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      04-27-2009, 03:03 PM   #1
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Post REVIEW: cp-e SS 3" Downpipes

So, a few weeks back, after anxiously awaiting their release, my cp-e SS 3" catless downpipes finally arrived. Much like their catback exhaust, I'd been bugging cp-e for a while about when I could expect them... Mind you this was somewhat pointless though, since my car had been in storage since November. I guess it was just a matter of having them in my possession so I could "test" them as soon as my car came out for the season.


(Click for larger images)

Here they are in all of their glory, prior to Hi-temp coating:





After admiring them for a few minutes, there were a few things that I immediately noticed:
  • The cast bellmouth housings are AMAZING quality. It was clear that all of the R&D was worth-while after just a quick inspection. These are something that EVERYONE building downpipes should be doing!
  • The overall quality of the rest of the pipe matches that of the housings. Great steel, nicely polished, etc.
  • The flanges that connect to the catback section of the exhaust are HUGE. You won't see any warping with these...
  • The lack of bends and smooth flow of these pipes is incredible... Even more so when compared to stock (later on in this review).

So, after some debate, I finally decided on having these ceramic coated. I honestly was (and still am) not sure if this has any positive affect when running downpipes on the N54; however, it was pretty common in the Subaru community in which I was previously involved in... So I figured it couldn't hurt anything. I went with matte black on the outside (good for temps up-to 2000 degrees) and silver on the inside (which is supposed to aid in flow of the exhaust gases).



While I was at it, I had the catback done too (helps to "stealth it up" a bit):



Here are some good comparison pics prior to the install. Note how perfectly everything is aligned... The angle of the bellmouth and exhaust flange(s), location of the O2 bung(s), etc. These pipes are absolute perfection and I knew it prior to ever installing them.







With regard to the install, there's honestly not much I can say... These went in like butter and there were ZERO surprises. The ONLY adjusting whatsoever involved rotating the downpipes to the same position as stock prior to tightening the v-band clamps. As-mentioned above, fitment of everything from the bellmouths & v-bands to the four O2 sensors, right up to the catback were perfect. They all mated right back up identically to stock. If it weren't for these being catless and the cp-e logo on them, one could have mistaken them for a superior OEM unit... Maybe BMW should talk to cp-e for the '10-'11 models!

Here are a few random pics during the install:








(Know thy enemy... Silly power-robbing cats!)


(I love the smell of RTV in the morning... )


(Exhaust tips still exit perfectly with a mildly aggressive protrusion from the rear valance.)


(As-if it didn't look awesome before...)

My final words for the install are these: DO THIS INSTALL ON A LIFT... or better, yet, just have a pro do it! Don't get me wrong, I pulled it off without a hitch. No leaks, "tweaking," etc. - like I said, cp-e did an awesome job manufacturing these; HOWEVER, I am not a contortionist and am guessing that most of you aren't either. I actually had access to a lift, but it's around 45 minutes away from my house... I figured the drive was more hassle than it was worth and took a stab at it this way. The 45 minute drive or $170-$250 it would have cost to have these installed would have been TOTALLY worth-while. I didn't keep track of how long it took, but it was more than the 2-3 hours most claim... and, in my feeble, shade-tree mechanic defense, I had the day off of work and decided to take my time so not to get frustrated and to take pics/notes for this review...

On to the important stuff... The impact they've had on the car! Much like my review on the cp-e Cat Back Exhaust, I'm not going to comment much on power. This is for two reasons... First and foremost, I wasn't able to dyno the car prior to and immediately following the install. I *hate* speculation and for me to say, "I undoubtedly picked up 25+ whp from these pipes" would be unfair to all of you reading. I'm very much a 'dyno snob' and don't trust anything shy of a Mustang dyno... preferably the one I roll my cars on at Speed Industry in Troy, MI. I don't want to start a long debate here, but if it's not actually applying a load on the vehicle, it's not accurate for anything other than before & after #s. SECONDLY, this wasn't the only power-adder installed on my car since it went in to storage... An intake and tune have also since been installed and they've also had a positive affect on the car's ability to shred the rear tires!

That said, I *will* speak on the throttle response here, which is IN-@&#*-CREDIBLE. I've had several people in the car since these pipes have been installed, two of which are seasoned drivers. One of them personally drove the car and the other (who is PAID to drive, mind you) had a fair bit of time in the passenger seat while I did some spirited driving. They've ALL noticed the car spools up much more rapidly and those that have driven it took immediate notice to the change in the throttle. As-if the pedal didn't already feel great on this car, adding these pipes have livened it up even more!

As far as sound goes, I'm going to keep this simple... It's really easy to explain and if you've read this far, I'm assuming you're enough of a car fanatic to be familiar with the RB26DETT. For the laymen, this is the motor that's in the past few generations of the Skyline GT-R. I'm sure some BMW (and Skyline) purists will call this blasphemy... but the car now has a very similar tone to a highly-boosted version of that motor/car. Some may call "BS," but if you look at the specs on the N54 vs. the RB26, it makes sense! Also, IF your car has a Steptronic and the cp-e cat back, GET THE RESONATORS. My car is Step-equipped and can tell you it's LOUD and it drones a fair bit. I'm holding off on videos until I get them installed... I can tolerate the loudness and droning, but my wife hates it. The resonators will definitely correct this though. You've been warned.

Lastly (but certainly, not least), I'd once again like to throw a shout-out to Custom Performance Engineering for building another DAMN nice upgrade for our cars. You guys (and gals) have once again outdone yourselves!

Link to the downpipes: 304 SS 3" Downpipes


Last edited by jtsherri; 10-02-2009 at 06:48 PM.
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      04-27-2009, 03:38 PM   #2
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Good review...wish you were close by for an in person judge of the sound.
I'm guessing you got the 02 sims with this?



I wonder what kind of deal you got on them?
Cause i would like to get it too.
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      04-27-2009, 03:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xXxMLEExXx View Post
Good review...wish you were close by for an in person judge of the sound.
I'm guessing you got the 02 sims with this?



I wonder what kind of deal you got on them?
Cause i would like to get it too.
You're welcome to drive over to MI to check them out... I'd even let you drive!

O2 sim = 100% necessary for catless pipes.

And the deal cp-e currently has running on these is pretty awesome... When they first started developing the bellmouths, I figured they'd cost $Texas, but they're very competitively priced, in my opinion.
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      04-27-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsherri View Post
You're welcome to drive over to MI to check them out... I'd even let you drive!

O2 sim = 100% necessary for catless pipes.

And the deal cp-e currently has running on these is pretty awesome... When they first started developing the bellmouths, I figured they'd cost $Texas, but they're very competitively priced, in my opinion.
Thanks for the offer....lemme see if i can take some time off..

Did this come with o2 sims?
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      04-27-2009, 03:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xXxMLEExXx View Post
Thanks for the offer....lemme see if i can take some time off..

Did this come with o2 sims?
Nope they don't, I got mine recently and I also run a JB3 so I got BMS O2 sim and RR one's just in case for backup.
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      04-27-2009, 03:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yandyr View Post
Nope they don't, I got mine recently and I also run a JB3 so I got BMS O2 sim and RR one's just in case for backup.
Again...thanks for the great review and info..
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      04-27-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xXxMLEExXx View Post
Again...thanks for the great review and info..
lol wasn't me with the review... but no problem about the info... i pulled a,

sort of ... to the OP... great review
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      04-27-2009, 04:45 PM   #8
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The ONLY thing negative about the axleback is that it's missing a rod to connect to the right rear OEM bushing (as you can see on the picture of the coated axleback).

If somebody follows your car, he'll notice the tips moving when the road is bad. I had two people who told me the same thing so I had an extra rod welded to correct the situation.

I did tell CP-e about it, but never got an answer back from them.

But still, I love the sound and you can really see the quality of the product

Downpipes look amazing BTW!!
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      04-27-2009, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philaf_666 View Post
The ONLY thing negative about the axleback is that it's missing a rod to connect to the right rear OEM bushing (as you can see on the picture of the coated axleback).

If somebody follows your car, he'll notice the tips moving when the road is bad. I had two people who told me the same thing so I had an extra rod welded to correct the situation.

I did tell CP-e about it, but never got an answer back from them.

But still, I love the sound and you can really see the quality of the product

Downpipes look amazing BTW!!
Having an extra rod welded on is definitely an option; however, if you have the rear bolts good and tight and get a hardened exhaust hanger, this will resolve the issue as well...
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      04-27-2009, 09:40 PM   #10
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okay, I love the new DPs but I'm kinda lost on this whole O2 sims thing. why would I need these and where would I get them? I'm currently running the CP-E cat back system and it's been great. this DP system would be an awesome addition to complete my exhaust.

you also mentioned getting the resonators. my CP-E system doesn't have them so how would I go about getting them on my Steptronic equipped car?
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      04-27-2009, 09:42 PM   #11
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you got a pm with an exhaust question!
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      04-27-2009, 10:53 PM   #12
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Various opinions on effectiveness aside this is by far the sexiest exhaust I have seen yet (minus the muffler )

Kudos! Enjoy it :
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      04-27-2009, 11:43 PM   #13
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looks very nice, looking forward to those sound clips....
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      04-28-2009, 05:56 AM   #14
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Great write-up and pictures. Too bad CP-E can't post here anymore...
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      04-28-2009, 06:05 AM   #15
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Why cant CPE post on this forum?
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      04-28-2009, 07:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinturbo135i View Post
okay, I love the new DPs but I'm kinda lost on this whole O2 sims thing. why would I need these and where would I get them? I'm currently running the CP-E cat back system and it's been great. this DP system would be an awesome addition to complete my exhaust.

you also mentioned getting the resonators. my CP-E system doesn't have them so how would I go about getting them on my Steptronic equipped car?
Pretty simple... You'd ONLY need these if you went with catless pipes. The catted versions will NOT throw codes. The catalytic converters are one of the critical pieces of the emissions system on our cars. There's an O2 sensor before AND after the cats. If there's not a certain reading between these two sensors, the car thinks something is wrong and throws a code. Obviously, if one REMOVES the cats, that reading will most definitely be off...

So a few vendors produce O2 simulators (mine is BMS). They basically trick the DME in to thinking all is well, which in-turn will allow the car to make more power. The "black magic" that happens in the DME is honestly beyond my comprehension.... But am sure it involves air, fuel, spark and a bunch of boost.

Regarding the resonators, cp-e is allowing me to send back my midpipes to have resonators welded in. You'll want to email them for details, but they were VERY accommodating about arranging to have this done... Now I just have to figure out when I can be without my car for a few days!

Quote:
Originally Posted by denial View Post
you got a pm with an exhaust question!
Replied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindgame View Post
Various opinions on effectiveness aside this is by far the sexiest exhaust I have seen yet (minus the muffler )

Kudos! Enjoy it :
Anyone that thinks catless downpipes won't produce more power than their catted counterparts is crazy... Again, I stay away from speculation, so I won't make any numerical claims here, but I've *never* seen a car tuned with cats produce the same (or higher) numbers as one without.

As custom tunes become available for this vehicle, you'll see an even larger gap in #s produced between those catted vs. catless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerboy View Post
looks very nice, looking forward to those sound clips....
I'll do my best not to slack on these...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastaMind View Post
Great write-up and pictures. Too bad CP-E can't post here anymore...
Thanks!

And yeah, I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRoboto View Post
Why cant CPE post on this forum?
Misunderstandings between them and the mods. Essentially, different opinions on the definition of "sales," "marketing," "advertising," and "general information."

I'm not sure whose court the ball is in right now, but it'd be a lot easier if the issue was just dropped and the rules on what can and can't be posted by paying vs. non-paying vendors was spelled out... ALL OF US would benefit through handling it this way. Just my $.02.
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      04-28-2009, 12:57 PM   #17
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Any numbers for the CP-E downpipe yet, i am curious what kind of gains you will get.
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      04-28-2009, 01:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Any numbers for the CP-E downpipe yet, i am curious what kind of gains you will get.
Gains will not be seen in numbers if running from the stock ecu. The stock ecu is far too adaptable and quickly compensates for the changes the DP's introduce. Real power differences will be felt with an ecu tune, as most on the market today are designed to adapt to upgraded intakes and exhaust. In other words, a 135 running a JB3 with stock exhaust will produce lower numbers than a 135 with a JB3 with a full catless turbo-back exhaust. With the stock ecu in control, the primary difference you will note between a stock exhaust car and a catless (or CP-E's catted for that matter) turbo-back is engine response and lag time reduction. I am running CP-E's full turbo-back with catted DP's, and the first thing everyone notices is the greatly improved throttle response and complete lack of turbo-lag.

Oh, and over 3000 miles with my CP-E exhaust and no CEL's or error codes, as per the BT scan tool.
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      04-28-2009, 04:13 PM   #19
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How about some clips without the resonators so we have something to compare?? This is really tempting me to forget the warranty and start modding...
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      04-28-2009, 04:21 PM   #20
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I just got my 135i and i am already starting to twitch. CP-E makes great products.
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      04-28-2009, 06:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerboy View Post
How about some clips without the resonators so we have something to compare?? This is really tempting me to forget the warranty and start modding...
I can try and make the time to do this, but will probably limit it to 2-3 vids... When cruising from say 45-65, it's honestly obnoxious and drones to the point that people would AVOID installing it. At WOT (anywhere in the power band) it sounds absolutely amazing and it's addicting as hell to drive it like a maniac.

So long as people understand that it'll really only sound like this on a Step AND without resonators, I have no problem posting a few...

Regarding the warranty, it's hit-or-miss. Some dealers are surprisingly cool about mods and will only void if they have no other choice. Others are absolute dicks and go out of their way to make the extra buck (vs. keeping a potential repeat customer).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rotelly View Post
I just got my 135i and i am already starting to twitch. CP-E makes great products.
Welcome! I'd recommend starting with the cat back system... It's not going to make as much power as other mods, but the car's already very quick and the incredibly capable chassis makes things all that much better! Why not start with something that makes the car sound as sporty as it should?
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      04-29-2009, 12:06 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsherri View Post
I can try and make the time to do this, but will probably limit it to 2-3 vids... When cruising from say 45-65, it's honestly obnoxious and drones to the point that people would AVOID installing it. At WOT (anywhere in the power band) it sounds absolutely amazing and it's addicting as hell to drive it like a maniac.

So long as people understand that it'll really only sound like this on a Step AND without resonators, I have no problem posting a few...

Regarding the warranty, it's hit-or-miss. Some dealers are surprisingly cool about mods and will only void if they have no other choice. Others are absolute dicks and go out of their way to make the extra buck (vs. keeping a potential repeat customer).



Welcome! I'd recommend starting with the cat back system... It's not going to make as much power as other mods, but the car's already very quick and the incredibly capable chassis makes things all that much better! Why not start with something that makes the car sound as sporty as it should?
Never have I ever met a dealership willing to overlook no cats on a car...ever.
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