I’ve been following a thread on the Subaru forums for a couple weeks now about a guy who bought a header from a company called Batlground Motorsports in Atlanta. While Batlground claims that this header is their own production, it appears to be made by a place called privatelabelmfg, which may or may not actually be the same people.
Here’s a picture of the header:
You might say “hey, that’s a pretty smart design,” and you’d be right: Subarus benefit from having an equal length header, and this 1.5 scroll setup, as it’s called, keeps exhaust gas pulses separate until just before the turbine housing to provide some of the spool and response benefits found in a twin-scroll system.
If you’re a huge Subaru nerd like I am, you might also say “hey, that header looks really familiar,” and you would be right again. Here’s a manifold made by Full-Race:
Full-Race specializes in twin-scroll turbocharger setups and produces some of the highest quality manifolds and turbo systems on the market. They do all the work in-house in Arizona, using heavy duty tubing and robotic-tig welding to ensure these parts will withstand extreme operating conditions and never develop leaks (something common to aftermarket Subaru headers). Their exhaust manifolds are used on some of the fastest street and track cars in the world such as the Sierra Sierra time attack EVO.
From the two pictures above, you can see that the batlground/privatelabel manifold is a direct copy of the Full-Race part, right down to the product description on their site and e-bay ads:
BATLGROUND MOTORSPORTS is proud to offer our new 1.5 scroll header/up-pipe for the 2002-2007 Subaru WRX & STI with either the 2.0 or the 2.5. You must use the 2.5 oil pan for proper clearance. This header is compatible for RHD and LHD chassis.
This is the earliest spooling, equal length header with the fastest response of any stock location header. The 1.5 scroll header consists of a twin scroll lower manifold utilizing the stock location for the 1.5 scroll up-pipe. Utilizing ideal cylinder pairing and the proper implementation of twin scroll technology, huge increases at the low end, midrange and top end can be achieved while minimizing spool time and improving throttle response. Proven to make substantial horsepower and torque gains, the 1.5 scroll is the best performing.
This header is designed to optimize performance for a stock EJ engine and stock location single scroll turbo, this up pipe uses a twin-tube configuration which locates the final 2-1 merger as close to the turbine as possible. Any stock or upgraded stock style turbocharger will fit, and also stock location bolt-on GT30R and GT35R. Want to go bigger? Simply unbolt the 1.5 scroll up pipe and install a Full-Race twin scroll up pipe, turbo, downpipe and external wastegates to convert to twin scroll allowing for an easy upgrade to twin scroll GT30r, GT35R or even a GT40R.
It doesn’t get any more blatant than that- notice how they forgot to change Full-race to Batlground in there?
Here’s the actual full-race product:
Things get even better: One Subaru forum member who purchased the batlground part, on 11/30/11, mentioned that with his newly installed headers he was not hitting previous boost levels and noticed a tapping sound. The cause? Leak at the flange, due to warping and/or misalignment of the parts. The shop who did the installation managed to get them on right, most likely with a new gasket and sanding of the flanges.
Fast forward 6000 miles and less than two months, when on 1/19/2012 the same guy mentions he might have another exhaust leak. The cause? failed weld:
Manufacturer blames the heat coating and sends a new one out, although someone still has to pay for the labor to change it out. Many people in the thread applaud Batlground for having such great customer service, still hopeful it turned out to be a fluke and they’ll be able get the performance and longevity of a $1500 part for $500.
Then last week the new header arrives, gets installed, and it’s immediately apparent something is not right. Sure enough, another leak, this time at the turbo to up-pipe flange.
So, to recap:
-Company makes cheap copy of Full-Race headers
-markets them using Full-Race product description
-headers fail in short period of time
-person who bought them is out the money for the headers, the install twice over, two dyno sessions, and is now back to square one
This is a great example of why it’s good to spend a little more up front on high quality, genuine parts. Hopefully a few people will learn from this person’s experience. I should mention that privatelabel and/or batlground have many other headers for sale that also appear to be full-race copies, along with fake bride seats.
The whole story and more pictures can be found here: