For giggles, here's the review of the Gibson Cat-Back Exhaust System
I did for Nissan Sport Magazine
"After we installed the Stillen Supercharger
on the Project Pathfinder late last year, our zero to 60 times dropped to down into the 5.5 second range, a truly impressive number for a 5000lb vehicle.
Unfortunately our itch for more off-road worthy truck tires took a firm hold after a blowout in the wilds of Death Valley National Park
, 40 miles from the nearest paved road. The 285/75-16 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KOs
look truly impressive being 20mm wider and 2.5" larger in diameter than stock, yet still fitting within the fenders with only some minor heat-gun work to the liners, and even fits in the full-sized spare well.
The downside however is that with 3.5% taller gearing and a whopping 20 lbs more weight per tire, our 0-60 times fell to the low to mid 6 second range.
To cure this self inflicted anemia, two power enhancing possibilities presented them selves, and we decided what could be better than a true Dyno Tested comparison? In one corner, Gibson Performance's complete cat-back exhaust system. In the other corner, precision hand crafted by child artisans in China, a pair of "V6 Kompressor" badges from eBay
Could the Gibson's beautiful stainless steel mandrel bent tubing come close to providing the performance of placing a cool sounding German words on the side of the truck? Would the chrome-look plastic letters from China out gleam the Gibson's chrome exhaust tip without giving us lead poisoning?
Could the inconsistent letter alignment on the Kompressor badges compare with the frustration of getting the asymmetrical slip-fit Gibson muffler aligned properly?
We were DETERMINED to find out.
First up, Bling Power from China! After some intense research on images.google.com, we found that the Kompressor badges on various Mercedes vehicles are often installed on the front fender, rearward of the front wheel, parallel to the ground and on level with the uppermost edge of the wheel rim. We were a little worried, positioning such bling is critical for proper operation, and the Pathfinder doesn't have long enough fenders to fit any badging. We finally decided that on the leading edge of the door, just above the body cladding, was the optimal alternative for blingage installation. When we put the truck on the Dynojet Dynamometer at The Mustang Ranch in San Jose CA
we were not disappointed. 300HP and 270 lb-feet of torque at the wheels was in line with what we expected with 40 lbs of extra rubber to spin since our last test (before the tires we clocked 320HP).
Next up, Rumbling American Power! The install of the Gibson Performance Exhaust was fairly straightforward, even when simply working under a truck on a pair of jack stands, just a few notes worth mentioning: You have to attack the slip fit bracket holding the tail pipe to the stock muffler to be able to thread it out over the rear sub frame, a Dremel with cut-off wheel worked great. While the Y-pipe looks beautiful, the tubes going into the Cat flanges weren't terribly straight, leading to one side of the tubing inside the flange poking out into the flow, so some quick work with a small ball-pine hammer and Dremel with grinding wheel cleaned that up nice. Test all slip-fits first before installing, because pulling parts back off to fix bent lips isn't any fun. The muffler is round, with in and out pipes on each end poking out opposite sides of the centerline, therefore clocking it correctly is critical, and a big pair of vice grips with curved jaws made that process %1000 times easier.
Getting the tail tube aligned right to not rub the rear sub frame or body actually wasn't as hard as expected once we had the muffler aligned right.
The first start gave a thrilling deep growl, we were delighted, however after the first few test drives we became less so. The deep resonance isn't super loud, but it IS there ALL THE TIME when at partial throttle under about 2500 RPM. Turning up the radio can mask it, but on long road trips the noise would eventually drive us batty. Alternatively, when you jumped on the gas hard, no sound at all, no rasping wail, no singing valves, nothing to add harmony to the supercharger's inspiring whine. We understand some people like that glass-pack style "all bass" exhaust note, but our personal preference leans much more towards the quiet cruising yet WOT snarling sound of a BMW M3 or Ferrari.
But how did it perform you ask?? Could the American Rumble beat the Chinese Bling?!? We headed back to the 'Ranch as soon as possible, just a couple days after the install, the air temp being just an SAE corrected 4 degrees warmer than for the previous test and the barometric pressure also all but identical.
At length after repeated tests and some serious head-scratching our patriotic aspirations were finally dashed, the Gibson Performance Exhaust
*lost* one HP and 4 lb-feet of torque at the wheels. And it's not even just the peak numbers, it develops less torque for the meat of the curve all the way from 4300RPM to 6000RPM. Even a subsequent ECU reset, just to be sure Nissan wasn't outsmarting us, did nothing but slow us down further in G-Tech
tested quarter mile test runs.
So the V6 Kompressor badges stay, the Gibson Performance Exhaust is voted off the island, and we're back to the drawing board in the never ending quest for more power."