Exhaust System Exhaust Header Dilemmas

Discussion in '7th Generation (2003-2008) [Acura TSX]' started by DeviateDefiant, Monday 19th May, 2014.

  1. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    So the biggest restriction on my stock engine set-up is my exhaust header, I could net a good 10+ ponies just by getting a better flowing header, match that to a decent exhaust, tuned and the rest and we're talking perhaps 25hp. Our JDM based Facelift models unfortunately didn't get the extra exhaust pipe diameter like the yanks did on the TSX, it's the thing I should be concentrating on next.

    The biggest and best in the business is the Toda 4-2-1, it's race proven, robust, and been the blueprints for many other replicas like the offering from Weapon-R. On the note of Weapon-R, I don't like the company and their branding, their "dyno charts" are always proven wrong, they have silly slogans like "Make Big Power!" and use semi-glad model pics and bad Photoshop work - it's just not a company I'll buy from (but the header is by all accounts good).

    The cheapest budget offering is from DC Sports, so it's cheap, you'll get decent gains, it's also had many documented issues like the flex pipe cracking and leaks - while purported fixed, I can rule that right out. Another big name for the CL9 is the venerable Comptech header (now CT-Engineering), again there were a few issues with leaks and what not which are apparently fixed in new versions, it's gains aren't quite up there with the Toda/Weapon-R/PLM but they're good. Probably not for me though.

    Then there's the cheap wonderboy, the PLM header, gains have been proven to pretty much on par with the king Toda, but they aren't exactly made consistent, sometimes they need a little work to fit properly - but once they are, I haven't really heard of any problems. PLM is known for good bang for buck, hit and miss quality.

    There's a few other rare offerings, like the Mugen (Facelift version being far better) running at 4 figures once imported, and many established companies have generic K-Series headers that can be made to fit.

    Everyone who's followed my build so far knows I research to hell, so here's the question and let's say the gains are the same:

    Do I go for a £300-350 PLM header, I'm sure I'll make it work and it'd stick on the car okay. Or do I drop £900 on the renowned and made-to-order Toda header shipped straight from Japan? It's a big price difference, but I like backing quality companies - I can't be parts proud with a PLM, but would I be silly to drop that money on an exhaust header when gains are comparable for a lot less?
     
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  2. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    I do a similar routine on research too.
    It's great to know you're making an informed decision, but that also gives you the final problem, deciding.
    At least here, the guys that know can help you :Smile:
    My only advice is, if you can afford it, go for what's best.
    If you can't afford it, get the best your budget will allow.
    Whatever you do, don't look back !
     
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  3. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    It would be interesting to know what kind of mods the PLM headers needs ... do you have links to example installs ?
     
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  4. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    I agree with that, I reckon I'll go balls out with the Toda, it's the part I actually want after all and I'll just regret it if I go for the PLM. I'm still willing to hear someone tell me I'm insane for paying the price difference though :Smile: End of the day, my hearts in one and not the other.

    It's not really a case of them needing to be modded but more they vary a lot from piece to piece, the geometry can be out and they can need a bit of persuasion to meet up in the right places. Also saw a weld mended that wasn't airtight. I'll dig out some threads for you in the morning during our inevitable early morning chat :Laughing:
     
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  5. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    I'm not trying to push you either way.
    You still have to cover all the normal living expenses.

    I was always told to buy the best you can with the money you've got.
     
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  6. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    Well, I will have enough to buy it yes - the thing is more that the £500-600 difference could be a set of coilovers or another performance part :Smile:
     
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  7. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    That's the balance only you can decide on.
    Either buy the best parts you want and take longer to reach completion, or decide on the total you want to spend, and then the amount for each mod.
     
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  8. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    You're right, I'm made from a bad mixture of impatience yet dogmatic over-analysis :Laughing: I am hoping to get the header and it's exhaust counterpart ordered at the same time. I'm invoices pending, as always being self-employed, but I think my budget is about £1500 :Smile:

    EDIT: For this set of mods... this project will run a good £5-6k for my immediate wants.
     
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  9. PeteMM Premium Member Club Supporter

    Northern Ireland Pete Belfast, UK
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    For me personally, the PLM meets the criteria, gets you the gains you want albeit you may have to modify slightly to fit.

    I am not one for chasing branded stuff, but I do like to fit high quality items. Having used DC in the past I struggle to see anything wrong with their stuff.

    Also, consider how you want the car to drive, are you simply chasing numbers? As much as I would love the screaming banshee B18 again, the K24 is a different beast altogether and responds much better to modification that improve on its torque curve as opposed to its outright power. Again, back to personal preference, but as much as I hate to admit it, I don't spend every waking hour at 7200rpm, so yes any improvement in breathing is good, but I would rather see a substantial torque increase as opposed to chasing numbers at the top end. Which do you use more often and ultimately which will allow you to cover ground both easier and quicker?

    You will then want to go for the intake side of things, and this will have a huge impact on drivability. The likes of the RBC is great, but you lose/do not gain torque when it is fitted, just power. Are you going to keep your cruise control? Have you considered how the intake mods are going to act alongside your exhaust mods?

    If you keep cruise control you are going to have to find a bigger DBW throttle body, or go the cheaper route and run a cable. What management are you intending to use and has it been proven to work well with certain modification (i know a lot of this is dependant on who maps it). All too often people research the best products to release power and end up with a car which is simply horrible to drive with no torque down low, light flywheels which make for a horrible time in traffic and removes all smoothness from engine braking higher up the revs, along with a whole host of other small niggles which ultimately result in the car being sold or broken for parts.

    It is a long expensive path, I would be ensuring you know what your end goal is and figuring out exactly what you need to get it - one thing I can guarantee you is that your end goal is NOT a race car, just be careful.
     
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  10. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    Hahaha the inevitable early morning chat. These chats keep me sane, without them I'd drown in office politics, car chat and what not is welcome break LOL.

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand, @PeteMM, some sound advise there mate. Torque lower down the rev range is what the K24 is craving for.
     
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  11. ArcticFire-Account Closed Banned Getting Started

    Scotland Graham Scotland
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    Just another thought to consider but would the Toda header hold it's value and sell quickly second hand?
     
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  12. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    The 4-2-1 configuration in general should be good for torque gains, the only problem is the HP gains are always easier to get your hands on and compare between headers. That said, the Toda should net about 12-14lb/ft.

    When it comes to optimising for torque, which I agree is more important than chasing top-end figures, the rest of the build will reflect that. I'm not after straight power gains, infact with the exhaust set-up in general - I'm chasing the least noise with the best breathing/flow - the header is going balls out, the final exhaust I'll choose carefully based on how I want the car I want to sound, least drone on the motorway etc. I'll probably be going 2.5" to 2.75".

    The rest of my path is well and truly mapped out at this point. The RBC is the cheap go-to manifold upgrade everyone gets, and it would do the job. I'll net some top-end and with tuning come close to the stock RBB level of torque, however with the RRC I'll surpass it on both, the polished and smoothed chamber on the RRC really helps with that - I remember reading the piece Honda Japan did on improving that manifold (for the FD2 Type-R) over the RBC for the DC5/CL7 Rs. There's a few other stock manifold choices which would gain top-end over the RBB easily, but none other than the RRC/RBC that won't lose drastically on the torque. The stock RBB was made and optimised for torque to shift the heavy Accord.

    The Skunk2 manifold is another popular choice, sometimes on top of, something under the RBC - again not touching the RRC - few manifold shootouts show that.

    Further more I'll be port matching the RRC to a spaced 78mm/70mm Acura ZDX throttle body, which is straight at the 70mm my primary intake pipe is on my Injen kit. Also touted as the main reason the K&N intake dynos best on a stock CL9, it's piping diameter closely matches the TB/Intake manifold for the best flow - I'm going and doing the same thing with a giant TB and ported Manifold - it should flow insanely well.

    To really get the most out of that balls out intake and exhaust set-up I'm the onto cams and head porting. Won't take this too far off-topic but I have my choices down there too.

    As for lightweight flywheel, I have an Exedy DC5-R on my '03, the low-end gains are well worth the inertia loss on high RPM shifts - I'd make the trade-off every day of the week, the difference it makes to the K24 lower band is insane.

    For management I'll be using FlashPro without a doubt, K-Pro is too limiting, K-Tuner is still a baby. There's certain features from FlashPro I'll need like speedo calibration for when I get the gearbox out to swap out my ratios and fling in LSD.

    Mate, I agree completely parts need to be chosen carefully, and I'm not building a race car - I won't negate stock comfort or handling, I want a comfy plush interior, I want minimal noise in the lower band, and I want minimalistic understated styling. Furthermore, she won't be scrapping along the ground or sitting with ridiculous cambered wheels and insanely stretched tyres. That's just not me.

    That said, I am after power - this build will be balanced.

    That is a very good point, the Toda will definitely hold its value - they're pretty rare.
     
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  13. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
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    Toda for me they will last and a easy sell if you come around to sell it on.
     
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