Pacesetter vs. Flowmaster—The Exhaustive Debate

by : David S. Brooks

Fly Boy, that’s what I call the old Integra, has been jetting me around town for 5 years now. I bought it from my Grammy when she got her new Crown Vic. The thing was pretty sporty right out of the box, but I just couldn’t leave it alone. When I started drifting with the boys I knew it was time for some mods. Right away I added a short ram intake and a performance chip. I was quickly crowned King Drifter of our local abandoned Sears parking lot drift track.

Soon though, the competition stiffened up. Johnny Utah got a new RSX and started to blow door on my old Fly Boy. Shakey’s rickety old CRX was also giving me and Fly Boy a run for our money. And occasionally, this cat named Li’l Puppet comes up from the South Side with his super-fast Celica just to kick some butt on our local boys.

Well, after the last whipping I took from Li’l Puppet, I decided that Fly Boy needed some more work. I checked out the tuner mags and forums and narrowed it down to 2 brands—Pacesetter and Flowmaster. Both makes are super popular with the tuner crowd; in fact each brand has a pretty rabid following. After listening to a bunch of mindless propaganda, I decided I’d have to get to the bottom of this myself. Let’s start with Pacesetter.

Pacesetter has been in the performance-exhaust game for over 30 years. They started with their now famous Monza system that was a huge hit with VW hot rodders back in the day. They took the same design and tweaked it for a number of late model tuner rides—like the Fly Boy. They have a cool logo that looks just like the Ferrari prancing stallion and let’s face it; they make a dirt cheap performance system.

Yes, yes, like all the other exhaust brands, Pacesetter rambles on about mandrel-bending and precision standards. All that info really means nothing to me, so I decided to crunch some numbers. The Pacesetter kit for Fly Boy runs about 250 bones, depending on where you shop. Not bad for a name brand system that runs from the cat back.

How about Flowmaster? Of course, Flowmaster also yammers on about mandrel-bent this and that—blah, blah, blah. These exhaust guys really have to come up with something a little more fresh.

Anyway, Flowmaster has also been around for nearly 30 years and made a name for themselves in the world of hot rodding. Their systems seem to be popular with other drifters and I see their name plastered all over the events that me and Fly Boy attend. Of course, the only advertising going on at our clandestine drift races is the fist pumping and smack talking of the winner.

The Flowmaster system for my Fly Boy costs less than 200 bucks; which is a $50 savings over the Pacesetter. Of course, this is only a flange-back system, so I’m guessing it will extract a little less power. It truly is a beautiful system though; well thought out and solidly built.

Since my bottom line is winning, not saving 50 bucks, I finally decided to go for the Pacesetter kit. And guess what? Me and the Fly Boy are once again setting the pace down at the Sears lot. Yeah!