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An Outline Of The Exhaust Layout On J-Series Honda/Acura V6 Engines

  • Posted: 06-20-2010 12:45 PM
  • Exhaust

The J-series Honda V6 found in all V6 Hondas and Acuras since 1998 (such as the Accord, the TL, the MDX, Odyssey, Ridgeline, and even the limited production TSX V6) has a special cylinder head that has a manifold integrated into it. As such, there is only a single port coming off the head that leads to the exhaust system.

The first generation of the J-series found in 01-03 CLs, 98-02 Accords, and 99-03 TLs featured a traditional manifold layout with a front and rear bank of primary tubes that heads down to a collector.

1g J-series header from CT Engineering: Link image to other brands!


Later 04+ J-series engines have quite a different design.

Diagram of the J-series cylinder head showing a single port.

The single port then dumps directly into the “pre-cats” as people refer to them. As a matter of fact, these are the primary converters in the car, containing 2 O2 sensors each. These cats are restrictive and are frequently removed (albeit illegally) in favor of open units, which we are told make a significant power increase. RV6 Performance makes Pre-Cat Deletes. Often these are referred to as PCD's throughout the web. Deleting these converters will cause and engine light to come on, but the RV6 pipes do come with provisions for fooling the sensors so the light does not come on.

RV6 Pre-cat deletes. ^^ RV6 also produces versions of these pipes with metal-core converters, called High Flow Pre Cats, or HFPCs.

Immediately after the pre-cats there is a “j-pipe” as has been dubbed by the industry. This pipe takes the flow from the front and rear bank cats and brings it together into a single exhaust system. There are significant gains to be made from replacing the factory j-pipe to an aftermarket version. Larger diameter piping and a smoother collector improve the volume capacity and flow of the system. RV6, ATLP, and XLR8 all make j-pipes for the TL/Accord. We prefer the ATLP version as it has been redesigned to allow more ground clearance due to customer demands and produces maximum power in the upper RPM ranges. The others may have been updated recently, but ATLP remains our preferred brand because of it’s price point, ability to keep the stock cat, and provide a lot of ground clearance.

ATLP J-Pipe, smooth transition, large piping, ground clearance, can use stock 3rd cat.

After the J-Pipe there is a 3rd cat. This cat, which lacks any O2 sensors, exists to provide additional of the exhaust not taken care of by the pre/primary converters. This pipe can also be replaced by a test pipe or a high-flowing converter to produce more power. ATLP, RV6, and XLR8 all make both options to replace this converter, although it should be noted that replacing this converter is completely illegal as well, however deleting it will not cause any engine lights to come on.

ATLP Race pipe, a 3rd car delete.


Updated Nov 9th, 2016

Later model Accords from 2013 and newer have a little different layout where the catalytic converter that used to be after the j-pipe is now incorporated with it. So replacing the J-pipe is now something that will also replace the cat.

About the Author

Marcus di Sabella Marcus is the founder of Heeltoe Automotive. He's been working with cars (mostly Honda cars) since 1996, and has been providing enthusiasts with excellent products, services, and web experiences since 2002. He's been published in Honda Tuning, and holds a degree in Engineering Technology.


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