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by: Gator Bite

Description: [pic=right]http://michael.souza.home.comcast.net/CaymanClub/speedART/IMG_2919b.jpg[/pic]You should see some of the looks I get when I tell people that I've changed the exhaust system on my two year old Porsche seven times since I bought it. I get responses like, "Isn't that under warranty?" or, "Wow... For such an expensive car you'd think they'd put a quality exhaust system in there." When I tell them that there was nothing wrong with my original system, I start to lose them. "So if there's nothing wrong with it, why did you change it?" That's when I realize that these folks simply won't understand. But you will. If you wouldn't, you probably wouldn't be here reading this review. True sports car enthusiasts understand how the right exhaust system can literally transform a car. Take a fantastic foundation like a Porsche and you transform an already great sports car into an incredibly visceral, spine tingling, hair raising super car. You find yourself rolling down your windows and turning off the stereo just so you can hear more of that beautiful flat 6 wail.... You want to learn to heel/toe downshift just because it sounds so damn cool. Ahhhh..... Welcome to chapter 3 of the Gator Bite Exhaust Test Chronicles. This time we'll be taking a close look at the Export version of the speedART Catback Exhaust System. Why I picked the speedART system:One of the most common questions I get when I test a product is why I chose it. I first became interested in this system at the 2008 Croctoberfest gathering in Atlanta. I had organized and managed the exhaust test comparison. As we were testing and recording different systems, a speedART equipped car rolled through. I couldn't help but notice that it sounded much different than any other system we tested. It had a smooth, tight sound that preserved the original Cayman voice. I'd heard of speedART before but I didn't know much about them. I knew that I wasn't alone and that the name was not well known within the Cayman community. I started to research the German made product and began to uncover many unique characteristics that piqued my interest.If you've spent any time around Porsches, the speedART System will look oddly familiar to you. It looks just like the factory exhaust systems that were installed on 986 Boxsters (1997-2004). It looks like them because it's actually made inside the same shell and with some of the same components. That's a good thing because the shell from that OE part is corrugated T-304 stainless steel. T-304 stainless is fantastic stuff that lasts a long time when used in exhaust applications (it will probably outlast the rest of the car). A corrugated shell achieves superior strength with less material, which translates to weight savings and noise/resonance control. Reduced resonation of the walls also reduces the risk of cracking welds.
The shape of the housing was made to fit a mid engine Porsche. It wraps around the transmission which makes it look a lot more at home under a 987 than most other systems. The system is essentially made up of three pieces with only two connection points between them. It connects to the factory exhaust hanger at the same points as the original system. Fewer connection points, welds and pieces translates to fewer potential problems. More complex systems will shift more with thermal expansion, they have more welds that can crack and more connection points that can leak. The simplicity of this system removes many of those potential problems. Simply put, this system is the closest thing you'll find to a stock design in the aftermarket. The stock similarities are however only skin deep. Look deeper into the system and you'll find that this exhaust system has been designed for maximum performance. The muffler is a multi chamber straight through design (2 into 1). Inside, it's very different than the original 986 muffler that used baffle plates and restrictions to quiet the engine. A straight through design is superior at higher gas velocities, presenting much less resistance which usually translates into horsepower gains. More on this later.....SpeedART is very proud of this system. There are certain design elements that they keep close to their chest, to protect their secret recipe. They did make sure that I knew that they've been fine tuning this system for years. It took them 15 design revisions to reach this point. Their goal was to create a system that produced more power than stock with a mellow refined voice that wouldn't fill cars with annoying drone or resonance. I must say, they've done a fantastic job. Fit, Finish and Installation:This system oozes quality. Everything is made of stainless steel that's been polished to a chrome like luster. Welds are smooth and clean. The exhaust flanges are thick two ply flanges. Two ply flanges resist warping during the welding process better than the more common single ply flanges. The exhaust clamping sleeves are the same clamping sleeves used by Porsche on the OE Cayman exhaust system. There's no doubt about it, this system has got to be the highest quality system available for the 987. Because of the system's genetic connection to the factory, it fits very nicely underneath a 987. It tucks up a little higher in the car than the stock system, but it still looks completely original. If a Porsche mechanic looked underneath a speedART equipped car, he might suspect the system isn't original only because of it's bright polished finish. I suspect that after 10,000 miles of all weather use it would inconspicuously blend in with the rest of the power train components.
SpeedART has given the system two round tips that I think are absolutely gorgeous. They fit right in the middle of the spectrum in regard to outer diameter, measuring in at 3.75". Their opening is nicely beveled and inside they're lined with a perforated core. This is the 4th silencing circuit in the system, displaying the typical German mindset that refuses to waste any opportunity to add function. To finish them off, they added two charcoal grey speedART logos.
For comprehensive step by step installation instructions, click the 'unhide' button below this sentence.speedART Race Exhaust Installation 1. Remove Factory/ Existing Exhaust1.1 - Remove your existing exhaust system by following the instructions in my Exhaust Removal Article. Do not remove the factory exhaust hanger.1.2 - Remove the exhaust opening trim fascia (also shown in the Exhaust Removal Article). 2. Preparing your car for installation2.1 - You will need to remove and modify the aluminum rear bumper support. It's likely that this is only necessary on the 2006-2008 Caymans. You can find this support surrounding the exhaust tip opening. As is, the support comes very close to the exhaust tips and will prevent you from being able to reach the proper height with the exhaust system and/or present a vibration hazard.To remove the support, simply remove the 5 fasteners and it comes right off.
2.2 - Once the support has been removed, mark the inner corners to remove approximately 1/4" of material at the center of the arc, extending smoothly to the vertical and horizontal edges.
2.3 - Trim the marked area off of the bracket. I used a jigsaw with a 24 tpi metal cutting blade. You could also accomplish this with a die grinder2.4 - File and/or sand the edges to make them clean and smooth.
2.4 - Reinstall the support bracket but DO NOT install the lower two fasteners (torx screws). Leaving them out will make it much easier to slip the muffler assembly into place. We'll put the lower screws in later, after we've installed the muffler.Tip - Some people don't like the idea of making permanent alterations to their cars. If you'd prefer not to modify yours, you can order a replacement bumper support (part no. 987.505.639.01) and modify it, saving your original. This part is available from Suncoast Porsche for $16.95. 3. Prepping the Parts for InstallationWhat's IncludedA - Muffler Assembly (1)B - Down Pipes (1 driver, 1 passenger)C - Clamping Sleeves (2)D - Mounting Brackets (2)E - Exhaust Gaskets (2)
Preparing these parts will make our installation go nice and easy.3.1 - Mark each down pipe (B), 1-7/8 of an inch (48 mm) from their end.
3.2 - Slip one of the clamping sleeves (C) onto the pipe until it reaches the mark and use it to trace a line all the way around the pipe. Do this to both downpipes. We'll use these lines later to make sure our clamping sleeves are properly centered.
3.3 - Make sure the clamping sleeves are loose and orient them so that you can tighten them from underneath the car. Slip them as far onto the muffler pipe as you can. Try to get the edge of the clamping sleeves flush with the edge of the input pipes.
4. Install Downpipes (B)4.1 - Slide an exhaust gaskets (E) onto each exhaust flange. 4.2 - Identify each down-pipe. The longer one goes on the right side of the vehicle, the shorter one on the left side. Slip each down-pipe onto the flange bolts and tighten the flange nuts with your fingers. Leaving a little play will help us align everything later. We'll come back to tighten these.
5. Install the Mounting Plates (D)5.1 - Identify the different mounting plates (D). They are NOT interchangeable. One will work on the right side of the muffler, one will work on the left side of the muffler (see pictures below - notice how the muffler mounting holes on the left side mounting plate are staggered). 5.2 - Attach each mounting plate to the exhaust hanger using the original bolts and lock nuts, only finger tights at this time. We'll need to be able to move everything when we're aligning the tips / system.
6. Install the Muffler Assembly (A)This is the tricky part because the muffler assembly is pretty big and it fits very snugly up under the car. I couldn't take any pictures of this because both of my hands were on the muffler.6.1 - With the muffler in both hands, rotate the assembly into place by pointing the input pipes upward and lifting the muffler straight up. The bumper fascia will need to bend rearward out of the way, but because we haven't installed the two lower support bolts, the fascia will move very easily without damage. Lift and rotate the muffler into position. 6.2 - Once you've lifted the muffler assembly into position, slip one of the clamping sleeves onto it's corresponding down-pipe until it meets the line that we made during step 3.2. Do the same for the other side. This will provide enough support for the system that you will be able to free one hand.
6.3 - While still supporting the system with one hand, use your other hand to thread each of the muffler mounting bolts through the mounting plates into the muffler mounts. Once you have all four bolts in place you can release the system and take a little break.7. Center and Align Muffler Assembly7.1 - Align the muffler both vertically and horizontally so its tips are centered and level inside the bumper opening. My system was hanging very low before this step. The mounting brackets will allow a lot of movement both vertically and horizontally. (If more movement is needed, you can loosen the exhaust hanger clamping plates.)7.2 - Once aligned and properly in place, tighten all mounting plate bolts.8. Final Assembly 8.1 - Tighten the Header Flange Nuts on each header8.2 - Tighten each clamping sleeve.8.3 - Reinstall the lower Bumper Support screws8.4 - Reinstall the bumper opening trim fascia8.5 - If you opted to remove you rear wheels, reinstall the plastic header flange covers; reinstall the wheels and lower the car.9. TestingStart the car and quickly get underneath to listen for leaks. Move your hands around the connection points to feel for leaks. If all is OK, jump in the car and take it for a ride. Listen carefully for any leaks or vibrations. Sound and Driving Impressions: When I turned the key for the first time my impression was one of surprise. Why? Because on startup the system sounds so close to stock it's almost hard to tell the difference. But listen a little closer and you can notice a slight increase to the low frequency range and a gargle that is just a little bit 'nastier' than stock. Most other systems deliver a ground pounding increase in low frequency rumble. The speedART does not. It sings a very similar song at idle as the stock system. A couple of seconds into my idle evaluation and I notice that something was missing. It's the vibration that the more aggressive systems add, probably from their increase in low frequency sound waves. Some are worse than others. The speedART delivers NONE. It's silky smooth. I jumped out of the car to check for exhaust leaks. Outside the car, once again, this is the song that the stock system sings, only a little louder and with an added edginess. Hmmm.... This is not at all what I was expecting, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.Ina (my wife) jumped into the car to blip the throttle for me. I told her to take it easy because the engine was still cold. She delivered a couple of short dips into the throttle and what I heard was very cool. The speedART delivers a very different blip than stock, but also very different from the other systems I've tested. It's edgy and rich without being deep or raspy. Its song is sung in the mid range and could likely be accurately reproduced without woofers or tweeters. It has rich mid bass and mid range sound without the harsh raspiness of the stock system or the deep boominess of the more aggressive systems. One thing is for sure: anyone considering a Borla, Remus, AWE, Tubi etc..., would not be interested in this system. But then again, I bet there are lots of people out there who have intentionally stayed on the exhaust modification sidelines to avoid the aggressive boominess that those systems deliver. If you're one of them, it may be time to reconsider your strategy. This system is very nice.After warming the system up, I took her for a little ride. 50 yards into my trip I depressed the clutch and blipped it so I could hear the echo off of our brick building. "BRrrrrrrrriiiipppppp....." It delivers a smooth exotic growl, once again, just like the stock system but with the volume kicked up a bit. I also noticed more sound in the lower mid range and less in the upper frequencies.As soon as I pulled out onto the street I dug into the throttle a little. The sound was smooth and consistent without variation throughout the rev range. I was listening very closely for 'drone' but at this time I heard none. I rowed the car through the gears and approached a slow moving pickup truck that required me to take it easy. I continued on my normal exhaust test route which presents a cool overpass that echos sound nicely and then a very steep hill that can be used to test for drone. The overpass test was awesome. The system sounds great when echoed off of other surfaces. As I approached my drone testing hill I dropped the car into 4th gear and climbed it starting from 2,000 RPM. I pressed the go pedal deeply into the floor. Does the system drone? Yes, and somewhat loudly if you really try to make it drone, but honestly I felt bad for doing that to my motor and this test hill is the absolute worst scenario you could apply to any exhaust system, including the stock. I was really dogging it and I would NEVER drive my car like this. It felt like I was going to foul a spark plug or two. I dropped to 3rd gear, lightened the load on the engine a little and the smooth stock sound came back with a hint of boom from 2,200 - 2,800. Honestly, under normal driving conditions, the drone is actually somewhat enjoyable. It sounds rich and powerful, like you're in a car that's hiding something powerful underneath, without crossing the loudness line that would make it annoying.After my hill test I continued on a twisty back road for a couple of miles. I drove normally, which for me is semi aggressive. When driven normally, the system falls into total submission and sounds stock. Ina commented from the passenger seat that people might be disappointed because it sounds so similar to stock. I explained to her that there are customers for every system and that I suspect there are many people what would like this system for this very reason.Up ahead we turned onto a state road with a speed limit of 45 mph (the road I do my drive by videos on, only coming from the other direction, down the hill). I laid into the car a little and that's when you see what you paid for. When you're asking for power, the speedART sounds very cool and very powerful. It delivers just the right amount of interior sound to accentuate the sports car experience. I slowed into the hard right (seen in my drive by videos) and laid into the throttle hard. Oh man, from 4,000 RPM up the car pulls so strongly. The sound progressively increases in volume which adds an element of uncertainty and fear. It feels like the car is going to just keep on building power until it bursts into warp speed like the Starship Enterprise. It's so cool. I pushed the car through a set of essess and then let off to slow down. Blipping the throttle for a heel-toe downshift delivers a nice audible confirmation that it's time to release the clutch. The volume is louder than stock, but totally in line and unobtrusive.The only test remaining was my 'Highway Test'. I jumped onto Route 8 North and made smiles out of the on ramp. When under hard acceleration the system sounds so nice. Once up to speed I let off and just drove. During normal highway driving the system sounds, once again, stock. I allowed the car to slow to 60 mph several times. With aggressive systems, you'll get a noticeable boom at 60 mph in 6th gear that will make you want to shift to 5th. Not with the speedART. I almost couldn't believe it so I repeated the test two more times, once even using cruise control, then dropping the hammer to the floor. Nothing. On the highway wind and tire noise overwhelms any drone that is produced at these speeds. You simply can't hear it. Drop to 3rd gear, let her rip and suddenly you're driving a bad *** sports car again.This system is so usable in the 2,000-3,000 RPM range that I suspect I'll see improved fuel efficiency over some of the other systems I've driven with. You really can apply a lot of power in this range before the sound becomes annoying. Sound Demonstration Video:
For higher quality video, click here and select 'HQ' on the video player. Power Output (Before/After Dyno Charts):For the moment of truth I chose to use the same dyno facility that I use for all of my exhaust tests. I took my car to Farnbacher Loles Motor Sport and had them strap my car to their climate controlled Dyno Dynamics sustained load dynamometer. For those that don't know, F/L is known all over the world as an expert in Porsche tuning. They developed the 400hp Cayman GTR and they run their own group of GT-3s in the American Le Man Series (ALMS).
My car is completely stock other than the installation of the speedART Race Exhaust and an opened (desnorked) intake port. I'm running a new factory air filter, stock DME flash and stock headers. There are no other performance modifications on my car. The guys at F/L know what they're doing, and their dyno is one of the most accurate available. My car was run for 5-8 runs for each test and the most consistent (not the highest) numbers were recorded. It's very important to understand this because the results that I'm about to share startled me, and they may startle you too.Farnbacher Loles believes in using corrected BHP instead of the widely used RWHP. They provide both, but they point out that it's a mistake to compare RWHP numbers because every dyno experiences a different 'loss' between BHP and RWHP. So let's get to the results.
This came as a bit of surprise to me, but not so much to Kip who has seen similar systems on his dyno. My butt dyno told me that the system pulled just like the other's I'd tested, but my brain kept telling me that power like this wasn't possible from a milder sounding system. I trust Kip and the results. I was pleasantly surprised by the robust 20.4 BHP gain. The Bad & Ugly:OK, I've said it before. Every modification brings a few drawbacks to the party and any product review that doesn't communicate them is incomplete. Please don't over react to the fact that I'm sharing this with you. I will look for drawbacks on every product I test, and sometimes I have to be very critical to find them. With that in mind, here is where I think the already excellent speedART system could be improved (in no particular order):
1. The fact that installation requires minor modification to the bumper support will worry some folks (see my installation how to, hidden above). I had no problem with the modification and I don't mind cutting a $17 part, so for me this is no big deal but I want to make potential buyers aware of it.2. This system is fantastic. It delivers less drone than any system I've experienced, but it is not totally drone free. The resonance is however VERY controllable and a very minor (if any) adjustments to driving style will eliminate it completely (this will vary with every driving style of course). The engine can be moderately loaded (~ 0-60%) in the drone range (2,200 - 2,800 RPM) before the resonance becomes loud enough to be annoying. Personally, I think the way this system controls drone is more of a strength than a drawback, but it's important for any potential buyer to understand that this system can bring some drone to the party. Interestingly, this system emits a mellow howl during deceleration, in a very narrow range (2,400-2,200). It's not terribly loud, but it's different and takes a little getting used to. It's not loud enough to make you change your driving style, it's just there. After a few weeks, you don't even notice it anymore (or at least I don't). It's important to understand that this drone is a fraction of what most other systems deliver, but it's strange in the fact that it happens off throttle. The others usually happen on throttle. 3. The last drawback sort of breaks my heart because it pertains to one of my favorite parts of the system, the tips. I love the tips. I think they're beautiful and perfectly Porsche in appearance. So what's the drawback? It's really a two part drawback. They're a single wall design. Exhaust gasses are in direct contact with the other side of the tip's outer skin, which means they get very hot. I cover my car and I have to make sure that I let the system cool down before attempting to do so. A momentary contact with a tip right after driving will instantly melt a Noah fabric car cover. That extreme heat also means that the tips will develop that gold stainless steel patina faster than double walled tips would, which brings me to part two. Because the tips are welded to the muffler housing, buffing them is not an easy task. They're nicely spaced allowing you to easily get around and in between them with a rag, so cleaning them with a good liquid metal polish is no problem. But if you melt something to a tip like I did, something that needs more than metal polish, buffing the tips will be tricky.​
If the speedART genie came to me and said, "Vee can grant you vone vish. Vhich of zeese ssree vould you like changed?" (notice the genie's German accent...;)), I'd ask him to insulate the inside of the tips. Drawbacks number 1 & 2 are really non existent to me. I believe that #3 is the biggest barrier to me labelling this system 'near perfect'. Summary:There are so many exhaust options for the Porsche 987 that they could literally spin your head. Picking the right system can be a tricky task. There are product offerings all over the volume spectrum, the price spectrum and the power spectrum. Every Porsche owner will have a different set of priorities and goals. It's important to understand those goals when picking the right system. On the aggressive side the decision is difficult because there are many good systems to choose from. On the mild side, the offerings are so limited that the decision is easier. If you're looking for a mildly aggressive system that delivers great power, high quality, nice sound and excellent value, look no further. The speedART is unique and compelling. It sounds so tight, so smooth and preserves the original Porsche voice so nicely. It falls into a quiet submission when driven easily and comes to life very nicely when the 987's power is released. It sounds great without being offensive. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this system for use on a daily driver or for someone that attends sound controlled track events. I always thought that choosing a mild sounding exhaust system meant that one had to sacrifice potential power. Likewise I believed that in order to gain maximum power you needed to sacrifice drive-ability and comfort. The speedART system has proven me wrong. This system packs a powerful punch, right up there with the best of the aggressive systems, yet it delivers that punch without yelling at you. Don't misunderstand me, under wide open throttle this thing sings a relatively loud song, but it's a nice song that politely communicates the exotic nature of the flat six engine without pushing the boundaries of acceptability.If you're looking for power, fit, quality and more of the Cayman's already beautiful voice, I strongly recommend you find a speedART equipped 987 and check it out for yourself. I am very impressed with this system, and I think you will be too.Specifications:
Model Number of Kit Tested: SA.P87.ESD.XXPrice (MSRP): $2,326 (USD)Verified Vehicle Compatibility: All Porsche 987's, 2005-2010 (served by 3 different kits)Test Vehicle Used: 2007 Porsche Cayman S, 23,000 miles, DesnorkedCountry of Origin: GermanyConstruction Material: T-304 Austenitic Stainless SteelWarranty: One year, unlimited mileage.Muffler Design: Straight Through, Multi Chamber, Single Perforated Core Glass PackTip Configuration: Dual 3.75" Round with Perforated Interior CoreDesign Style: Multi Chamber 2 into 1 into Baffled TipsWeight: ~41 lbs (18.5 kg) [7 lbs < stock]Performance Gain: Manufacturer Claim: 11 RWHP. Actual Test Results: 17.9 RWHP / 20.4 BHPInstall Time Required: ~4 hoursInstall Difficulty (1=simple, 10=difficult): 5​

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