The Long And The Short Of It: Should You Replace Your Exhaust Manifold With Shorty Or Long Tube Headers?

Posted on: 13 June 2017

The modern car modification scene is bursting at the seams with outlandish performance upgrades, but some of the most effective ways to boost the power and performance of your car are the most simple. Replacing your stock exhaust manifold with performance headers is one of these cheap and cheerful upgrades, and can dramatically increase the power and torque your car's engine produces -- as long as you choose the right tools for the job.

While exhaust headers come in a wide range of types and configurations, many of these are for specific applications (such as drag racing). To achieve manageable performance upgrades on your daily driver, you generally have two types of head to choose from; long tube headers, or shorty headers. These different types of header provide different benefits (and one or two disadvantages), so make sure you know what you want to get out of your exhaust upgrade before investing in a new header set.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing long tube headers?

If you drive a car that performs at its best in the mid-to-high rev ranges, long tube headers are the way to go. They are exceptional when it comes to increasing engine airflow at these high revs, and can dramatically increase your power and top speed, especially in a straight line.

The added length provided by these headers also minimises backflow, a phenomenon caused by exhaust gases escaping backwards in your exhaust system that can significantly impinge power at high revs. Most long headers consist of several 'primary' header pipes that converge into a single pipe towards the end of the exhaust system, helping to facilitate backflow prevention.

Unfortunately, long tube headers are far from easy to fit, and their long length means that extensive modifications are required to fit them properly (this may require you to rearrange certain components to accommodate the header). The level of modification required to fit these headers means they can be an expensive and time-consuming choice, especially if you choose to have your new headers fitted professionally. You should also take care to ensure that long tube headers do not increase your vehicle's emissions beyond local limits.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing shorty headers?

As their name would suggest, shorty headers are significantly shorter and more compact than long tubes, making them more suited to increasing power and torque when your engine is running at low-to-moderate revs. This makes them ideal for improving the performance of daily commuting cars and other vehicles with more modest performance, and they are particularly prized by urban drivers who desire extra power the moment they put their foot to the floor.

Shorty headers cannot compare to long tube headers when it comes to providing raw performance upgrades, and aren't nearly as effective at increase engine airflow rates. However, they are a far more practical choice when it comes to fitting them, as they require much less space and can generally be fitted without extensive modifications. As you can imagine, this makes them a lot cheaper and easier to fit. The decreased size of shorty headers also makes them an ideal choice for fitting to lowered cars, as long tube headers can cause clearance problems.

For the best header for your vehicle, check out Pacemaker headers.


Automotive Action: A Guide

Hi! My name is Lisa and I would like to invite you to read my new automotive blog. I own a small car which I use to drive around town. Last year, I realised that I needed to gain a better understanding of the various maintenance task I would need to complete in order to keep my car on the road. I also wanted to learn how to better accessorise my car so it looks really cool. Thankfully, I made a good friend who is a mechanic. He advised me on all of this and I learnt a lot. I hope you like my blog.

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