Have you ever walked down a busy road and heard a car with a much louder engine than the rest? Chances are, that car has a straight-pipe exhaust system. If you’re curious about getting your own car to sound the same, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at straight pipe exhausts and explain how you can fit one to your vehicle.
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What Is a Straight-Pipe Exhaust?
When you buy a car from a dealership, it usually comes with a standard exhaust system. This system typically consists of four parts: the exhaust manifold, the catalytic converter, the muffler, and the exhaust pipe. When you accelerate, fumes from the engine pass through the exhaust manifold, then the catalytic converter, and finally the muffler before being released through the pipe.
A straight pipe exhaust system eliminates the middle two sections. This means you’ll have a louder engine, but it also raises environmental concerns.
Why You Should Get a Straight-Pipe Exhaust
There are several reasons why people choose to install a straight pipe exhaust system on their cars. The primary reason is improved car performance. By removing the catalytic converter, backpressure from the engine is reduced, resulting in greater horsepower and torque. This means quicker acceleration and more power, which is highly desirable for racing drivers and car enthusiasts.
Other benefits of a straight pipe exhaust include:
1. A louder engine
Without the muffler, your engine can roar as loudly as it wants. Many car enthusiasts find this sound appealing and easily achievable with a straight pipe exhaust.
2. Less weight
For racing drivers, reducing the weight of a car is crucial for achieving faster lap times. Even for general car enthusiasts, driving a lighter car can provide a noticeably better experience. Removing the catalytic converter and muffler reduces the overall weight of the car, making it slightly more nimble.
3. Improved fuel economy
One advantage of a straight pipe exhaust is better fuel economy. Without the catalytic converter, there is less back pressure on the engine, resulting in improved combustion and fuel efficiency.
Why You Shouldn’t Get a Straight-Pipe Exhaust
However, straight pipe exhausts have their drawbacks. In some places, they are actually illegal. It’s essential to check your government website to determine if this type of exhaust system is legal where you live. Other disadvantages include:
1. Excessive noise
While some people find the sound of an engine blasting through a straight exhaust pipe exhilarating, it can be too loud and bothersome for others. The loudness of the engine may lead to regretting the decision.
2. Environmental impact
Straight pipe exhausts can harm the environment. Without a catalytic converter, toxic gases from the engine are released directly into the atmosphere. These emissions increase your carbon footprint and may result in legal trouble.
3. Difficulty in selling
Having a straight pipe exhaust can make your car harder to sell. It is a niche modification that not everyone is interested in, which can limit potential buyers.
How Do You Straight Pipe Your Car
Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of a straight pipe exhaust, you can decide if it’s right for your car. If you’ve decided to proceed, here are some instructions on how to install it:
1. Get set up in a garage
Go to a garage and use a car lift to hoist your vehicle. Inspect the existing exhaust system and note the locations of components such as hangars and mounts.
2. Envisage your car’s new exhaust system
Based on the current exhaust system, sketch out the design of your new one. Consider the bends needed to navigate around the car’s mechanicals.
3. Remove necessary parts from the current system
Use lubricant to loosen the parts you want to remove. Then, remove the clamps holding them in place. At this stage, you can choose to partially disengage the catalytic converter instead of removing it entirely, which may be more environmentally friendly and lawful. Cut out the bend sections as well.
4. Install the new system
After cutting the bend sections, ensure they fit properly through trial and error. Aim for a perfect fit to maintain engine performance and the aesthetic of the pipe. Once everything aligns perfectly, tack-weld the parts and then permanently weld them together. If you’re unsure about welding, seek help from someone with more experience. Treat the metal pipe with heat-resistant paint to prevent rust.
Finally, fix the new exhaust system in place underneath your car. Start the engine and take your car for a spin with its new exhaust pipe.
Alternatives to Straight Piping
If you feel that the drawbacks of a straight pipe exhaust are too significant but still desire some of the benefits, there are a couple of alternatives to consider:
Catback exhaust: This type of exhaust produces a similar level of noise to a straight pipe exhaust without interfering with the catalytic converter. It achieves this by changing the curvature of the exhaust pipe.
Muffler delete pipe: As the name suggests, a muffler delete pipe is an exhaust pipe that replaces the original muffler. It offers a cost-effective alternative to a straight pipe exhaust.
In conclusion, straight pipe exhausts are popular among car enthusiasts seeking improved performance and the sound of a roaring engine. Racing drivers are the primary users of this system due to its performance benefits. However, for everyday drivers, it’s worth considering other options due to legal and environmental concerns associated with straight pipes.