-Fits just fine
-Studs all in the right places
-No flex joint.
-Two Studs interfere with downpipe. Not a big deal. Took a whole 2 minutes to trim them down with a cut off wheel.
-The finish comes off easily, I'd rather have it bare and coat it myself.
If you have any sort of knowledge in turning wrenches, it is not bad to install. More time is spent getting the old shit out than putting this in. The two long studs are a minor set-back. I cant speak for the gaskets as I went with OEM. I also wrapped mine. Construction seems solid enough. You get what you pay for with the finish though. Fitment was fine. If the gaskets bother you, get OEM. So what, two studs are too long. Put the up-pipe on and see where the downpipe interferes. Cut accordingly. 5 minutes with a dremel vs. buying a more expensive up-pipe? FMS is just fine.
CNT 3" Catted Downpipe
-Sort of fits
-Bellmouth fitment is on par
-Sort of fits, hangs down fairly low.
-Gaskets sort of suck
-weld on bung by bellmouth has a pin hole that leaks (checked with soapy water)
-Rear O2 should be back further
Again, not hard to install. More time spent getting the bolts undone off of the old one. Fitment is sub par, but it is well enough that it does not drag the ground. I scraped it one on a very steep drive that was entirely out of the norm. You get what you pay for with this unit. I cannot complain because for a cheap downpipe it gets the job done. In NE Ohio I dont feel the need to put something more expensive on.
GMS 3" Catback
-Stainless (although probably low grade)
-Crappy muffler fitment.
-Y-pipe could use some refinement, everything else is fine.
Great sounding exhaust, and bolts up fine up until its time to put the mufflers on. Will need heated and bent for proper muffler fitment. Again, with these cheap products, If you know your way around a shop (tools, torches, etc.) it is not a big deal. Once again, you get what you pay for. I fully expected crappy fitment and the need to get jiggy with it. I accept that because I am comfortable with manipulating things if needed.
Overall Summary of Cheap Knock-Offs:
I cant emphasis this enough.... YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. A manufacturer will not perform quality checks for free. I work for AAM. We only do 100% quality checks if the customer requires it, and we will charge them accordingly for this service. If not, we only do every part out of a certain batch. With name brand products, part of that cost covers Quality Assurance. An off-brand can get by with cheaper stuff because the customer should not expect every part to be inspected. A product that is half the cost of a competitor or higher end brand wont be the same. Dont knock it if you dont know how to deal with it. I went with the cheap stuff because it gets the job done, and I dont mind tinkering with it to get it to fit. The point is, they all fit eventually. Is a Perrin going to be better than FMS? Sure. I'm just not willing to spend unnecessary money for something that does the same thing.
The Car is just as much fun with "knock-offs" as it is with name brands. I will say that if you are short on cash a GM 3-port is an excellent choice if you are looking for an EBCS (I know, not a knock-off, but people assume too much just because it is cheap even if it is an OEM GM part). Took me all of 15 minutes to install, including drilling a new hold in the existing bracket to mount it. I gets the job done, period. If you are buying a downpipe/up-pipe because it looks pretty... who the hell cares? Nobody is going to see it.
If I was to buy everything again, I would buy the FMS and GMS products again. The GMS is well off enough that it will work. The CNT downpipe is past that threshold. My next downpipe will be one of better quality/fitment. For now, this gets the job done and I can enjoy the car at stage 2.
Why people expect all welds to be precision robotically welded is beyond me. Chances are, man-made welds wont be absolutely perfect as it is not humanly possible., and there will be some slag with a MIG. You can have the prettiest weld in the world... stacked dime on dime on dime...if it has crappy penetration that good looking weld might as well be made of play dough. Dont knock the weld based on its looks. If you want to pay the extra price for somebody to TIG it, then go for it. If you want to pay the extra cost to grind off the slag, go for it. If you want to pay somebody to go buy a CNC welder, program it, and weld your FMIC with it, then go for it. If you want to pay extra to have the welds x-rayed for proper penetration then go for it.
Last edited by Mill; 03-03-2012 at 10:15 AM..