Re: my journey begins
I agree about the spark plug... better to get the compression from shaving down the head or getting a high compression head and stick with the proper plug... a piston can hit a plug that's got too much reach.
As far as the poo poo pipe... if its a small diameter pipe then it could do more harm than good...the stock pipe does perform once the end cap has extra holes drilled, but also the flange on the stock pipe leaves a lot to be desired as the hole in the flange is even smaller than the stock exhaust port in the head. Ive port matched stock pipes which helps bring them around but the opening can only be brought up to the pipe's inner diameter or just slightly more if the weld is thick enough.
A straight pipe can also be fabricated out of 1˝ emt tubing (electrical conduit tubing) to give the pipe length and get the noise behind you, this will require welding or brazing a flange to the pipe or to splice the stock pipe in. The longer pipe will also contribute to more engine torque, and a longer intake will make more torque as well, but at the cost of some top end rpm.
Just using the stock pipe with extra holes in the end cap is an easy way to get better torque from the engine too, and a tuned expansion chamber would give the best gains but a straight pipe tuned to the right length can work quite well...