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X-Force Catback Exhaust on my 2005 LGT Wagon current experiences


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Hi all,

I just had an X-Force Catback Exhaust installed on my 2005 LGT Wagon (Cobb catted downpipe, Grimspeed catless up pipe) and just wanted to catalog the experience in terms of general sound, drone, messing around with extending the tips, etc... I don't have any sound clips, because when I tried on my phone I didn't think the clips sounded anything like it does in real life.  Which brings home the point I'd seen in some thread somewhere about not trusting you tube sound clips but only your own ears on someone else's install.  And consider that a wagon is way different than a sedan in terms of drone.

My current feeling is that a wagon is basically one big subwoofer enclosure.  An afermarket catback with Subie rumble will have low frequencies which will resonate (drone) in the wagon. I'll share some experience that extending the tips does help reduce the in cabin drone a little, but it is still there.

This discussion is organized as follows: reasons for purchasing, cost, delivery, install (nothing to see here paid my shop to do it), intial impression on sound, drone a city speed, highway speed, louder drone/resonance at deceleration / engine braking, then messing around with tips, issues with tips.

TLDR: low, rumbly sound, bass flutter, louder than stock for sure, quieter than most in your face exhausts, fitment is for sedan, stock tips sit inside bumpers of wagon, highway drone in wagon with stock tips excruciating, loud booming bass sound on decel and engine braking.  Stock tips are removable, Dimensions of exit pipe are non-standard 2 7/8" OD. Standard 3" tips slide over with lots of play, didn't use correct pipe clamp on one set, using another type of clamping on another. Extending tips beyond bumper help some alleviate drone but not totally. Current tips are too far out though. Like the sound more and more, but haven't tried any drive longer than 40mins yet. Want to explore addition of off-the-shelf resonators, or custom designed helmholtz resonator. Or may go back to a stock one or consider complete build from scratch.

1) reasons for purchase

Stock exhaust has been on and car has been in Upstate NY for last 8 years. A few months ago, I had a hole in the Y-pipe that I had fixed. Next month a hole crops up in at the muffler.  I've always wanted some adult-mature subtle Subie rumble so jumped at my chance to justify needing a new system.  My inspection was due end of July so needed to move on something quickly.  

In hindsight, I think I would have opted for a slower approach of talking with reputable custom exhaust shop or Subie performance specific shop to hand pick components, resonantors, and design it for my goals and wagon fitment.  

Anyway, X-force had come up a high sound quality to value. Of the sound clips I listened to of Legacy GT exhausts, I did like this one. 

It was also readily available which is a plus in these days of limited supply.  Borla was another but significantly more expensive. Both are Sedan fitment, but have heard of several with wagons using them.  X-force has removable tips, the Borla looks like they are fixed.

I got mine from Summit Racing: XForce ES-SL05-CBS - XForce Exhaust Systems. I paid $572 on sale. It looks like price has gone up to $675.  Delivery in under 3-4 days I think.

2) Install.  I took it to my shop with mechanic that works on turbo Subarus a lot. I think he knocked it out in an hour.  I did not get a chance to ask if there were any issues.  I did also get a Grimmspeed 077046 Downpipe Adapter, but they left it in the box on my car seat. So not sure how they got it installed.  As I thought the Cobb Downpipe was sized to mate with the stock piping which is smaller than this X-Force. Still need to followup with mechanic on that.

This is designed for sedan fitment. So with the stock tips, the exit was well short of the wagon bumper edge.  Many reviews say the driver side vs passenger side are assymetric in terms of where the mufflers end up, height wise and how far inward/outward they fall. I believe that is the case with mine too.

3) Initial impression: It sound louder than I wanted/had expected. The dreaded drone was there at anywhere from 2500-3500 RPM. Decel, engine braking was really bad booming in the car. But I did like the general rumbly sound of it.  If I didn't address the drone I don't think I'd be able to live with it. Wife didn't like it, but 99% of the time it is just me in the car. She doesn't love the car given all I've done to it, throwing money into it. Doesn't understand.

4) Getting longer tips:

There is a lot of discussion with wagons, hatchbacks about the increased drone. I believe it to be very true that the entire cabin is one big subwoofer enclosure.  The speculation is that when the exhaust exit is shy of the bumper it is worse. The question is can extending the tips beyond the bumper edge can alleviate some of the drone.  I believe this to be true from my experience. It does not take it all away but it does improve it some.

Next step was looking for some tips. As typical, I don't totally know what I'm doing. In measuring the X-force exhaust pipe, The OD of the pipe and the ID of the stock tips were under what I'd thought was a standard 3". They were 2 7/8.  It seems most piping / tips are sized at 3", 2.75". 2.5".  There was only like one odd alibaba sight where I saw a 2 7/8 to 3" adapter.

Anway, I first tried some LCGP 3 Inch Inlet Exhaust tip 4" Inch Outlet 12" from Amazon. These had no inner resonance screens in them so allowed for more adjustment on the exit pipe then others. They have slots on the ends, like the stock tips, and are intended to be clamped on with side hose clamp.  Naturally they did not slide on with snug fit like the stock tips. I think I made the mistake of using the stock clamps and they stopped tightening shy of snugging the LGCP tip onto the exit pipe.  In hindsight, had I used the clamps that came with the LCGP they might have tightened on there. But I'm not sure. this is not thin material.

I had some emails back and forth with X-Force on the sizing. They had intially said 2.75", but then I shared my pictures with the caliper measurements. Then they confirmed I was correct and said the sized them like that to be able to take 3" tips. That didn't make that much sense  to me but what do I know.

In frustration, I sent those first tips back and tried to look for 2 7/8 sized tips.  There was one on Amazon where the picture showed a dimension of 2.88 inches. And it came in 11 inch length: Apeixoto Resonated Muffler Exhaust Tip 2.88 Inches Inlet 4 Inches outlet 11 Inch.

Ordered those and of course three new issues. One, they are not 2.88, they are traditional 3". And two, they are not slotted for hose clamps. They use little prongs that are snugged down with a bolt. Reading the description closer after the fact, they are intended to go onto much smaller sized exhaust exit pipes.

They initally did not work on the small amount of gap between this tip ID and the x force exit pipe OD.  I ground clips down some on a belt grinder and got it to snug down.  Third issue, is these have this screening inside the pipe. This limits how far onto the exit pipe they can go. So they stick out more than I wanted.  And one side sticks out more than the other.

So I think they look funny, and though they accomplished the goal of being beyond the bumper it is too far.  I burned my shin on one this morning taking my bike out of the back.  

These tips do help mitigate the drone inside the car some. It is still there on the highway, but not as bad.  Part of it might be me getting used to it. The booming sound is still there on decel and engine braking. 

The overall rumble sound is great though and it does bring smile to my face. I think it sounds loud to me, but no one has paid any attention to it from what I can tell. 

5) Conclusions

In hindsight, I would have thought through this more and had one designed for my desires and wagon fitment. With close attention paid to mitigating drone in a wagon. Or I would have just kept fixing the stock one or look for good condition stock one.  

I say that, but then I do smile every time I accelerate.  Ideally, I can work with a custom shop to add some more specific resonators to address the drone, and extend the exit piping to a length where the stock tips would just exist past the bumper. 

I may try another set of tips w/o the resonator material but with these prong type clamps. That way I can try different distances beyond the bumper edge to see what is the minimum it needs to be to reduce some of the drone.

I may post a clip from my phone anyway just for reference.

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Edited by ashwinearl
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When you extended the exhaust tips, how much better or worse was the drone? I'm looking at having my Borla (also sedan fitment on my wagon) extended a bit to hopefully make it quieter. I think your hypothesis about the wagon bumper being too long for the sedan exhausts being a drone amplifier are 100%.

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Posted (edited)

Extending the tips did help reduce the drone in the cabin during highway driving.  What I don't know is how much they need to be extended to get benefit. Mine are a little too far out at the moment from a looks perspective

Deceleration in town, engine braking events on hills,  and back road driving where you are in 3rd, 4th with variable throttle, decel, engine braking still has this bass booming resonance.

I do have Group N engine and transmission mounts. I had more growly, angry NVH vibration compared to the old mushy stock ones. So there are other sources of noise from engine braking, deceleration. 

Edited by ashwinearl
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I have learned the stock midpipe, works well on the wagons. I think a new one from Summit Racing is like $300. (saw that in another thread a few weeks back).

My local muffler shop installed some Magnaflow knocks off mufflers back in 2013. Those are still on my wagon. The DynaMax tips from that year are still in great shape. I bought them from a local  "Speed Shop" after talking to the guy working there, who had them on is truck for years.

I'm thinking for wagons that is the way to go, zero drone, quiet on the highway, nice low rumble of the boxer, not too loud under WOT, but you can hear it.

The over all cost was less than or equal to the Q300 exhaust on my Spec B. Which is getting too loud for my liking after say 30-40,000 miles.

Yet those knock off mufflers and tips have held up great over the years. The DynaMax tips weren't cheap, you get what you pay for.

 

My wagon's set up is the Invidia Dp, OEM midpipe/Y pipe from the 09 Spec B, knock off mufflers and DynaMax tips. Next time I would buy shorter tips, mine are 12" but that was fine for the custom Y pipe made for the OEM midpipe on the wagon back in 2013. Had the 09's mid installed when the 05' midpipe rusted out at that Y adaptor to the OEM pipe, say back in 2019. I do still have that midpipe out behind the shed. Along with a midpipe/Y pipe from a Pro Lab Tuning exhaust that was too loud.

 

First pic, Aug 15 2013

Second pic, Sept 12 2019

DSCN5307.JPG

DSCN8351.JPG

305,000miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. CHECK your oil, these cars use it.

 

Engine Build - Click Here

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8 hours ago, Max Capacity said:

I have learned the stock midpipe, works well on the wagons. I think a new one from Summit Racing is like $300. (saw that in another thread a few weeks back).

My local muffler shop installed some Magnaflow knocks off mufflers back in 2013. Those are still on my wagon. The DynaMax tips from that year are still in great shape. I bought them from a local  "Speed Shop" after talking to the guy working there, who had them on is truck for years.

I'm thinking for wagons that is the way to go, zero drone, quiet on the highway, nice low rumble of the boxer, not too loud under WOT, but you can hear it.

The over all cost was less than or equal to the Q300 exhaust on my Spec B. Which is getting too loud for my liking after say 30-40,000 miles.

Yet those knock off mufflers and tips have held up great over the years. The DynaMax tips weren't cheap, you get what you pay for.

 

My wagon's set up is the Invidia Dp, OEM midpipe/Y pipe from the 09 Spec B, knock off mufflers and DynaMax tips. Next time I would buy shorter tips, mine are 12" but that was fine for the custom Y pipe made for the OEM midpipe on the wagon back in 2013. Had the 09's mid installed when the 05' midpipe rusted out at that Y adaptor to the OEM pipe, say back in 2019. I do still have that midpipe out behind the shed. Along with a midpipe/Y pipe from a Pro Lab Tuning exhaust that was too loud.

 

First pic, Aug 15 2013

Second pic, Sept 12 2019

DSCN5307.JPG

DSCN8351.JPG

In your setup is there a resonator too?  

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18 hours ago, ashwinearl said:

In your setup is there a resonator too?  

Yes, the stock one in the OEM mid pipe on the wagon, and the Invidia Q300 has one in its mid pipe on the Spec B.

305,000miles 5/2012 ej257 short block, 8/2011 installed VF52 turbo, @20.8psi, 280whp, 300ftlbs. CHECK your oil, these cars use it.

 

Engine Build - Click Here

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