A Look at 3 Benefits of Top-Mounted Exhaust If You’re Interested in Auto Technician Courses

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On most cars, the exhaust pipes come out the rear, usually just underneath the bumper. Top-mounted exhaust is completely different. With a top-mounted exhaust system the vehicle’s exhaust pipe is located on top of the vehicle towards the rear. While top-mounted exhausts are rare, you’ll occasionally see them on supercars and sports cars, most notably in recent years on the McLaren 600LT and the Porsche 918 Spyder.

Top-mounted exhaust pipes look incredibly cool and sound great. However, there are a number of performance benefits that they also boast. In fact, top-mounted exhaust is an impressive piece of vehicle engineering. Let’s take a look at what makes top-mounted exhaust so great.

1. Top-Mounted Exhaust Requires Less Piping, Which Reduces Overall Weight

Exhaust pipes on top of the vehicle are closer to the engine than conventional rear-exit exhaust pipes are. That means there is less need for piping, which reduces the overall weight of the vehicle. The Porsche 918 Spyder’s entire exhaust system, for example, weighs just 64 lbs. In the McLaren 600LT, the top-mounted exhaust helped reduce the overall vehicle weight by 18 lbs. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, when you’re trying to build a high performance sports car, trimming weight wherever you can is necessary in order to achieve even greater speeds.

2. Students in Auto Technician Courses Will Appreciate the Improvement in Back-Pressure

The less piping there is, the less back-pressure there is as well. You may have heard the term back-pressure before if you’re an automotive enthusiast or considering auto technician courses. Without getting too technical, back-pressure is essentially the pressure that resists the movement of gases that travel through the exhaust system. In a nutshell, the more back-pressure there is, the less power the engine can produce. By shortening the exhaust piping, a vehicle can achieve a significant boost to its horsepower. Reduced back-pressure also creates those striking blue flames that are a feature of cars like the McLaren 600LT.

You can catch a glimpse of the McLaren 600LT’s blue-flame exhaust in this video:

3. By Moving the Exhaust Pipe to the Top, Cars Can Achieve Better Aerodynamics

Another big concern for getting the top speed out of sports cars is aerodynamics. As you may know if you’re in automotive service technician training, many sports cars boast diffusers, which are shaped sections added to the underside of vehicles to help improve airflow and reduce resistance.

Unfortunately, many components of the exhaust system, including the exhaust pipes, converter, and muffler, are usually underneath the vehicle. Their awkward shapes reduce aerodynamic performance and they get in the way of creating a more effective diffuser. By moving the exhaust pipes to the top of the car, all of these exhaust components that impede airflow and thus slow down the vehicle can likewise be moved too. As a result, the diffuser works more effectively and the car’s overall aerodynamics improve considerably.

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