Porsche Boxster Exhaust Drone

Fixing Porsche High-Performance Exhaust Drone

Many drivers opt to install a Porsche high-performance exhaust only to encounter the need for fixing the drone. Many (if not most) after-market performance exhaust systems produce an exhaust drone which can impact the enjoyment of long road trips.

If you drive your car for enjoyment, travel on weekends, etc, you need to be careful when selecting an aftermarket (non-OEM) high-performance exhaust system.

What is an Exhaust Drone?

You will never hear an exhaust drone on a production car using an OEM exhaust.

Exhaust. drone is the result of sound waves traveling through the air and vibration that is transferred through a vehicle’s frame, body, and components. The sound wave vibration ranges in frequency and wavelength, as well the actual size of sound waves. When your engine exhaust is going through your exhaust system, the shape of the exhaust can act as an amplifier for certain pitches.

For example: at 2500 RPMs to 3500 RPMs, you will hear the exhaust much louder than at other times. This can even be compounded more by the exhaust traveling through the floor and into the cabin of the car.

At certain RPMs, your exhaust will resonate and create a loud “drone” noise. When the Porsche Boxster convertible top is open the issue is exacerbated.

Exhaust drone is an annoying, monotone sound and vibration that occurs in many (non-OEM) aftermarket exhaust systems

Experiencing Exhaust Drone First Hand

I loved the incredible sound of my friend’s 987 performance exhaust. It had a phenomenal sound and I could always hear him upon approach. One day, we swapped cars for the 50-minute drive to the track. 30 minutes into the drive and I was done with his car.

On the highway, at a constant speed, the drone noise of his exhaust was irritating and unenjoyable.

But on the track, I loved driving his car and the performance sound response of the exhaust was amazing.

I had heard about the “drone” issue, but until you experience it first hand you will not fully understand.

Fixing Exhaust Drone

The drone sound is corrected by using different shaped exhausts, installing a resonator, or even an additional muffler, which works to absorb the sound waves and dissipate the exhaust drone.

Resonators, being smaller, are installed at strategic points in the exhaust. Resonators retain the raw loud motor sound, but to be done properly would need a lot of testing/sound engineering or a lot of trial and error/luck.

Drone in the exhaust is due to the engine driving the exhaust system at its resonant frequency. Sound waves and the transfer of sound must be controlled to quiet the exhaust. 

Porsche Sport Exhaust (PSE)

Porsche Boxster PSE Button
Porsche Boxster PSE Button

The PSE option has a specific exhaust design to not cause “drone”. Unfortunately, in most cases on Porsche Boxsters, the PSE does not deliver on a significant performance improvement but delivers much better exotic performance exhaust sound.

Performance Exhaust Systems

When you are tracking your Porsche Boxster, and drone coming from the exhaust is of zero concern. The more you hear from your engine the better and you will not hold any level of speed to even notice it.

You need to be aware of the performance “drone” exhaust issue and then choose all 3rd party performance exhaust solutions carefully.

Our favorite sounding exhaust on the Porsche Boxster is the Fabspeed SuperCup Exhaust, which is not street legal in most jurisdictions. You cannot beat this loud and aggressive sounding performance exhaust.

On the track sidelines, you can literally determine the location of the Porsche Boxster with the SuperCup exhaust is on the track.

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FABSPEED SUPERCUP RACE EXHAUST for 2013-2015 PORSCHE 981 BOXSTER/CAYMAN
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Many forum users (and PCA) have reported excellent performance and sound using high-performance exhausts from China purchased off of eBay and Alibaba. Do your own research and try to source a highly rated exhaust.

Forum users regularly record the sounds and videos for uploads on the forums. In fact, many forums have dedicated threads just to listing the different sounds using both video and mp3 files.

Solution for Fixing Porsche High-Performance Exhaust Drone

A large number of forum users have had excellent experience installing these baffles into their exhaust tips when driving to and from the track. It is a super cost-effective solution.

Measure your exhaust gap to ensure that they will fit (first).

This is such an easy solution that we could not pass up writing an article on it. A simple allen key and the baffles can be installed or removed in under 2 minutes. We would do this at the track while we are switching our brake pads for use on the track.

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FOLCONROAD Universal Motorcycle Muffler Insert Baffle Can Removable 60MM
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The solution of using a motorcycle exhaust baffle may seem odd, but this is a prevalent solution that virtually all Porsche forums have dedicated threads on. This “tip” is used on many performance cars (Porsche, BMW, etc.) as a very cost-effective fix, it is so easily installed and removed that you cannot beat it. No cutting, no torching, and no assembly required!

NOTE: We highly recommend that you remove the baffles on ALL Track Days unless you are getting flagged by the track Marshal (there is a static 101 dB limit and on some tracks, it can be as low as 70dB).

From the Forums

Every Porsche and Boxster forum has multiple threads on this issue. Forums users aare providing with multiple solutions. Many drivers have purchased the Porsche Boxster used without the knowledge of possible “drone” of a 3rd party high-performance exhaust.

Exhaust drone is a common topic at PCA meetings, cars and coffee outings, and at “every” PCA DE event.

Please do your own research.

Installed Fabspeed Supercup Exhaust on 981 Boxster S, horrible Drone. Yesterday I had a Fabspeed Supercup Exhaust installed on my 981 Boxster S, love the sound but have a very bad drone. Any suggestions?


blacksea @ Planet-9.Com

Fabspeed Supercup – WORST DRONE EVER

JDodd @ 718forum.com

The Fabspeed exhaust on my 02 Boxster was a little too loud for me. The drone with the top up was headache-inducing.

I figured I try baffles in the tips as this was an inexpensive test. The drone is no longer an issue, power is still there, and the sound is fantastic.

tamagee @ Riesentöter PCA Forum

Aftermarket exhaust – low rpm drone

Cosmo Kramer @ rennlist.com

From YouTube

Excellent Video from Aaron on this Quick and Easy Fix

Also be sure to check out our “Best Of” Series:

Other Articles of Interest

What is drone in a car?

At certain RPMs, a 3rd party high-performance exhaust system can resonate and create a loud “drone” noise. Many owners opt to install a Porsche high-performance exhaust only to encounter the need for fixing the drone caused by the upgrade. Many (if not most) after-market performance exhaust systems produce an exhaust drone which can impact the enjoyment of long road trips. When the Porsche Boxster convertible top is open the issue is exacerbated. You will never hear an exhaust drone on a production car using an OEM exhaust.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API