Charge Pipe Vs Downpipe-What is a Charge Pipe? [Explained]

Charge Pipe & Downpipe: The terms charge pipes and downpipes are not interchangeable. A charge pipe is a pipe that links the exhaust of an engine to a turbocharger, which improves power and torque. The exhaust from a car’s engine is directed to a muffler or tailpipe by downpipes.

Unlike downpipes, charge pipes are not utilized to alleviate backpressure inside an exhaust system. The exhaust gases from a piston engine escape at the top and flow down and toward the turbocharger inside the intake manifold.

The gases leave the cylinders and enter a plenum, which is a large chamber. A chamber was produced by the exhaust manifold. Depending on the engine’s requirements, it feeds the exhaust gases to the appropriate downpipes or charge pipes.

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Is it true that a downpipe increases the volume of your car’s exhaust?

A downpipe will increase the volume of your vehicle. The turbine wheel of the turbocharger compresses the air flowing into it with tremendous force, extracting energy that would otherwise be lost as heat.

The engine and exhaust stream must be clear of contaminants (unburned gasoline and oil), which would impair gas mileage and create clogged filters, to guarantee that the process functions well.

A hard-driven turbocharged engine near to a muffler produces an average sound level of roughly 70dbA under ordinary driving conditions.

The volume of a turbo’s downpipe is influenced by its size. Larger pipes result in more exhaust volume in the downpipe, making the turbo sound louder.

Installing a cat-back exhaust on a regular vehicle with an aftermarket turbo package will make your vehicle louder in general.

This rule does, however, have a few exceptions. If the manufacturer supplies an off-road pipe or silencer system with an externally mounted muffler (like Nissan’s Xtra-Series pipes), the combination will not be any louder than stock.

charge pipe and a downpipe
charge pipe and a downpipe


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Is having a downpipe without a cat permissible?

Yes, without a cat, a downpipe is illegal. The catalytic converter is guided around and away from the exhaust gases by a catless downpipe.

Every state in the US prohibits catless downpipes because they increase pollution and can result in more expensive repairs if the converter fails.

When a downpipe is not fitted with a catalyst, unburned hydrocarbons can pollute the air and generate smog.

Why would you choose a catless downpipe over one with a cat?

The first benefit is that a catless downpipe makes your car quieter when it is not in use. The second advantage is that having a quieter car helps you to be more covert when spying on the deer in your yard. A catless downpipe is more resilient, according to the third rationale, since it does not have a catalytic converter to clog with carbon deposits and oil from the engine.

What factors should I consider when deciding if my automobile need a downpipe or a charge pipe?

If you’re not sure if your automobile requires a downpipe or a charge pipe, listen for a change in exhaust noises. If you can hear the exhaust more clearly after changing your downpipe, it’s logical to conclude that you require a charge pipe.

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When should I get my aftermarket exhaust system installed on my vehicle?

Some people might be considering whether or not to put an aftermarket exhaust system on their vehicle. The decision will be influenced by a number of factors, including the type of vehicle you drive.

Installing an aftermarket exhaust on a car with a large engine, for instance, could be a smart idea. An aftermarket exhaust system might be an useful purchase if you reside in a city and need to move anything from time to time.

It will also depend on whether you want to boost your car’s performance, reduce noise pollution when driving around town, and so on. If you decide that an aftermarket exhaust system is necessary in your situation, be sure you get one.

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What is a turbocharge tube and how does it work?

A turbocharger, sometimes known as a turbo, seems to be a turbine-driven internal combustion device which boosts an internal – combustion engine engine’s power output by pushing more air into the combustion chamber. A rotating turbine, a compressor, and a case with the compressing mechanism make up this device. When compressed air from the compressor is combined with fuel in the cylinder, heat energy is produced.

The charge pipe of the turbocharger transfers pressured air from the turbocharger to the intake manifold. More power is produced with less throttle opening thanks to the charge pipe’s air direction assistance. They connect the turbocharger to the intake pipe system of the engine, however they aren’t always used with turbocharged cars.

A cold side charge pipe serves a specific purpose.

The function of a coolant or intake side charge pipe, often known as a cold side charge pipe, is dual. The turbo may be placed lower, which is the first advantage. Drag-inducing airflow produces less noise and drag as a result of this. It’s commonly made of metal or aluminum and insulated to keep heat out of the hot engine coolant. The second benefit is that it aids in the passage of hot exhaust gas through the turbocharger and out of the engine’s exhaust manifold, enhancing turbo efficiency and lowering hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide emissions (CO).

The cold side charge pipe is positioned on the turbocharger’s “cold” side, where colder air from outside the engine compartment helps it work more effectively by insulating it from excessive heat.

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What is the purpose of some charge pipes being constructed of plastic?

Because plastic is lighter than metal, certain charge pipes are constructed of it. As a result, they are less costly and simpler to install. Additionally, aluminum is prone to corrosion. Plastic charge pipes, on the other hand, have the advantage of being less prone to corrode and generate a slew of maintenance concerns for the car owner.

Downpipe vs. Charge Pipe

Downpipe vs. Charge Pipe
Downpipe vs. Charge Pipe

A charge pipe and downpipe are vital components of a turbocharged engine, as we’ve already discussed. Both are important in ensuring that your vehicle’s engine runs smoothly and efficiently. Each, however, has a distinct job to perform. So, what exactly are these functions? How do they increase the engine’s efficiency?

What exactly is a Charge Pipe and how does it function?

A charge pipe is a mandrel-bent tube that links a vehicle’s intercooler to its intake manifold. This tube might be made of aluminum, stainless steel, or rubber. In a perfect world, air flows from the turbocharger to the car engine’s intercooler. It then flows to the charge pipe before entering the engine through the intake valve. As a result, the turbocharged air is delivered to the engine via the charge pipe. The Blow-Off Valve (BV) or the Diverter Valve (DV) is attached to it (BOV).

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What Is a Charge Pipe, and What Is It Used For? What is a Charge Pipe and What Does It Do?

The engine in your vehicle heats up as you drive. In general, a turbocharged engine is harmed by heat. As a result, there must be a mechanism to fight it in order for the automobile to operate at optimal efficiency. The hot turbo air is cooled by an intercooler before being re-circulated to the engine.

The charge pipe is linked to the intercooler. This is how air or gasses go from the turbocharger to the intercooler. The air then passes through the charge pipe and into the engine via the intake valve. The charge pipe, in other words, guides or delivers turbo-charged air to the engine of the vehicle.

A charge pipe improves the engine’s performance by reducing turbocharged air pressure loss. In addition, the charge pipe significantly increases airflow from the turbo to the intercooler.  The turbocharger’s charge pipe transports compressed gasses to the intake manifold. It assists in airflow direction, allowing for more power to be produced with a small throttle opening. The pipe connects the turbo to the engine’s intake system.

Charge Pipes that have been installed at the factory.

Charge pipes are made of stainless steel, aluminum, or rubber, as previously described. OEM pipes, on the other hand, are made of plastic. Plastic is often lighter than metal. As a result, plastic charge pipes are less costly and easier to install than metal charge pipes. Any metal, on the other hand, is prone to rust. As a result, plastic charge pipes do not corrode, lowering vehicle maintenance costs.

However, plastic is not indestructible, and when heated, it might melt or take a long time to cool. This may reduce the engine’s capacity to operate at peak efficiency. That implies a factory-installed or stock charge pipe won’t survive long enough, limiting the smooth flow of turbo-charged gasses.

What precisely is a downpipe?

A downpipe is a piece of tubing that connects a car’s turbine housing to the exhaust system. In other terms, a downpipe connects a turbocharger’s turbine housing to allow exhaust fumes to exit the engine. Restrictive catalytic converters are commonly seen in downpipes. These catalytic converters are important in purifying exhaust air or gasses as they are produced by the engine. As a result, they reduce harmful gas emissions such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.

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What Is a Downpipe and What Does It Do?

A downpipe allows wasted exhaust air from the engine to depart smoothly. It also improves the turbo component of the engine’s efficiency. To increase power, the downpipe guides gasses out of the turbine. An aftermarket downpipe usually has a larger diameter. When compared to a stock downpipe, it’s less restrictive. The larger diameter provides more area for a faster turbo spin. This not only reduces turbo lag but also increases spool. As a result, installing an aftermarket downpipe lowers engine temperature and intake charge. As a result, the engine’s power is increased, and the entire comfort and driving experience are improved.

Why would you want to replace your stock downpipe?

You should improve your car’s original downpipe if you have a sophisticated, supercharged vehicle and want to push it to its limits. Keep in mind that an aftermarket one boosts the engine’s performance and efficiency. You could also wish to upgrade to a more efficient (high-flowing) catalytic converter.

A high-end vehicle should not be squeamish. In such scenario, it’s a good idea to replace your stock downpipe. As previously said, you may choose to replace it in order to increase the horsepower of your car. How much power does a downpipe add to your car? Installing a downpipe on your turbo engine may now boost horsepower by 10 to 20 percent. This sum is not insignificant, as some of us may believe. When you engage the turbo, you will notice a huge change.

Additionally, after changing your turbo to allow it to function at higher boost pressures, you may want to change your downpipe. An aftermarket downpipe may also be used to make your vehicle louder. Larger pipes allow more exhaust to enter the engine, resulting in a louder turbo.

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Downpipes with cats vs. downpipes without cats

If you decide to buy an aftermarket downpipe for your automobile, there are two types of downpipes to consider. Catted and catless downpipes are available.

What is the main distinction?

A catalytic converter is included in a catted downpipe. A catless downpipe, on the other hand, is devoid of the converter. While passing through the catalytic converter, exhaust gases are cleaned. This procedure aids in the reduction of the foul odor associated with raw exhaust air. A catalytic converter is also an environmentally favorable gadget. It guarantees that dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide are not released in huge quantities by your vehicle.

If your car has a catless downpipe, it will produce harmful substances in the form of fumes. This will also indicate that your car emits a noxious odor. If you don’t want it to happen, getting a catted downpipe is a good idea.

However, there are times when a catless downpipe is the better option. When your automobile is not moving, one of them is when you want it to be quieter. Furthermore, a quieter car means you’ll be able to enjoy more relaxing journeys around your neighborhood. Downpipes without cats are more durable. The lack of a catalytic converter prevents the problem of the engine being clogged with oil and carbon deposits.

A catted downpipe, on the other hand, is the way to go if you don’t want to hurt the environment. It’s also worth noting that both catted and catless downpipes may add 10 to 20 horsepower.

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Is it true that a charge pipe makes a difference?

Other than being stronger than its plastic version, it has no performance advantages and is advised for persons who run tunes (higher boost). Other than being stronger than its plastic version, it has no performance advantages and is advised for persons who run tunes (higher boost).

Often Asked Questions Charge Pipe and Downpipe

Q) What is the purpose of a charge pipe?

A: The chargepipe is the pipe that connects the intercooler pipes to the intake manifold, and it’s to this pipe that the DV’s or BOV are linked; The factory chargepipe is rubber, since it can bend and squeeze with greater boost. All aftermarket pipes are made of either stainless steel or aluminum.

Q) Is a downpipe without a catalytic converter the same as a straight pipe?

A: A straight pipe in a turbo automobile would theoretically consist of a downpipe with no cats or bends, a midpipe with no resonators, cats, or bends, and an axleback with no muffler.

Q) Is it true that charge pipes make turbos sound louder?

A: When the improved charge pipe is larger than stock, it’s usual to hear more turbo noise, but it might also be due to a boost leak. A boost leak test is the only way to find out.


Is there a difference between a charge pipe and a downpipe? A charge pipe isn’t the same as a downpipe. An engine’s exhaust is transported through the charge pipe to the turbocharger, which boosts power and torque before being delivered into the intake manifold and cylinders. Downpipes direct exhaust from a car’s engine to a muffler or tailpipe.

A charge pipe and a downpipe are unquestionably two separate important components of a turbo system. A mandrel-bent tube linked to a car’s intercooler and intake manifold is the former. It is responsible for transporting turbocharged air to the engine. A downpipe, on the other hand, is tubing that links the exhaust side of the turbocharger to the car’s exhaust system. It should, in theory, aid in the removal of exhaust gases from the engine. They do, however, have one thing in common. They aid in increasing the engine’s power as well as a vehicle’s overall efficiency. However, only aftermarket components will allow your car to operate at its best. You’ll have to select between catted and catless solutions when shopping for an aftermarket downpipe. This will be determined by your requirements and preferences, such as boosting vehicle performance, reducing noise pollution, and so on.


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Ethan Simons

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