camaro downpipe

The Rise to Power – Downpipe R&D, Part 1: Stock Review

I think we can all agree that the past couple weeks have been quite eventful here in the United States.

Regardless of which political candidate you supported, it’s time to move on and unify now that our election has concluded. Whether or not we’re happy about the outcome, we – as a society – need to be working together now. But certain Facebook friends can’t seem to figure that out. You all know the one(s). Regardless of their political allegiances, they flood our news feeds with statuses high in pressure and often full of hot air. It’s utterly exhausting – if only there were some way to get these people to pipe down.

The Camaro downpipe connects to the back side of the turbo.
The Camaro downpipe connects to the back side of the turbo.

Well here’s an unpopular opinion for you… let’s find a good, level-headed automotive engineer and elect him or her as the next president! Because if our goal is to exhaust the high pressure and hot air out of our system, they’ve already got that figured out – it’s called a downpipe, ladies and gentlemen, and there’s one in your 2016 Camaro 2.0T. But, like any other “policy”, there’s always room for improvement.

So, in the name of patriotism and unity, Mishimoto has begun R&D on a performance 2016+ 2.0T Camaro downpipe.

Becoming Stronger Together by Learning About Downpipes

Now what is a downpipe? The answer to this question, like many questions in politics, depends on whom you ask. You see, casual terms like “downpipe” tend to vary a bit among different segments of car culture. Sometimes, you’ll come across a forum dispute debating the proper usages of terms like “downpipe”, “test pipes”, or “mid-pipe”, to name a few. All three (and more) are sometimes conflated to mean the same thing, and this can make things a little unclear to the untrained observer. And you thought the talking heads on the news channels were bad – these forum experts put them to shame!

The stock Camaro downpipe from the driver's side perspective.
The stock Camaro downpipe from the driver’s side perspective.

Generally, though, the downpipe is considered to be the segment of the exhaust system that connects to the turbo at one end, and at the other end to the rest of the exhaust. This is what we are referring to when we talk about the downpipe in the context of our Camaro exhaust, so we’re going to stick to that definition. Fact check that!

The stock Camaro downpipe, viewed from the front quarter.
The stock Camaro downpipe, viewed from the front quarter.

Green Party: All About Cats

The downpipe is a common location for a catalytic converter – a chamber that converts some of the more damaging pollutants in the exhaust into less harmful by-products by exposing the exhaust to catalysts commonly made from precious metals. The metals facilitate a chemical reaction that limits specific types of pollutants in the exhaust.

This often comes at the expense of performance, as the converter needs to maximize the surface area with which the exhaust comes into contact. This, in turn, maximizes catalyzation, but the flipside is that the exhaust flow is inhibited by the friction and circuitousness of the design.

The top of the cat in the stock Camaro downpipe.
The top of the cat in the stock Camaro downpipe.

There are often O2 sensors mounted in-line either before or after the “cat” to help the ECU determine whether the converter is properly doing its job. In the case of the Camaro downpipe, there are two O2 sensors: one just after the turbo, and another at the cat.

Here, you can see the O2 sensor in the cat.
Here, you can see the O2 sensor in the cat.

These systems work together largely for emissions purposes, and as you can imagine, removing these inhibitors from the car’s exhaust path can often lead to significant benefits in performance.

Making America Fast Again

In the case of our 2.0T, the Camaro downpipe connects to the turbo with a bell-mouth flange. The pipe incorporates one large catalytic converter and monitors said cat with a single O2 sensor. Our stock pipe uses tubing that’s 3.15 inches in diameter before the cat, and necks down to 2.5 inches after. We will most likely be enlarging this diameter to allow for a more freely-flowing system, and we will likely experiment with multiple options in that regard to see what nets us the most power.

The flange where the downpipe meets the rest of the Camaro exhaust.
The flange where the downpipe meets the rest of the Camaro exhaust.

For you ATS guys out there, this downpipe should be pretty similar to what you might find in your Caddy. From what we’ve see so far, it looks like any changes that need to be made will mostly be limited to bracketry. More on that soon!

Coming Next Election Term…

Thanks for joining me, everyone. Today we reviewed more broadly how a downpipe works, and we also took a look at the specifics of our Camaro downpipe. Coming up next, we’ll talk about some of our plans for this integral piece of the Camaro exhaust, and I’ll even have some 3D models to show you – and this is where I break away from the political allegory, because unlike that of a politician, this is not an empty promise!

Thanks again,


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