Exhaust System Components & Design

Types of Pipes in the Exhaust System

The Exhaust manifold is typically made of cast iron or fabricated tubing, the headers, which are connected to the engine at the exhaust ports with flange connectors, are designed to collect exhaust gases from each cylinder. These gases are then funneled into a common outlet, which connects to the next pipe or component in the exhaust system.  Headers may have additional connections for emission control components.

The Exhaust pipe carries the collected gases and vapor from the exhaust manifold or header to another component further downstream in the exhaust system.


The "Y" pipe is an exhaust pipe, which connects both exhaust headers of a "V" engine to form a single exhaust system. It may also be used to split a single exhaust system into a dual exhaust system.


The "H" pipe consists of a right and left- hand exhaust pipe, attached to a header or catalytic converter and connected by a balance pipe to form a dual exhaust system component.


Balance pipes are used in many dual exhaust systems to merge sound pulses from left-hand and right-hand sources. This helps reduce harsh exhaust sounds, equalizes muffler and tail pipe life, and can aid in improving mid-range torque output of the engine.

A "Crossover" pipe connects one exhaust header to the other, thus creating the start of a single exhaust system combining multiple exhaust outlets into one.

The Intermediate pipe connects the exhaust pipe with the muffler or the resonator, whichever is first in the system. Its purpose is to carry the gases to the muffler for silencing or to the resonator for further silencing. Not all automobiles have intermediate pipes. This component may also be referred to as an extension pipe or connecting pipe.

The Tail pipe completes the design task of an exhaust system by directing the exhaust gases out of the vehicle to a point where they cannot enter the passenger compartment. A split tail pipe may be called a front and a rear tail pipe. Generally, a tail pipe is greater than one foot in length. The tail pipe is the last "exhaust pipe" in the exhaust system. 

The tail spout serves the same purpose a the tail pipe except it is shorter in length, usually a foot or less. This component is most often found on vehicles with rear mounted mufflers.







Courtesy of Walker Exhaust