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So after waiting, and waiting, and waiting...it finally came in!
Ordered from hopupracing (very satisfied with their customer service, see good guy bad guy) HKS USA was out of stock, so I had to wait about a month.
Removal of the stock exhuast was a well anticipated pain in the ***. A little penetrant and some brute force and the bolts were off. The hangers were a pain, but we just muscled those off (the trick is to wiggle them while pulling and prying with a crobar). Also had to remove the exhuast cutouts, but that wasnt a problem at all. Of course we did the obligatory 9000 rev with no exhaust...It sounded so sweet I didn't want to put the HKS on!
At first glance, the HKS is a beautiful piece. The welds are perfect. It's heavy though, probably in the neighborhood of 35 lbs (by my bench press measurement :D) . It installed right away using the included hardware. Only gripe I have it the connection with the OEM midpipe..it's not designed to use a gasket, and I just dont trust the crappy dounut seal. I soaped the joint up and hit the gas, and didn't see any bubbles, so I guess it's all good. I'd imagine all systems connect in this manner
The sound...where do I start? At first start up, I wondered if it would make any sound at all. It's OEM quiet at idle. You really only hear it above 5000, where the sound comes alive. Nice deep, subtle tone with no rasp or drone. I heard nothing but my bald tires and wind at 75mph with the windows up -- very good since I do alot of highway driving. By no means does it ever get loud..you wouldn't know it wasn't OEM if you didn't own an RX8. The cops will love this exhuast. The off-throttle pops are audible as with any aftermarket system, but not as bad as some other system's I've heard.
The fitment as well is just as nice as the sound. The tips protrude a bit farther then stock and are farther from center than the OEM tips. The tips fill the cutouts nicely with decent clearance for the high EGT's. From the rear, the muffler is not visible without getting on the ground. Ground clearance is also unaffected (a gripe from a system I had on my old car)
Additional power...well it's probably placebo but it feels quicker. Freer to rev, almost like a lightend flywheel. Exhaust doesnt do much for our stock cars, so I wasn't expecting a 13 second 1/4.
All in all I think this exhuast is worth all I paid for it, which albeit was alot. I wanted something everyone else didn't have, so I was willing to shell out the bills. I'll take some videos tomorrow when I have some sunlight. As much as I highly recommend this exhaust, I dont want anyone else to get it!!
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2004 Mazda RX-8: Titanium Gray 6 Speed, GT, NAV
HKS Legamax Exhaust, Axial Flow Engineering Short Shifter, ARC Titanium Shift Knob, Greddy T618Z Turbo, Mazsport Interceptor-X Engine Management, Greddy Profec B Spec II Boost Controller, HKS Type-0 Turbo Timer