Lexus IS Forum banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,168 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
From Overboost:
Ok, ok… I realize this is the first time in months you've heard from Overboost, but in the fairly recent past, we've seen too too much misinformation regarding exhaust theory. What kind of misinformation? For starters, there are a lot of people in the "Bigger is Better" camp. We're talking about exhaust pipe diameters. Even the big magazine editors are boldly smattering statements like, "For a turbo car, you can't get an exhaust pipe that's too big." Also, terms like "back pressure" and the statement, "An engine needs back pressure to run properly!" really rub us the wrong way.

Let's start from the beginning. What is an exhaust system? Silly question? Not hardly. Exhaust systems carry out several functions. Among them are: (1) Getting hot, noxious exhaust gasses from your engine to a place away from the engine compartment; (2) Significantly attenuating noise output from the engine; and (3) In the case of modern cars, reduce exhaust emissions.

Hardware

In order to give you a really good idea of what makes up an exhaust system, let's start with what exhaust gas travels through to get out of your car, as well as some terms and definitions:

After your air/fuel mixture (or nitrous/fuel mixture) burns, you will obviously have some leftovers consisting of a few unburned hydrocarbons (fuel), carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, phosphorus, and the occasional molecule of a heavy metal, such as lead or molybdenum. These are all in gaseous form, and will be under a lot of pressure as the piston rushes them out of the cylinder and into the exhaust manifold or header. They will also be hotter 'n Hades. (After all, this was the explosion of an air/fuel mixture, right?) An exhaust manifold is usually made of cast iron, and its' primary purpose is to funnel several exhaust ports into one, so you don't need four exhaust pipes sticking out the back of your Civic.

Exhaust manifolds are usually pretty restrictive to the flow of exhaust gas, and thus waste a lot of power because your pistons have to push on the exhaust gasses pretty hard to get them out. So why does virtually every new automobile sold have exhaust manifolds? Because they are cheap to produce, and easy to install. Real cheap. Real easy. Like me.

"Ok," you ask, "so now what?" Ah, good thing you asked. The performance alternative to the exhaust manifold is a header. What's the difference? Where a manifold usually has several holes converging into a common chamber to route all your gasses, a header has precisely formed tubes that curve gently to join your exhaust ports to your exhaust pipe. How does this help? First of all, as with any fluid, exhaust gasses must be treated gently for maximum horsepower production. You don't want to just slam-bang exhaust gas from your engine into the exhaust system. No way, Jo-se'! Just as the body of your '94 Eclipse is beautiful, swoopy, and aerodynamic, so must be the inside of your exhaust system.

Secondly, a header can be "tuned" to slightly alter your engines' characteristics. We'll go in-depth into header tuning a little later.

Nextly, exhaust gasses exit from your manifold or header, travel through a bit of pipe, then end up in the catalytic converter, or "cat". The cat's main job is to help clean up some of the harmful chemicals from your exhaust gas so they don't end up in your lungs. In most cars, they also do a great job of quieting things down and giving any exhaust system a deeper, mellow tone. You'll see a lot of Self-Proclaimed Master Technicians (SPMT's) telling people that removing a cat will get you tons of power. There's room for debate on this, but in our experience, removing a catalytic converter from a new car won't gain you much in the horsepower department. It can also get you a $1500 fine if the EPA finds out! If you drive an OBD-II equipped car, you'll also get that damn annoying CHECK ENGINE light burnin' up your dashboard. (And for all you racers concerned with OBD-II's fabled "limp mode", you can
 

·
Am I Hype-R???
Joined
·
13,648 Posts
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top