Saturday, December 7, 2013
Stromung Exhaust Arrives
Christmas arrived early this week in the form of a new Stromung exhaust required to replace the cracked stock piece which is no longer available.
As I slid the unit out of the heavy cardboard box and unwrapped the foam protecting its critical bits I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. These exhausts almost look "cheap" online because they lack the rugged, corrugated look of the factory piece, but let me assure you that the metal is substantial and the overall quality excellent. The tubing is mandrel bent and the bends are consistent between pipes. As an engineer I can't look at something like this and take for granted all the design, labor and machinery that goes into making it.
The muffler body and tips are clearly TIG welded while the gussets are MIG welded. MIG is much faster than TIG, so while I would have preferred the same time and attention be paid to the supports I understand why they chose a MIG process for those welds. It shouldn't matter over the long haul in any case.
I've never been a fan of what is jokingly referred to as the "taster's choice" exhaust look, in which the exhaust tips mimic the container of a certain well-known coffee. I knew going in that the tips of the Stromung are a larger diameter (76mm) than stock but the videos showing the exhaust mounted to the car seemed to put them into scale. The tips are also chromed and I'm not really a fan of that finish because from my perspective it's just something else to keep clean. One thing I'd suggest to Stromung is to offer a brushed stainless finish, a la E46 ZHP. It's still quite attractive but also more subtle, and that's important to people like me who prefer "sleeper" styling.
As you may know, the stock non-M exhaust comes with equal length tips while the M3 exhaust comes with staggered tips (the left tip being about 2cm shorter than the other) as required to "follow" the curve in the M3 diffuser. Stromung offers the same options at no additional cost. While the equal length tips may have been more appropriate for my non-M car, considering my rear bumper cover is showing early signs of clearcoat failure (no thanks to those idiots who did the work) my plan is to replace it and the diffuser with M3 equivalents so the staggered tips will eventually look at home there. I'm splitting hairs, of course, as I'm sure the staggered tips won't offend the eye even against the background of the non-M diffuser.
I'm currently trying to track down a large parasitic power drain on the E46 which took out the battery so the exhaust installation will have to wait until that's fixed, but my hope is to get to this in a week or two, assuming the weather holds out. Until then, enjoy the exhaust pr0n.