The Benefits of a Straight Pipe Exhaust System.
With the current after market options for exhaust systems, the talk about using a straight pipe exhaust and ultimately removing the catalytic converter and muffler to gain horsepower is something many people are talking about to get added performance to their rides. Lets talk about a few key factors with going this route with your current build or track car.
First off we need to talk about how and why you would do this. A Free flowing exhaust system is designed to get the maximum peak horsepower out of your motor by reducing the amount of back pressure from your exhaust. This is done by eliminating the curves and turns in the exhaust tubing. By making the pipes as straight as possible, keeping a consistent diameter of pipe and by eliminating other exhaust restrictive devices like catalytic converters, mufflers and resonators you can increase performance, in return making your car much faster.
Keep in mind by removing catalytic converters and other emissions hardware on your car will make it illegal for street use in many states. It will be much louder, and you might draw the attention of local police or authorities. These systems are best used for track and off road cars, but can be manageable for daily driving if treated correctly.
Would this exhaust system benefit my car?
One key factor with deciding on what kind of exhaust system you want for your car or truck will depend on a few things, good sound or all out horsepower. When you remove the catalytic converter and muffler on your vehicle or go to bigger diameter piping it will be much louder when driving, which some people would not like in a daily driver or family type car. On the other hand by going to straight pipe for your exhaust you are improving flow from the motor and reducing back pressure, increasing performance and power.
The most free flowing exhaust is designed and made to extract the most amount of power imaginable with no regard to noise levels, drive ability, and overall pleasant exhaust sound.
With a daily driver car, you want to factor in the fact that having these exhaust systems do in fact create the most power but come at the cost of efficiency, sound level and overall driving experience to and from where your going.
Is having a straight pipe exhaust legal?
Having a system that is free flowing will increase the overall decibel output of your vehicle and depending on what state you live in that could attract the attention of local law enforcement, which you could get fined or a ticket for having. Also for a street legal vehicle you must have a catalytic converter installed in your car for emissions, and testing depending on where you live.
Most vehicles that use straight piping for exhaust are mostly used for off road use. Many track and drag cars will benefit from the increased performance, aggressive sound and peace of mind from getting tickets from law officials.
But with the many “cat back” free flowing exhaust systems on the market today, you can get away with running a straight pipe from behind the catalytic converter keeping it intact on your car giving you legal emissions and added performance.
Here is a great “in car” video of an Audi s4 with a straight exhaust pipe system installed to better give you an idea of what to expect.
Should I use on a stock or unmodified car?
This is something that is debatable. It is proven that it does in fact increase horsepower and performance, but getting the most of your motor depends on whats under the hood and not just an awesome exhaust system. Many tuners and engine builders recommend that you use a free flowing exhaust with a motor that has some sort of work done to it to increase flow and overall performance. Something even as simple as doing bolt on modifications like cold air intakes, or performance exhaust headers will give you much greater gains when paired with straight piped exhausts.
You can see even bigger gains when combining with a turbo or supercharger setup, the free flowing exhaust will help you spool faster and in return make your car much faster, and certain to turn some heads at the next track day!
Now that we have gone over much in detail, lets recap with some pros and cons of utilizing this type of exhaust.
-Increased engine horsepower and performance.
-Increased gas mileage.
-Cost effective replacement compared to OEM parts.
-Longer life span because of the stainless steel construction of many after market exhaust kits.
-Removing (or bypassing) your catalytic converter is illegal in many states or jurisdictions.
-Increase in noxious fumes.
-Louder engine sound in the car and outside. Increasing the areas noise pollution.
-May void your cars warranty.
Hopefully now you have a better idea on whether or not a straight pipe exhaust system is for you!