Exhaust X-Pipes vs. H-Pipes and Differences Between Them

Exhaust X-Pipes vs. H-Pipes and Differences Between Them


Mike here again for Summit Racing Quick Flicks.
Today we are going to address some questions you had about the differences between h pipes
and x pipes. The question we most commonly get asked is what the difference between an
h pipe and an x pipe is and which is more beneficial. Before you can understand the
differences between the two we have to understand what savaging is? Exhaust scavenging is an
important part of any exhaust system and how it functions and how it going to go ahead
and affect the power that is being produced by your engine. Exhaust scavenging is when
you have the pulses working for you in that engine combination to where they are creating
full evacuation of the cylinder so you don’t have new fuel and air mixing with left over
burnt air and fuel so you get a more complete combustion cycle out of that engine. So know
that we know what scavenging is out goal with both of these components is to equalize exhaust
pulses so that the system scavenges the best that is possibly can, each of these is going
to do this differently. In fact you are going to notice there has been more focus on x pipe
technology in comparison to h pipe technology as of late. The reason for this is we have
come to find with h pipe technology which does work what it does is equalize the pulses
but it doesn’t really help the scavenging effect so much because what happens is it
will equalize it from side to side from a typical v type engine but it doesn’t exactly
draw all the gases and force the pulses don’t work off of one another in the end to really
improve exhaust flow. Where is in comparison an x pipe you are kind of forcing the two
to converge together and when that’s happening those pulses are also working together not
only to equalize those pulses from side to side of the engine but to draw on each other
to make and speed up the exhaust flow and force the exhaust out of the system. So we
have concluded that in most cases an x pipe is always almost more beneficial than an h
pipe is. The other question we get a lot is where should I place the x pipe or the h pipe
in the system. The reality of this is the vehicle is going to dictate this, the further
upstream you can place it, the better because you want those gases to converge as soon as
possible. But in reality you may have limited space in where this item can be placed and
in some vehicles you cannot even get an x pipe in general because of driveshaft interference
or ground clearance interference issues. So there are going to be a lot of things to consider
before you make your decision one way or the other in what is right for your vehicle. From
a pure horsepower standpoint the x pipe will always make more horsepower than an h pipe
will. That does not mean the x pipe is the right choice for your vehicle application.
If you have a lower performance engine, an engine that does not have a lot of compression
or a lot of wind you may find that you put the x pipe on and it makes more peak horsepower
all day long but it doesn’t mean that the vehicle is going to perform better because
it lacks back pressure now. The loss of that back pressure will go ahead and hurt low end
performance so the torque and the acceleration of the vehicle will then lag and you will
find that the vehicle then got slower, doesn’t mean it isn’t making more power, this just
means it’s not producing the power where it needs to be produced in that engine combination.
Therefore, you may find the h pipe may be more beneficial you may also come to find
that neither of these is right choice for your engine application because it really
doesn’t require it, it’s not going to benefit from either of these changes and you
may be better just going with a standard exhaust system in the end. If you have any more questions
on exhaust components just leave us a question in the comment area.

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

  1. hi, i have a monte carlo with a 400sbc with cam, aftermarket heads, headers, and a ram air setup….would either x or h pipe be beneficial to my car?

  2. i just installed a flowmaster outlaw axleback on my 2015 mustang v6 and im getting some drone. some people suggested swapping the resonator with an h-pipe what do you think? will that cure the drone a little? i want an x pipe though but im afraid it will increase drone what do you think?
    at the same time i want a loud throaty sound with an increase in horsepower and torque but i want to get rid of the drone at the same time

  3. i have a 2004 4.7L ram 1500. Im looking for more low end torque but not necessarily at the cost of the top end. Assuming i have for either, which would be the better choice, x or h pipe?

  4. i have a 86 5.0 mustang. Ceramic longtube headers and and CAI are the only mods i have. Would an x pipe or H pipe be more beneficial to my car? Im not planning on doing anything more than that. I might go as far as a computer tune though. Thank you.

  5. I have a 69 Mustang with a D9 351W block that's been bored and stroked to 398cid. Holley 750 DP carb, Edelbrock Performer intake, C9 Ford 351 heads (ported/polished) with roller rockers, Oversized valves, Comp Cams XE262-H grind cam. FMX transmission with shift kit and 1900-2300 rpm stall converter. NIckel Plated full length Hedman "hedders". Car is in Denver, so 5280' altitude. I want to be able to have a conversation in the car without raising my voice, but I want to be able to "announce" my presence at a stoplight or car show. Plus, I don't like the raspy european sound. What would be the best exhaust for that situation and still keep as much performance as I can. Speak softly but carry a big stick.

  6. dude you were right up until you said back pressure.

    it's not because of lack of back pressure it's because your piping is too large for your target power band.. once you go too large you aren't generating enough exhaust to fill the pipes with each pulse to generate enough suction effect when the exhaust wave leaves.

    scavenging is filling the pipes up and getting the exhaust pulsations close enough that the low pressure area created by one pulse helps suck the new pulse out when the valve opens. every system will have a sweet spot that they run at. and you xan feel it while driving. The larger your system the higher your engine has to rev and the higher your exhaust flow must be for the scavenging effect to be beneficial.

    it has nothing to do with back pressure back pressure is always bad for a 4stroke engine. The only engines where back pressure matters are 2 stroke because it helps create the vacuum needed to pump the fuel and it helps increase the compression pressure.

    come on dude. I know y'all are trying to explain it in simple terms but don't get tempted to to use terms like back pressure.

    stick to the facts

  7. I've personally found that the x-pipe is good when you want to quiet the exhaust down a lil bit, but the H-pipe adds more sound and definitely more "boom" in the exhaust note. Love both, but I prefer the H-pipe if you're running stock exhaust manifolds, X-pipe for long tube headers.

  8. 2015 RAM 1500 5.7 Hemi…If I swap out the Y for an X and run true duals, I wanted to install one muffler to save time and $. Mufflers I've seen that are 2in 2out have an X pipe inside of them. Is there any downfall to having 2 X pipes in one system, or would I be better off with 2 separate mufflers?

  9. What is your opinion on divorced exhaust on a v8. Ive been running with a divorced exhaust on my 01 mustang 4.6 for over a year and its put down nice numbers with a blower. I basicly just blocked off the H pipe.

  10. I've got an 07 ram hemi and I want to put a dumped true dual system in it with Dynomax mini bullets and shorty headers. I've heard ram hemis that have a nice crackle to the exhaust when the rpms come down after a decent rev. Will the X pipe give me what I'm looking for? Where should I place the X pipe? It'll be impossible to get the X at an equal distance to each collector, will that affect sound or performance? Any advice or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

  11. i have a 97 crown vic with a 4.6 and i installed a knock off flow master 10 series muffler i has single exhaust and four cats what can i do you get better preformance in my exhaust and more sound because it have a great sound its just very quiet and i heard these cars react greatly to duals

  12. how are you I have a 2015 Dodge Durango limited v6 that I'm customizing and so far I've done a 2.5 inch Rocky road outfitters lift kit and control arms,spider trax Wheels spacers, bfgoodrich ko2, custom light bar brackets, Auxbeam 50 inch curved light bar ,RGB color shifting LEDs,and now I'm looking to do a dual cat back exhaust system and wanted to do it right now I have a single exhaust system now but want to do a dual but don't want any codes to show up and wanted to know if you can help me out with this

  13. quick question: I have an 03 silverado with a 4.8. as you know they lack low end torque. I have true dual exhaust installed and originally had an h-pipe with some flowmasters. I recently switched to an X-pipe with qtp cutouts. Was this the right thing to do? also, would I benefit more from short headers to get more low end torque? I have a cold air intake, electric fan, and Bulldog tuner installed.

  14. I have a 2004 Silverado with a stock 6.0 just ordered some long tube headers and a 2 in 2 out borla pro xs. should I do h pipe or y pipe before or after the borla or just keep it true dual? I want performance.

  15. i switched from an X to H pipe on my goat and couldnt be happier. the X pipe made it sound like a rice burner

  16. my 2002 f150 4.6 has true duals, with a 2 in/2 out magnaflow muffler. should i install an X pipe closer to the engine as well?

  17. Hey guys, appreciate you sharing your expertise! My question to you is this. I have a 1700 parallel twin motorcycle. It currently has a H pipe CAT but I've seen folks drop the cat and simply add a straight through connector instead…ultimately creating be somewhat of a straight pipe (slight elbow bend). What are your thoughts on this?

  18. what about just straight dual exhaust, as in 2 separate exhausts total….one for each side? ive ran my 302 with just straight headers attached to 2 1/2 inch on each side independently with no mufflers or cats. this is a 1970 maverick. thoughts?

  19. I find the whole backpressure theory contradictory. First he says that good scavenging promotes power through removing the spent gases so they can't dilute the fresh air/fuel mix which is true. Later he states that you need some backpressure in the exhaust which was slow the exhaust down and do the complete opposite. If backpressure was beneficial we'd all go out and plug up our exhaust pipes.

  20. I have a 540 ci BBC, (dyno'ed 701 HP with 690 ft lb torque) aluminum heads, roller cam, FAST XFI multipoint fuel injection with 2" primary stainless steel Hooker Comp Headers flowing into 3" stainless Flowmaster stainless exhaust w/Super 40 mufflers and a "H" pipe… would the "X" pipe have been a better choice???

  21. Do cars in minnesota need resonators? I want to put an x pipe in place of the big ass resonator on my cadillac sts v8. Thank you

  22. how wide will The Cross pipe be in your H Pipe Kit? I had my Duals on my C10 Spread out to be just inside the frame so it did not get in the way of my Emergency Brake Cables Over the Axle Exit under the Rear Bumper straight out the back on either side One Piece Driveshaft
    Vehicle is A 1964 Fleet side Short Bed 87/95 350 250HP Version with mechanical Fuel Pump Stock heads stock roller cam 2 1/2 Rams Horns 600 Edelbrock 4 barrel and A dual plane intake 700R4 Trans And An Fully Upgraded Eaton TRU TRAC 12 BOLT With 3.73 Gears Its A cruiser but it will now at least smoke/Chirp the tires big time with the New Rear End what a difference! Everyone tells me under 300 horse all you need is an H not An X The Cabin noise is what I want to eliminate as much as possible I have sound deadened and all that I bought the Jones with the Rock Wool inside them /Magnaflow knockoffs the largest one from your catalog 2 1/4 pipes Its pretty smooth already but does not sound balanced slightly louder on one side VS the other JUST A BIT
    THANK YOU!

  23. I am debating on a tru x pipe on my 2015 zl1 I didn't realize it has a h pipe stock. also have JLT big air cai. gonna be installing Kooks Signature stepped LTs with Catless mids.

  24. i have a 5.3 silverado 2001. i want more acceleration with lower rpms. for better gas mileage, since i don't race it or anything. i'm more inclined on the h-pipe. what do you guys suggest?

  25. El camino SS396 -1970 ~375 HP, hotter cam.

    X or H pipe ? 2,5" or 3"?
    as of now its too loud and its sounds like big empty can.
    i want it more quiet and that dark rumble sound.

  26. Back pressure?? Your getting the whole back pressure theory wrong. Back pressure is always bad… it's probably called negative pressure. You know, the whole scavenging idea is based off of the negative vacuum that's caused by exhaust gases escaping out the exhaust pipes…
    How can someone who sells auto performance party's get this so wrong… back pressure and how it's explained here is a myth!..

  27. Had a H pipe on my mostly stock 88 Mustang GT. Don't know what power increases. But it was a custom exhaust with no cats and basically 2 glass packs. Sound was amazing. Sure miss that car.
    I'll be putting H pipes on my Grand Marquis after I'm done rebuilding the 351W under the hood

  28. Summit you spoke of back pressure and compression ratio. I have 2015 Silverado w/5.3L 4×4. Looking to add long tube headers. Would you reccomend x pipe or h pipe? I mainly am a daily driver but pull my boat on the weekend. Would shorty headers be more beneficial? Sorry that's a few questions?

  29. I have a 3.6 liter v6 dodge challenger with flowmaster super 40's on it and iwas wondering if an x pipe would be a good idea please help me out.

  30. I got a off road bbk h pipe on my 88 gt with super 10 singles chambers it's real gutless at low rpm you think if I put some 2 chambers on will I get some power back ?

  31. What would you recommend for a stock 2016 Tundra 5.7, I also plan a cold air intake soon, either K&N or TRD ? I'm not looking to go further with modifications other than letting it breath in and out,  do you sell Hi Flow cat's, mufflers,  and a complete dual exhaust system for this truck ? I'm looking for recommendations from knowledgeable people with experience with this vehicle ?

  32. Engine masters says you are very wrong about "back pressure" there is no benefit to it, if nothing else it hurts performance.

  33. Great video …. would de-catting the system improve performance? And while we are at it would a hybrid result in a "bedt of both ends?" or would an H Pipe combined with an X-Pipe cause interference so to speak?

  34. Thanks for all of the great advice that you provide. I have a 2016 Mustang GT…. X pipe or H pipe? 2.5" or 3" exhaust? MBRP, good price but is a 3" catback H pipe my best choice for performance/budget friendly. May add a supercharger, trying to keep warranty also. Is the roush supercharger my best choice for price to performance value?
    Only thing I bought so far was a pedalmax, I haven't installed it yet. Is it ok to use it with a supercharger?

    Thanks, I'd appreciate any and all advice!

  35. HI everyone, what do you recommend for exhaust on my 97 Trans AM WS6, it's the six speed and totally stock. 66k miles

  36. Okay I’m sure most want to know sound difference.. .. this is from what I know x pipe is loud when you step on the gas but not so loud when it idles. And H pipe is loud on idle but not as loud when you step on the gas. AGAIN this is from what I know if I’m wrong notify me

  37. Quick question, with regards to sound. I'm looking for a more deep throaty sound, which pipe set up will be more beneficial for me to obtain the deep throaty big cam sound I'm looking to enhance. X- pipe or the H-pipe? thank you.

  38. In a turbo application wouldn’t “back pressure” slow the compressor? Isnt the goal of a high performance exhaust system to allow the engine to breathe more freely? Back pressure is essentially turbulence, even an hvac tech would tell you that’s moronic, sounds like a justification for the need for emission systems. As far as “scavenging” goes I’ve eliminated my EGR system and my engine runs cleaner and most importantly, COOLER.

  39. @summit racing Does adding an x pipe affect how an exhaust sounds? Thinking of adding a flow master american thunder axel back exhaust to my 2012 v6 camaro. Wondering if it would make it louder or quieter or help out with drone if needed

  40. Back pressure is B.S.! If you can understand how VTEC and VCT works you will understand why back pressure is a completely useless thing.

  41. H and X pipes tend to only make a difference on fuel injected engines with dish pistons that lack in cylinder pressure. A high compression carburetor engine tends to do better with open exhaust or with straight through mufflers to free up horsepower. Nothing actually generates horsepower besides the engine itself.

  42. 2:03 Do more research. There is an optimal location for the H or X pipe in the system, but transmission removal may be more important than gaining .5HP.

  43. Which would be better for my 1999 f-150 4×4 4.6 Triton? I have a cold air intake and I polished my intake manifold ports plus I’m installing long tube headers.

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