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Old 04-13-2011, 10:43 AM   #1
greenbd71
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Question Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

I am thinking about putting headers on my truck. I just wanted to know about the trucks that added headers to them. I know that they are hard on the spark plug wires running close to them.
I am not adding them for the sound since my dual Magnaflow Mufflers already do that. I guess I am asking are the positives of the headers worth the money for what you get out of them? Does anybody regret adding them to their trucks?
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:56 AM   #2
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

I bought my truck with these really crappy headers on it the PO put on. I have to use header spark plugs and #6 and #8 are damn near impossible to get out. Mine are small too and I don't think they goto my truck. But then again I have bags, you shouldn't have a problem finding some good fitting headers. Just make sure you do your research on them and you'll get some HP out of it. I'm sure someone else can elaborate better than me, I'm kind of just venting lol.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:47 PM   #3
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

[SIZE="4"]Thank you for the quick response. It seems like all the trucks I see in magazines always have headers. My truck is not a daily driver but to take out on the weekends and show off at a local Car and Truck Show. It's not easy getting spark plugs on with the factory exhaust so I don't know if a nice set of headers would make it a nightmare to change plugs or produce too much heat in the engine bay.
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:07 PM   #4
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Your engine bay looks pretty good to me. I think your exhaust manifolds look really nice as well.

The first headers I used were cheapos. They did radiate quite a bunch of heat. The second set of headers I have are ceramic coated. They do seem to help cut down the heat radiated.

I think new/ clean headers look great, but I really haven't noticed any "real" improvement of headers vs stock manifolds.

Keith
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:14 PM   #5
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Headers can cause problems with starters because of heat soak. If I had to do it again I would have not gone with headers on the 454 in my '71 since the engine is more or less stock.

The engine will not turn over when the engine is warm because of heat soak of the starter. After it cools off it turns over ok.
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:50 PM   #6
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

I had Thorely TRI Y headers on my 402BB but I went back to the factory manifolds because they are are trouble free. They have perfect fit without the worry of loose bolts. Thats my story and I am sticking to it.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:03 PM   #7
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Interested also.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:36 PM   #8
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Generally speaking, headers offer a little more performance. But on a stock motor, not much.
If you are going to spend the dough, get a coated version to keep the heat down a bit. They also look very nice and age better.
Remember you get what you pay for when it comes to headers. Want them to fit, not have spark plug issues, not hit the cross member, melt the insulation off starter wires etc. etc.? You'll end up spending some dough.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:04 AM   #9
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

How much more power/mpg would you get on a stock motor?
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:08 AM   #10
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

On a 2 barrel setup, none. 4 barrel maybe 10% more at best.... mpg will not likely change.

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Old 04-14-2011, 12:21 AM   #11
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Back when Old Yeller was stock, switching out the manifolds (because one broke) for a cheap set of Cyclone headers made no noticeable difference in the power. It did make a noticeable difference in the amount of work I had to do to keep the damn things from leaking. If your rig is otherwise stock and running right I wouldn't waste the time on headers. On the other hand if you have a set of high flow heads, big cam and intake then yeah you'll see a difference performance wise.
I currently have Hooker headers which don't leak so spend the money if you decide to go this route.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:25 AM   #12
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Headers!! I wrapped my starter just in case cuz I really dont feel like shelling out another 250 due to heat. But Ive never had any problems in any other trucks with headers and oem starters
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:27 AM   #13
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Mine has headers because that's what came with the truck. After four years, I've decided they have to go for a couple of reasons: 1. They're too loud, and the noise is concentrated in the front of the cab, where it's just annoying. 2. I have to crawl under the truck with an open-end wrench to get the #4 or #6 plug (can't remember which one it is right now).

I'm planning on getting a set of rams-horns manifolds to replace them.
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Old 04-14-2011, 01:56 AM   #14
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Headers can leak. Headers can make more horsepower. Some headers will do one and not the other (hopefully make horsepower and not leak). If you spend the money on a "good" set I think you will be happy with them.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:56 AM   #15
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Your engine compartment already looks pretty nice, your factory ramshorn manifolds look good in there. If it were my truck I would stick with those. On stock or mildly modified motors headers are just not worth the trouble/expense. Had I not lucked into a built 425hp motor with aluminum Holley heads I would be trying to by those ramshorns off you!
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Old 04-14-2011, 06:49 AM   #16
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

I've had headers for as long as I can remember. If you have a stocker type engine, go with what you got. If you have a high performance engine, go with a GOOD set of headers, and GOOD gaskets. I say GOOD, because there's alot of crap out there.You get what you pay for here. I run Hooker Super Comps, that I bought coated, that lasted a short time. I had them blasted and re-coated locally, and have had no more problems. Good luck
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:31 AM   #17
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

If you can get some NASCAR exhaust header guy to design a set specifically for your engine, and you can get them wrapped or coated so good that no more heat can come out than through the stock manifolds, and you can get them to never leak, and you can get them to never burn spark plugs wires, and you run around around all day above 4000 rpms, then yes put on that set of headers.

If not, run your stock manifolds. They flow really good and in my humble opinion puts you many miles and many dollars ahead of the people fighting their exhaust header problems.
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:30 AM   #18
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

I have been putting headers on sbc's since the mid '70s. My experiences have shown me that if you buy good quality headers, such as Hookers or Sanderson, you will not have plug removal-installation problems or plug wire problems.

That being said I have never owned a set of headers that I didn't have to periodically tighten the header flange head bolts on. Headers with thicker flanges are better, but I still need to tighten the bolts occasionally.

If you use poorly designed headers (not design for the vehicle), they suck, or should I say blow?

If you want maintenance free, stick with 2-1/4" ram horn manifolds on a stock engine and 2-1/2" ram horn's on mild performance engines.

The starter over heating problem can be solved by changing it to a remote solenoid like this Remote Starter Solenoid Mod

Last edited by lakeroadster; 04-14-2011 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:54 AM   #19
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Very interesting perspective on this issue... I figured most people would be all for putting headers on!
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:57 AM   #20
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

I love this forum because you get answers to your questions so quick and you guys know what your talking about. Well I decided no headers wll be installed after listening to both sides of the debate. I will start saving my money and put it into buying a new 454 crate motor or another crate motor down the road when it needs it. I guess don't fix it unless it's broke. Thanks!!
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:20 PM   #21
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

One thing to add in regards to Ram Horn manifolds, they are not all created equal. The stock manifolds range from 2" to 2-1/2" outlet sizes. The stock 2-1/2" Corvette style are said to be about 66% as good as headers on a mild SBC. The more radical the motor, the more you will benefit from headers. Some people are porting the 'vette ram horn and getting within 10% of headers, but those ported manifolds cost as much or more than a set of headers. Why? Well in certain drag racing classes stock, means running stock parts. But the classes allow modifying the stock parts, thus you end up with high dollar stock manifold modifications.

Here is a link to a company that sells stock and modified Ram Horn manifolds, as well as late 60's "log" style manifolds. Again, this stuff is very pricey, but the data in this website is very educational in regards to flow. Much to be learned here...

http://www.castheads.com/faqs_exhaust_manifolds.php

Log Style Manifolds:


GM built the 2-1/4" outlet size "log" style manifolds for better flow. Stock exhaust manifolds that pre-date the log manifolds were very restrictive. Don't use those older pre-log style manifolds on any performance built motor, unless you are going for a concourse restoration on the vehicle you are building. Just remember for good flow 2-1/4" outlet size is the absolute minimum and 2-1/2" outlet ('vette style ramhorns) are better.
And here is some actual data posted in regards to a '72 LT1 motor, rams horn vs. headers.:
http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c3-t...s-headers.html
The difference between a fully ported set of 2.5" dia rams horns and Hooker Super Comp 1.75" headers was about 10% of my power on my 1972 LT-1 motor during a dyno test of the motor (394HP manifolds/426HP Hookers.) The testing was done with a set of DynoMax Ultra Flow 2.5" mufflers on a simulated exhaust system. The difference at the Drags 12.60@113.8 MPH with rams horns (I had a lot of porting labor in them and broke over $90 of carbide burrs porting them, they were better than Brezinski manifolds) and 12.28@117 MPH with the Hookers (both runs through the mufflers)

Last edited by lakeroadster; 04-14-2011 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:51 PM   #22
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

I've never had a vehicle yet with a SBC or a BBC that I haven't put full length headers in. Headers aren't as much of a headache as everybody makes them out to be.

But if everything is fine now in your truck, and you're not going to make a big HP motor. Stock manifolds work just fine. Plus they still kinda look cool in these trucks...

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Old 04-14-2011, 04:23 PM   #23
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

ONLY PEOPLE THAT complain about headers are
1) people that bought el cheapo set
2) used el cheapo gaskets
3) don't need them(stock motor) so the extra work to get to spart plugs is a pain
4) people that don't buy stage 8 locking bolts to keep the bolts from backing off.
5) people that think they are gonna get that 30-40hp boost without reworking the timing advance curve and carb tuning..

thoses that under stand spending a little more up front (good set and copper gaskets, stage 8 bolts), and take the time to retune the engine after install.
enjoy the new found power they will give you..

but like others said if your engine is a 200hp slug they are a waste of money

Last edited by stich626; 04-14-2011 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:17 PM   #24
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by stich626 View Post
ONLY PEOPLE THAT complain about headers are
1) people that bought el cheapo set
2) used el cheapo gaskets
3) don't need them(stock motor) so the extra work to get to spart plugs is a pain
4) people that don't buy stage 8 locking bolts to keep the bolts from backing off.
5) people that think they are gonna get that 30-40hp boost without reworking the timing advance curve and carb tuning..

thoses that under stand spending a little more up front (good set and copper gaskets, stage 8 bolts), and take the time to retune the engine after install.
enjoy the new found power they will give you..

but like others said if your engine is a 200hp slug they are a waste of money
A 200 hp slug... well that's a classy statement...

Lets see that high horsepower beast of yours, with the high dollar copper gaskets and the "stage 8" locking bolts.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:24 PM   #25
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Re: Header or Not To Header That Is The Question

his build thread is in his signature... and it looks like it's gonna be pretty stout.
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