Goodwin Racing RoadsterSport Exhaust

By Bill "BillaVista" Ansell
Photography: Bill Ansell
Copyright 2019 - Bill Ansell
(click any pic to enlarge)

Introduction

A HUGE gallery of pics and some comments on the full cat-back Goodwin Racing RoadsterSport Exhaust for Fiat 124 Abarth that I recently installed on my 2017.

Note that this will not be a "full" installation article as per my normal style - rather it will be more of a super gallery of pics with the addition of some commentary by me. The reasons for this are as follows:

 

  • I did the install by myself with the car raised only on jackstands - this meant that there was precious little room underneath for taking pictures (and the lighting was pretty bad under there).
  • Conditions were challenging - it was 39°C (102°F) which left me short on patience and photographing every step at least triples the time an install takes.
  • The install itself was fairly challenging and the instructions provided by Goodwin on their website not very good - again, this added to the challenge and the erosion of my patience for taking extra time. In addition - I'm not 100% confident that the steps I took (with a fair bit of trial and error) were the optimum - and I prefer only to write authoritatively about that which I am very confident of.
  • Given the differences between Abarth / Classica / Lusso as well as the differences between automatic and manual cars there would doubtless be extra steps (or fewer) required for many users anyway.

So, instead of detailing every step, I thought users might benefit from a lot of pictures, including comparisons between the stock and Goodwin systems. The pictures Goodwin have on their website don't really do the product justice, in my humble opinion (for example, I wasn't entirely convinced I loved the tips...but in person they are gorgeous!) Personally, when making a purchasing decision - especially an expensive one - there's no such thing as too many pictures. I will also have some comments and observations to make along the way - both positive and negative.

So, without further ado...I purchased the full cat-back Goodwin Racing RoadsterSport Fiat 124 ABARTH Exhaust Combo (Unresonated).

Two things to note here - Obviously, having an Abarth I bought the Abarth version, which has a wider spread on the exhaust tips to better fill out the exhaust cut-outs in the bumper (of which they do a great job - as we shall see). I also opted for the unresonated version - meaning there is no resonator in the midpipe. Coupled with the muffler delete - this makes for the loudest, most aggresive-sounding system Goodwin make...my feelings on that at the end of the article!

So, this complete system, from rear to front, consists of:

  • Goodwin RoadsterSport Fiat 124 QUAD Exhaust for ABARTH ONLY (i.e. the "muffler delete").
  • Goodwin RoadsterSport Fiat 124 HighFlow Midpipe (Unresonated).
  • Goodwin RoadsterSport Fiat 124 HighFlow Crosspipe.

Each component is shipped in its own box. From left to right we have:

  • The quad exhaust.
  • The crosspipe.
  • The midpipe.

Note: If you are picking the system up, DO NOT take your 124...no way is it all going to fit!

There was some damage to the cartons, presumably during shipping...

... but inside everything seemed very well packed and protected.

 

The quad exhaust unboxed. Look at all the packing material on the right.
 

Everything plastic wrapped and extra padding added around the polished exhaust tips.

There is a hardware kit included, consisting of a clamp, a gasket, and some nuts and bolts...more on this later.

 

The crosspipe unboxed.

Again, plenty of packing.

 
Again, plastic wrapped.
 
Comes with a gasket (for joining to the midpipe)...a Mazda part number.
 
The midpipe unboxed - once again, plenty of padding.
 
Comes with a hardware kit consisting of a clamp and a gasket. This is the same as the gasket that came with the quad exhaust - it's for the flange joint between the quad exhaust and the rear of the midpipe. If you order the whole kit as I did, you only need to use one of them (this was not mentioned in the instructions.)

Let's take a good close look at each of the components. First, the crosspipe. Overall, it appears very well made. That said, some of the welds are not the very best I've ever seen, and they could do a bit better on the post-weld finishing - a little weld spatter and heat/smoke discoloration is still visible. Having said that, certainly no flaws that will affect the performance of the part. Regarding the measurements shown - keep in mind that I am using only a fairly cheap pair of digital callipers that have not been calibrated.

Next, the midpipe. The midpipe comes in two sections, with a slip-joint clamp supplied to join the two during installation. Note the beautiful TIG weld on the flange-to-pipe weld shown...oh how I would have loved if the whole system were welded this nicely! That would probably increase costs substantially, and it's not like most of it will ever be seen by most people, once installed. Still...

The shorter, front section:

The longer, rear section of midpipe. Note that there is a slight dent in the slip-joint end of the longer piece of midpipe. Whether this was shipping damage or a quality-control issue, I cannot say. However, given that it was so slight and would be underneath the slip-joint clamp anyway, I ignored it with no ill affect that I can detect. Note also that the clamp for the midpipe is the larger of the two clamps supplied (if you buy the whole system).

Finally, the quad exhaust which also comes in two pieces. The smaller piece is the driver's side tips. These two parts also connect with a slip-joint clamp that can be used to fine-tune the position of the tips so you can get them perfectly matched side to side - a very nice feature!

As I mentioned - from internet research prior to ordering, I wasn't completely convinced I would love the tips. In person - they are gorgeous...and they haven't even been cleaned / polished in these pics. Goodwin hit a home run with these tips in my opinion - and that's SUPER important as they're the only part of the exhaust system most people will ever see!

As for the quad exhaust hardware kit - this is my biggest gripe about the system...for two reasons. One: the nuts and bolts supplied to bolt the quad exhaust to the midpipe are standard (imperial) ...on a European / Japanese car?? No other fasteners on the car are going to be standard so this seems out of place and needlessly sends me looking for standard wrenches/sockets when metric work everywhere else. Why not include metric fasteners? Also, they supply those little spring "lock washers". I put that in quotes because, despite the commonality of their use, they are all but useless (minor rant here). The reason is this: The typical spring washer is made of slightly trapezoidal wire formed into a helix of one coil. It is supposed to work by acting as a compressed spring – presumably to add to bolt pre-load and prevent loosening. However, because the split washer is always compressed completely flat under any properly tightened bolt, we can see that the idea that this thing would effectively contribute to bolt pre-load is ridiculous. The only other way it could possibly help is that the sharp trapezoidal ends dig in slightly to the bolt's bearing surface and the face of the joint (but only if the washer were harder than the bolt's bearing surface, which is extremely unlikely). However, when we consider the pitfalls of inaccurate pre-load caused by excessive/unpredictable friction under the bolt head/nut face consuming too much of the tightening torque, we can see that this is hardly a good idea. Not only that, but experience teaches us that the damn things invariably squish and splay out under any decent amount of torque anyway. I think they are useless junk that should be avoided. You can read more of my thoughts on fasteners, torque, preload and locking threads in this article. In any case, my preference would have been for metric fasteners supplied with a decent deformed-thread (all metal) locking nut and a bolt with a nice flange. Still - in the overall system of things, I guess this is a pretty minor gripe.

If you do use the supplied hardware, I would suggest this order (not mentioned in the instructions anywhere) > From rear to front: bolt, flat washer, flange, gasket, flange, lock washer, nut.

Now, time for some comparison pics. I have only one concern here. Looking at the stock crosspipe from my AUTO Abarth, I'm left wondering about the purpose of the extra shielding clamped on the crosspipe. I'm hoping that isn't necessary to protect the auto transmission / lines from heat and therefore something I need to be concerned is absent from the Goodwin piece. Mind you, given that there is no air gap - it doesn't seem as if it would be particularly effective as a heat shield. Perhaps it is instead only a rock/chip shield installed in auto versions since they are missing some of the underside covers found on the manual versions (because they won't clear the larger auto transmission)? Incidentally, if you have an auto, you will need to unbolt two small clamps on the left side of the transmission to give yourself freedom to pull the transmission oil lines away from the transmission enough to work the stock crosspipe out and the Goodwin crosspipe back in (also not mentioned in the instructions).

Anyway - on to the pics...they really speak for themselves and I think showcase the beauty of the Goodwin system. Especially the tips. I mean...I thought the stock tips were pretty cool...but they look like ugly step-sisters next to the Goodwin pieces.

And finally, a couple of installed pics I did manage to get before heat exhaustion set in!

A few notes on the installation:

  • It's not "hard" in the sense of "I'm not sure I have the skill to do this", but it is challenging in the sense of "there isn't much room to work and a lot of patience is required".
  • Set aside plenty of time. In order to get it just right, you may have to go back, undo, re-position, and re-do things a number of times. Honestly, especially if you don't have a hoist...I wouldn't start if you have somewhere to be later that day.
  • If you can, use a hoist...it will be so much easier.
  • If you have to use jack stands, please jack and secure the car safely - for yours and the car's safety. Use this guide from the factory service manual.
  • For me, the two hardest things were dealing with the O2 sensor and getting the bracket on the transmission that holds up the rear end of the crosspipe adjusted correctly so that the midpipe is high enough to clear the X brace when you reinstall it.
  • On the O2 sensor - I was worried about twisting the wires when removing it, so attempted to remove it completely. This necessitates removal of the left side front wheel well liner and a small plastic cover under the car so you can access the electrical connector and FOUR wire clamps. I managed to get three of the wiring clamps loose, but one I simply could not get to release. In the end, I had enough wire free that I could get the crosspipe out with the O2 sensor still attached. I then broke it loose with a wrench and, to avoid twisting the wires, while lying under the car, held the O2 sensor steady and unscrewed the crosspipe from it. Same process in reverse to install the new crosspipe.
  • On the transmission bracket - I ended up having to remove the crosspipe and midpipe so I could loosen the TOP two bolts holding the bracket to the trans, then pushing the bracket up as high as it would go and re-tightening them, and THEN I put a jack under the crosspipe / mid pipe flanges and jacked them up a bit to get the bottom bolt through in as high a position as possible. Only then could I get the midpipe high enough to clear the X brace.
  • As mentioned, if you buy the whole system you will have one gasket left over at the end - no problem, you didn't miss something.
  • The donut gasket between the crosspipe and midpipe slips over the protruding piece of tube at the aft end of the crosspipe.
  • Take your time with the nuts holding the cat end of the crosspipe onto the two studs in the cat. Use plenty of penetrating oil (PB Blaster is my favourite) and patience. Do not use an air tool or other impact wrench. When re-installing, loosely connect the bolt at the rear end to the transmission bracket (or wire the crosspipe up to support it) and then torque down the nuts. Factory spec calls for 33 ft-lbs. Goodwin recommends 18-20 ft-lbs. My nerves could not get past 18 ft-lbs (you can hear and feel it starting to bind up and the last thing you want is to hear "snap" at this point).
  • To get the tips aligned vertically, measure the passenger side (distance from bottom of cutout to top of tip). With the slip-joint clamp loose, place a jack under the driver's side tips with a rag or block of wood to protect the tip and jack to same position. With jack in place, slip under car and tighten slip-joint clamp.

Torque values are as follows:

Component Torque Source
crosspipe to cat nuts ~20 ft-lbs Goodwin (see note above)
crosspipe to transmission bracket bolt tight with a hand ratchet no source
crosspipe flange studs 177 in-lbs factory manual
crosspipe to midpipe flange nuts Tighten to compress the springs until the nuts bottom out.  
slip-joint clamp bolts 15 ft-lbs Goodwin
midpipe to quad exhaust flange bolts 30 ft-lbs Goodwin (33 factory)

Here's a PDF file of all the related service manual pages to help you. Be advised that if you have a manual you will have three more shields / braces to remove than auto owners. Namely the:

  • CROSSMEMBER, Front Reinforcement
  • BELLY PAN, Center
  • BELLY PAN, Transmission.

How does it sound?

This is the 64 million dollar question, isn't it? The problem is, the answer is just so subjective. Not only that, but even posting audio clips is not a good demonstration - there are too many uncontrolled variables - the position and quality of the microphone, the compression of the clip, the device and volume level you use to play it back. Check out the two clips posted below - shot at the same time but with different devices (a phone and a DSLR Nikon - neither are high quality audio recording devices) - notice how the different microphones pick up different sounds and neither clip sounds just like it did to my ears standing there.

But...in a word...it's LOUD, nasty, wonderful! That's 3 words! See how hard this is? But seriously, it is quite loud and aggressive - I love it, but I can see how many might find it too loud. For *most* people I would expect that the resonated version would be preferrable. But for those others of us - it's just wonderful. Great tone, great volume - it gives me smiles to listen to it and turns heads when I drive!

Check it out:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Total:


Get a GoStats hit counter

BillaVista.com

web stats analyzer