My aftermarket headers (DC Racing) "hiss" on acceleration... What are my options? - Acura TSX Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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My aftermarket headers (DC Racing) "hiss" on acceleration... What are my options?

I got my TSX about 3 years ago, and have always heard this rattling hiss kind of sound when accelerating.

I noticed if I accelerate slowly (light on the throttle) it doesn't happen, only if I depress it at least halfway. It doesn't matter what RPM I'm at, if I accelerate slowly in 2nd gear to 6000 RPM it never hisses, but if I bog my engine by going 25 MPH in 4th or 5th gear and then step hard on the gas, it hisses (but at a much lower note).

I had my Trusted Mechanic do a smoke test for an exhaust leak, more than once, and he's not found anything...

But then the last time, he commented on how he thought it had to do with "the aftermarket headers", even though nothing was leaking.

AHA!!

I dug through some notes I got from the previous owner about what he'd modded on the car, most of which I've undone to restore to stock (lowering springs, RBC Manifold), removed the test pipe for a Magnaflow high-flow cat converted, and changed some unknown ghetto-looking air intake to the CT-E IceBox. I kept the Hondata Flashpro, though.

And there on the list, which I'd forgotten all about , was the note, "DC Headers". Which when I Googled, revealed that they commonly "hiss" due to a cheap flex pipe.

Now that I know what it is, and that I don't actually have an exhaust leak, I'm OK for the short term continuing to drive with this. Longer term, like in the next 6 months or so, I'd like to fix this, though (it's annoying).

Do I go back to a stock OEM manifold, or should I bother to try to use a different set of headers? It seems "Topspeed" headers also get hisses, CT-E ones are recommended but no longer made.

Other people have mentioned getting a better flex pipe with their DC headers and the hissing "mostly" goes away. Well, "mostly" leaves some unknown room still, doesn't it?

Just what are the performance gains from aftermarket headers, anyway? Do all of them hiss, especially given that I won't run with a test pipe?

I very much like the way my car drives, with the "DC headers", CT-E Icebox, and a Hondata Flashpro tuning. Ideally would retain the same feeling while getting rid of that acceleration hiss. But getting rid of the hiss is priority #1 as I doubt the performance change is all that much, especially with a cat converter.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 05:29 PM
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I'd look at adding the highest quality flex joint you can.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, after searching a bit more I found this old thread about fixing the DC flex pipe sound...

Per some other people's experiences there, I'm going to try installing a Vibrant Flex Pipe w/inner braid liner, 2" diameter, 6" length and hopefully that fixes this problem for me!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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I'd look at adding the highest quality flex joint you can.
One question for you though, if you are in a position to be able to answer - do you think welding in a replacement flex pipe would require an "exhaust shop", or would just any old service station mechanic be able to do it?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 10:35 AM
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One question for you though, if you are in a position to be able to answer - do you think welding in a replacement flex pipe would require an "exhaust shop", or would just any old service station mechanic be able to do it?
I don't think theres a definite answer here. Depends on the mechanic's welding abilities. I would think the price would be very moderate (I was quoted $100 to weld in a new flex pipe on mine and that includes the price of the flex joint). Best bet would pry be going to an exhaust shop where they're welding all day anyways.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 01:36 PM
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If you don't have much experience with headers and/or aftermarket exhaust, you will likely not like them.

If the stock header and flexpipe are not leaking, replacing the flexpipe will not make any difference.

It sounds like you still have the stock catback exhaust in place.
This is why you are hearing noises from the headers which is normal.

Install an aftermarket catback exhaust and your header noises will disappear!

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CalgaryTSX View Post
If you don't have much experience with headers and/or aftermarket exhaust, you will likely not like them.

If the stock header and flexpipe are not leaking, replacing the flexpipe will not make any difference.

It sounds like you still have the stock catback exhaust in place.
This is why you are hearing noises from the headers which is normal.

Install an aftermarket catback exhaust and your header noises will disappear!
OK, here's what (I think) I have:

The previous owner (from Southern NJ/Pennsylvania area) had removed the cat converter and put in a straight "test pipe", which is definitely illegal where I am in NYC; I am at least enough environmentally conscious (from being a motorcycle rider and former resident of a first floor NYC apartment) not to want to pollute the air like that, even if it were legal.

Replacing with a new OEM cat converter seemed very expensive, so I had a universal Magnaflow "high flow" cat welded in.

So what I have right now are:

These aftermarket (DC Sports) exhaust headers ...
... leading to the Magnaflow high flow catalytic converter ...
... leading to the OEM muffler and exhaust pipes

From multiple smoke tests, there is no leak in my exhaust system.

From what I thought is going on, the hissing or rushing-of-air sound I'm hearing during acceleration has to do with a less-than-ideal flex pipe that was likely used as part of the DC headers -> test pipe -> OEM cat back install the previous owner had used.

Are you saying that simply replacing the flex pipe would not be enough?

Why then should I not go to an OEM exhaust manifold instead of the DC Sports headers, as I suppose that would be cheaper and simpler than a different aftermarket set of muffler/exhaust pipes?

As I understand it, a lot of people install aftermarket cat back systems primarily to make things louder, which I definitely do NOT want to do. I just Dynamatted my doors, after all.

How much and what kind of a difference from the OEM engine's powerband response are these DC Sports headers making, anyway? Like I said, I do quite like the way my car responds now, I wouldn't necessarily want to "deaden" it just to make the noise go away, but neither would I want to install an aftermarket catback system that made the car either illegal or louder.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CalgaryTSX View Post
If you don't have much experience with headers and/or aftermarket exhaust, you will likely not like them.

If the stock header and flexpipe are not leaking, replacing the flexpipe will not make any difference.

It sounds like you still have the stock catback exhaust in place.
This is why you are hearing noises from the headers which is normal.

Install an aftermarket catback exhaust and your header noises will disappear!
These hissing noises are not normal. They're only common on cheap headers with super thin metal, subpar quality flanges, or subpar flex joints.

I still stand behind having a better flex joint welded in.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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These hissing noises are not normal. They're only common on cheap headers with super thin metal, subpar quality flanges, or subpar flex joints.

I still stand behind having a better flex joint welded in.
Well hey, it's like a $20-25 part and maybe 1/2 hour of shop labor to install, as long as I find a good place to do it, so... Verdict to follow... If it doesn't solve things to my liking, I can always swap in the OEM manifold some time down the road. The car is perfectly driveable (quite fun, actually), but passengers often comment about the sound.

Just wondered if anybody else here could share a first hand account of this issue and its fix. Without my replying to some threads that are like 10 years old

It's especially hard since I can't actually say that what I'm describing as a "hissing", "rushing", or "rattling" sound is what these other people had heard, but the word "hiss" did come as the first one to my mind, and it's a recurring complaint found by Google here and on other boards, so I'm guessing it is.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Robardin View Post
Well hey, it's like a $20-25 part and maybe 1/2 hour of shop labor to install, as long as I find a good place to do it, so... Verdict to follow... If it doesn't solve things to my liking, I can always swap in the OEM manifold some time down the road. The car is perfectly driveable (quite fun, actually), but passengers often comment about the sound.

Just wondered if anybody else here could share a first hand account of this issue and its fix. Without my replying to some threads that are like 10 years old

It's especially hard since I can't actually say that what I'm describing as a "hissing", "rushing", or "rattling" sound is what these other people had heard, but the word "hiss" did come as the first one to my mind, and it's a recurring complaint found by Google here and on other boards, so I'm guessing it is.
You could ask on one of the TSX Groups on FB, way more traffic there. The only common hissing header I hear about is the PLM due to the shitty slip joint. People who have welded the 2 pieces together have gotten rid of the hissing noise. Seems this is a similar deal.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Well, both of my questions were answered today.

I dropped my car off in the morning at my corner gas station mechanic, that I can walk to and who has been able to do most of the routine maintenance for me like brakes, oil changes, etc., with the Vibrant double braided flex pipe. Picked it up at closing time, 6pm.

The sound is gone! Engine sounds great.

But the cabin smelled of exhaust within a minute or two! The jokers couldn't be trusted with the welding. Or to test and to notice the exhaust smell.

So yeah. Anybody who finds this post archived, go with "the guys who weld exhaust parts day" option even if you have to schedule and travel and wait.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Of course it just occurred to me that maybe the noise is gone because the exhaust pressure is reduced by virtue of leaking out. Dammit. Well we'll see how they do with making this right tomorrow. Worst case I demand my money back and take it to an exhaust shop, hopefully without too long of a wait.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 01:09 AM
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You already knew what the problem was and went with a half ass mechanic who made it worse. A real exhaust shop can fix a crappy weld - what usually happens is dicknuts tack the part to the car and can't weld the top, so it leaks.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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It's fine now, I think. They claimed the burning smell was a small amount of gasket seal lubricant still on the pipe surface that hadn't been burned off before returning the car to me. Not exhaust. Which explanation passes the smell test, literally, as my first thought was that it smelled a lot like an oil leak and burning oil on a hot pipe, as has happened to me on my motorcycle, but not 100% like burning oil smelled, it had overtones of burnt rubber. I raised my eyebrows about it being standard to need to "run the engine a bit to burn off gasket lube" in this scenario, but maybe it is for a quick/sloppy job.

But yeah, next time I'll suffer the scheduling wait and need for an uber or something to get from/to a specialized exhaust shop for stuff like this. I was like, "Isn't this fairly routine work?" and all the exhaust shops also do routine maintenance stuff like oil, struts, brakes, fluids, etc., but in the end, the specialist exhaust/muffler shops must exist for a reason.
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