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What is a Cat-back Exhaust System?

Cat-back exhaust refers to any part of the exhaust system that’s behind the catalytic converter. Typically, this includes the pipe connecting the pipe from the catalytic converter to the muffler, the muffler, and the tailpipe or exhaust tips.

When used in the context of aftermarket parts or performance upgrades, “cat-back” is used to indicate which section of the exhaust system the parts replace. Cat-back systems are available as both single- and dual-exhaust.

Cat-back exhaust systems generally use larger diameter pipe than the stock system. If the system is engineered more for show than functionality, it may be tuned to enhance the lower sounds that are lacking from high-RPM low-displacement engines.

Cat-back exhaust systems will include any pipes that run from the catalytic converter to the muffler, the muffler itself, any pipes that may run from the muffler to the exhaust tips, and the exhaust tips themselves. However, some cat-back exhaust systems have a muffler delete, which means no muffler is included. 

What will I gain with Cat-back exhausts?

Adding an aftermarket cat-back exhaust can provide several benefits, the first of which is more horsepower. Aftermarket exhaust systems are designed to be freer flowing than your stock exhaust, usually incorporating larger diameter piping and higher-grade mandrel bent tubing for improved flow. These changes can result in a reduced level of backpressure at the engine manifold, which means the engine can breathe a little easier and release more horsepower and torque.

How much power is gained depends highly on the design of your factory exhaust system and the quality of the catalytic converters in front of it. If the stock catalytic converters are fairly restrictive, then less power can be gained from a cat-back exhaust system. If the stock catalytic converter can flow a large amount of exhaust gas with creating too much restriction, then a cat-back exhaust system should offer a respectable increase in power.

Another advantage in installing cat-backs is an increase in fuel economy. This is the result of the engine not having to work as hard pushing exhaust gases through the piping. This reduces the load on the engine, causing higher efficiency and MPG. This increase in fuel economy typically occurs when traveling at freeway speeds, but can sometimes be noticed when driving in the city as well.

But as enthusiasts, the sound improvement is enough to make us go cat-back. Whether you want just a little more rumble or a full-on growl, there is a cat-back exhaust system out there that will satisfy your ears.

Some aftermarket cat-back exhaust systems, such as an exhaust system from Armytrix, features a valved muffler. With a valved muffler, you can choose to route exhaust gases through or around the mufflers, which means you can effectively make your car louder or quieter whenever you want!

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