Pipes' original tech spec reads: The more seemingly worthless a gadget, the more Pipes is fascinated by it. And he finds Earth a veritable gold mine of worthless gadgetry: carrot juicers, musical wristwatches, electric hair combers—the capacity of the human imagination never ceases to amaze Pipes! He is so enthralled by all this that he now collects these artifacts, creating a sort of mini-museum of American consumerism in an unused corner of the Ark. Pipes doesn't allow his hobby to interfere with his responsibilities to the Autobot struggle—at least not usually. Even while on a mission, he's been known to pull over to the curb and enviously ogle a human walking by using a hand-held portable electric fan. Pipes explains, "The true collector never knows when or where he'll discover his next treasure!"
In vehicle mode, Pipes can travel 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) with a range of 400 miles (640 km) and can haul up to 60 tons. His twin exhaust pipes, which become his arms in robot mode emit corrosive gases that can dissolve a 2-inch-thick (51 mm) slab of steel in 10 minutes. He is among the strongest of the Autobot mini-bots.
Pipes is fairly tough, but even a mere scratch to his corrosion resistant armor leaves him vulnerable to the destructive effects of his own exhaust gasses. Often, in the heat of battle, Pipes is unaware of such blemishes and consequently sometimes succumbs to his own weapon.
The character first appeared in the original Transformers cartoon's third season premiere, a five part mini-series entitled "Five Faces of Darkness", in which he and a few other Mini-Bots defended the Ark from the gigantic Decepticon Trypticon, and later helped install the transformation cog in Metroplex.
He also appeared in the episode "Forever is a Long Time Coming".
In the episode "Carnage in C-Minor", it could be aruged that Pipes makes an appearance in the episode, alibet miscolored and shown alongside Brawn (who was long dead at this point) and Bonecrusher (a Decepticon) firing at Galvatron. However many fans say it's a miscolored Huffer (who was listed as dead in an earlier episode), others dismiss it completely as the episode was riddled with animation errors.