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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been meaning to write this post for some time. I was one of the early adopters for the 981 Fabspeed headers and 200 cell cats. For most of the time I had them, I was very pleased with them. I got tons of compliments on the sound, and I appreciated the slight bump in mid range torque. Unfortunately, the cats only lasted about 16-18 track days. Fabspeed notes on their website that their warranty won't cover sport headers if they are used on the track, but the way the upgrade is discussed in the forums, I'm not sure most folks are aware of this. I don't think this is specific to Fabspeed either. They were nice enough to take backs the cats and weld in a straight pipe at no charge, essentially turning them into race headers. If anyone is interested in the race headers, send me a PM. I'm retiring my Cayman from track duty after 35 mostly problem free days (moving to a GT3), but if I was continuing to track it there is no way I'd want to deal with the hassle of replacing the Euro cats that frequently. Since all auto manufacturers in the US must warranty catalytic converters for 8 years, I'm less concerned about burning the stock unit out. So if you're planning on tracking your car, think twice before buying something with an aftermarket catalytic converter.
 

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Wow, I did not realize that 16-18 track days would put that much more stress on the headers/cats than spirited road driving. Is it due to the constant running at high revs. ?
 

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I've burned out several cats even without track days, all depends on the quality of the cat. Every 200 cell "ebay" aka made in china cat lasted approximately 1 year in my previous cars.

Either go with a quality OEM cat or cattless unless you know the platinum ($) content of the cat. Let's put it this way, recyclers pay $140 per used OEM cat and $10 per used aftermarket cat. The precious metal content, and thus performance, of cats varies widely.

I've also failed emissions on 200 cell cats, so what's the point of them, they restrict flow and if you going to break the law in California by using one, a straight pipe is the same fine.
 

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RichM - thanks for the headsup. Question I have is: what exactly happens when the cat is burnt out. Do bits start falling out into the exhaust? Does the sound change? Or is it that you only find out when you fail emissions? Thanks
 

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but fabspeed race headers might trigger cel without ecu tune, some ppl says by adding o2 sensor spacer might void triggering a cel. have you got any cel after changing to race headers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think that tracking the car accelerates their demise. Based on what Fabspeed said, it sounds like the material inside the cat breaks down from the high temps. My repair shop warned that a blown cat can get extremely hot and potentially catch fire. You will get plenty of CEL's once the cats break down unless you go with the o2 sensor spacer, which is what I believe they put on the race headers.
 

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When I got a set of the Fabspeed race headers for the Cayman, one side of the OE cats had a neat one inch hole thru it. No CEL either but could have been taken care of by the TPC turbo ECU tuning. No discernible sound difference compared to a manifold leak whistling.
 

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I am not familiar with the ECU behavior, but does the system go open loop (uncontrolled emissions) when going all out? I could see that burning things out if you run a long time.
 

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Well IDK i think if you are going to track it a lot, you should just do straight pipe or expect the cats to die eventually. Also I read plenty that aftermarket cats fail sooner than OEM. Its the cost of having less back pressure/ increased performance. Same with tires and brakes... can't expect them to last on the track.
 

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Wow, is there a $1100 price difference between fabspeed headers with race spec vs HFCs? Thats absurd! I would definitely go with the race as well, thanks for your feedback
 

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does the Cargraphic headers more durable? Because they use 130mm cats, it is larger than Fabspeed's
The quality -- not the size -- of the cats is the key factor in durability. Cheap aftermarket cats, as mentioned by toy4two, usually last a year or so. The assumption is that Fabspeed, Cargraphics, FVD and the "quality" manufacturers of aftermarket headers are using German cats, not cheap Chinese knock-offs. That said, even the quality cats usually will not last as long as the OEM cats. But, to the OP's experience, I'm surprised (and disappointed) that Fabspeed crapped out after a year or so and less than 20 track days....
 

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RM, Other than numerous CEL warnings are there any other warning signs/symptoms of failure? Are the other quality aftermarket cats lasting equally as long with track use?

RichM - thanks for the headsup. Question I have is: what exactly happens when the cat is burnt out. Do bits start falling out into the exhaust? Does the sound change? Or is it that you only find out when you fail emissions? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
RM, Other than numerous CEL warnings are there any other warning signs/symptoms of failure? Are the other quality aftermarket cats lasting equally as long with track use?
Other than the CEL, I wouldn't have been able to tell, short of the car catching on fire! These are the only headers I've had on the car, so I can't comment on other brands. Based the Fabspeed description, these were European parts, not made in China.
 
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