ensure that you don’t have to replace this exhaust manifold for a long time! 

How does it boost the performance exactly? This exhaust manifold increases the turbo spool-up, and reduces the total back pressure. It’s also a very powerful exhaust system that can handle the demands of a truck hauling and towing heavy weights, or travelling at high speeds. It can handle high temperatures and vibrations and will last you for years. 

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: BD Diesel
  • Brand: BD Diesel Performance
  • Weight: 1.56 pounds
  • Model Number: 1045987

Pros

  • Efficient Exhaust flow
  • Highly Durable
  • Fast Turbo Spools
  • Lowers EGTs

Cons

  • Tricky Installation
  • Not a budget Exhaust system

#2- aFe 46-460012 BladeRunner Exhaust Manifold

aFe 46-10011 BladeRunner Intake Manifold

Our second pick is an exhaust system that’s been consistently delivering great performance over the years. This American made exhaust manifold is best described as a heavy-duty one. It performs so well because of it’s quick turbo spool-ups and efficient air-flow. 

It has heavy-duty construction and is built to handle a lot of strain and temperature fluctuations. One of our favorite features about the Blade Runner Exhaust Manifold is the sound. It is deep, loud and powerful, just like your pick up truck. We really like the quality and volume of the sound that this exhaust manifold delivers — it makes the stock exhaust seem like a squeak in comparison!

Made with cast-ductile iron, with 2 EGT ports and a 1 piece design, this Exhaust manifold scores very high on durability and strength. 

Specifications: 

  • Manufacturer: AFE Filters
  • Brand: aFe Power
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6 x 27 x 5 inches
  • Model Number: 46-40032

Pros

  • Powerful heavy-duty exhaust
  • High quality materials
  • Efficient throttle response
  • Great and powerful sound

Cons

  • No Gaskets and Bolts provided
  • Not a budget Exhaust system

#3- BD Diesel 1045989 Pulse Exhaust Manifold

BD Diesel 1045989 Pulse Exhaust Manifold Incl. Manifold/Hardware Cummins 12-Valve 5.9L Motorhomes Pulse Exhaust Manifold

Here’s another exhaust system by BD Diesel. This one provides a hassle-free experience, with the easiest installation from any of the exhaust systems on our list. You also get incredible performance with this exhaust system, and you can expect it to last you more than a few years. 

It’s easy to install because it comes with all of the necessary parts — you’re not scouring for gaskets or loose bolts like you would be with some of the other exhaust systems. But a gasket isn’t the USP of this exhaust system — it’s the razor fast spool-ups and lower EGTs. You’ll save a lot of money with the lower fuel consumption as well. 

Specifications: 

  • Manufacturer: BD Diesel
  • Brand: BD Diesel Performance
  • Weight: 24 pounds
  • Model Number: 1045989

Pros

  • Attractive Design
  • Easy installation
  • Spare parts included
  • Low fuel consumption

Cons

  • No anti-corrosion facility

#4- Dorman 674-602 Exhaust Manifold

Dorman 674-602 Exhaust Manifold for Select Dodge Models

We couldn’t conclude the list of top exhaust systems without including a budget exhaust system. The Dorman exhaust manifold is perfect for someone on a budget and will still be a major upgrade from the stock exhaust system that you had when you first purchased the car. 

You’ll enjoy much better airflow with the wide mandrels in the exhaust system design, and the materials used are high-quality as well. While there are no anti-corrosion facilities, we’re sure that this is a solid option and will have a good lifespan of a couple of years. The sound is quite impressive as well, with a low rumble that isn’t loud but definitely pleasant to the ears. 

Dorman is a trustworthy brand and you won’t be disappointed by choosing a safe and affordable option. 

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Dorman- OE Solutions
  • Brand: Dorman
  • Model: EXH MANIFOLD
  • Weight: 15.02 pounds
  • Dimensions: 28.88 x 12.63 x 7.88 inches
  • Model Number: 674-602

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Better airflow
  • Pleasant sound
  • Best for daily driving

Cons

  • Not complete with attachments

Check out our recommendations for Best Cold Air Intake For 5.9 Cummins.

Buying Guide – Which Exhaust System Should You Buy for the 5.9 Cummins Engine? 

While we will confidently stand by our curated list of exhaust systems and argue that you could safely pick from any of them, it’s still recommended that you understand what exactly you’re looking for when you’re in the market for an exhaust system. 

If your current exhaust system has rusted over and you need a replacement, do you just want an exhaust system that is the same stock manifold since that served you faithfully well over the years? 

Or will you be satisfied with any exhaust system that’s better than the stock exhaust system? Further, still, are you in the market for the best possible exhaust system now that you’ve understood what an impact it can make on performance? 

Price

We recommend that you opt for a high-end exhaust system only if you know for sure that you’re going to be sticking by this vehicle for more than five years at the minimum. A good quality exhaust system especially like the ones we’ve included on this list will last you a very long time. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to install a premium exhaust system if you have your eyes set on your next pickup truck. 

You can install a budget exhaust system just to get better performance from your vehicle in the short run. It will still be an improvement from the stock OEM exhaust system, so you will definitely enjoy an upgraded experience. 

Installation

You should not look at installation as simply time and effort, but also as money. Not being able to install an exhaust manifold by yourself automatically implies that you will have to get a local professional to come home (or you’ll drive to their garage) to get it done, after which you pay for the service and their time. This is an additional cost that you’ll have to add to the cost of the exhaust system itself. 

That’s why we’ve given a lot of preference to exhaust systems that have easy DIY installation processes on our list. We want you to be able to easily order an exhaust system and then install it entirely on your own within one hour! That’s how instantaneous the process should be so that you can enjoy a clog-free vehicle as soon as possible. 

Material Used

You’ll notice that we’ve included information on which material was used when the exhaust system was created. This is because the material that the exhaust system is made of plays a big role in its performance and durability. In fact, it’s also one of the main determinants of the price point for the exhaust system. You’ll find that the better materials are either completely made out of stainless steel or are an alloy. The higher-end exhaust systems will almost always have a corrosion-resistant finish. 

Corrosion-resistant finishes are usually chromium or rhodium and this will ensure that you never run into any kind of rust or erosion with your vehicle. If you can afford it, we’d definitely recommend that you opt for corrosion-resistant materials for obvious reasons — it will last you much longer and save you money in the long run. 

But what if you’re not in for the long run and just want a short-term fix for your pickup truck? We’d suggest not worrying too much about the corrosion in that case. If you’re only going to be using the pickup truck for a couple of years, you don’t need to worry about corrosion since that usually takes some time to collect.

FAQs – Frequently asked questions about the Best Exhaust for 5.9 Cummins Engine

There are a lot of questions floating around the internet from people who are confused during the process of buying an exhaust system for their 5.9 Cummins. This is because there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding which exhaust systems are compatible and which aren’t. There also isn’t much information that’s freely available about what exactly an exhaust system can do for your vehicle which is why it’s difficult for people to understand how important it is.

That’s why we’ve collected these questions, answered them here, and compiled them at the end of this article so that you have a resource you can refer to, should any questions arise while you’re thinking about which exhaust system to purchase. 

Why do exhaust systems crack? 

We’ve mentioned frequently that rust and corrosion are some of the reasons why exhaust systems don’t last as long as they’re supposed to. However, there are more reasons why your exhaust system can give up on you. Your exhaust system could’ve simply cracked. Why does this happen? 

This is because the toxic gases exert a lot of pressure on the exhaust pipes. Over time, this weakens the material until eventually it cannot take the pressure and completely cracks. 

This can happen within two to three years if you’re using a stock exhaust manifold. If you’re using an alternate replacement manifold from a good manufacturer, then we give it about five years at the minimum before you have to face such an issue. If you would like your exhaust system to last even more than this, it’s advisable to invest a little extra in the beginning with a better quality premium exhaust system that utilizes better materials. This will ensure that they don’t crack on you. 

What’s wrong with the stock manifold system for the 5.9 Cummins? 

If the stock manifold system was initially installed for your 5.9 Cummins, shouldn’t you replace it with a newer version of the same system? 

We recommend that you do not. Here’s why. The stock manifold system is generally made with only one piece of welded iron. Iron is not the best material to be used in an exhaust system and can cause problems such as major shrinkage over the years. Shrinkage happens because of the weather and other factors that put pressure on the metal and cause wear and tear. 

On the other hand, you’ll be using a higher quality replacement exhaust system that isn’t just made with a one-piece iron, but two or three pieces of higher quality material like stainless steel or a stronger alloy. 

In fact, it’s the one piece iron exhaust systems that lead to a ‘clogged exhaust system’ in the first place, since the pipe shrinks and due to pressure, all substances are not expelled out as they should be. 

With a replacement exhaust system, you can expect better air flow and heat temperatures as well as more durability. 

Conclusion

We hope that you were able to zero in our decision to purchase a better exhaust system for your 5.9 Cummins. Getting the right exhaust system can be completely life changing, and make you feel as if you’ve gotten a brand new engine installed into your pickup truck!

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