Headers are the first stop for exhaust gases on their way out of your cylinder heads and into the exhaust stream. To find a perfect set of headers, all you need to understand is how these two types differ. Read on to find out how the two styles improve performance at different RPMs and how choosing the correct one benefits your vehicle based on your driving style.
Factory headers, or “manifolds” are generally designed to meet the most strict emissions requirements, and be cost effective to mass produce. These manifolds are generally cast, leaving inconsistent imperfections within the inner ports. These imperfections can restrict the flow decreasing the efficiency of the engine’s exhaust flow. Their port design is typically geared towards quiet engine operation. In addition, they weigh significantly more than an aftermarket header.
Short Tube Headers
Short tube headers are a great option if you are looking for more low to mid range power in reference to your rpm band. This is a good choice for someone who daily drives the vehicle or uses it for towing where you are not constantly at higher rpms. Short tubes use welded mandrel bent pipes rather than a casting. They are typically easier to install compared to long tube headers and also allow you to use your factory catalytic converters when needed. If you are in an emissions controlled state, short tubes are typically the only legal option.
Long Tube Headers
Long tube headers are a great option for high revving vehicles to allow for a lot of top end exhaust gas flow. The difference between these and short tube headers is the length of the primary tubes to the collector. Long tubes keep exhaust gasses separate from each cylinder for a much longer period of time. Due to their longer primary tube lengths, long tubes need more space to work with. They also typically eliminate emissions equipment like catalytic converters. Long tubes are a great option for someone who is racing and pushing their car to redline, looking to produce greater peak horsepower and doesn't have to worry about complying with emissions standards. Long tubes will cause a check engine light on most modern applications unless a custom tune is used to tune out the secondary oxygen sensors.