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Old 09-08-2018, 03:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Utah
Posts: 2,446
SOUL Performance Exhaust (Muffler) Bypass Valve

Hey y'all: A bit of a product review here, for any who are interested.

There was a thread recently started by SOUL Performance, advertising their Muffler Bypass Conversion valves. I commented in that thread that I liked the look, and was impressed with their innovation. This eventually led to me purchasing a set.
DISCLAIMER: It should be clear that my conversations with SOUL about this turned to my willingness to write an honest review of the product, in exchange for a discount of the product. Let's be super-clear here: it's not as though these were free. I still paid well North of what TWO Beluga mufflers with shipping would cost you, haha. Because I was genuinely impressed, and intrigued.

So here's my honest review. I'll continue this a little later. You'll understand why as you get to the end of this.

First things first:
I asked Mike to send me the installation instructions in advance, while I was waiting on the valves to arrive. Here are the instructions.
I read through them and it all made good sense. I'll make a couple of suggestions to them as to some minor clarifications they could make in the instructions to make them more clear. for instance, I noticed that there were no instructions for installing the actual valves, only the controller. This is fine for someone who turns a lot of wrenches. But for someone approaching this with trepidation, they could be put more at ease if there were a couple of steps for the valve-installation that made them feel confident they can do this. Those who do a lot of DIY will have no problem, but this should be an easy enough installation for even an adventurous first-timer, with just a few notes.

When the box arrived, it was so well-packed, there was no rattling, bumping inside, whatever. Once I opened it up, I realized why: they put everything in the box and then packed it with expandable foam packaging product. VERY nice. Honestly: When I'm buying a "premium product", I sort of expect it'll show up packaged nicely; this did not disappoint. Upon removing the first layer of foam I saw the valves themselves: they are exhaust porn. Really, cool stuff. They look ceramic-coated, but are not. I imagine that's because they're relying on the heat to help the function (more on that later). There was a box within with the smaller bits, and when I opened it up, it furthered the sense of "premium product". see the photos below. (Anyone who packages a small microfiber towel to clean my handprints off the car when I'm done, clearly understands marketing to "Porsche-Philes". haha)

I need to mention here that when the valves arrived, my car was disassembled for a new clutch, etc etc. I was waiting on a number of parts, and because of this, I did not install right away. I DID however, show everyone who'd look at them. I even took them to the office to show people there, who had no idea what they were looking at, haha. Another important note: I had previously installed a Beluga exhaust and Circuit-werks cat-delete mid-pipes. I sent the Beluga back for warranty (different thread). I decided that what I wanted to do was re-install the Porsche muffler (in spite of the added weight) and then combine with these valves. My hope was to get the "best of both worlds" that way; Quiet when I wanted quiet, and Nasty when I wanted Nasty.

It's quite obvious to most of us how this goes in. I've added a photo so anyone unfamiliar with their exhaust system can see the parts they replace. It's a very straightforward installation. I used a little white-lithium grease on the outside of the mid-pipes, so I could slide the large clamp all the way up the collar. This allowed me to install the valves into the muffler, then mate up to the mid-pipe, slide the clamp back down and tighten. Very simple.

Once I installed the valve, even before I installed the controls, I fired the car up... I couldn't wait to hear how they sounded. I wasn't terribly happy; they both leaked.
The Left-side is much worse then the right side, and it sounds like a "blat-blat-blat-blat". This wasn't what I was hoping for, at all. There are threaded-rods on the top, running from the vacuum-operate canister to the butterfly-valve pivot. I was hopeful that this was a mere adjustment that needed to happen. This was Labor day, and I was pretty sure I'd be waiting til Tuesday to talk with someone. But I posted on SOUL Performance's facebook page, and to my great surprise, John called me right away! John told me that this leaking was normal for the first 1000 miles, or so. The heat-cycles and mild carbon build-up serve to seat the valve, so that it seals better. I've only done about 150 miles since then, but I've noticed a couple of things: 1) when they're warm, they seal better. 2) Even cold, it's definitely improving.

So how about when they're open? Yeah...NASTY. Exactly as you'd expect. Remember that I don't have the 2nd-cat on my car, so when those valves open, it's a deep Baso-Profundo.... I'm not sure if it drones at freeway speeds or not, because I can't hear any drone over the exhaust noise....
I've been around race-cars & motorcycles all my life: this fits just fine, haha. BUT: if you're not looking for a race-car sound.... then this may not be for you.

As I mentioned above: I was hoping for the best of both worlds, using the Porsche Muffler and the SOUL Performance bypass valves. But I do, actually, miss the "pretty" / exotic sound of the Beluga muffler. I find that my personal tastes have ZERO interest in the quiet, muffled, restrictive, heavy Porsche muffler. There is NO time at which I think i want my car to be that quiet. Yet the bypass is simply too loud for neighborhood driving. So assuming the valves continue to seat-in, and eventually seal correctly, I suspect I'll pair them with the Beluga (and hope I don't have another failure like the first, which seem to be common with the Beluga).

In the meantime: there's something quite fun about having somebody in another Porsche pull-up next to me at a light, and quietly give me that "I'm a man of sophisticated tastes too" nod.... and answer him by bumping the key-fob button to bypass the muffler. Yeah: Sophistication ain't my thing. Haha.

I'll update in a couple of weeks, when we see how these valves settle-in.
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