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Premium Member
2007 Forester XT 4EAT-VTD
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2,138 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Products Reviewed

MadDad Metal Bellmouth Downpipe

MadDad Whisper 3" Forester XT Cat-back

Background

The engine and exhaust in my ’07 Forester XT has remained stock since I purchased it new, other than the addition of an STi axle-back a few months after I took delivery of the car. I very much liked the STi axle-back on the otherwise stock exhaust – it added some tone and boxer rumble but was still very quiet.

A few months ago I began exploring the idea of upgrading the turbo and intercooler for a bit more performance. Initially I planned on sticking with the “stock” cat-back exhaust, just adding an aftermarket down-pipe to make the most of the new turbo and tune. I definitely had no interest in making the car loud as I commute 400 miles a week with it, so at first I had no intention of changing out the entire exhaust. But there’s something about a nice aftermarket exhaust that most of us find irresistible!

As I looked more closely at the corrosion taking place on the stock exhaust from our salty New England winter roads, I began researching aftermarket exhausts to see if I could find something that would meet my needs:

1. All stainless steel construction for maximum corrosion resistance

2. A system that would allow maximum flow and performance for my new VF48 turbo

3. An exhaust that would not be unbearably loud

4. A system that utilizes a flex joint at the front of the mid-pipe

5. A muffler/axle-back that did not scream “aftermarket!”

I met with Rich from MadDad at the 2009 Wicked Big Meet in Massachusetts. He had some product on display and took the time to explain his offerings. He had a 2009 STi at the show with his latest Whisper exhaust system and I was impressed with the deep tone and restrained volume it produced. He indicated that he had a 3-inch Whisper system available for my ’07 FXT so I told him I would take it.

My exhaust arrived shortly thereafter and upon examination of the system, I was impressed with the fit and finish. This system uses a 3 inch flat flange to connect to the down-pipe with a heavy-duty flex joint built into the front of the mid-pipe. I preferred this over the leak-prone factory donut flex joint.

Rich has recommended his bellmouth catted down-pipe to be used in conjunction with the exhaust, but as is often the case with his limited-production exhaust parts, he wouldn’t have one available for almost 2 months. Since I was in no hurry – and was still collecting parts for my turbo upgrade – I decided to wait. As luck would have it, a down-pipe became available shortly thereafter due to a cancelled order and I snapped it up.

The construction of the Metal Bellmouth Down-pipe is every bit as impressive as the Whisper cat-back. The bellmouth and turbo flange are very substantial, more so than a competitor’s model I had used on my ’06 WRX. The welds are top-notch and the down-pipe is polished. Like the stock down-pipe (and unlike some competitor’s products), the MadDad down-pipe includes both the top and bottom transmission brackets. Another very cool feature is the OEM-style heat shield that covers the high flow metal substrate catalytic converter. This gives the pipe an "OEM look."

To further improve the stealthy looks of the MadDad axle-back, I painted the muffler section flat black. I dulled the shiny surface with a ScotchBrite pad, washed it down with brake cleaner and then applied 3 light coats of RustOleum Barbeque black.

Installation was straight forward and I did not encounter any difficulty whatsoever. In fact, the entire MadDad system fit my ’07 FXT like a glove:

1. Both down-pipe brackets lined up perfectly with the 4EAT transmission mounting holes

2. The bellmouth flange bolted up to the new VF48 turbo square and leak-free

3. The mid-pipe hugs the underside of the car with no interference issues

4. The axle-back mounted nicely into the stock hangers and is perfectly positioned under the rear bumper.

Below are a few photos that show the MadDad Whisper installed –











So how does it sound?

It was the end of a long day. It was hot, humid and my 55 year old butt was dragging on the garage floor. The new turbo, TMIC and exhaust was in. But even in my state of exhaustion, I was eager to fire up the car and hear the exhaust. After cranking the engine with the fuel pump/ignition fuse pulled to prime the new turbo, I reinserted the fuse and hit the starter. The engine sprung to life and the new exhaust was singing its tune. Even in my garage, at idle the Whisper did not seem much louder than my “stock” exhaust. No leaks (oil, coolant or exhaust) and the engine sounded fine with the new parts fitted. It was a great ending to a long but rewarding day of swinging wrenches.

Since the tune that immediately followed the install, I have been driving the car for a few weeks. Here is a link to a QuickTime video clip of my car on the dyno -

Link to QuickTime Movie

Here are my subjective observations on the new exhaust –

1. The tone of the exhaust is amazing! Deep but smooth, present but not overbearing.

2. Cruising around town or on the highway, the system is louder than the old exhaust, but just barely. However, it sounds much nicer!

3. Stepping on the gas brings up the sound levels considerably. While it’s only slightly louder than the former exhaust while cruising, it’s substantially louder under throttle.

4. Where the old exhaust would become “raspy” under throttle, the tone of the Whisper remains awesome. If the old exhaust was as loud under throttle, it would have been objectionable. But anyone who loves the sound of the Subaru boxer will love the sound of the Whisper at WOT!

Conclusion

High quality construction, superb fitment, fantastic sound and “OEM look” of the muffler and polished tip have made this one of my best purchases ever for my FXT. If you value these qualities as well, you cannot go wrong with the MadDad Whisper!
 

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Registered
2005 9-2x Aero Manual
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343 Posts
Excelent rewiew and write up!
Perfect timing. After running just a downpipe for about 5 months, only reason being sound, I've recently become obsessed with looking for a "quiet" catback, so my poor fxt can stop sounding like it is breathing through a straw at WOT.

As you noticed in my thread, I've been looking into the Fujitsubo Legalis, but it is really expensive and will take up to 2 months to actually get. Because of this, I'm considering the Whisper as an alternative. This review is definitely helpful. I'm now seriously considering going with the Whisper, or at least cutting cost and going with just the axleback from Fujitsubo.

BTW, I see you went to EFI, I'll be heading back there after I make my decision and do my install, I was really impressed with Chris.
 

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Registered
2006 Forester XT
Joined
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657 Posts
I got the Maddad Whisper catback last month and am very impressed!

The build quality is outstanding, I marvelled at the wire wheel finish on the welds, and that flex joint is just the icing on the cake - it lets the whole system move as it should, and takes all the twist and torque out of the joints.

Had a little mix-up on the model I ordered, and it was sorted out within MINUTES!

Their customer service can't be beat!

S
 

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Premium Member
2007 Forester XT 4EAT-VTD
Joined
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2,138 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I continue to enjoy mine!

Driving easy around town it truly sounds bad a$$ without being loud. The tone and "boxer rumble" has to be heard to be truly appreciated.

Cruising at 60 to 70 MPH it's barely louder than the stock exhaust with a STi axleback.

At WOT, it gets loud but sounds utterly amazing.

And as already stated, the build quality of the exhaust is top-notch.
 

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Registered
2007 FSXT
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691 Posts
as far as the install for this exhaust is it just bolt on? Im not a car guy but I can swing the wrench.
 

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Pleiads' biggest leghumper
04's 2 FXT's.
Joined
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9,263 Posts
as far as the install for this exhaust is it just bolt on? Im not a car guy but I can swing the wrench.
Yes.The factory DP is kinda a pain to get off but not bad.Give your self some time & you will get it off.


joe r
 

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Registered
2006 Forester XT Limited 4EAT
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2,000 Posts
My MadDad Metal V2 Catted Downpipe arrived and is waiting for the big swap day. All in all, a very nicely built piece.
 

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Premium Member
2007 Forester XT 4EAT-VTD
Joined
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2,138 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yes.The factory DP is kinda a pain to get off but not bad.Give your self some time & you will get it off.


joe r
What Joe says. Also, be sure to hose down the DP nuts (the ones on the turbo) with PB Blaster, starting a few days before the job. Then the night before (assuming you'll be working on a cold engine), hose 'em again.
 

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Pleiads' biggest leghumper
04's 2 FXT's.
Joined
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9,263 Posts
On my wifes XT we have the 2 piece catted dp & older version whisper from Maddad & we love it/Super quiet till you WOT!


joe r
 

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Registered
06 subaru WRX
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27 Posts
wow probably one of the best reviews by far.
i'm currently running a prodrive and for some reason it's starting to sound 'loud' to me. must be the age thing, so i've been looking for an alternative. the STI muffler was just too quiet for my liking.

hopefully i can sell off enough parts to get this.
 

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Registered
2008 Forester XT Limited
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1,870 Posts
This is the setup I want as well. Is this their stealthback setup?
 

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Registered
2007 XT - 5MT ELH, EWG, E85, Kinugawa TD06SL 20G 8cm
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1,587 Posts
Sound vid, sorry too much wind noise, but you get the idea. Also, it was taken with a crappy point and shoot camera micro, real life much nicer sound.
This is an STi fitment 3" TBE, canister slightly shorter than the Forester fitment.
 

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Registered
2004 XT
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825 Posts
Sound vid, sorry too much wind noise, but you get the idea. Also, it was taken with a crappy point and shoot camera micro, real life much nicer sound.
This is an STi fitment 3" TBE, canister slightly shorter than the Forester fitment.

does the "axleback bend", right after the connection from midpipe to canister, stick out / hang lower like the other sti specific exhausts on foresters. cuz im guessing that forester specific catbacks are tucked in more.

can u get some closer pics from the back?

does it sit under the bumber like the sti axleback?? (my current set up)
 

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Registered
2007 Forester 2.5XT
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21 Posts
I installed a Fujitsubo cat and I would say its sounds better than stock. However, i would like it to sound louder especially at higher rpms. Would changing the downpipe do the trick?
 

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Registered
2007 XT - 5MT ELH, EWG, E85, Kinugawa TD06SL 20G 8cm
Joined
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1,587 Posts
does the "axleback bend", right after the connection from midpipe to canister, stick out / hang lower like the other sti specific exhausts on foresters. cuz im guessing that forester specific catbacks are tucked in more.

can u get some closer pics from the back?

does it sit under the bumber like the sti axleback?? (my current set up)
Yes, axleback bend hangs lower than Forester specific cats. I probably lose 1"+ of ground clearance.
 
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