Long-Tube vs. Short-Tube Headers: The Long and Short of It

Long Tube VS Shorty Headers


  1. Hey Garrett,
    Your article here did a great job explaining the scavenging that i didn’t really understand until coming here. I have a 2001 f350 6.8l v10 and would like some decent options for headers and exhaust ideas to eliminate this drone/reverberation at 40-45mph around 1500rpm in my exhaust ever since an exhaust shop eliminated my cat two years ago(no emission laws here) and changed my muffler. Still have stock manifolds and I am not looking forward to removing those in the future lol. I have been looking at the Doug Thorley long tube headers. Thoughts?

    • Hey Joel,

      I highly recommend the Doug Thorley long tube headers, they have a great reputation. This will not fix your drone, however, for that you would want to step up to a more conservative muffler setup. Do you know what mufflers you have now? The Flowmaster 50 series Delta Flow is my go-to recommendation for someone who wants a mean sound, but without the drone. However with a big V10 like that, I don’t have any experience with these in that application. I would ask on forums with other 6.8 owners for that.


  2. Hello Garrett!

    Really great info!
    I recently purchased an 04 E55 AMG that is relatively stock. I’ve been doing research for a month now and have not concluded on the headers I would like to get for an upgrade in power(has 470, but wanting to be near 600) and sound(going for a low grumble, nothing annoying). I have looked a lot into LTH from MBH, as well as MLH from Kleeman. There are also a few USA built headers, but I’m leaning towards keeping parts German.
    There are so many variations between headers, mid pipes, and cat configurations that I feel like I am starting to over think it.
    Have you dabbled enough in performance headers for German performance cars to give any suggestions on header length or overall exhaust setups?

    Thank you!

    • Hey Caleb,

      I have a bit, but mostly with Audis and BMWs. The general sentiment remains that long-tube are the way to go if possible, however this is getting harder and harder to do with these cars while keeping them emissions legal (depending on where you live). I would check out some Mercedes enthusiast forums and see what others are doing in order to hit those power levels. I wouldn’t shy too much away from USA made parts, there are plenty of shops making fantastic parts for German cars that guys even import to Europe, performance knows no country of origin!

      The big factor with any relatively modern German performance car is going to be in the software. I would find a good shop local to you that does custom dyno tunes, that way you can plan out your physical mods accordingly.


  3. Hey garret what would you recommend on my 1997 Chevy c1500 5.7. Vortec

    Not worried about my cats lol, thanks man keep up the awesome work

  4. Hey Garrett I’ve got a 1993 Ford F-150 5.0HO heads and it’s lifted like six inch suspension and three inch body and it won’t have cats when I go to headers. Which would you recommend and what size duel exhaust

    • Hey Gary,

      If you aren’t worried about cats, I would go with long-tube headers, and 2.5″ pipe for the exhaust should be plenty while maintaining opportunity for scavenging. Stainless Works makes a great set of long-tubes for your 5.0.


    • Hey Randy,

      If you local emissions allow, I would go for longtube headers and a cat-back system. Pacesetter and Stainless Steel Works make great kits for the 5.7.


  5. hey garrett, i just ordered a set of 1 3/8” pacesetter longtube headers for my 06 Avalanche. it has the 5.3 and ive been debating on deleting both of my cats when i have the headers installed. going to run 2.5” pipe into a single in single out flowmaster super 10. i also plan on having a custom tune done to get rid of the code that will cause. i was wanting to know if this will have any kind of negative impact of my performance and the overall health of the engine. and will i still be getting enough back pressure?

    • Hey Kody,

      You won’t have any negative performance impacts from deleting the cats, the idea of needing backpressure is a bit of a misnomer. What you need is to create the conditions I outlined above in order to aid in scavenging, which isn’t really backpressure, but more a vacuum effect created by the outgoing exhaust pulses. This will help to pull additional air into the cylinder in the brief window when the exhaust and intake valves are both open at the same time. So the key is to have a fast-flowing but contained system for this to happen. 2.5″ pipe from the longtube headers back sounds like a good way to go for that.

      I will note, however, that a high-flow cat will not hinder performance, and will help to keep the air a little cleaner around your truck.



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