Infusing your ride with extra power, fuel economy and sound is as simple as bolting on a performance exhaust system. Not surprisingly, new technologies and refinements to exhausts have made something as simple as tubing as obsolete as the floppy disk. By managing exhaust CFMs, scavenging effects and velocity, exhaust pipes squeeze every bit of flow from modern systems. An X-Pipe and an H-Pipe are two exhaust components that serve the same purpose, while operating on very different principles.
An X-Pipe or and exhaust H-Pipe are at the heart of a performance system and bolted in the center of the car. Also known as a crossover pipe, each system works by balancing the exhaust pulses from either side—or cylinder bank of a V-style engine. The result is a smooth exhaust flow and a more efficient engine. But what’s the difference between the two?
An X-Pipe is, you guessed it, shaped like an x, and allows the exhaust to flow down the path of least resistance. At lower revs, turbulence is formed as exhaust gases try to shuffle past a second column of gases coming from the other side. While always producing more power than the restrictive factory system, the potential gains are not seen until higher rpms are reached. This is where an X-Pipe stands apart from the rest. Exhaust gas is pushed out harder as the engine spins faster. The X-Pipe merges this chaos into two uniform streams, allowing a smooth flow from engine headers to exhaust tips.
Both streams keep each other up to speed, which draws even more spent exhaust out the cylinders. Magnaflow X-Pipes provide a boost in horsepower and a higher tone akin to an exotic car.
An H-Pipe is also shaped like its namesake and relies on exhaust expansion to balance the cylinder banks. A small section of tubing in between the main pipes provides an area for gases to expand into during exhaust pulses. Only a small amount of exhaust flows from one stream to the other as both sides push back and forth in the center section. Flowmaster H-Pipes feature low restriction, so gains in performance are noticed from low rpm and give the exhaust a deeper, muscle car-like tone.
While both X and H pipes serve the same purpose, they use different methods to build power and economy, all while providing a distinctive sound. Think of an X-Pipe as being at home in a high-winding modern V6 or V8 while an H-Pipe conjures memories of tire-shredding torque in classic American iron.
Which Pipe is Best for You?
If wrapping your head around all of this info is a little exhausting and you have questions on which system is the best, check out our exhaust reviews at the bottom of the page. Or, feel free to leave a comment.