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  1. #1

    Default Are straight pipes bad for my engine?

    I'm trying to choose an exhaust system for my 1999 'Burb. I've got the 5.7, stock exhaust, and I've watched a few YouTube videos where guys have gone with straight pipes right from the catalytic converter. I like the sound, and I live in the middle of nowhere so local ordinances aren't a problem. My question is whether it hurts my engine performance at all. Input?

  2. #2


    there is no "harm" to your engine when you let it breathe with less restriction, but.....
    if you look at multiple threads across the internet, when straightpiping, there is a "minimal" loss in back pressure, and having back pressure is better suited for more low-end torque. aside from that.... everything is great about it, and even better when properly tuned...
    2000 Chevrolet Silverado

    4.3L V6, 4L60E, 2WD, Single Cab
    Airaid CAI
    Poweraid TB Spacer
    Flowmaster 10-series exhaust (dumped)
    Edge CS insight monitor
    4.10 gears
    Limited-slip differential
    LS-1 Dual Electric fans
    Corvette tranny servo swap

    Head Unit: Alpine
    Speakers: Alpine SPR-60C 6.5" component set, 4X6 Infinity Kappas
    Subs: 2-12" Kicker CVT's
    Amps: Alpine-M1000 (subs), Alpine MRX-F65 (Speakers)

    305/70R16 NITTO Terra Grapplers
    16" PROCOMP 7089's
    2" leveling kit
    3" Fabtech Spindle Lift Kit
    Front/Rear-Bilstein 5100 shocks

    35W HID Low Beams
    RECON LED smoked roof cab lights
    HELLA LED taillights and 3rd brakelight
    HELLA FF-75 Aux. Reverse Lamps
    RIGID dually D2, flush mount, wide beam
    Hawk HPS Brake pads
    Russell braided steel brake lines
    Powerstop-red powdercoated brake calipers
    Powerslot Cryo brake rotors
    EGR in-channel window visors

  3. #3


    Sadly the 1996-1999 Tahoe and Burb have no tuners available that can help with those kinds of upgrades, but if your keeping the cats that should have enough back pressure for the engine, if it isn't then there's tons of kits to add some back pressure.

    1996 Chevy Tahoe LT 5.7L V8 4X4 205,000+ miles. Built proudly at Janesville Assembly in Janesville, Wisconsin
    Basic mods: Lights all over, bunch of electrical work, and a couple cooling mods.

    Check out my other mods in My Garage:

  4. #4


    another thing to do with straight pipes is to add an X pipe (or H pipe) just to help equalize pressure.
    2004 Silverado 2500 Crew Cab 4x4, AMSOIL EA air filter, Granatelli MAF sensor, Throttle body spacer, Magnaflow exhaust (true dual to 2 in 1 out muffler), 6" ProComp lift (add a leaf and 5" superlift rear block), Bilstein shocks, 35's (Cooper Disoverer ST) and 4.10 gears, Rhino Liner, EGRUSA fender Flares and widow visors, extended stainless steel brake lines, firestone airbags w/onboard air compressor, Pioneer Avic X940BT navigation, Accel backup camera.
    1960 Land Rover Series II 88
    2001 Pontiac Sunfire
    2013 Toyota Avalon Limited (Wife's Car)
    NRA Life Member

  5. #5
    Jr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Amberg, WI


    Downsize the pipe by one size. I owned a 83 K5 Blazer with a transplanted 454. I had no cat and was straight piped from headers to 3" sidepipes. Sounded great but my low end torque suffered. Going to a 2 1/2" rear exit with an equalizer pipe helped greatly and still sounded good. For torque (seat of your pants feel) you must have more back pressure than the cat.

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