I have S-Cross 1.6 running with a brilliant map from Tune O Tronics. I wanted to do some more minor engine mods and improve the performance further. I was exploring various options. I finally decided to do exhaust mods. I wanted better performance and not sound. So the obvious choice was to do a decat.
I had 2 options.
1. Poor man's decat : This is just hollowing the stock cat con / putting a straight pipe inside. If done properly, even this would give good results. But the main drawback is it's not reversible. I would need to buy a new stock Cat Con which would cost more than 50K.
2. Custom SS Decat Downpipe : This mod is reversible if flanges are done properly and installed as direct replacement of stock cat con.
I was doing research about the same for few days. Big thanks to my Mod Guruji aka Sankar (D bhpian) for all the advice and helping me take a good decision
I took advice from my friend and I would call him mod guruji. The main point to be noted is if stock exhaust system is tampered, it becomes an expensive affair to revert back. So we need to build a bolt on downpipe which is reversible anytime. Also he warned me that there might be drop in low end for few cars. Advantages are turbo would spool faster and engine would revv more freely. After sharing numerous what's app messages with him, I decided to go for it. Now the biggest question : Who would do it for me?
I checked if anything is available as bolt on for 1.6 multijet. JTD performance Europe had a bolt on downpipe for 1.6. But it's designed for European cars with DPF. Yes, it would have worked. But I did not want to take a risk and burn cash.
I contacted few guys and everybody told me it would take around 2-3 days. Also nobody had done it for 1.6 S cross before. Naresh Virkar / TTS Auto China told me that I would lose power for sure with decat and he advised me to go for TTS Race Cat 300 cel. I found that option little expensive and also it's one headache if it gets stuck at customs.
I wanted to know if Blackworks would do it. I have heard lot of good reviews about them. But I was not sure if they would do a simple mod like downpipe. I contacted Venkat and he was willing to help me out. He was busy with other builds and agreed to do when he was free.
After few days, Venkat asked me to get the car and I was super excited. I took the car to his place and had a brief discussion with him. He told me that stock exhaust won't be touched and everything would be bolt on and reversible. Also he would use the best quality material for downpipe. I have read about the workmanship of Blackworks by Nikil and I knew my car was in safe hands. Also Venkat would use high quality SS 316L material on Flanges and welding points. This contains little molybdenum and resists corrosion better which would be ideal for coastal climate.
The work was started immediately and the stock cat con was out in no time. As expected there was no O2 sensor post CAT and we are good to go. If there is sensor post CAT, there are chances of getting Check Engine Light post decat. AFR sensor is present before CAT and it would be retained on new downpipe.
Venkat found the design simple and he said it could be done in a day. I left the car at Blackworks. I was thinking full night about losing power in low end. I had almost made up my mind that I would lose power at low end
I called Venkat next day and was happy to hear that the car would be delivered on same day. Venkat and his helper were working full time on it.
Finally it's the time to test my car. I was still worried about losing low end. I started the car and there were no errors or CEL. I revved up till 2000 RPM and engine sounded sweet. We decided to go for a short drive.
Now this was shocking and I have no words to describe the feeling. There was no loss at low end and it felt better. Also there was a sweet sound, louder turbo whistle. I slotted into 2nd gear and floored the throttle. You won't believe what happened, turbo spooled up pretty fast, very strong turbo kick and I was losing traction. I shifted to higher gears and there was good improvement across the revv band. It felt like the car had totally transformed. Power delivery was just brilliant. Car is a different animal if I floor the throttle. After driving for few KM, I felt totally home and loved this mod. Below 1000 RPM
: No Difference!! 1000 to 2000 RPM
: Turbo lag has reduced. I did not expect this to happen. 2000 to 3000 RPM
: This is pure fun. Turbo boost is stronger and holding for longer. Also the engine is lot more free revving. Above 3000 RPM :
I like the engine note and it's just sweet. There is improvement which is noticeable.
City driving has become effortless now and 3rd gear is very much helpful even in Bangalore traffic. Also the MID is showing good FE figures. I will confirm this with tankfull method soon. Tune O Tronics remap + Blackworks Downpipe = Sweet combination!!! I am just loving it.
Do not miss this video : Note the turbo whistle and free revving engine!! https://youtu.be/3Ms4A6o_Qio