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Review: Angus AP-X Catback Exhaust System

Joined
14 April 2010
Messages
52
Location
SF Bay Area
Let me preface this review by saying that I am new to this scene, having very recently left the world of P-cars behind. The NSX is new to me and I have wanted one ever since 1990.

The previous owner had installed Comptech headers with the factory catalytic converters and stock cat-back. This is a fine setup if a bit quiet. I found myself wanting something with a bit more bark so I began my search in earnest shortly after acquiring the car. My criteria were few. The exhaust had to be: not raspy, lighter than the stock system (hardly difficult), be made of all stainless steel and it had to have dual round tips. Quad tips would have been a deal breaker for me.

After shopping around extensively for both used and new cat-backs I came across Wil’s AP-X exhaust here on Prime. I had a look and a listen and went away very impressed! The hand-made modular configuration featuring the unique x-pipe with v-band clamp and dual muffler setup had me sold. The light weight, all stainless steel construction with double walled tips certainly didn’t hurt. This was the one. Although the cost is more than some of the other mass-made offerings ultimately I felt it was reasonable all points considered.

Wil was very easy to deal with and responded to my questions within 1 or 2 business days. Although there was a delay in shipping, he was great at communicating what was happening. Once the system finally shipped it showed up on my doorstep in two days. Amazing! Upon unpacking the AP-X exhaust you will immediately notice the attention to detail and care that went into packaging it. There are cardboard reinforcements in strategic places and the mufflers are carefully nestled in high density foam blocks. Very nice!

It was my first time taking off the stock exhaust on the NSX and it took me about 1 hour. I pre-soaked the six bolts on the cat flanges with PB blaster and was able to crack them with little difficulty using my breaker bar. There are a couple of bolts that are tough to get to so extensions (wobble and fixed) helped. As many of you know a standard size ratchet won’t cut it. For those working alone be sure to have something handy to hold one end of the lowered exhaust as you lower the opposite end from the car for final removal. My stock Honda cat-back with the early style oval tips measured in at 44.2 pounds…certainly no lightweight.

Installation of the AP-X unit took about 20 minutes or so and this was only because I was taking my time. I feel it this can easily be installed in 10 minutes. The flanges for the two cat outlets lined up perfectly, no mess, no fuss, just a precision fit. The V-Band clamp went on without a hitch and the muffler hangers fit right into the rubber doughnuts without struggle.

Despite an easy install I did spend a considerable amount of time aligning the tips as perfectly as possible... measuring, eyeballing, adjusting, repeating over and over again. The modular nature of this exhaust enables these fine adjustments so you can fine-tune it to no end to get it exactly where you want it. If you are not picky it is a 5-10 minute affair to line everything up. For those of us who are a bit on the obsessive side…well, this can certainly give you hours of “pleasure” if you are so inclined.

When tightening the muffler clamps I, at first, used a large breaker bar which is not ideal. I found that they came loose after a couple of heat cycles. Deep sockets are a must as the length of the clamp’s stud prohibits you from using standard ones. Having used a similar clamp on a my previous car I knew that they needed to be torqued down well or else condensation would leak out at startup…not a huge deal but mildly annoying. Sure enough on initial startup I had condensation leak out between one of the muffler/x-pipe joints. This was despite torqueing the clamps to what surely was well in excess of 100+ lb-feet.

I have since purchased a high-torque electric impact wrench to tighten these suckers and it worked great. I was able to realign everything with relative ease and the impact wrench was able to get the clamps far tighter than my breaker bar. I purchased it for $39.99 at Harbor Freight and a set of deep impact sockets set me back another $19.99. I didn’t know these were available so cheaply, but it has received stellar reviews and works as promised.

A couple of prime users have mentioned that their left (driver’s side) tip sticks out further past the bumper when compared to the passenger side and apparently this is common with many of the other aftermarket exhausts. This was also my experience even though, as others stated, the factory cat-back aligns perfect. The exhaust hangers are extremely strong, but I was able to bend one with a pry bar and with some further adjusting got it close to 100% Most will probably not notice it and even fewer will actually care.

I studied the sound out of various exhausts for these cars and was pretty amazed at the differences between them all. They most certainly sound quite a bit different, contrary to my P-Car experiences where everything had the same voice. In the end I kept coming back to Wil’s exhaust, primarily because of the sound. A video is one thing, but hearing it in person is different. I was unable to hear this system in-person before I bought it, but knew that if it sounded even half a good as the videos I would be happy. Sure enough this baby does indeed sing a pretty song and as expected it is even better live and in person. It is louder than I thought it would be, but never feels irritating. I am running Comptech headers which no doubt contributes to the volume increase. The factory cats, as stated above, are installed in between the two. I would not want it any louder.

Things really quiet down at low and partial throttle, but is still obvious that you aren’t running the stock cat-back. You get a nice deep burble at startup with the pitch rising in tandem along with the engine speed. Once warmed up things get quiet and subdued with that distinct rumble behind and beneath. Give it some gas and it starts to wail as the air begins moving. Above 5k and it is difficult to hear the radio or your passenger talk as it snarls something fierce. Above 6.5k it absolutely screams. Another Prime member is running this exhaust with headers and test pipes and my thoughts are that this is a bit more quiet at the upper RPM’s as would be expected. Of course it is difficult to tell without actually hearing it in person. I have not had any issues with droning, but to be fair I don’t have many miles on it yet and haven't been listening for it.

In trying to be as unbiased as possible when I say that I feel that this is one of the nicest 6 cylinder exhaust notes I have heard on any car. Wil has designed a beautiful hand-built exhaust with great attention to detail and some unique features. I would buy this exhaust again and would absolutely recommend this system to anyone with an NSX.

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Enjoy

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Sounds and looks beautiful. Really nice product. There certainly looks like there would be planty of adjustment room to accomdate any NSx and give a perfectly aligned installation.

For me personally the only thing I see is that I am not nuts about, is the tips with the pipe within a pipe look from the rear.

Beautiful looking construction and fabrication.
 
Nice review. I am finding that I may want a different sound now the the car is running the CTSC, but I'm still reeling from the purchase and installation of the blower!

Anyone have one installed on an FI car?
 
For me personally the only thing I see is that I am not nuts about, is the tips with the pipe within a pipe look from the rear.

We actually agree on something. That is what is holding me up from ordering this thing. I hate to say this, but it makes it look a little cheap when it is obviously a high quality product.
 
We actually agree on something. That is what is holding me up from ordering this thing. I hate to say this, but it makes it look a little cheap when it is obviously a high quality product.

Good news for those who want a single wall tip , I can now provide them , looks the same but without the inner wall .
 
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the only thing I see is that I am not nuts about, is the tips with the pipe within a pipe look from the rear

Being new to mid-engines I did not think about just how hot the exhaust runs on these cars, no doubt because the length of exhaust piping between the cylinder head and tip is so short compared to front engined cars.

One thing I really like about this exhaust is the functionality of the double walled tips in that an air gap exists to dissipate heat. I'm no expert in thermodynamics but this design should allow the outer pipe to run cooler thereby preventing discoloration (blueing) of the tips and preserving the finish.
 
We actually agree on something. That is what is holding me up from ordering this thing. I hate to say this, but it makes it look a little cheap when it is obviously a high quality product.

Hmmmm. It theems I am off your ignore list.
20071214-daffy-duck-sm.jpg

Muhhwwaaaaahah hah.

Here we go again...
Wabbit season!
Duck season!
Wabbit season!
Duck season!

BTW OP. I think blue tips look good. Some charge extra for it.
 
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Sounds and looks beautiful. Really nice product. There certainly looks like there would be planty of adjustment room to accomdate any NSx and give a perfectly aligned installation.

For me personally the only thing I see is that I am not nuts about, is the tips with the pipe within a pipe look from the rear. I personally like the angled rolled tips like a comptech style but with the burnt titanium look.

Beautiful looking construction and fabrication.

I also don't like the pipe inside the pipe look either.

BTW-In the last picture from the original post the gap on the right side seems to be off centered? Does that look like its off center to anyone else?
 
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I also don't like the pipe inside the pipe look either.

BTW-In the last picture from the original post the gap on the right side seems to be off centered? Does that look like its off center to anyone else?

The alignment of the tips is completely adjustable so if it is off center it can very easily corrected, as far as the tips are concerned, I am now offering a few options - one solution for those who have the double walled tips is to simply cut the inner tubing out with a dremel.
 
In the last picture from the original post the gap on the right side seems to be off centered? Does that look like its off center to anyone else?

The tips are centered.

If you look closely you will see that the angle of this photo is not straight, rather the camera was biased toward the driver's side when this shot was taken. Notice the position of the hatch glass through the gap between the trunk lid/wing for reference.

With an impact wrench it is literally a matter of minutes to make adjustments to the tips, assuming you have enough clearance from below, i.e. car is elevated.
 
In photo 9 the nuts to tighten the muffler clamps are horizontally oriented. This picture was taken during my initial install using a breaker bar.

They have since been moved to a vertical orientation in order to obtain the clearance needed to tighten the nuts using an impact wrench.
 
Nice review. I am finding that I may want a different sound now the the car is running the CTSC, but I'm still reeling from the purchase and installation of the blower!

Anyone have one installed on an FI car?

This is an SOS S/C car:

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Thanks for the FI vids. I had a chance to see and hear Torafugu's exhaust in person yesterday. It's a great unit. The welds are artwork and the sound is wonderful.

Nice job Wil.
 
Is this still being sold? If so, where can it be bought?
 
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