A guy doesn't need to be an engineer with an advanced degree in order to understand that headers are basically the first stop for exhaust gases on their way out of your engine, on a journey that will eventually expel them from your tailpipe. In reality, to find a perfect set of headers, all you need to understand is our breakdown. Read on to find out how the two styles boost performance at different RPMs and how choosing the correct one benefits your ride.
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 a good-sized power plant. Step on the gas, and the rhythm gets faster. But we don’t expect you to spend all day in the driveway. So, when you’re done listening to your engine purr and finally hit the road, make sure it’s with the right headers for the job.
For a variety of reasons that involve physics, it turns out that long tube headers do the best job building horsepower and torque from mid-to-high RPMs. These are great for high-revving machines and track terrors, but they do sacrifice some of the low-RPM power that most drivers depend on.
On the other side of the coin, shorty headers deliver more power horsepower and torque from idle to the mid-RPM range. This makes shorty headers perfect for your daily commute or hauling your boat up a hill. We'll also note that sometimes short tubes can be easier to install. Check out some exhaust header reviews to get the inside scoop on installation.
What Brand is Right for You?
When you're looking at top names like Gibson Headers, Pacesetter Headers, Bassani Headers, Doug Thorley Headers and BBK Headers, you're getting gear that's made from top-quality materials and manufactured to the highest standards. And, most are available in both long and short tube configurations.
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, a short tube header setup is exactly what the doctor ordered.