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Old 05-27-2014, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default 4" exhaust on a 4.6l

Anyone running a 4" exhaust on your 4.6l? Just wondering if I will see a power increase or I I would lose power due to lower back pressure on the engine. I'm not a mechanic so any help would be great!
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:40 PM   #2
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you would lose low end power and your mileage will suffer quite a bit!
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:44 PM   #3
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If tuned to take advantage of the 4" exhaust (i.e. ignition timing and fuel), you won't loose power.

Backpressure: The myth and why it's wrong.

I. Introduction

One of the most misunderstood concepts in exhaust theory is backpressure. People love to talk about backpressure on message boards with no real understanding of what it is and what it's consequences are. I'm sure many of you have heard or read the phrase "Engines need backpressure" when discussing exhaust upgrades. That phrase is in fact completely inaccurate and a wholly misguided notion.

II. Some basic exhaust theory

Your exhaust system is designed to evacuate gases from the combustion chamber quickly and efficiently. Exhaust gases are not produced in a smooth stream; exhaust gases originate in pulses. A 4 cylinder motor will have 4 distinct pulses per complete engine cycle, a 6 cylinder has 6 pules and so on. The more pulses that are produced, the more continuous the exhaust flow. Backpressure can be loosely defined as the resistance to positive flow - in this case, the resistance to positive flow of the exhaust stream.

III. Backpressure and velocity

Some people operate under the misguided notion that wider pipes are more effective at clearing the combustion chamber than narrower pipes. It's not hard to see how this misconception is appealing - wider pipes have the capability to flow more than narrower pipes. So if they have the ability to flow more, why isn't "wider is better" a good rule of thumb for exhaust upgrading? In a word - VELOCITY. I'm sure that all of you have at one time used a garden hose w/o a spray nozzle on it. If you let the water just run unrestricted out of the house it flows at a rather slow rate. However, if you take your finger and cover part of the opening, the water will flow out at a much much faster rate.

The astute exhaust designer knows that you must balance flow capacity with velocity. You want the exhaust gases to exit the chamber and speed along at the highest velocity possible - you want a FAST exhaust stream. If you have two exhaust pulses of equal volume, one in a 2" pipe and one in a 3" pipe, the pulse in the 2" pipe will be traveling considerably FASTER than the pulse in the 3" pipe. While it is true that the narrower the pipe, the higher the velocity of the exiting gases, you want make sure the pipe is wide enough so that there is as little backpressure as possible while maintaining suitable exhaust gas velocity. Backpressure in its most extreme form can lead to reversion of the exhaust stream - that is to say the exhaust flows backwards, which is not good. The trick is to have a pipe that that is as narrow as possible while having as close to zero backpressure as possible at the RPM range you want your power band to be located at. Exhaust pipe diameters are best suited to a particular RPM range. A smaller pipe diameter will produce higher exhaust velocities at a lower RPM but create unacceptably high amounts of backpressure at high rpm. Thus if your powerband is located 2-3000 RPM you'd want a narrower pipe than if your powerband is located at 8-9000RPM.

Many engineers try to work around the RPM specific nature of pipe diameters by using setups that are capable of creating a similar effect as a change in pipe diameter on the fly. The most advanced is Ferrari's which consists of two exhaust paths after the header - at low RPM only one path is open to maintain exhaust velocity, but as RPM climbs and exhaust volume increases, the second path is opened to curb backpressure - since there is greater exhaust volume there is no loss in flow velocity. BMW and Nissan use a simpler and less effective method - there is a single exhaust path to the muffler; the muffler has two paths; one path is closed at low RPM but both are open at high RPM.

IV. So how did this myth come to be?

I often wonder how the myth "Engines need backpressure" came to be. Mostly I believe it is a misunderstanding of what is going on with the exhaust stream as pipe diameters change. For instance, someone with a civic decides he's going to upgrade his exhaust with a 3" diameter piping. Once it's installed the owner notices that he seems to have lost a good bit of power throughout the powerband. He makes the connections in the following manner: "My wider exhaust eliminated all backpressure but I lost power, therefore the motor must need some backpressure in order to make power." What he did not realize is that he killed off all his flow velocity by using such a ridiculously wide pipe. It would have been possible for him to achieve close to zero backpressure with a much narrower pipe - in that way he would not have lost all his flow velocity.

V. So why is exhaust velocity so important?

The faster an exhaust pulse moves, the better it can scavenge out all of the spent gasses during valve overlap. The guiding principles of exhaust pulse scavenging are a bit beyond the scope of this doc but the general idea is a fast moving pulse creates a low pressure area behind it. This low pressure area acts as a vacuum and draws along the air behind it. A similar example would be a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on a dusty road. There is a low pressure area immediately behind the moving vehicle - dust particles get sucked into this low pressure area causing it to collect on the back of the vehicle. This effect is most noticeable on vans and hatchbacks which tend to create large trailing low pressure areas - giving rise to the numerous "wash me please" messages written in the thickly collected dust on the rear door(s).

VI. Conclusion.

It turns out that engines don't need backpressure; they need as high a flow velocity exhaust as possible with as little backpressure as possible.

Source: Google "Backpressure Myth"

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Old 05-27-2014, 06:50 PM   #4
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Another good read on backpressure, Part 1:

Some say that "an engine needs backpressure to work correctly." Is this true?

No. It would be more correct to say, "a perfectly stock engine that cannot adjust its fuel delivery needs backpressure to work correctly." This idea is a myth. As with all myths, however, there is a hint of fact with this one. Particularly, some people equate backpressure with torque, and others fear that too little backpressure will lead to valve burning.

The first reason why people say "backpressure is good" is because they believe that increased backpressure by itself will increase torque, particularly with a stock exhaust manifold. Granted, some stock manifolds act somewhat like performance headers at low RPM, but these manifolds will exhibit poor performance at higher RPM. This, however does not automatically lead to the conclusion that backpressure produces more torque. The increase in torque is not due to backpressure, but to the effects of changes in fuel/air mixture, which will be described in more detail below.

The other reason why people say "backpressure is good" is because they hear that cars (or motorcycles) that have had performance exhaust work done to them would then go on to burn exhaust valves. Now, it is true that such valve burning has occurred as a result of the exhaust mods, but it isn't due merely to a lack of backpressure.

The internal combustion engine is a complex, dynamic collection of different systems working together to convert the stored power in gasoline into mechanical energy to push a car down the road. Anytime one of these systems are modified, that mod will also indirectly affect the other systems, as well.

Now, valve burning occurs as a result of a very lean-burning engine. In order to achieve a theoretical optimal combustion, an engine needs 14.7 parts of oxygen by mass to 1 part of gasoline (again, by mass). This is referred to as a stochiometric (chemically correct) mixture, and is commonly referred to as a 14.7:1 mix. If an engine burns with less oxygen present (13:1, 12:1, etc...), it is said to run rich. Conversely, if the engine runs with more oxygen present (16:1, 17:1, etc...), it is said to run lean. Today's engines are designed to run at 14.7:1 for normally cruising, with rich mixtures on acceleration or warm-up, and lean mixtures while decelerating.

**Heart of the Myth**

Getting back to the discussion, the reason that exhaust valves burn is because the engine is burning lean. Normal engines will tolerate lean burning for a little bit, but not for sustained periods of time. The reason why the engine is burning lean to begin with is that the reduction in backpressure is causing more air to be drawn into the combustion chamber than before. Earlier cars (and motorcycles) with carburetion often could not adjust because of the way that backpressure caused air to flow backwards through the carburetor after the air already got loaded down with fuel, and caused the air to receive a second load of fuel. While a bad design, it was nonetheless used in a lot of vehicles. Once these vehicles received performance mods that reduced backpressure, they no longer had that double-loading effect, and then tended to burn valves because of the resulting over-lean condition. This, incidentally, also provides a basis for the "torque increase" seen if backpressure is maintained. As the fuel/air mixture becomes leaner, the resultant combustion will produce progressively less and less of the force needed to produce torque.

Modern vehicless don't have to worry about the effects described above, because the ECU (car's computer) that controls the engine will detect that the engine is burning leaner than before, and will adjust fuel injection to compensate. So, in effect, reducing backpressure really does two good things: The engine can use work otherwise spent pushing exhaust gas out the tailpipe to propel the car forward, and the engine breathes better. Of course, the ECU's ability to adjust fuel injection is limited by the physical parameters of the injection system (such as injector maximum flow rate and fuel system pressure), but with exhaust backpressure reduction, these limits won't be reached.




Exhaust Backpressure Study

Replacing the stock production exhaust system with a low-restriction, free-flow one is usually one of the first modifications made to any vehicle in the name of performance. We all know they're louder, but how much performance do they really add? We've all seen supposed dyno tests, usually run by the exhaust manufacturer's themselves on their own dyno, indicating vast power gains, and psychologically, we always equate a healthy exhaust rumble with increased power in the seat of the pants, but how much power are we really gaining? To find out, we're running a simple backpressure study, and our results will be posted here as they come. Admittedly this study is not totally scientific as there are many uncontrolled variables, but it should be sufficient to provide a rough estimate.

It is generally accepted by automotive engineers that for every inch of Hg of backpressure (that's Mercury - inches of Hg is a unit for measuring pressure) approximately 1-2 HP is lost depending on the displacement and efficiency of the engine, the combustion chamber design, etc. Our sources indicated that in the case of the L67 3800SC, 1HP per inch of Hg is reasonable.

1 inch Hg backpressure = 1 HP lost

For reference, we have the following conversions factors:

1 ATM = 14.7 PSI = 76 cm of Hg = 29.921 inches of Hg = 1.013 bar

Our test vehicle is a '97 Buick Regal GS with 3800SC engine transversely mounted. It's exhaust system consists of a cast iron exhaust manifold on the left side of the engine which connects into a tuned tubular header on the right side, both banks connected to a single downpipe into a catalyst. The output of the catalyst runs into a resonator and then into a single muffler; all pipes are 2.25 inch. The exhaust system is very similar in the Pontiac GTP, the differences being that the GTP splits into 2 mufflers after the resonator. Our sources indicate that the GTP system results in approximately 3 in Hg less backpressure than the Regal, hence there is 3 less horsepower loss.

To measure system backpressure, a sample tube was mounted before the catalyst into the downtube

A flexible hose is run from the sample tube and attached to a pressure
gauge inside the car for monitoring.

We first ran the test with the complete full factory exhaust, and next dropped the entire system from the catalyst back.

The final test was run with the muffler removed. Only the catalyst, resonator, and the majority of 2.25 tubing up to the muffler remained.

Next we took a look at the restrictive U bend that houses the post O2 sensor. It's function is to protect the O2 sensor from damage by positioning it straight up.

This restrictive U bend is completely removed, and replaced with a straight 3" piece. (Note this 3" piece is not the actual replacement pipe - it's just a scrap piece for the photo.)

This U bent tube is replaced by this straight 3" pipe. The O2 sensor is mounted to the side - less protected, but it'll be OK unless you go off-roading as we recently did!




Source: Google "Backpressure Myth"

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Old 05-27-2014, 06:51 PM   #5
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Part 2:

Results & Conclusions
We ran three tests, observing three runs with each configuration and averaging the three. Peak backpressure occurred near the engine RPM redline of 5700-6000 rpm, at a max boost of approximately 7-8 psi. We took all our readings at WOT immediately before the 1-2 shift. Although we performed our tests on a Buick Regal GS, we predict a GTP will have similar results, taking into account the 3 in Hg difference. We realize our tests are not totally scientific, and they were not meant to be. Our goal is to obtain a ballpark estimate which, as the saying goes, is "good enough for government work." [Before you government employees start flaming us - one of our associates worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers for several years, so we know how it is. 8^) ]

1. Full factory exhaust system of catalyst, resonator & muffler: 28-30 in Hg = 28-30HP lost [system is whisper quiet]
2. Only catalyst in place, no resonator or muffler after the cat: 13-14 in Hg = 13-14HP lost, thus approximately 14-17 HP gained over stock full exhaust [system is unbearably loud and shakes the entire car, conversation is impossible]
3. No muffler, just resonator, catalyst & tubing 20 in Hg = 20HP lost, thus approximately 10HP gained over stock full exhaust [system is bearable, but has some bad resonances and drones at particular RPMs.]
4. "U" pipe replaced with straight 3" pipe Testing to be determined.

The catalyst was never removed as we were only interested in achieving an optimal cat-back system. We can see from our results that the muffler is costing approximately 10HP loss while the resonator accounts for a 6HP drop, with everything from catalyst to the engine costing 14-15HP.

Therefore, it's evident that at best, a free-flow system will gain perhaps 10HP - and that's for a noisy system, while one which controls irritating resonances and drones better would probably gain less than that. Therefore, a 5-7HP gain from a cat-back exhaust system is probably in the ballpark for achievable gains.

Will removing the catalyst help? Definitely, but that's illegal for street use and probably more importantly to some folks out there, it sets an OBDII Malf code. Replacing the factory catalyst with a high-flow unit will not result in a significant increase either, as those "high-flow" units outflow a production unit by a couple of inches of Hg at best. In fact, our sources indicate that the catalyst on these cars are actually one of the least restrictive available. With a FWD platform, we're stuck with uneven header lengths due to the transverse mounted engine, limiting one's ability to truly optimize the header design. Therefore, it is probably more fruitful and definitely more cost effective to examine the situation after the catalyst.

The difficulty in designing an effective exhaust system is in minimizing backpressure while achieving a desirable exhaust tone with minimal resonances and drones. It has been suggested that replacing both the resonator and muffler with a single large staight-thru muffler (with dual outlets for the GTP) may be the best solution.

Headers are one of the easiest bolt-on accessories you can use to improve an engine's performance. The goal of headers is to make it easier for the engine to push exhaust gases out of the cylinders.

When you look at the four-stroke cycle in How Car Engines Work, you can see that the engine produces all of its power during the power stroke. The gasoline in the cylinder burns and expands during this stroke, generating power. The other three strokes are necessary evils required to make the power stroke possible. If these three strokes consume power, they are a drain on the engine.

During the exhaust stroke, a good way for an engine to lose power is through back pressure. The exhaust valve opens at the beginning of the exhaust stroke, and then the piston pushes the exhaust gases out of the cylinder. If there is any amount of resistance that the piston has to push against to force the exhaust gases out, power is wasted. Using two exhaust valves rather than one improves the flow by making the hole that the exhaust gases travel through larger.

In a normal engine, once the exhaust gases exit the cylinder they end up in the exhaust manifold. In a four-cylinder or eight-cylinder engine, there are four cylinders using the same manifold. From the manifold, the exhaust gases flow into one pipe toward the catalytic converter and the *muffler. It turns out that the manifold can be an important source of back pressure because exhaust gases from one cylinder build up pressure in the manifold that affects the next cylinder that uses the manifold.

The idea behind an exhaust header is to eliminate the manifold's back pressure. Instead of a common manifold that all of the cylinders share, each cylinder gets its own exhaust pipe. These pipes come together in a larger pipe called the collector. The individual pipes are cut and bent so that each one is the same length as the others. By making them the same length, it guarantees that each cylinder's exhaust gases arrive in the collector spaced out equally so there is no back pressure generated by the cylinders sharing the collector.

Headers are one of the easiest bolt-on accessories you can use to improve an engine's performance. The goal of headers is to make it easier for the engine to push exhaust gases out of the cylinders.

When you look at the four-stroke cycle in How Car Engines Work, you can see that the engine produces all of its power during the power stroke. The gasoline in the cylinder burns and expands during this stroke, generating power. The other three strokes are necessary evils required to make the power stroke possible. If these three strokes consume power, they are a drain on the engine.

During the exhaust stroke, a good way for an engine to lose power is through back pressure. The exhaust valve opens at the beginning of the exhaust stroke, and then the piston pushes the exhaust gases out of the cylinder. If there is any amount of resistance that the piston has to push against to force the exhaust gases out, power is wasted. Using two exhaust valves rather than one improves the flow by making the hole that the exhaust gases travel through larger.


You can increase backpressure easily by sticking a potato into your exhaust pipe.

Potatoes are not known to be a power booster in most cars.




Source: Google "Backpressure Myth"

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Old 05-27-2014, 06:59 PM   #6
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And the best one of all (Remember, this is for a 1.8L. A 3.5 Turbod engine or 5.0 w/ more than twice the HP needs twice the airflow):

http://www.team-integra.net/forum/bl...st-basics.html
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastyorkbmx View Post
you would lose low end power and your mileage will suffer quite a bit!
Wrong.

Here, a 2.2L picked up 12 HP just from upgrading from a 2.5" to 3" exhaust. How much more could a 5.0 with almost 2x the HP benefit!? Makes me think we need to be running 6" exhausts....

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Old 05-27-2014, 08:41 PM   #8
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So basically stay away from 4"exhaust? My truck is completely stock. I just want it to sound badass. Lol
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Old 05-28-2014, 02:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajg32789 View Post
So basically stay away from 4"exhaust? My truck is completely stock. I just want it to sound badass. Lol
Stay away? Where's it say that
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:54 AM   #10
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4" is big. I'd suggest going with 2.5" after the cats Y'ed into a single 3.5". I ran that on my 03 5.4L ad loved it. Ran a Aeroturbine 3535XL diesel muffler. Sounds awesome.

If you go this route, I have a brand new Aeroturbine 3535XL muffler for sale. $80 shipped. It's fully polished stainless.

BTW a single 3.5" flows the same as dual 2.5".

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