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Exhaust Cutouts for EcoBoost F-150

We’ve talked about the power gains that can be had with tuning, supporting mods can go even further toward adding power. One of those supporting mods is an exhaust cutout. They are especially effective on a 2011-2014 Ford F-150 with a 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost (but it applies to any F-150, or car for that matter). Why particularly for these trucks? They have turbo chargers and turbo-charged vehicles respond more readily to a reduction of back pressure in your exhaust system than a non-turbo vehicle. We’ll talk more about the power implications later in this article.

2014 Ford F-150 Tremor EcoBoost Nascar Pace Car

2014 Ford F-150 Tremor EcoBoost Nascar Pace Car

So what is a cutout?
It is a Y-pipe that’s installed in the exhaust system, one part of the Y-pipe being in-line with the exhaust system and the other part splits off and let’s the exhaust come out unimpeded by mufflers, additional catalytic converters and resonators. This part of the Y-pipe can be opened and closed, electronically (with a valve) or manually (with a block-off-plate). When opened exhaust will naturally follow the path of least resistance and bypass the remainder of the exhaust system, when closed the truck will utilize the exhaust system and sound more civilized for daily driving duties.

Example of an Electronic Cutout, you can see a wire coming off that leads to a switch in the cab so that the valve can be opened and closed.

Example of an Electronic Cutout, you can see a wire coming off that leads to a switch in the cab so that the valve can be opened and closed.

What do I mean by more civilized?
When you open the valve on your cutout your truck (or car) will get very loud as your exhaust normally gets routed through resonators and mufflers. These help to quiet down the exhaust-note of your engine, in addition to that they eliminate drone. You’ll definitely only want to open the cutout when you need it, as the droning that your stock exhaust system eliminates would be very annoying and I imagine the noise would get rather unbearable as well. On top of that it is likely illegal to run your truck that loud.

So cutouts are definitely meant for part-time use, most of those times likely being at a track or showing off to your friends. If you are merely looking to alter the sound of your exhaust you may want to look into just upgrading your mufflers and/resonators. Or you could look into an aftermarket exhaust system to gain both performance and a meaner sound, but you won’t gain quite the performance that a cutout provides and you don’t get the flexibility of switching from quiet and well-behaved, to loud, ferocious and more powerful.

Diagram of an Exhaust Cutout

Diagram of an Exhaust Cutout

So why exactly does this help your truck be more powerful?
As I mentioned before, when you activate your cutout your exhaust follows the path of least resistance. By not going through your mufflers/cats/resonators you exhaust is less restricted, or to put it another way there is less back-pressure. On a turbo-charged F-150 this means the turbo’s can spin up quicker providing more power earlier on in the RPM range and there will also be more power overall throughout the RPM range. In some applications 30-40 horsepower was gained by doing this on an EcoBoost 3.5 liter powered F-150.

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Cat : 2012 Ford F-150, 2013 Ford F-150, 2014 Ford F-150, Ford F-150, Reviews, tags: , , , ,

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