What is the difference between Cat-Back and Axle-Back Exhaust?

What is the difference between Cat-Back and Axle-Back Exhaust?

Axle-Back: Replaces the the muffler, tips, and may connect to mid pipes in some cases. An axle-back exhaust will typically be the most economical option as an upgrade for your system due to the limited amount of components it replaces. This isn't neccessarily a bad thing though, manufacturers will only produce this option due to the high quality of the factory system. Check HERE for compatible systems.

Cat-Back: Replaces all exhaust components from catalytic converter back to the tips. A cat-back exhaust is the most popular upgrade due to its nature of improving horsepower, sound and torque conversion. Cat-back exhaust systems vary in appearance due to the structure of the vehicle. For example, the structure of a Dodge Challenger will offer options with dual side exits, granted there are no alterations to the bumper, whereas a Chevy Silverado will have many options with a single side exit or a 'straight line system', just like it sounds.  The concept behind what a cat-back exhaust system remains the same, the structure of the system may vary by vehicle however. Check HERE for compatible systems. 

DPF-Back: The Diesel Particulate Filter back option applies to systems that fall under 2007-2012 6.7L Cummins, 2008-2012 6.4L or 6.7L Powerstroke, or 2007-2012 Duramax LMM & LML. You will also find the same type of a urea injection system in 2011+ Ford Powerstroke and Chevy Duramax vehicles. The dpf-back system provides stronger exhaust flow and reduces excess backpressure. The overall benefit of upgrading to a dpf-back exhaust provides a stronger growl when accelerating but more importantly, reduces nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide emissions. 

Turbo-Back: Replaces the full exhaust system. Keep in mind only 'turbo' equipped vehicles may accommodate an aftermarket turbo-back system. So what does turbo equipped actually mean? Your hunch was correct, vehicle's equipped with a factory turbocharger are driven by an internal turbine which is powered by the engine's exhaust gases. Thus, attempting to install a turbo-back on any other engine that is not equipped with a turbocharger is a waste of time unfortunately. 


Cat-Back Vs. Axle-Back: When debating wether one should upgrade to either a cat-back or an axle-back exhaust, there are a few important factors to consider:

      1.) What aspect of your exhaust system are you looking to change?

           a. This could be sound, hp, torque conversion, or even style.

       2.) Do you have a budget set for both options?

           a. Cat-back systems typically will be costlier but do provide greater benefits

       3.) Do you plan to upgrade other parts such as the headers or engine?

           a. We highly recommend to upgrade all exhaust components simultaneously


Contact us today to discuss your options when upgrading exhaust components. It is never an easy choice with the variety of options available. The most important factor we consider when discussing performance exhaust upgrades is maintaining the health of your engine. If there is an option we believe will promote longevity over growl we will choose your engine health every time. Thanks for reading, check out our other articles!