When it comes to improving your car’s performance, upgrading the headers is a commonly overlooked modification. Headers play a crucial role in optimising the custom exhaust systems, enhancing engine power, and improving overall vehicle performance. In this article, we will guide you through the process of upgrading your car’s headers for better performance.
Headers are an integral part of the exhaust system. They are designed to collect exhaust gases from each cylinder and efficiently expel them through the exhaust pipes. While stock headers are sufficient, aftermarket headers are specifically engineered for improved exhaust flow, leading to enhanced performance.
2. Types of Headers:
Short Tube Headers:
These headers provide a good mix of performance improvements and simplicity of installation. They are simple to fit into most car models and provide noticeable improvements in horsepower and torque.
Long Tube Headers:
These headers are optimised for maximum performance gains. They offer superior exhaust flow, especially at higher RPMs. However, they might require modifications and professional installation for proper fitment.
3. Key Benefits of Upgrading Headers with Custom Exhaust Systems:
Custom headers contribute to improved engine performance, primarily due to reduced back pressure. By facilitating efficient exhaust gas flow, these upgraded headers allow each cylinder to expel gases more effectively, resulting in increased horsepower and torque. The removal of restrictions leads to enhanced engine efficiency, delivering a noticeable boost in overall performance.
Custom exhaust systems, when combined with upgraded headers, can offer a richer and more aggressive exhaust note. The well-designed header tubes and larger-diameter exhaust pipes allow for a deeper and throatier sound, giving your vehicle a distinct presence on the road. While it may not directly impact performance, an enhanced exhaust note can contribute significantly to the overall driving experience.
Durability and Longevity:
Factory headers are often made from standard materials that provide cost-effective production. However, investing in aftermarket headers with custom exhaust systems can lead to long-term durability and corrosion resistance. These headers are typically constructed using higher-quality materials such as stainless steel or ceramic-coated steel, ensuring better longevity and improved resistance to heat and elements.
Increased Fuel Efficiency:
Custom headers can contribute to a more efficient fuel-burning process. By optimising exhaust flow, they allow the engine to breathe better and maximise the air/fuel mixture. This improved combustion efficiency can result in more power being extracted from every drop of fuel, thus enhancing your vehicle’s fuel economy.
4. Research and Compatibility:
Begin by researching compatible headers for your specific make and model of car. Headers come in various designs, including short-tube, long-tube, and equal-length options. Ensure the headers you choose are designed to fit your engine configuration and comply with local emissions regulations.
5. Factors to Consider:
Ensure that the headers you choose are compatible with your specific car make, model, and engine.
Be aware of emission standards and regulations in your region to avoid any legal complications.
Set a budget for the header upgrade, considering the type, brand, and materials used.
6. Installation Process
While header installation varies depending on the type of headers and your car’s make and model, the general process involves the following:
Gather all necessary tools and equipment. It’s crucial to have a reliable set of wrenches, sockets, jack stands, and torque wrenches.
Raise the Vehicle:
Lift the vehicle safely using jack stands to gain access to the undercarriage.
Disconnect Exhaust Components:
Remove the catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, and other exhaust components as needed.
Remove Factory Headers:
Loosen and remove the bolts connecting the factory headers to the exhaust manifold.
Install New Headers:
Carefully install the new headers, ensuring proper alignment and fitment.
Reconnect Exhaust Components:
Reattach the catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, and other exhaust components.
Torque the header bolts to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Lower the Vehicle:
Safely lower the vehicle from the jack stands.
7. Post-Installation Considerations:
Tune Your Car:
Upgrading headers affect the engine’s air-to-fuel ratio, necessitating an engine tune-up. Consult with an experienced tuner to optimise the car’s performance.
Compatibility with Other Modifications:
If you have made or plan to make other performance modifications, ensure compatibility with the new headers.
8. Tuning and Performance Optimization:
To maximise the benefits of your header upgrade, consider getting a professional tune or using performance tuning software. This fine-tunes your engine’s parameters to complement the improved exhaust flow, resulting in optimised performance, fuel efficiency, and overall driving experience.
Upgrading your car’s headers can be a transformative step towards unlocking its full performance potential. By improving exhaust flow, aftermarket headers can lead to increased horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency. Whether you opt for short-tube, long-tube, or mid-length headers, a carefully planned and executed installation process is crucial for achieving the desired results. Remember to consider compatibility, legal regulations, and the potential need for tuning as you embark on this exciting journey to elevate your driving experience to new heights.