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I went to a shop today and they told me instead of buying a $500 dollar cat back I should just buy one of their Apexi n1 mufflers and have custom piping put on it. Does this sound like a good idea, and if so what size piping should I use and what about the resonator leave it or take it off? Thanks! I checked the search function but didn't really find my answer.
 

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if you get custom piping, make sure it's mandrel bent. i didn't write the following myself (another sho member did) but here it is for referene:

$380 for aluminized steel piping, muffler, stainless steel tip, straight through racing resonator, out the door. All welded up to the cat flange. Just deep and quiet and when VTEC kicks, all you hear is intake.
The trick is the bending machine. Since I couldn't find anyone in my area to do custom mandrel bending, I had to find the best made compression bent setup I could. It took me a while and several phone calls to muffler shops, speed shops, referrals and such. I finally found a shop that uses something called a Ben Pearson bending machine. This thing costs twice as much to buy as any other shops' bending machines and makes the bends very very smooth, almost mandrel.
The piping is 2.25" aluminized steel and it runs from the cat flange to the straight-through racing resonator and continues on to the turbo muffler and out the three inch stainless steel exhaust tip mounted flush with the bumper (not sticking out). The tip itself was $70 because of the material. Chrome tips require a bit of upkeep to stay looking new, but cost considerably less. The whole setup was $380. It gives me just as much flow and power as a catalog brand and I can take it back to the same shop that made it if I want it modified, which I will here very soon to compensate for the increased air flow (2.5" collector of JDM ITR header I'm fixin' to get, 2.5" test pipe, needs 2.5" exhaust). I didn't want a huge noticeable coffee can exhaust that blinds you when you're driving behind it at night (enter small muffler and modest 3" tip) and I didn't want the annoying riceboy sound (enter resonator). I couldn't be happier with my exhuast. Most people even think it's stock.
this is most probably the path i'm going to be taking myself. . . as soon as i get enough $$ and find a shop that has a machine that does mandrel bends
 
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