How to Make a Car Exhaust System Throw Flames

Written by sean russell
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How to Make a Car Exhaust System Throw Flames
Do not fire flames without first checking what is at the rear of the vehicle. (jet engine dragster (photo 2) image by Joseph Chiapputo from

Hot Rod enthusiasts in years past popularised exhaust systems that shot flames at the flip of a switch. State laws on such an upgrade vary, so before installing a flame exhaust system contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles for rules and regulations. After understanding the laws surrounding this upgrade, weigh the benefits of a homemade flame-firing exhaust system versus the numerous kits available online. This upgrade has no effect on vehicle performance -- it is purely for aesthetic purposes. Any carburetted vehicle with a traditional exhaust system can produce flames out of the tailpipe inexpensively.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Aluminium project enclosure
  • 2N3055 power transistor
  • Transistor mounting hardware kit for TO-3 case
  • 220-ohm, 1/2-watt resistor
  • 30-amp automotive relay with 5-terminals
  • Tube of heat sink compound
  • Terminal ends that fit 6-32 mounting screws
  • 6-32 mounting screws and corresponding nuts
  • 16-gauge coloured wire
  • Drill
  • Soldering iron
  • Pen
  • Glue for metals and plastics
  • Spark Plug
  • Flame-thrower exhaust kit

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  1. 1

    Mark the mounting positions for the transistor and wiring connections within the aluminium project enclosure. The case should be approximately 3-inches x 2.25-inches x 2-inches in size. The insulator within the transistor mounting kit works well as a template for the transistor holes.

  2. 2

    Drill three mounting screw holes in the case.

  3. 3

    Mount the plastic shoulder washer from within the kit over the transistor holes as specified by the transistor mounting kit's instructions. Apply heat sink compound glue to each side of the insulator.

  4. 4

    Install the transistor and pins into the case using the instructions within the packaging. A soldering iron is required. The red-striped side of the pin is soldered to the base or ground pin on the transistor. The gold-striped side of the pin is soldered towards the relay.

  5. 5

    Mount the relay in the corner of the project enclosure where there is room, using glue. The metal terminals should face inward towards the transistor.

  6. 6

    Solder six-inches of green wire to the emitter pin already soldered into the base of the aluminium box. This wire will run out of the box.

  7. 7

    Thread the gold-stripped end of the resistor through the terminal 86 hole on the relay before securing it on the middle terminal, terminal 87a. Then solder the resistor to each of the terminals where they touch. Review relay diagram in the packaging for terminal locations.

  8. 8

    Make a split-harness out of the unused orange wire and connect it to the terminal ends. This wire is your power for the flame-throwers and will connect to a relay and mounting screw.

  9. 9

    Attach a different colour wire in-between the other 6-32 mounting screw washer and nut in the aluminium enclosure. Solder the other end of this wire to terminal 30 on the relay.

  10. 10

    Solder a 6-inch yellow wire to terminal 85 on the relay which will act as the chassis ground.

  11. 11

    Mount the now closed aluminium enclosure inside your car. Three wires including the chassis ground, flame-thrower power and the wire soldered to the emitter pin will run outside the box.

  1. 1

    Locate your vehicle's relay box under the dashboard.

  2. 2

    Open the bonnet and locate the car's coil, within the engine bay.

  3. 3

    Follow the wiring instructions of the flame-thrower kit you purchased online. It will tell you how to wire the fire box into the coil, vehicle relay and spark plug later secured within the end of the tailpipe. It will also tell you how to mount the firing switch.

  4. 4

    Secure the spark plug 10-inches inside of the tailpipe as instructed. Secure the spark plug 10-inches inside of the tailpipe as instructed.

  5. 5

    Start vehicle and allow it to warm up before flipping the switch for flames.

Tips and warnings

  • Fuel-injected vehicle requires will not properly shoot flames without first modifying the fuel system and ECU computer. It will cost substantially more for fuel injected vehicles without the proper mechanical knowledge and tools.

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