A guy doesn't need to be a chemical engineer with an advanced degree to understand that headers are basically the first stop for exhaust gases as they make their way out of your engine on their journey that will eventually expel them from the end of your tailpipe. However, sometimes it seems like it might help, so let's keep it simple.
Short or Long Tube Headers?
When you sit and idle your engine you can literally feel the rhythm or beat of the pistons firing—especially if you're in a ride with good sized power plant. Step on the gas and the rhythm gets faster. Hey, you're here looking for a way to make your exhaust better and boost power; you know what I'm talking about.
For a variety of reasons that involve physics, it turns out that long tube headers do a better job expelling your exhaust at low and medium speed RPM. So, this means you get more horsepower and torque when you're taking off from a standing start or fairly low cruising speed.
On the other side of the coin, shorty headers can deliver more power when your tach is running at its upper end and this is accompanied by less power at low to medium RPMs when compared to long tubes. We'll also note that sometimes short tubes can be easier to install. Check out some headers reviews to get the inside scoop on installation.
What Brand is Right for You?
Of course, when you're looking at top names like Gibson Headers, Pacesetter Headers, Bassani Headers, Doug Thorley Headers and BBK Headers you know you're getting gear that's made from top quality materials and to the highest standards. And, these are usually available in both long and short tube configurations.
When you're setting out to buy Stainless Works headers, or any of the other top brands we've mentioned here, make sure you check out all the info we've made available to you. You'll feel like you have a master's degree in headers and engine scavenging by the time you're done.
With all of this said, it should be clear that you need to take a little time and consider the type of driving you do. Probably the majority of guys looking for a more efficient exhaust system have images of taking the neighborhood hot-rodder off the line and are looking for killer acceleration. This is especially true for guys running bigger engines. However, if you're in a smaller, lighter ride and you're pushing your RPMs on a freeway commute, maybe a short tube setup will do it for you. You might find that the extra power you get when you go to pass another vehicle is exactly what the doctor ordered.