To dual or not to dual?
Of the many exhaust systems available in the market today, people seem to always be in the fence whether to get dual exhausts or stick with single exhaust systems that so many cars use.
A single exhaust system usually merges the dual pipes into one big pipe by using a Y-pipe. This type of exhaust system collects exhaust gases from the manifold using one singular pipe before they travel through the muffler and exit the car.
Because of the number of banks, V6, V8, V10, and V12 engines usually run dual exhaust systems to get exhaust gases out of the combustion chamber. A dual exhaust system, meanwhile, will typically use either an X-pipe or H-pipe design. The type of exhaust system uses two individual pipes in collecting exhaust gases from the manifold.
Moreover, dual exhaust tips change how a car looks making it look more purposeful. Dual exhaust tips also make the car look prettier because there is a balance, asymmetry to the aft that you won’t just get in single exhaust cars – no matter how big the muffler is.
While a lot of cars appear to use a dual exhaust system, more often than not, it’s merely a dual exit exhaust. It's essentially a single exhaust system that features two exhaust tips instead of a real dual exhaust system – like those in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce.
So which offers better performance improvement? A single, Y-pipe design exhaust system or a dual exhaust system? Both systems are engineered to fulfill the same job. Single and dual systems route exhaust gases away from the cabin of the exhaust and eliminate some emissions with a catalytic converter.
A single Y-pipe designed exhaust system will improve exhaust scavenging compared to a run-of-the-mill single exhaust system. Yet for the most performance gain, nothing will still beat a full dual exhaust system.
But engines aren’t created equal. Most cars are powered by either inline-3, inline-4, or sometimes inline-6 engines in mid-tier BMW’s and Mercedes-Benz’s.
Which is why for the most part, single exhaust scavenging is employed in these engines as standard. Unless, of course, those mentioned inline-6 engines use 3-1 headers.
Realistically, a full dual exhaust system should offer more total exhaust flow, however, a single exhaust can offer improved exhaust scavenging. Exhaust scavenging is effectively just using the low-pressure zone behind and exhaust pulse to help pull along the next exhaust pulse.
Upgrading to an aftermarket Y-pipe typically improves total airflow and improve exhaust scavenging. For vehicles like the R35 GTR, an upgraded Y-pipe can offer massive horsepower increases, however, naturally aspirated vehicles like the 350Z might not see as large of horsepower increases.
But since more efficient scavenging means more flow, it only leads to one thing: no matter how minimal, MORE POWER.
The kind of sound an exhaust system generates doesn’t affect your car’s performance and is entirely just about personal preference. However, it can play a role in whether you should choose a dual exhaust or single, Y-pipe design exhaust system.
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