Cold side charge pipes reviewed - JBR Cold Side Kit vs. CP-E Exhale Kit
Wanted to give a little backstory so this review has some more context. I made the decision to upgrade to a GTX2867 a couple months ago and that I was going to want to run some sort of methanol system to keep my in-cylinder temps more in check. Naturally, since I knew I was also going to have to run an external BOV, I pretty much zeroed in on picking up either the JBR Cold Side Kit or the CP-E Exhale Kit. Since I was going for the JBR hot side kit, I figured I may as well get the JBR cold side as well so they would match. I had assumed they really couldn't be too different but I quickly learned that was not the case.
- $254 (with optional $35 symposer delete)
- $238 (with EdgeAutoSport 5% forum discount)
Right out of the gate, CP-E gets this one. With the JBR kit, you have to add the $35 symposer delete if you want to tap into a true vacuum source for your BOV. The CP-E kit includes a MAPtap in the price, which is their solution to providing access to a true vacuum source.
JBR kit came in one big box with all the accessories in an oversized plastic bag and the t-bolt clamps in USPS flat rate boxes. Pipe was packed with your standard paper packing material.
CP-E kit came in one box with all the accessories in one big vacuum-sealed bag with each part sealed in its own little section. Pipe was packed with standard paper packing material.
I think the CP-E packaging is a touch nicer here so they get this one. Being fair, this is just packaging so it matters very little.
JBR did not include any. Only a paper describing warranty limitations (which found it's way to the garbage at some point) and two stickers. If you want installation instructions, you have to go to their website and print them off on your own.
CP-E included full-color instructions as well as two stickers. The full-color instructions are very nice, there's a lot of detail in both the pictures and descriptions.
- JBR kit includes
--- 4 T-bolt clamps
--- BPV block-off spring
--- Vacuum tubing
--- Zip ties
--- 2x vacuum plugs
--- Symposer delete (additional $35)
- CP-E kit includes
--- 4x T-bolt clamps
--- Sold milled BPV block off plate
--- Vacuum tubing
--- Zip ties
--- MAPtap adapter (installation pictures!)
I'll break this down into a couple subcategories.
JBR makes you spend an additional $35 to get their symposer delete kit if you want to have a 1/8 NPT tap into a true vacuum source. So not only do you have to spend more money to get it, you have to remove your sound symposer too. For some people that's fine since they don't like the sound symposer, but I'm in the group of people who do. Either way, it's nice to have the option to keep it if you want and the CP-E kit is the only one that gives you that.
CP-E includes an adapter called a MAPtap in their kit. This is a little milled spacer that gets installed between the intake manifold and the MAP sensor that gives you a 1/8 NPT port for tapping into a true vacuum source.
BPV block off:
The solution JBR came up with was simply to include a stiffer spring in their kit that you install into the turbo in place of the OEM spring to "block-off" the factory BPV. Logic being that the stiffer spring will keep the BPV shut allowing only the external BOV to function. Unfortunately the spring they chose to include isn't stiff enough to function as they intended. What I was able to determine was that the spring they include is too light and lets the BPV crack open right at about 20 PSI and leak boost through the turbo's compressor side housing. You can read more about that saga of troubleshooting and experimentation starting here in my build thread.
The importance of the solid milled block-off plate that CP-E includes cannot be understated here. With the CP-E BlockD plate, you just install it in place of the factory BPV and you're done. The CP-E BlockD plate is such a vastly superior choice to that cheesy little spring JBR includes that this honestly is a no-brainer. If you are going to be running with the stock turbo or an EFR turbo, you would be well served to have a proper block off plate and the CP-E kit comes standard with one. If you were to purchase a block-off plate separately it will cost you roughly $30.
JBR went with heavier, 5-ply silicon couplers that are very rigid. These are legit really nice and have a very sturdy feel to them.
CP-E went with lighter, 4-ply silicon couplers that are slightly more flexible. They also have a very sturdy feel to them but not quite as much so as the JBR couplers.
As far as I could tell, the T-Bolt clamps included in both kits are essentially identical to each other aside from being slightly different in size. I haven't had any issues with the silicon couplers popping off with either kit.
CP-E gives you a couple extra inches of vacuum line with their kit compared to JBR. Both lines are essentially the same, with the CP-E having a slightly larger ID.
Overall, the BlockD plate and MAPtap that are included in the price really seal this one up for CP-E. If for no other reason, the accessories alone should make the case for picking up the CP-E kit over the JBR kit.
- JBR is painted with a wrinkle coating and is 2.50" in diameter. The wrinkle coating JBR went with is honestly pretty nice, but it seems to scratch and scrape easier.
- CP-E is powder coated and 2.75" in diameter. The powder coating CP-E went with is also really nice and seems to resist scratching more effectively.
I don't really think the aesthetics of one is any better than the other, all other factors being equal, so I'm going to score this based on scratch resistance.
JBR went with a smaller diameter pipe which allows for more movement and can cause the pipe to rub against the corner of the AC compressor. You'll see in one of the photos below I had to use a pallet zip tie to try to prevent this movement from wearing a hole right through the pipe. The JBR pipe also rubs against the base of where the oil filter gets installed. I noticed this might be an issue when I first installed the kit and tried to position the pipe in such a way to try to minimize or eliminate the rubbing but the angle of the pipe makes it really difficult to avoid. I really get the impression that JBR simply threw together some CAD designs and just started producing & selling them with very little or no real world testing. I rate the overall fitment of the JBR pipe as poor.
CP-E went with a bigger diameter pipe that, in my opinion, actually fits better. The larger diameter pipe and the longer silicon elbow from the intercooler force it to fit much more snuggly between the radiator shroud and AC compressor which effectively eliminates the movement and rubbing issues I was having with the JBR pipe. It basically fills the whole cavity between the fan shroud of the radiator and the AC compressor which ends up holding the pipe in place more securely, the only downside to this is that you have to be careful with t-bolt clamp placement but it's pretty easy to figure out what will work once your under the car. It also seems to have better clearance around the oil filter base as I have noticed zero rubbing right there. I've had the pipe installed for a week now and have not found any it rubbing or chaffing anywhere. I rate overall fitment of the CP-E pipe as excellent.
JBR Rubbing on the oil filter base.
JBR Rubbing on the AC compressor.
CP-E pipe doesnt rub anywhere on the AC compressor
Nor does it rub against the base of the oil filter
JBR's design sits the flange a little further down and angled more towards the oil filter.
CP-E's design puts the flange a little higher up and is angled more toward the AC compressor.
They are both positioned slightly different. At least for my setup, the CP-E pipe gave more clearance and a better fit with the Synchronic BOV. Welds on both are nice and clean. Flange height is just about identical with the CP-E being a smidge taller. Since my BOV has better clearances with the CP-E pipe, I'm giving this one to them. Not sure how they would compare with something like a Tial or HKS.
This was a huge one for me and honestly the biggest factor for why I later picked up and installed the CP-E kit after already owning the JBR kit.
- Bung plug was installed ludicrously tight, to the point it was starting to strip out the threads right from the factory. I used the correct size allen key to try to remove it, but the plug was installed so tightly the key walls rounded off in short order. I ended up having to dremel a cut into the JBR plug so that I could use the broad edge of a paint scraper to slowly work the plug out. It was so tight it literally squealed while I was turning it out. It took me over two hours just to get that plug out.
- Methanol bung location is smack up against the silicon coupler for the throttle body once installed and positioned in such a way it's essentially impossible to reach the nozzle with the pipe still installed in the car.
- Bung thread depth is majorly concerning, the threads are far too deep. When I installed my DO5 nozzle in the JBR pipe, it was sitting somewhere around 3/8" too far recessed. This negatively impacted the conical spray pattern from the nozzle and caused atomization issues. I ended up having to dremel and file the bung down about 3/8" to get the nozzle tip to sit flush with the inside of the charge pipe. You can read more about that issue starting here in my build thread.
- The bung plug was snug but came out without event. Took maybe 20 seconds to remove and that includes finding the right size allen key.
- The methanol bung location is much better. The bung is positioned further down, about halfway between the BOV flange and the throttle body. When you have a bung further downstream it gives the methanol/water mix more time to interact with the charge air. This results in lower charge air temps and better fluid atomization which means more even fluid distribution to each cylinder. You can also reach the methanol nozzle with the pipe still installed in the car, just remove the BOV and you can reach it from underneath.
- Bung thread depth on the CP-E pipe is much more shallow and was honestly perfect right out of the box. There were absolutely no modifications needed for the DO5 nozzle tip to sit flush with the inside of the charge pipe.
JBR - Somewhat helpful at first when it was only the weak BPV spring I was having issues with. After I kept bringing more issues to their attention, they flipped the tables and tried to blame me and my skills (or as they claim, lack thereof) as the reason I was having problems. I approached them with loads of troubleshooting information, data, and pictures to verify my claims and they threw it all back in my face claiming that I was the problem. They eventually refused to accept that any of these were real problems and have since stopped communicating with me. I was never anything but respectful to them (albeit a bit frustrated) and they met my concerns with curt replies questioning my abilities and offering up zero solutions to any of my issues. In all honesty, their customer service is some of the worst I've dealt with in recent memory. They were rude, curt, and accusatory despite the fact I was nothing but factual and respectful to them. I plan to upload our full email chain shortly to something like Pastebin once I get sensitive info removed. My goal is to be as transparent as possible here to show that I was simply a customer who was having issues and wanted solutions that they were downright rude to. I want to make it abundantly clear that I'm not just someone trying to slander them. After this experience, I have no intention of ever installing more JBR parts on any of my cars.
Update - Spoke to James from JBR (tldr: refused to give a refund, hung up on me)
CP-E - Don't know, didn't have to contact them. There was a small delay in getting my order shipped out because, according to EdgeAutoSport, CP-E was having powder-coating issues. I ordered May 21 and received my kit Jun 24.
I seriously can't find one comparison where the JBR pipe is better than the CP-E. Customer service concerns aside, the JBR kit itself has too many glaring issues and weak points for me to ever recommend this kit to anyone for any reason. If I had purchased this pipe from JBR directly I would have insisted on a full refund or I would have started a chargeback dispute with my bank. After the exceptional number of issues I had coupled with with their lame support I literally feel sick to my stomach that I wasted over $250 on this kit and now it's just going to end up in the garbage.
Based on the inclusion of the MAPtap, a solid BPV block off plate, the methanol accommodations, and overall fitment, the CP-E kit is clearly the better choice all around. I would strongly urge anyone looking for a cold side pipe to pick up the CP-E kit regardless of your current setup or long-term goals.
Sticking with the stock turbo? Get the CP-E kit.
Going with an ATP turbo? Get the CP-E kit.
Going with an EFR turbo? Get the CP-E kit.
Going to be running methanol? Get the CP-E kit.
Want something that fits? Get the CP-E kit.
Check out my JBR Hot Side Charge Pipe Kit vs. CP-E 'Hotcharge' Kit review here!
Edit1 - Added a "fitment" section.
Edit2 - Added a link to some MAPtap install pictures
Edit3 - Grammar and layout tweaks
Edit4 - Fitment section of the CP-E pipe updated