ALH Straight Pipe

dvancura2

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Location
Nebraska
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
Hey all.

I am looking to straight pipe my 03 ALH Wagon. I'm in Nebraska, so I'm not worried about emissions. I have been doing a bunch of research, and some of the key takeaways I found are:
- I will want a 2.5" pipe for a nice balance between performance improvement, turbo whistle noise, and fitment (the 3" can cause some troubles)
- I believe I want to cut everything out and (maybe) get a resonator? Help get rid of any droning that may occur, spoken to in the next point
- Finish it out by getting as far out from underneath the car as I can. A straight pipe with the orientation of the stock muffler is a huge cause for droning. My other car is a straight piped 5.3 V8 car that gets very droney on the highway, so I don't want to dabble in that at all, but will take all the turbo noise I can get. I understand that it is straight piping it, so it will be a bit louder, but I don't want to bring it to obnoxious, which many people say these engines don't have that problem too bad.
- Full systems can be pricey. I planned on for sure buying a downpipe to get the real intricate and nasty stuff out of the way, and I am thinking to finish out the rest myself. I will have access to stainless TIG, and am pretty confident in my fab abilities (no cobbling and "making things work"). There are not decent reviews for muffler shops around my area, so I am hesitant to take it anywhere to have someone else do it.

I have done a fair amount of looking, and it I can't seem to find a writeup on here with any specific tips and tricks. Does anyone have any input here? Am I going to be hating myself for going up and over the axle myself? It appears the downpipe itself in 2.5" is roughly in the $450 range, and a full system is closer to the $850 range. Even if its a bit of a pain, I think I would rather take the time to do the end myself and save 400 bucks. Any help is appreciated. ✌
 

Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
A write up isn't really needed for these, it is quite simple.

Personally I'd recommend the 2.5" turbo back. That is 2.5" all the way back. The biggest thing with drone is the exhaust tip has to be at the factory location, along with the 90° turndown. If it's too far under the bumper, you get drone.

Skip having a resonator. If it's too loud, get a Magnaflow 14216, that's also what I have and it makes daily driving perfect. Low load is quiet, but has that diesely growl under load.
 

dvancura2

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Location
Nebraska
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
2.5 Turbo back is what I was planning. I was hoping to either get it straight out the back under the bumper without making it look ridiculously goofy, or do a sorta 45 degree turndown RIGHT behind the bumper, so its still fairly hidden, but gets that noise away from the bumper. My biggest concern was just the price for a full system vs for the downpipe and then finishing the rest myself beyond the downpipe. Personally, I don't mind much about the diesel growl, being that its a 1.9, its closer to a kittens purr in comparison. I'm just lovin that good old whistle and whoosh of the turbo.
 

Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Grabbed a photo of mine. As long as your exhaust tip exits similar to this, it won't resonate. Prior to putting the muffler on, the tip was about 3 inches forward (wagon problems) and it droned BADLY.
If you still have the vnt15 you'll get more turbo noise. If you have a 17, it's significantly quieter.


 

dvancura2

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Location
Nebraska
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
Yep that is almost exactly what I had in mind. I do like the low profile look of it, and it appears it gets most of the noise out from under the car.
 

Vwkaferman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Location
Mesa, AZ
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
Ugh, this just makes me want to get my turbo back sooner than later as well (Wagon ALH also). I too have been eyeing 2.5" cat backs but my biggest hang up is they all say "compatible with wagon" but chatter online indicates that they're all too short. If I'm gonna drop $400 or more on an exhaust, I don't expect to have to go to an exhaust shop to "extend" it. If I'm gonna do that, shouldn't I just go with the exhaust shop and have them mandrel bend up the same? No worries about rust where I am (Phoenix, AZ).

James
 

dvancura2

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Location
Nebraska
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
From my understanding, that is the only difference, the bumper is longer on the 03 wagon (Canadian requirements or something). At that point, if you are just putting in an extra piece of pipe, that should be pretty stinking simple. I have no personal experience, but I have been researching this for awhile now and that seems to be the consensus. The rest of the fitment should all be the same.
 

Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
I mean, it's not hard to cut the tip off, then add a short slide on extension, plus two band clamps. No welding necessary. My thing is I bought my kit as a buzzken sedan kit, so being too short was on me, but it was in stock, and something I could fix later.
 

joevh

Member
Joined
May 5, 2013
Location
Spokane
TDI
2005 Jetta Wagon TDI BEW, Malone Stage 4, VNT17
I mean, it's not hard to cut the tip off, then add a short slide on extension, plus two band clamps. No welding necessary. My thing is I bought my kit as a buzzken sedan kit, so being too short was on me, but it was in stock, and something I could fix later.
I have in my garage, waiting to install, the idParts 2.5" downpipe, a FlowPro Twister resonator for the end of the downpipe, a Buzzken cat back (cheaper than the idParts cat back), and a MagnaFlow muffler for the tailpipe. I ordered the Buzzken without a muffler, figuring I would cut the pipe, insert the Magnaflow muffler, and then have plenty of extra pipe to extend the tip back as far as I want. Unfortunately, Buzzken sent me the tailpipe with their resonator in it (after waiting 6 weeks to get it), so I'm returning it to them to get the proper tail pipe that I ordered.

I was hoping to have a post-install writeup about it before now, but looks like it will still be a month or so out.
 

dvancura2

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Location
Nebraska
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
So I can probably get away with just the downpipe and figuring out the rest for myself, partially because it appears many of the full kits are out of stock.

Not to get too off topic here, but my Jetta does have Bosio DLC 520 injectors and a "mild" tune from Kerma, not sure beyond that, and it seems that in 5th gear, I will sometimes get a slight amount of clutch slip if I floor it (gotta burn off any extra oil and what not now and again). Everything else is completely stock as far as I know. Think opening up the exhaust may pronounce that issue a little more? I have read of people claiming +5 hp, and on an originally stock 90hp engine, thats 5% right there. I'm not heavy footed, especially if I know its being hard on things, but it will be something to keep in the back of my mind.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
My wagon was straight piped briefly. I had a turned down tip like pictured above, but the highway drone was more than I wanted. The wagon body is like a drum, things resonate. I've found that closing the cargo cover for longer drives helps.

I had a 4-motion rear valence (won't work on an '03, bumper is too long) with this tip for a long time. Was OK, but I also had a cat in the downpipe.

Eventually things got louder, (not sure why, maybe the CAT failed) and I ended up with a stock system behind a 2" downpipe with no cat. I get a nice turbo whistle, no drop in performance, and it's much quieter on the highway.
 
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[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
Stock turbo?
you won't see any actual difference going larger than stock pipe size
if you have a car that gets exhaust in the cabin like every one of mine seems to due to rust holes the best place to dump it out is the side, just in front of the rear tire
really wish I could run a muffler with that dump location as it is obnoxiously loud, doesn't really drone but you won't be going through drivethroughs without a few starts and stops
 

GlowBugTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Location
Cambridge, MN
TDI
2001 Beetle GLS TDI (BIODSL). Glow Bug TDI (sold)
Mine seems to drone above 70 and has cabin drone/noise but I cant figure out how much is just noisy diesel engine and how much is exhaust drone as my exhaust is in good shape I went through the whole thing and its completely sealed. It's straight piped but still gets a drone above 65-70...can't remember if the noise was there before straight pipe unfortunately.
 

Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
The handful of times I've got up to Washington and the highway speeds reach 70, I can attest mine doesn't drone at those speeds either. Perhaps you need to extend your tip a little?
 

GlowBugTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Location
Cambridge, MN
TDI
2001 Beetle GLS TDI (BIODSL). Glow Bug TDI (sold)
The handful of times I've got up to Washington and the highway speeds reach 70, I can attest mine doesn't drone at those speeds either. Perhaps you need to extend your tip a little?
i would agree, but its out past the bumper....

the only thing I can think of is that I stiffened my dog bone mount.
 
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