One of the most frustrating things in modifying your Mustang, ST, F-100, F-150, or Bronco is finding the perfect exhaust note. For V6 and V8 motors, the question of which mid-pipe to purchase is definitely a common one. Researching which mid-pipe is best for a build is as simple as reading through this article! For V6 and V8 motors, the question of which mid-pipe to purchase is definitely a common one.
Why Do I Need A Mid-Pipe?
Good question! After exhaust gases exit the engine through a pair of exhaust manifolds or headers and travel through the catalytic converter(s), they reach the mid-pipe. With a V-style engine, a V8 for example, the exhaust gases are exiting individually through four cylinders on either side of the engine. Due to the fact that these cylinders are all firing at different points in time, there is an inequality in the pulsating exhaust gases coming from the engine. A mid-pipe equalizes these exhaust gases before they travel through the rest of the exhaust system and exit your car. Equalizing these gases is important to the functionality and longevity of your late model engine.
"a unique, European exhaust note"
You're probably going to find that most people with late-model Mustangs will push you to buy an X-Pipe because it results in the least amount of power loss when stacking it up against an H-Pipe. This is true, however, the difference is negligible, not noticeable to the driver and only shown on a dyno graph at the top of the power band. Seriously, we're only talking 1-2% difference in power. It's generally said that the driver will not feel a difference in power unless it's about a 10-15% difference. With such a minuscule difference in power, it really comes down to which mid-pipe you like better in terms of appearance and exhaust note.
X-Pipes offer slightly better flow with a unique, European exhaust note:
- Exhaust gasses cross over in an “X” design
- Slightly more power at the top of the power band
- Loud, high-pitched and raspy and generally louder than an H-Pipe
With that said, the name “X” is obvious from the design of the pipe itself. Due to this design, exhaust gases cross over from either side of the engine allowing for equalization of exhaust pressure and a unique exhaust note.
X-Pipes are generally seen on more European cars. However, they have been gaining much popularity in the late model Mustang crowd over the past decade or so. Due to the “X” design, these mid-pipes generally produce a higher-pitched, raspy exhaust note.
The H-Pipe is more resonant of the old-school muscle car tone. This is due to the design of the pipe which is essentially two separate pipes coming from either manifold with a small pipe connecting the two, creating an “H." One advantage to the H-Pipe over the X-Pipe is the fact there is more low-end torque out of an H-Pipe. Again, the difference is negligible, but it's there.
The H-Pipe doesn't necessarily flow as well in comparison to the X, however, it does flow quite well. Due to this design, you get an almost entirely different sound and arrangement of power additions on the dyno graph – more low-end torque and an old-school sound from the H-Pipe or more top-end horsepower and a high-pitched note from the X-Pipe. For those Mustang owners that are a fan of the old-school Fox Body exhaust note, then the H-Pipe is for you!
H-Pipes offer an old-school exhaust note with some more low-end torque:
- Exhaust gasses equalize pressure through an “H” design in the mid-pipe
- Slightly less power at the top of the power band compared to an X-Pipe
- Small increase in low end torque compared to an X-Pipe
- Smooth, deep and throatier exhaust note reminiscent of old-school muscle cars
“For Off-Road Use Only!”
You may see this warning on many exhaust mid-pipes that we offer. This is because that these mid-pipes do not come with catalytic converter(s) – meaning they are not street legal. For many generations of the Mustang, Ford included the catalytic converter(s) built into the mid-pipe. So, when you go to replace your mid-pipe along with the rest of your exhaust, keep this in mind. To keep your car street legal, be sure to look for catted mid-pipes rather than their off-road counterpart.
For those that have a late model V6 Mustang or even some early model V8 Mustangs with a single-exit exhaust out the rear bumper, your Mustang has a Y-Pipe from the factory. A Y-Pipe is similar in design as the X, however, the exhaust gases coming from either manifold are joined together into one pipe that is followed through a muffler and exits out the rear of the car.
A Y-pipe is just fine for near factory performance, but for those that are looking to get more horsepower and torque out of their ride, then getting rid of that Y-Pipe and converting to dual exhaust is a must. At that point, you would pick up an X or H-Pipe and have dual tailpipes out the rear of your Mustang.
Y-Pipes are generally found on stock vehicles, such as a 1994-2004 Mustang with the 3.8L V6 engine. Along with 2005-2010 Mustangs with the 4.0L V6 engine. If your Mustang comes with a factory Y-Pipe, it may be a good idea to look into upgrading to dual exhaust for better exhaust flow and improved overall performance of your V6's engine.
- Generally found on late model V6 and early model V8 Mustangs
- Restriction of airflow for modified cars
- For more exhaust flow, convert to a dual exhaust setup with an X or H-Pipe
Mustang X vs. H vs. Y Pipes
In conclusion, it really comes down to what kind of exhaust note you are after. Most drivers aren't going to feel the difference of more low-end torque from an H-Pipe or more top-end horsepower from an X-Pipe, so get what sounds best to you! Do you like the old-school muscle-car roar from an H-Pipe? Or the high-pitched European raspy scream from an X-Pipe? The choice is yours!
Regardless of which mid-pipe you're looking for to finish your build, CJ's has a huge selection of exhaust options to help you get the perfect, head-turning exhaust note!