Ford Mustang EcoBoost Downpipe Upgrades
We recently published a guide on the best 2.3 Mustang EcoBoost bolt-on mods. Downpipes were included on that list and continue to be one of our favorite turbo engine bolt-on upgrades. There are numerous advantages to upgrading the downpipe on your Mustang EcoBoost. We discussed this briefly in the previous article.
This time, however, we discuss the benefits of Mustang EcoBoost downpipes in greater detail. Additionally, we’ll compare catless and catted downpipes and discuss several of the best downpipe modifications for the 2.3L EcoBoost.
*Note – this article is only applicable to the Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost from 2015 to 2021.
What is a Mustang Downpipe?
A downpipe (DP) is the section of exhaust that connects the turbocharger to the catalytic converter. This section of the exhaust is only found on turbocharged engines.
Most turbocharged vehicles, including the Mustang’s 2.3L engine, incorporate a catalytic converter into the downpipe. Due to the fact that it bolts directly to the turbo, it creates a significant restriction. That is all that a downpipe is. It connects the turbo to the cat-back and is adorned with a cat.
Due to its proximity to the turbo, it is the most critical component of a turbo engine’s exhaust. In comparison to the remainder of the post-turbo exhaust system, a downpipe provides the most significant performance gains.
Mustang EcoBoost Downpipe Performance
The OEM EcoBoost downpipe’s catalytic converter (cat) aids in emission reduction. That it accomplishes admirably. Regrettably, cats are also extremely restrictive, impairing performance and power. Pressure drop from pre- to post-turbo affects a turbo’s spooling ability significantly.
As a result, lowering the back pressure after the turbo results in a faster spool and increased power. The absence of an exhaust after the turbocharger is, in fact, the optimal exhaust on a turbocharged engine.
That is not, however, a feasible proposal for street automobiles. This is where catless and high-flow catted downpipe upgrades can help. They will assist in reducing the back pressure of the Mustang EcoBoost 2.3L engine, thereby freeing up horsepower.
Catless vs High-Flow Catted Downpipes
Catless DPs are less restrictive because they eliminate the cat entirely from the downpipe. As a result, a catless Mustang EcoBoost downpipe produces the highest output, torque, and spool. However, catless downpipe options have a few drawbacks. With a catless DP, the 2.3 EcoBoost is unlikely to pass emissions testing. Additionally, they will add a bit more sound and smell to the system when compared to catted downpipes.
Because the difference in smell and sound is so slight, we would not be put off. Emissions are almost certainly the primary concern for the majority. In this case, you’re probably better off with a catted downpipe.
Otherwise, we strongly advise you to purchase a catless Mustang EcoBoost downpipe. Without a doubt, they provide the best value for money. High-flow DPs are frequently around twice the price and offer marginally less performance. They remain, however, an excellent option for those seeking additional power without violating emissions regulations.
Mustang EcoBoost Downpipe Pros
Several advantages of upgrading the downpipes on the 2.3 EcoBoost include the following:
- 10-20whp (5-15whp w/ cats)
- Similar torque gains
- Quicker turbo spool
- Lower back-pressure & EGT’s
- Louder exhaust
The biggest selling point of downpipe upgrades for the Ford Mustang 2.3L is almost certainly the increased power. Both catted and cat-free options will provide the aforementioned benefits. However, a catless downpipe outperforms a catted downpipe in every way. With catless downpipes, you can expect to gain between 10 and 20 wheel horsepower.
Additional gains may be possible with additional mods and tuning. Whatever the case, EcoBoost power gains with a catted downpipe will be approximately 5whp less than with a catless downpipe. Torque gains will be comparable to power gains.
Again, the decrease in pressure will aid the turbocharger in spooling faster due to the decreased back pressure. Additionally, this decrease in pressure aids in lowering exhaust gas temperatures (EGT’s). Having said that, there are undoubtedly numerous benefits to running an upgraded downpipe on a 2.3L turbo Mustang.
2.3L EcoBoost Catless DP Sounds
Exhaust and engine noises can be a touchy subject when it comes to the 2.3 Mustang EcoBoost. As a small four-cylinder engine, it lacks the classic American muscle car sound. However, a cat-free downpipe will assist in bringing out additional sounds. Individuals’ reactions to the sound are subjective.
In any case, a catless DP will undoubtedly give the Ford Mustang’s exhaust a deeper, more aggressive tone. It is most noticeable during a cold start or when applying heavy throttle. Once the engine has warmed up, the idle will sound very much like stock (assuming the rest of the EcoBoost exhaust is stock).
Additionally, the DP sounds are difficult to detect while cruising normally. The point is that they provide a slightly louder exhaust note without becoming obnoxious or intrusive.
*Continuing the theme, high-flow DP’s are noisier than stock but not as much as catless.
Ford Mustang 2.3 Upgraded Downpipe Options
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of our favorite EcoBoost downpipe upgrades for the Mustang. We’ll discuss some cat-free and cat-containing DP options. It’s critical to note that this is not an exhaustive list.
Numerous companies manufacture aftermarket EcoBoost downpipes. These are just a few of the products we believe offer the best value for money in terms of price, quality, and performance.
1) EcoBoost Corsa 3″ Catted Downpipe
Corsa is a well-known name in the exhaust industry. Quality and performance are unquestionably present. Corsa downpipes are made of stainless steel and claim to increase flow by 36%. There is, however, a catch. As a 3″ downpipe, it requires a 3″ cat-back exhaust system from an aftermarket supplier. As a result, it is not the best option for those who wish to retain the stock exhaust.
Otherwise, the Corsa 3′′ downpipe is a no-brainer. A high-quality product from a reputable manufacturer. While this does come with a slight price premium, it is comparable to the cost of the majority of Mustang EcoBoost catted downpipes.
2) Mustang EcoBoost CVF Catless Downpipe
CVF is an excellent choice for 2.3L EcoBoost owners seeking a catless DP. While it is also a 3 inch downpipe, it includes a 2.25 inch adapter for use with the stock cat-back. Additionally, they offer a 3′′ adapter for those who use an aftermarket exhaust. CVF downpipes are constructed entirely of stainless steel. Additionally, they are a popular choice due to their proven quality and performance.
Again, this is a downpipe without a cat, which may be the only disadvantage for some. Proceed with caution if you live in a state with strict emission regulations. Apart from that, the CVF Mustang EcoBoost downpipe is an excellent option. It’s difficult to beat the price, and it undoubtedly offers the best value on this list.
3) Ford Mustang BBK Catted DP
When it comes to catted downpipes, this is one of the more affordable options. The 3′′ BBK downpipe reduces to 2.25′′ for direct installation with any stock or 2.25′′ cat-back exhaust. BBK DP’s offer a slight trade-off.
To help keep these downpipes affordable, they are constructed of aluminized steel. It is slightly more prone to rusting than stainless steel. They should continue to perform admirably, particularly in states or countries where rust is less of an issue.
While we prefer the stainless steel options, the BBK downpipe is still an excellent value. It costs $499.99, which is less than the majority of catted DP options available.
Mustang EcoBoost Downpipe Upgrades Summary
Upgraded downpipes are a fantastic mod for virtually any turbocharged engine. This is particularly true for the Ford Mustang’s 2.3L EcoBoost engine. A catless downpipe provides power gains of around 10-20whp.
Expect a loss of approximately 5 horsepower when using high-flow catted DP’s. Additionally, you’ll notice a faster turbo spool and an improved overall power curve. Additionally, catless and catted downpipes will give the Mustang EcoBoost a slightly deeper, more aggressive tone.
Those looking for a catless downpipe will appreciate the CVF 3′′ catless downpipe’s low price, high quality, and performance. If you’re concerned about emissions, consider a catted downpipe. Corsa, BBK, and a slew of other manufacturers offer some excellent options. Whichever path you take, it’s difficult to go wrong with Mustang EcoBoost downpipe upgrades.
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