Choosing VE or VF Exhaust Systems
One of the first things people often say to us about their new VE or VF Holden Commodore or HSV is that the exhaust sound is quiet and that their car doesn't sound like a V8.
Their question then is "What can I do to make it sound like a V8 should?" This article aims to answer that question and help you in choosing a VE or VF Exhaust system.
Good Sounding Exhaust
We have tried many different brands of exhaust over the past 6 years with the VE range and have found that many systems can make the car loud and attract attention. But few systems sound good. This is, even more, the case with VT-VZ models. The key aspect we don't like and we don't want to provide to our customers is a droning exhaust. That is the sound you get most often at around 1600rpm under load like when you are going uphill in top gear. Sometimes it can get so bad the sound will rattle items in the car and mostly will annoy the owner. The most common drone happens when people remove the rear mufflers in an attempt to get a louder and better sound. The usual result is they achieve loudness but get bucket loads of drone. To avoid drone the exhaust system needs to be selected carefully and you won't get a nice sounding plus no drone system cheaply. Wagons are the worst for drone and great care needs to be taken in the selection of exhaust for them in particular or you will be stuck with something that cost a fair bit of money that you don't like.
Stainless Steel Exhaust
We cannot count the number of times we have heard the statement, " we don't want to get a stainless system because I have been told they sound tinny". The truth is that in the old day's stainless systems were thin and often did sound that way. But the exhaust systems we supply are made using much thicker stainless steel which gives the best sound of all. Mild steel systems tend to be lower pitched with a dull note to them that can easily be droney at low rpm high loads. The new stainless systems we use tend to be more "Beatty" in their sound and the stainless steel gives a sharper edge to the note which is pleasant to the ear. This 'beatiness' is an effect of the exhaust where individual pulses are being heard. The psychological effect of the 'beatiness' is that as long as you can hear them the sound is pleasant and not droney , but lose those beats and we don't like it and label it as drone. Good headers that are working tend to make the exhaust sound even more beattie. This is because effective headers cause the exhaust pulses to constructively interfere and add up. This is evidence of exhaust scavenging from the headers actually working to help extract exhaust gas from the engine's cylinders.
Bimodal Exhaust Systems
Some rear mufflers have valves on them to prevent exhaust gas flowing to all four tips at low loads when cruising, this can further eliminate any droney tones. Bimodal systems are standard on many of the HSV models in both the VE & VF. We have systems available that can use the factory bimodal wiring and function under the HSV dash EDI control.
On many cars even HSV LS3 we see an increase in power from a full exhaust system including headers, high flow metal cats and a performance catback of 20 rear wheel kw or more. This is on top of any gains found from a cold air intake or a tune. It is worth noting that you cannot just install a full exhaust system on any of the VE-VF models without an engine management computer calibration upgrade.
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