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article details
Author Ryan Leecock
Categories Dyno Testing, Performance Parts, RSX, RSX Engine/Power
Create Date January 31, 2005 15:20
Last Update April 28, 2005 17:17
DC Sports Single Canister Exhaust

These days, it seems like anyone and everyone with a welder and pipe bender has an exhaust for import cars. This can make a purchasing decision tedious – What's it made of? How loud? Weight? Fitament? Cost? Luckily, there are a few companies that have a pedigree in not only Honda/Acura parts, but also testing them in race applications. Enter DC Sports whose recent merger with AEM has secured them as a powerhouse (no pun intended) in the Honda/Acura aftermarket. They've been pumping-out high-quality parts for over 10 years and with no sign of the import craze slowing down, they're sure to be around for a while longer.

The latest exhaust offering from AEM/DC Sports for the RSX Type-S is the single-canister cat-back. Their previous RSX exhaust was the TCS (Twin-Canister System) that used 2 smaller mufflers in an interesting configuration in hopes to subdue exhaust noise. Not bad in theory, but for the highest possible performance, a straight-through design with no bends or obstructions is really the only way to fly. This exhaust is just that: a 2-1/2" stainless steel exhaust with Mandrel bends and a polished muffler can. A nice feature of this exhaust compared to some others in this segment are flanges (instead of clamps) to attach the exhaust sections together, though they are mild steel instead of stainless. Even at first sight, you can tell this exhaust means business after gazing at its large 4" polished tip etched with the DC Sports logo.

The weight of this exhaust comes in around 24 lbs., which I measured to be about 4 lbs. lighter than the stock aluminized exhaust. That's not a bad weight savings, although more could certainly be shaved-off if you open your wallet and pony-up the extra funds for a more exotic exhaust made from titanium. Then again, you don't get something for nothing, either: titanium exhausts are considerably louder than their stainless counterparts. Because it is a straight-through design, the spent gases don't linger around very long to be absorbed into the muffler or resonator packing. Compared to stock, this exhaust is pretty loud and it takes some getting used to. However, it does sound mean and assertive from idle all the way to 8000 RPM and is quieter than some other exhausts I've heard. There is no raspiness -- just throaty, tuned sound from Honda's well-tuned K20A2. At full throttle, I measured an 8 dB increase in output over stock at the tip. Heavy footed romps through parking garages will trigger car alarms and it is difficult to go unnoticed even creeping along. There is the telltale drone from the driver's seat on acceleration and deceleration, not to mention while cruising at legal and super-legal highway speeds, so extended trips may make you long for the stock system's comparatively silent operation. If you decide that this exhaust's concert is too much, DC does offer an optional silencer to insert into the tip for under $30 that should quiet the note considerably. Sure, it will sap a little bit of horsepower, but it would make daily use more tolerable and it can be quickly removed for track days, drag racing, etc.


Stock vs. DC Sports Muffler

DC Sports vs. Stock Resonator

On the dyno, this exhaust seems to mimic most other comparable systems on the market. It added around 3-5 HP and about the same amount of torque in the VTEC portion of the powerband over the stock unit. To see gains higher than that, you'd need to replace the exhaust manifold and catalytic converter with larger diameter, higher flow units. Check out the video clips below to see the DC Sports vs. stock exhaust sound as heard on the dyno. Keep in mind that my DC Sports cold air intake is pretty loud and that's really the only sound heard in the stock exhaust clip.


DC Sports exhaust dyno video (320x240 WMV)

Stock exhaust dyno video (320x240 WMV)

This exhaust didn't come without some growing pains, though this could very well be due to my particular car's setup. I went to a season-ending autocross following the install and over the course of the day the exhaust developed a split in one of the welds where the tubing meets the resonator. I'm not sure if it was due to a defective part, improper fitament, or something else, but a replacement resonator section was sent out and all seems well now. On my RSX, I have the 3mm larger rear swaybar from the JDM Type-R version. It appears to follow the same path as the smaller, stock swaybar, but it is really impossible to tell without doing technical measurements of both bars. Contact with this swaybar and the stresses from the autocross could have caused the weld to crack. Before it is warmed-up, this exhaust with my swaybar will rattle against the swaybar ever so slightly when turning since the metal is contracted and there appears to be around 0.25" between the exhaust and bar. Also when cold, the larger tip contacts the rear bumper, though it doesn't seem to make any noise. Once everything warms-up, there appears to be plenty of clearance at both points. If you have an aftermarket swaybar, you may have fitament problems with this exhaust and should contact DC Sports for more information. Again, my problems could be caused by my choice of rear swaybar.


Swaybar Clearance when Cold vs. Hot

Optional Silencer

Unfortunately, making power usually necessitates making noise. This exhaust is no exception to that rule, but the power gains can make up for it and you can certainly find more obnoxious units on the market. In summary, this is a moderately loud exhaust with good build quality, good looks, competitive power gains, and an average price tag. If you're in the market for something of this caliber, I suggest you add this to your short list. If you're concerned with the sound output, be sure to take a ride with someone who has something similar or simply purchase the optional silencer -- it should make this exhaust very tolerable. As far as the tone of the sound, it will not disappoint. Without the silencer, the in-cabin noise is a bit much for my tastes since this is my daily driver, but if your tolerance level is a bit higher than mine or simply use your RSX as a toy, it should be a non-issue. This exhaust is a visual and sonic statement for any RSX-S owner interested in making more power and adding a touch of personality to their vehicle.

UPDATE (4/28/2005): I installed the DC Sports silencer into the tip of this exhaust and have been living with it for a few weeks. The silencer comes in unpainted, silver form, but I found this to be a bit odd looking. I sprayed it black with high temperature paint and think it looks much better, drawing less attention to itself. The silencer works by "corking-up" the large exhaust tip and forces the spent gases to linger in the muffler can longer as well as making them exit through a much smaller space than before. Of course, this does add some resistance at the end of the stream, so some of the horses you gained may be put back in the stable. Fear not, though, since removing (and installing) the silencer takes only a couple minutes, requiring just a 13mm socket and 13mm open-ended wrench. For me, street driving means silencer in and I remove it for anything else.

I have to say that if you are hesitant to install an exhaust due to noise concerns, this is your saving grace: this silencer is incredible. With the silencer removed, I noted in the above paragraphs that it is quite a bit louder than the stock exhaust, both inside and outside the car. Installing the silencer make it seem like this exhaust was sent to a nunnery and returned wearing a full habit: the revised sound is barely distinguishable from the stock exhaust note. Honest. The only time I can tell it's not a stock exhaust is just off idle for a brief second, and even then I have to pay close attention with the stereo off. Throw all of your reservations about a straight-through exhaust out the window and give this one a shot.


Unpainted Silencer

Painted Silencer

Unpainted Silencer

Painted Silencer

Copyright 2005, Temple of VTEC

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Subject Thread Originator Replies Last Post
  Ryan check your engine mounts!
IntegraDC5R 9
  not that loud at all....
LilChowWow 0
  for 2005...
SirHill 1
  Nice writeup Ryan.
jfunk 1
  Stock Inner Diameter vs DC Sports
precisionelite 1
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