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Downpipe Battle - IE VS MAP VS COBB VS Trackslag VS HPA

CarlsFirstVW

Ready to race!
Location
NOVA
Car(s)
2017 Golf R
So before you roll your eyes about yet another Downpipe thread I want to preface this with the fact that I have read through previous posts here and other forums ad nauseum. I’ve also thoroughly looked over the manufacturers websites to get information. Some of you reading this (you know who you are) I have read literally hundreds of your posts, and they have been extremely helpful in guiding me (if GTI Jake would just make a Mk7 R DP there would be no need for this thread but here we are).

Right now I have a Borla Catback installed on my 2017 Mk7 R. I plan on purchasing and installing a DP in the next few months and I have narrowed it down to a handful of options.

Those options are IE, Trackslag, Cobb, HPA and MAP. All of these options are within a couple hundred bucks so cost is not a super important variable right now.

My biggest concerns are limiting exhaust smell, passing VA emissions and not being insanely loud.

First the noise. The COBB appears to come resonated and with the MAP there is the option to select one. I would assume the included resonator would reduce total exhaust noise. That said I have read lots of posts about people reporting the Trackslag and IE were quitter than expected. Would I be accurate in believing the resonated COBB and MAP would be the quietist followed by the IE and Trackslag and then the HPA? I still have the stock catback so if it’s unbearable I can look into putting that back on but I would prefer to find the sweet spot with DP and Catback. I should also mention my tolerance for noise is higher than most, but I still don’t want it to be obnoxious.

One difference is the location of the CAT. The IE is closest to the turbo which they state reduces exhaust smell. The MAP, COBB and HPA it seems to be a little lower and the Trackslag looks like it’s the furthest which I believe encourages faster spool. Is exhaust smell going to be noticeably more with something where the cat is further even if it is catted? Are there other significant differences based on CAT location?

I am aware the CEL light is different for different cars and different set ups and I’m ok with playing with spacers if need be. I will be stage 2 after the DP install. The Cobb and the MAP show it is a GESI Cat (I think both 200 Cell), the Trackslag Says it is an EU6 Oversized 200 Cell Catalyst, the IE states High flow 200 cell (GESI not listed specifically) HPA says 300 Cell High flow Cat. Is there any reason to believe the difference in CAT’s would have any significant change in smell or emissions?

So these are my questions. Again, I apologize for bringing something up that has been addressed but I really have spent hours reading through old posts and I am looking for advice from those more experienced than I.

I know there are some other factors as well like the Trackslag has a 4” diameter and the others are 3”. Also, I know the 02 sensors are in different locations.

if you made it all the way though this post thank you for your time and consideration.

If anyone cares here are the links to the DP’s I mentioned.

IE https://performancebyie.com/collections/exhaust-systems/products/ie-downpipe-20t-tsi-mk7-awd

Cobb https://www.cobbtuning.com/products...3-downpipe-mk7-mk7-5-golf-r-8v-s3-a3-quattro/

HPA https://www.hpamotorsports.com/coll.../mqb-awd-2-0t-downpipe?variant=36338829066394

Map https://www.maperformance.com/produ...le-fitments-vwmk7r-dpc?variant=39406500511814

Trackslag https://www.trackslag.com/index.php...ons-connection_to_most_3_aftermarket_exhausts
 

Daks

Autocross Champion
Location
Toronto
Car(s)
GTI PP
I had an HPA on my MK6R - it was a wonderful piece. If you're planning bigger turbo, trackslag would be the one.
 

Mreed055

Go Kart Champion
Location
CA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
I’d vote trackslag, from what I’ve seen on forums proven to help spool even on an is38 and looks top quality. I’m looking to replace my cheapo down pipe with that one shortly. Nothing “wrong” with mine but I don’t like that the flex pipe literally doesn’t flex at all, lol.
 

scrllock

Autocross Champion
Location
MI
Would I be accurate in believing the resonated COBB and MAP would be the quietist followed by the IE and Trackslag and then the HPA?

Is exhaust smell going to be noticeably more with something where the cat is further even if it is catted? Are there other significant differences based on CAT location?

Is there any reason to believe the difference in CAT’s would have any significant change in smell or emissions?
I had to dig to find the questions. Don't make people work for free.

1)Yes, resonated with a cat will be quieter. I've never had a resonated downpipe, just a catback with a giant resonator in front of the muffler and found that to be tame enough while still enjoyable.

2) Yes, the cats are way less efficient if they're further back. The CTS, for example, does almost nothing for smell since it's a shit-cat and way far back. (but flows great as a result). This also reduces heat in the bay.

3) Absolutely. The 100-200 cell off-road cats don't really do a whole lot besides reduce sound and maybe a bit of smell. You'll likely need an o2 spacer or other hacks to pass an inspection (I wouldn't run an o2 spacer personally-they fill with condensation and foul your o2 sensors faster). The GESI EPA cats are usually your best bet for trying to pass emissions (not all GESI cats are EPA cats! MAP's race cat, for example, is just a low-cell GESI cat, not their EPA line). I really wouldn't count on the others. IMO, if you want to run a cat, either get the DBV2 with the cat of your choice, or order a catless trackslag and have a cat welded in (unless you can find someone running a pre-catted trackslag who's passed emissions in your state).

fwiw the trackslag has kinda shit fitment (could be fixed with a custom mid-pipe) but that's what I'm running. performance is good, spool benefits are real. I wouldn't buy anything from IE nowadays, they're basically CTS with more carbon fiber and a higher marketing budget. if you see a bunch of people on youtube using something it's not 'cause it's good.
 
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CarlsFirstVW

Ready to race!
Location
NOVA
Car(s)
2017 Golf R
Trackslag
LOL I knew you would chime in with this. You were one of the unnamed people who's posts I've been reading for the last two weeks. Do you think it will be crazy loud with the Borla?

I had to dig to find the questions. Don't make people work for free.
Sorry about that thank you for your responses. I actually looked at the DBV2. I know I said cost was not a big factor but with the EPA compliant Cat it's like $1,500.
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
LOL I knew you would chime in with this. You were one of the unnamed people who's posts I've been reading for the last two weeks. Do you think it will be crazy loud with the Borla?


Sorry about that thank you for your responses. I actually looked at the DBV2. I know I said cost was not a big factor but with the EPA compliant Cat it's like $1,500.
Don't know since I don't have a Borla. I'm catless so it's loud with any muffler. If you're going with the cat it shouldn't be that loud.
 

scrllock

Autocross Champion
Location
MI
Sorry about that thank you for your responses. I actually looked at the DBV2. I know I said cost was not a big factor but with the EPA compliant Cat it's like $1,500.
Yeah, that's what put me off too. Once I get around to buying the EPA cat and pay for the cut/weld, my ceramic coated trackslag is still less than that all in.
 

Mreed055

Go Kart Champion
Location
CA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
Trackslag shit fitment? I’ve only heard good things. What about it doesn’t fit as good with OEM?
 

MSH

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Denver
My R is going in for a custom 4” DP here next week with a 4” G-Sport GESI cat. Nick at 485 Designs here in Denver does top notch work. He may be offering these off the shelf for R’s if anyone is interested. Pricing set to be in line with Trackslag. This is his RS3 DP to get a look at his work.

1642703942055.jpeg
 

slipperywhenwet

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Calgary, Canada
I put the ceramic coated HPA dp on about 2 months ago, so I can speak from that perspective, for what it's worth. I'm running an otherwise stock exhaust with a JB4 on Map 1, so let's call output OEM+ish.

First the noise.
- I cannot say enough about how much I enjoy the noise aspect of this pipe. It rumbles a little more, barks a little more, and braps a little more, all without being too much. Also, there's none of the tinny rattle that you can get with some pipes (I'm looking at you, CTS). It's difficult to articulate, but everything sounds secure (ever heard a drum that isn't properly tensioned and there's that little rattle in with the actual drumming noise? There is none of that with the HPA pipe).
- At idle you have no idea that it has the aftermarket dp on. At cruising lower throttle it's barely even noticeable. At cruising with some load (going up a hill) you hear a little more grumble, but it doesn't drone. At WOT, however, it sounds so much more angry and throaty. Basically everything that I could have asked for in a pipe.

Location of the CAT.
- I have the high flow street cat (300 cell), and I will say that is stunk like crazy for the first three weeks. Not just in stop-and-go, but more or less anything under highway speed. I'm assuming that part of it was burn in and part of it was settling of joints/clamps, etc. Lately I haven't been getting any stink at all. Not even a whiff. I highly recommend getting back under your car after a couple of weeks and retorquing all of your clamps.

The CEL:
- The CEL came up immediately and has not gone away on mine. I added the short spacer to no avail, but it sounds like there's a bent longer spacer that will do the trick. I'm going to just EQT Stage 2 it instead.

The extras:
- One other item. I swear that the car is moving more quickly through the midrange now. I have no dyno or draggy to validate this, and it may be all in my head, but it
- The thing looks awesome. I spend a fair bit of time tinkering around inside of my engine bay, and this pipe looks great. The heat shield is effective, and with the cat moved under the car, it gives more space between the back of the engine and the firewall.
- I have no experience with the IE dp, but I have their intake and turbo inlet pipe, and I'll be honest, I've not been impressed by either. It does its job, but there are a number of things that just weren't thought all of the way through. If that mentality extends to their dp, I would recommend a different one.
- You don't need to splurge for the ceramic coat if you go HPA. It looks great and I imagine that it has some heat management impact, but the steel pipe would look pretty great in there too. That said, the coat was I think $150, and that's not bad for ceramic. Just know that they are only coating the vertical pipe from the turbo down, and not the mid-pipe.
 

scrllock

Autocross Champion
Location
MI
Trackslag shit fitment? I’ve only heard good things. What about it doesn’t fit as good with OEM?
The mid-pipe is too long/angled weirdly. I've had two shops rotate it around (with me personally underneath the car) and the only way to get it to not rub on the heat-shielding by the front-end AND not rub on the prop-shaft near the rear diff will put it up against the stock rear chassis brace. I dunno if most guys just drop the brace or ignore the rubbing on their shaft (heh), but I wasn't happy with the setup until I found an aftermarket brace with extra clearance. I do think their flex pipe is a good design, though, especially if you have stiffer mounts.

The actual downpipe is great, don't get me wrong. The header guy who did the coating took one look at the size and was amazed it was just for a 2 liter.
 

MaxM97

Ready to race!
Location
Canton, Connecticut
Car(s)
'15 VW GTI S DBP LP
I’ve had the IE Downpipe for 3+ years now and probably ~60,000 miles. I will say that recently it has had more of a smell to it compared to when I first got it. I’ve also never been able to get a j-style spacer to work with it, so I just swap back to stock when emissions are due (takes me about an hour on my GTI).
I will say the IE Downpipe is great quality, well constructed, and fits well (unlike my intake from them…), but they definitely use a cheaper cat. The cast construction and the placement of the cat definitely make it one of the quieter options in my opinion.
 
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