I'd like some headers and a Y pipe. What's out there and why should I buy them?
What they are: there are 3 styles of headers for the ls1:
: Easy to install, small power gain
: Not too small, but not so long as to scrape if your car is lowered
: Biggest and best. Will maximize power as well as exhaust noise
What they do: allow that great engine of an ls1 breath
What to look for:
- Decide which header is right for you. If you want to stay 100% smog legal you'll need to stay with Shorties only and make sure they have a CARB number.
- If you have an 01-02 car do not bother with shorties. They received a better-designed manifold and flow quite well actually for what they are. You will see minimal gain if any by switching to shorties. If you have a 98-00 car you'll gain some rwhp from shorties but it wont be much either.
- If you decide on shorties work your other mods around that aspect meaning if you decide for a future cam keep it small (220 duration or smaller).
headers besides shorties will require a new Y pipe.
- Mac Mid-lengths vs LT's
. The whole Mid vs LT debate will continue to go on, I?ve learned macs can produce great numbers and are a viable option for alot of people. Mac makes headers for 98-99 and 01-02 cars; if you have an 00 car you will need the EGR pipes from a 98-99 car or you'll need to remove your EGR system.
- When buying long tubes what you are paying for is fitment, quality, fit and finish. All
LT's dyno within the same net gain. Swap from one brand to another for the sole purpose of gains and you'll be disappointed. 1 3/4 sized primaries are more then adequate for stock cubes. If you have a stroker look into some 1 7/8 primaried headers.
- Buy your headers with some kind of ceramic coating or get stainless steel. If you cant afford coated headers hold off until you can. If your car see's alot of winters (real winters; i.e. east coast and mid west, ect) you might want to seriously consider the stainless steel headers, they are more expensive then ceramic coated headers but the chance of rust will be greatly diminished.
- If you plan to lower or are lowered then any long tube other then SLP will tuck pretty nicely.
Since Long Tubes are by far the most popular headers they receive the most questions; to a certain extent the old adage of "You get what you pay for" rings true. Info on a few of the more popular choices, not all the long tubes available by no means.
: Extremely popular due to there price, coated they can be had for under 400 dollars. Quality is very good for what your spending your money on, welds and collector are good. If you?re on a budget and want LT's then Pacesetters should be at the top of your list
: The Hooker and Jet Hot Long Tubes are of the same design, jet hot took the hooker design and improved upon it a bit by moving the o2 bungs on the inside of the headers and they use a thicker tubing and have thicker flanges. Both are great long tubes and will run you 500-600 bucks
: Both Kooks and QTP are stainless steel headers, and are generally regarded as the cream of the crop. Quality is top notch and they can be polished for that bling look if you'd like. There only draw back is the price, at 700+ they are not for everyone. If you have the money or are the kind of person who wants the best then kooks or qtp is what you want. As far as kooks vs qtp get whichever one is cheaper.
: SLP's are the long tube that usually sparks some debate. Alot of newbies are drawn into them because of the hp claims slp makes. But as already stated all LT's dyno within the same range so SLP's claims are moot. From a quality stand point they are a great header; stainless steel and
are ceramic coated. There major drawback is installation and there ground clearance, or lack there of. If you plan to lower your car then pass on the SLP's or learn to change your driving style or else you'll endure alot of scrapping. Another drawback is the price as they are 700+. (My personal opinion, if you?re going to spend 700+ on headers then go for the kooks/qtp)
: At first glance alot of people are turned off on the FLP setup because of the price. What you have to understand is the FLP setup comes as a kit
with the ceramic-coated headers, Y pipe, cats, and off road pipes. When you look at it from that perspective it?s a great deal and setup. The biggest advance the FLP system has is the ability to swap from cats to off road pipes and vise versa at will. Great for guys who want to run off-road pipes and then need to swap to cats for emissions requirements.
Others available but not reviewed:
-Thunder Racing Headers
A: Y Pipe
What they are: Jet hot catted/ory SLP stock replacement Y Mufflex Random Tech stock replacement catted Y Pacesetter ORY
- Catted Y denotes a Y with cats; ORY denotes a Y with no cats
What they do: Connect the headers to the catback and aid in exhaust flow provided it matches the rest of your system. Meaning keep the diameter relatively consistent, 3" is the most popular, a 2.5" is fine as well and will give you a bit more clearance if your lowered.
What to look for: Y pipes come in all different shapes and diameters, if you can, get the Y made by the same company that you got your headers from. Meaning if you get the Hooker LT's then get the hooker Y, ect. All Y pipes are not
directly swappable. If you wish to use another manufactures Y for your setup you are most likely going to have to modify it to fit.
-Those looking to get Pacesetters; there Y is a toss up, some people's are "acceptable", others are straight shit. Pace didn?t put to much time or development into making a quality Y and it shows in the collector. Your best bet is to go with a custom Y or modify your Pace ORY
like Larry did.
Those with Hooker/Jethot/Pacesetters can now rejoice, TSP has just come out with a 3? Catted Y pipe
to fit your headers. They use high flow carsound cats. At 350 a pop you can rest assure that this is the
Y-pipe you want to get. They also offer an ORY as well.
- A custom Y is great since its taylored to your exact setup and will allow you to get the best fitment and clearance. Just pick up a Flowmaster merge collector and cats if you need and have a shop fab up the rest; depending on shop it should run you 100-200 bucks not including parts (i.e. merge collector)
- Do Not
invest in a new Y pipe unless you plan to stick with shorties/stock manifolds, and even at that it?s barely worth it since you'll gain practically nothing by a new Y on stock manifolds. If you buy a new Y for stock manifolds/shorties you'll need to replace the Y you just bought if you add LT's or mids in the future.
- If you need cats for emissions purposes then do not purchase an ORY and then try and weld cats in them, just spring for the catted Y or purchase some cats, flowmaster merge collector and have a shop fab the rest. Alot of ORY's don?t have enough room to accommodate cats. If you still want to try it then get the smallest cats you can; slp's or random tech.
- The '98-'99 Y-pipe won't work on a 2000-2002 because it doesn't have a flange on the passenger side pipe. It has to be welded in place. It took them till the 2000 model year to figure out it might be better to have both sides flanged and secured with bolts. (xtrooper)