I agree, ended up taking a sawzall to my stock exhaust and I rather enjoyed it. If you're going to upgrade your exhaust, I think it'd be best to simply buy a stainless steel and mandrel bent model, as they shouldn't rust and will flow better. I went with a pricier brand (GMPP) but I hear they're all the same until the muffler, so even a $150 eBay catback will perform just as well (Some people who took the eBay option even hacked off the mufflers and tacked on a better sounding one, Borla comes to mind) Ask around and do your research. Good luck.there is a good chance the stock had to be cut off. Just be cautious that most DIY cut them off as you really cant wiggle it out without a lift and or taking more things apart. (been a long time since I did mine, I just remember having to cut it. No option)
Exactly, why I preach to younger tuners about catalytic converters, there is no restriction in air flow on a 3 way cat. I tell them to hold a cat converter in the air with a light, shooting through it on a white wall, you will see a big hole inside reflecting. Its what we call poor perception. Running a non catted downpipe will cause your Hydrocarbons and Carbon Monoxides (HC and CO) to pump out your muffler tip, in which a 5 gas analyzer will fail an emissions test.It's all about correct velocity and exhaust pulses.
I'm sure a SS manifold/downpipe with a HFC/2.5" catback would suffice just fine on ANY N/A ecotec.