Tested: Burns Stainless NHB Porsche 987 Cayman and Boxster Exhaust System

by Mike Kojima

The Porsche 987 Cayman has long been one of our favorite cars.  Built from 2006 to 2012, the 987 features a midship mounted 2.7 liter flat 6 or a 3.4 liter for the S Model.  The Cayman has always offered stellar handling, perhaps it was the best handling car of its time.

Many Porsche snobs pan the 987 because its mid engine makes it not a real Porsche in their eyes.  Because of this the 987 can be found for pretty reasonable prices on the used car market. This makes it a great buy in the eyes of the enthusiast who really only cares about performance.

With that in mind, our friends at Burns Stainless, purveyors of some of the finest header collectors, high quality bends and fabrication supplies for most of the hardcore race industry, have set out to build what is probably the best performance exhaust on the market for the 987 Cayman. 

By the way, although Burns markets the exhaust as a Cayman part it does also happen the fit the 2005-2012 987 Boxster.  Although the Boxster is looked down upon as a hairdresser's car by many enthusiasts, the 987 version does have pretty good performance and should not be overlooked! After all,  under the skin, it's virtually identical to the Cayman although the roadster body is not as stiff and thus the suspension calibration is not quite as taut. 

The Burns Stainless NHB or "No Holds Barred" exhaust system fits the 987 Porsche Cayman made from 2006 to 2012.  The NHB exhaust is designed to be a lightweight competition exhaust, however we found it to be quite streetable as well.  The NHB is exquisitely  built with Burns's legendary argon backpurged TIG welds out of thin wall 18 gauge ASTM269 304 Stainless steel.

ASTM269 is an industry metallurgy standard for high quality 304 heat treated corrosion resistant 304 stainless tubing. You won't be getting Chinese melted down pots and pans here!


We got the NHB exhaust version with resonated tips for a little more sound damping.  The exhaust is available with straight tips for slightly less weight and with cat bypassing race pipes. We opted to keep our cats for legal street use. 
The exhaust features a crossover pipe right behind the tips.  This is probably more for sound quality and to help hold the exhaust together than for performance although it may help bottom end torque a little.
The NHB exhaust uses Burns lightweight race mufflers.  We use Burns mufflers on many of our race car projects due to their light weight and efficient sound reduction.  The Burns muffler is a straight though absorption type muffler for just about zero backpressure. Inside the stainless steel can is a heavy stainless mesh inner tube surrounded by high temperature ceramic wool packing. There are no baffles or any obstructions to flow at all, just a straight tube. 

Burns mufflers are rebuildable when they start getting loud. The mufflers are attached to the downpipes with easy to use V-Band clamps so the exhaust can be quickly removed from the car. The slip fit clamps on the other side of the muffler are so adjustments can be made in the exhausts fit to make up for car to car tolerances.  This way the tips can be centered in the bumper cutout perfectly and allowance can be made for hanger sag and other things that affect exhaust system fit. 

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Thursday, March 10, 2016 7:43 AM
WD-40 isn't a (useful) penetrant...

Wrench tip time!
Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:51 AM
I hope to see more Porsche now !

If you ever decide to remove the headers, you'll see what snapped bolts mean ^^
I don't know why, all the other bolts are very good quality...
Thursday, March 10, 2016 4:08 PM
Project Cayman?!!?!?

That exhaust is like $2500...but I suppose for a race quality lightweight piece you're going to pay.
Thursday, March 10, 2016 4:11 PM
A torch on those rusty bolts is the key. Really makes all the difference in the world.

What's with the wavy torque curve?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, March 10, 2016 4:39 PM
common on late model cars with very active ECU control, especially with california gas.
Thursday, March 10, 2016 7:11 PM
I'm surprised how many Porsche owners seem to think their stock cars are some 'holy' object and should NOT be upgraded.

That's ridiculous. Porsche themselves upgrade just about everything on their production cars to make the race spec. vehicles.

About the droning, is it possible to add a resonator before the muffler? I know my own cars greatly benefited from them.
Thursday, March 10, 2016 8:23 PM
Ahahah WD-40 and no heat to remove exhaust bolts. Living in California must be nice in that regard. (I recently changed out a muffler on a 16 year old car that's spent all of its life in the northeast. Bolts needed to be cut since there was no resemblance of a hex head left. Then the bolts were so pack rusted in the flanges that I needed a three jaw puller and a torch to get them out.)

Project Cayman would be awesome. I very much want a 987 Cayman S but an '09 or newer with the direct injection and no intermediate shaft.

Is this Cayman a pure street car or does it see some track days?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:10 PM
To me the drone isn't that bad, it's better than my daily driver for instance. The car's owner is sorta fussy about it.

We wanted to do a project Cayman but very few companies make decent parts for it and there is no good info on how to properly build one as most of the Porsche forums have a bunch of people that are, well Porsche guys. The type that that are gearheads that are not gearheads if you know what I mean. People with opinions but don't turn wrenches.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:11 PM
Hey if any of your Porsche guys have any decent leads for a mod path post some here!
Sunday, March 13, 2016 6:03 PM
You can fab up some 1/4 wave resonators to eliminate the drone. Will not add much weight at all & they work like a charm. Do one at 26" to cancel out the 2500rpm drone and the other pipe at 18.5" for 3500.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, March 13, 2016 8:39 PM
Without an FFT, the size and placement of the resonators would be a guess.
Cory M
Cory Mlink
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:12 PM
I really don't know what you are talking about with regards to "very few companies make decent parts for it" and "no good info on how to properly build one". There is a abundance of excellent aftermarket parts for these cars and a wealth of knowledge about building them. People have been tracking and racing Caymans for a decade now both club and pro.

You're in California, go to some POC and PCA events and see everything from mild street cars to full blown GT class racers. The Festival of Speed is going on at Autoclub Speedway next month, it is one of the biggest Porsche events on the West Coast and there will be a bunch of modified Caymans there. Go visit Vision Motorsports, Hergeshiemer Motorsports, Vali Motorsports, Speed Gallery, Tarret Engineering, ERP, etc. All of these shops are within 1.5 hours of LA. If you don't want to leave the house go to the Racing / Drivers Ed and Cayman sections of Rennlist, check out Planet9 forum competition sections, and the 986 forums. Take a look at the hugely popular Boxster Spec series and the new PCA Cayman Spec series. Check out the more significantly built Cayman Interseries, PCA GTB1, and Continental Challenge ST cars.

There is a hotbed of Porsche Cayman activity right at your doorstep. Just because you don't know where to look doesn't mean it isn't out there...
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:42 PM
Thank you for suggesting companies, when looking on forums it seemed to be full of guys arguing that stock is best and going on and on, full of opinions without any actual knowledge or Data. The Porsche tuner shops we knew didn't seem to have much stuff to offer and I was getting frustrated by lack of knowledge of the people we knew that were into these cars at track events. Your suggestions will be helpful.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:59 PM
Of all the companies listed most are race prep and service shops that don't offer any parts for the 987. Tarett Engineering has some good 987 parts that will allow for more adjustability. The parts are more of the spherical bearing side of things and might still need to be modded for what I want to do. ERP makes parts but not for the 987. The owner of the car would need to decide what sort of compromise he want to accept in NVH. There does not seem to be any other engine options other than an intake and an ECU flash by GIAC. Not a whole lot to offer or do.
Cory M
Cory Mlink
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 6:28 PM
Several of the 911 suspension parts are interchangeable with the Cayman. ERP (eisenlohr racing products) makes adjustable control arms that fit both, and the Boxster too. Many factory GT3 suspension parts fit as well if you want adjustability without spherical bearings (control arms, front sway bar). If you want to go big you can fit a lot of factory GT3 cupcar suspension and brake parts. Pretty sure Rennline and Elephant Racing make a bunch of suspension parts too. Guard Transmission makes limited slip differentials and custom gearing. I don't know as much about bolt on engine mods. Most people I know with Caymans have either limited engine mods or a full blown race build with more displacement. I'm sure there is a street friendly middle ground and Vision Motorsport is who I would ask. LN engineering makes engine parts for Caymans. BGB Motorsports isn't local but has been building and racing Caymans since the beginning. Most people who track their first gen Cayman S's focus on reliability mods (oiling, cooling,etc), the second gen is supposed to be more robust platform with regards to oil starvation. It's a great platform.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 7:33 PM
I know the M97 engine is pretty weak and has IMS bearing failures and oil starvation issues. I have had some friends who have had failure of the IMS shaft and oil starving the engine doing mild track days on stock cars. Sorta scary. I was thinking of doing HD IMS bearings and a pan baffle. I heard people switch IPD plenums but no one can say if it helps power. Thanks for the help and if you have other ideas please share them.
Cory M
Cory Mlink
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 8:52 PM
I don't have a lot of first hand tuning experience with Caymans, just drive them from time to time. Some of the folks I mentioned above are really on the cutting edge of Caman development. When I was thinking about building a Cayman track car I was told to get a deeper pan with baffle, porsche motorsport air oil seperator, under drive pulley, and power steering cooler. Some also said to add the LN IMS and accusump but several had original IMS with thousands of track miles. General consensus was buy the second gen if you can afford it.

As for pwer mods, the thing people have to remember is you are starting with a sportscar that retailed for $60k and is already pretty well optimized. It's not an economy car that leaves a lot of performance on the table waiting to be unlocked. You are unlikely to see big gains bolting on simple engine parts and changing the mapping. That will probably change with the next generation of turbo cars.
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