Exhaust System Parts Explained


We’ve compiled quick answers to common exhaust system questions. The goal is to help new enthusiasts develop a basic understanding of exhaust system components.

What are Exhaust Headers?
Stock exhaust manifolds are designed by car manufacturers with 4 things in mind. Provide adequate exhaust flow and optimum backpressure, keeping cost down as much as possible without sacrificing durability, maintaining a compact and light design to allow access around the engine bay to service other components, and to help control emission levels. Header(s) replace stock exhaust manifold(s), which bolt right up to the engine. Headers are usually designed for optimal exhaust flow, back-pressure, and temperature. Headers increase power and torque usually throughout the rev range on most engines.

What’s a Turbo-back Exhaust System?
An exhaust system that connects to the turbo outlet, which is located right after the exhaust manifold. It includes all of the exhaust components stemming from the turbo charger outlet, all the way back to tailpipes. In short, a turbo-back exhaust system replaces your whole exhaust system on turbo-charged car.

What are Exhaust Downpipes?
Exhaust Downpipes connect after the exhaust headers on one end. In aftermarket form, downpipes are usually larger in diameter than stock ones. In some cases, downpipes provide better exhaust flow by reducing the number of bends stemming after the headers (or turbo charger) down to the bottom of the car. They may include high flow cats, or even no cats at all.

What are High Flow Cats?
High Flow Cats provide increased exhaust flow compared to stock cats. They replace the stock cats. They come in direct fit form, or as universal parts that can be welded in place of the stock cats. Some high flow cats may or may not provide adequate emissions control to cars driven in emission controlled states and cities.

What’s a Catback Exhaust System?
Catback Exhaust System consists of: Complete systems from the catalytic converter(s) back including connection pipe(s), including xpipes and ypipes, muffler(s), tip(s) and all necessary mounting hardware. In short, a cat-back exhaust system replaces your whole exhaust system past the catalytic converter.

What are Xpipes and Ypipes?
Xpipes and Ypipes: Usually mounted after the catalytic converters, replacing the stock resonator(s) in most cases. They provide increased exhaust flow and sound benefits, especially on naturally aspirated engines. Xpipes are used on true dual exhaust systems, while Ypipes fit on single exhaust system thats branches out to dual exit exhaust pipes. Xpipes and Ypipes come in two forms, direct fit, or universal. The later require cutting and welding of the stock exhaust.

What’s an Exhaust Resonator?
An exhaust resonator works parallaly with the muffler to reduce the exhaust noise that’s created by an engine by cancelling out sound waves. Resonators are usually connected after the cat(s). Vehicles with dual exhaust systems are usually equipped with dual resonators.

What are mufflers?
Rear Section Muffler, or just mufflers for short. These are rear axle-back exhaust components, which include rear muffler(s), tip(s) and the necessary mounting hardware. Stock mufflers are used to reduce the sound level of the engine. In performance form, the sound benefits usually out-way the performance benefits of aftermarket mufflers.

What does a Full Performance Exhaust System Include?
A full performance exhaust system includes header(s), high-flow downpipe(s), high-flow cat(s) or cat delete pipe(s), straight pipe(s) or xpipe or ypipe in place of the resonator(s), rear muffler(s,) and exhaust tip(s).

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