What is the difference between an X-pipe and an H-pipe, and which is right for your vehicle? Better understand exhaust scavenging and how it affects your exhaust’s performance. In most cases, an X-pipe is going to work better and make more horsepower. Learn why, and also why it makes the most sense to install your exhaust crossover pipes as far upstream as possible.

Today we are going to address some questions you had about the differences between H-pipes and X-pipes. The question we most commonly get asked is (related to) what the difference between an H-pipe and an X-pipe is and which is more beneficial. Before you can understand the differences between the two, we have to understand what scavenging is?

Exhaust scavenging is an important part of any exhaust system…how it functions and how it going to affect the power that is being produced by your engine. Exhaust scavenging is when you have the pulses working for you in that engine combination to where they are creating full evacuation of the cylinder, so you don’t have new fuel and air mixing with left over burnt air and fuel and you get a more complete combustion cycle out of that engine.

So now that we know what scavenging is, our goal with both of these components is to equalize exhaust pulses so that the system scavenges the best that is possibly can. Each of these is going to do this differently. In fact, you are going to notice there has been more focus on X-pipe technology in comparison to H-pipe technology as of late. The reason for this is we have (found) with H-pipe technology, which does work, that it does equalize the pulses, but it doesn’t really help the scavenging effect so much because what happens is it will equalize it from side to side from a typical V-type engine, but it doesn’t exactly draw all the gases and force the pulses to work off of one another in the end to really improve exhaust flow.

Where in comparison an X-pipe (kind of forces) the two to converge together, and when that’s happening, those pulses are also working together not only to equalize those pulses from side to side of the engine, but to draw on each other to speed up the exhaust flow and force the exhaust out of the system. So we have concluded that in most cases, an X-pipe is almost always more beneficial than an H-pipe is.

The other question we get a lot is: where should I place the x pipe or the h pipe in the system? The reality of this is the vehicle is going to dictate this–the further upstream you can place it, the better because you want those gases to converge as soon as possible. But in reality, you may have limited space in where this item can be placed, and in some vehicles you cannot even use an X-pipe because of driveshaft interference or ground clearance interference issues.

So there are going to be a lot of things to consider before you make your decision one way or the other in what is right for your vehicle. From a pure horsepower standpoint, the X-pipe will always make more horsepower than an H-pipe will. That does not mean the X-pipe is the right choice for your vehicle application. If you have a lower performance engine, or an engine that does not have a lot of compression, you may find that you put the X-pipe on and it makes more peak horsepower all day long, but it doesn’t mean that the vehicle is going to perform better because it lacks backpressure now. The loss of that backpressure will hurt low-end performance, so the torque and the acceleration of the vehicle will then lag, and you will find that the vehicle then got slower. It doesn’t mean it isn’t making more power; this just means it’s not producing the power where it needs to be produced in that engine combination.  Therefore, you may find the H-pipe may be more beneficial.

You may also come to find that neither of these is right choice for your engine application because it really doesn’t require it. It’s not going to benefit from either of these changes, and you may be better just going with a standard exhaust system in the end. If you have any more questions on exhaust components just leave us a question in the comment area.