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Corvette Headers Guide - Part 2

Vette's Official Guide To Corvette Headers

Christopher R. Phillip Jun 14, 2010
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Have you ever tried exhaling through a straw? It's not the easiest thing in the world to do, is it? The full power of your lungs is held back as you attempt to push the air through the narrow-diameter tube. The same holds true for your Corvette. If you force the engine to exhale through factory exhaust manifolds, you're preventing it from maximizing its horsepower output.

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That's why this month we're bringing you Part 2 of our Official Guide to Corvette Headers. With the right header package (headers, downpipes, intermediate pipes, and catalytic converters, if needed) and a well-matched exhaust system ("Great Pipes," Aug. '09), you should be able to all but eradicate the exhaust-gas flow restrictions that prevent your Corvette from reaching its full potential.

Because determining the right header system for your Corvette is a personal choice based upon numerous factors, we won't be favoring one brand over another. Instead, we're simply listing the remainder of the brands (L through T) and allowing them to state their case. All that's left is for you to decide which of them is right for your car.

LG Motorsports
(972) 429-1963

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Brief description:
Our headers come from 30-plus years of racing experience; no other header system is as complete or holds as many professional wins and records. We offer the only Corvette long-tube headers in the world to feature a true merge race-car collector in a complete engine-to-muffler bolt-on design with no modifications required. (High-flow cats are also available and replaceable.)

Trademark features:
We use top-quality 304 stainless-steel construction throughout, and every kit comes complete with all pipes, clamps, and 02-sensor extensions needed to make it a true bolt-on system. All of our headers carry a lifetime guarantee.

Quote from company:
"Dyno tests have consistently shown that our title holds true: 'The Most Powerful Corvette Headers on the Planet.'"

McJacks Corvettes
(714) 775-2799,

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Brief description:
The Pro-Series headers we make were designed and manufactured for one specific reason: no one else made them. We've always specialized in Corvettes and their exhaust systems. For years customers would call and ask for a direct-fit, bolt-on header. Finally the day has come. After two years of designing and redesigning, and many different configurations, we've come up with two perfect designs: shorty headers for small- and big-block Corvette engines!

Trademark features:
Our small-block headers for C1s and C2s replace the ram-horn, cast-iron factory manifolds. No cutting, welding, or endless trips to the muffler shop are required; these headers can be installed in your own garage in a matter of hours. Add a new set of McJacks Pro-Series headers and you'll have the increase in performance and the show look of ceramic-coated headers.

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Our big-block headers for C2s and C3s come with square flanges that perfectly match the square ports on your Corvette-that means no more exhaust leaks! No one else arranges all eight 2-inch tubes around the lower crossmember, steering box, idler arm, motor mounts, and even the clutch jack shaft (for four-speed owners), and still leaves clearance for your mounting bolts and spark plugs. Just like our small-block headers, your big-block header transformation easily can be accomplished on a Saturday afternoon in your garage!

Quote from company:
"Ceramic-coated on the outside and copper-coated on the inside, keeping the 2,100-degree heat inside the tube. Wahoo!"

Melrose T-Top Int.
(815) 758-2783

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Brief Description:
Our headers are named "Smooth Flow" because they have no sharp bends. They feature 13/4-inch or 17/8-inch primaries, 3/8-inch CNC-cut flanges, and unique, low-restriction, 3-inch, one-piece extruded collectors that are constructed by hand to the highest standards. They're finished off-inside and out-with sterling-silver ceramic coat, which drops header surface temperatures by 50 percent, promotes cooler intake air/fuel charges, and reduces damaging heat radiation in the engine compartment.

Trademark features:
Our headers feature larger-bend radiuses (producing better flow than other headers), extended one-piece collectors (promoting scavenging), ceramic coating, and no loss of ground clearance. They're 100 percent made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty. Dyno gains of more than 30 hp have been reported!

Quote from company:
"Melrose headers offer the most 'well-rounded' headers on the market-safer than stainless, excellent fit and performance, and priced affordably!"

OBX Racing Sports
(510) 568-2244

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Brief description:
OBX Racing Sports has been the world's largest manufacturer of high-performance headers for the past 22 years. People who know our quality use OBX headers for horsepower, torque, and roaring sound, with hassle-free lifetime performance. We guarantee ultimate performance throughout all rpm ranges.

Trademark features:
Our high-quality headers are made with mirror-polished stainless-steel tubing with 3/8-inch thickness, stainless-steel flanges; 17/8-inch primaries with durable double-TIG welding; and prepositioned O2-sensor emission fittings and extension wires, if applicable. They feature precision mandrel bends for smooth airflow, as well as easy installation and perfect fitment. They're available as shorty-type or full-runner long-tube headers with 3x3-inch catted ceramic or 200-cell metallic-substrate catalytic converters for street performance, or non-catted for race applications. (Versions are also available for ultimate high performance.) OBX header systems are a direct bolt-on, which means no modifications are required. A full set of metal gaskets, stainless-steel band clamps, and bolts are included with every kit. All OBX headers come with a written, full-lifetime warranty against defects.

Quote from company:
"If you demand quality and the best headers for your Corvette, OBX headers will meet or exceed your expectations."

Pacesetter Performance Products
(602) 266-1964

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Brief description:
Our headers feature CNC-machined 3/8-inch-thick steel flanges that are port matched for the best flow and seal possible. The primaries are constructed of mandrel-bent 16-gauge steel that is more durable than light-gauge stainless. The collectors are 16-gauge aluminized steel. These headers retain the catalytic converters in the stock location and are 50-state legal.

Trademark features:
Our performance headers for Corvettes are available with Armorcoat, a 2,000-degree polished metallic-ceramic coating that is guaranteed not to flake, peel, or burn off.

Quote from company:
"Affordably priced quality made in America by Pacesetter."

Patriot Headers (Pertronix Performance Products)
(909) 599-5955

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Brief description:
Patriot offers shorty and tight-tuck-style headers for C1 through C4 Corvettes at more affordable prices.

Trademark features:
Our headers are built with surface-machined flanges for a great seal and are mandrel bent on CNC machines. They're available in a raw finish for individual customizing or with a polished metallic-ceramic finish for corrosion protection.

Quote from company:
"Patriot specializes in headers for the early-model Corvettes at prices the budget-minded hobbyist can appreciate."

Stahl Headers Inc.
(717) 846-1632

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Brief description:
Stahl Headers doesn't mass produce a one-size-fits-all header. Each one is built to order, taking into consideration your specific cylinder head, block, and vehicle combination, to give you the fit, durability, and performance you expect. We take important additional steps to maintain our high standards. You may be asked to supply exhaust-port templates, engine location/motor mount info, or other technical data when placing your order. This attention to detail makes the Stahl difference.

All of our headers are race quality (no more than 2-inch variation in primary-tube length from the shortest to the longest tube). No other manufacturer can make that claim. They're available in various primary-tube and collector-outlet sizes to fit different-hp engines and vehicle applications. Because we build to order, our headers have a proper fit and no port mismatch at the flange.

We offer a fenderwell-exit header design for the C1 to be used with sidepipes. Our C2 and C3 headers are available in either a side-exit or an under-chassis design. The side-exit header can even be built to utilize the factory covers. Our C4 headers are built in a step-tube configuration and yield significant power increases. They hook up to a stock exhaust not using the catalytic converter. All oxygen sensors can be used, as well as the A.I.R. system.

Trademark features:
Quality: Stahl headers outlast all other headers made with mild steel. Why? Our quality manufacturing techniques are so unique, we consider them trade secrets! Our dedication to quality has resulted in a product that is the standard by which others are judged.

Engineering: Since 1963, Stahl has set the standards in the header industry. Our designs feature equal-length primaries for maximum performance. Most other brands have 4 inches or more of variation.

Performance: Stahl's designs outperform all others. We seldom lose a dyno test when comparing apples to apples (tube size, primary length, and collector outlet/length).

Value: Stahls cost more because they take longer to build. However, many racers have found it costs less over time to buy one set of Stahl headers, instead of several sets of the "other" brand. It's not uncommon to find Stahl headers in use for 20 years on drag cars. Racers in other motorsports have logged 12,000-plus race miles on their Stahl headers.

Quote from company:
"Stahl Headers has been manufacturing quality drag-race headers since 1963, and we offer more combinations for each specific model than any other header manufacturer. Based on thousands of dyno tests, we know what area of the power curve headers affect the most. If you want the finest-quality headers for your race car, we'll make them for you, providing we have a model to fit your engine/chassis combination. There's no stronger statement to emphasize the pride you feel in your race car than equipping it with a Stahl header."

T.P.I.S. Inc.
(952) 448-6021

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Brief description:
Our '84-'96 Corvette headers are available painted or in polished or black hi-temp coating. They allow the use of all factory mounting bolts and brackets. Also included are Fel-Pro gaskets and oxygen-sensor wire extensions, where applicable. (TPIS also has Y-pipes available to hook up to your factory-style cat.)

Trademark features:
Our C4 headers have 13/4-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors. All our C5/C6 headers are made from stainless steel and include oxygen-sensor extensions, hardware kits, 13/4-inch primaries, and merge-style collectors. TPIS headers install with no modification to your Corvette when used with the available Y-pipe or center section.

Quote from company:
"American-made parts for American-made muscle."

Stainless Works
(800) 878-3635

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Brief description:
Stainless Works makes long-tube headers for all C2 through C6 Corvettes, including the ZR1. We also make block-hugger headers for small-block and LS1 Corvettes. For the C2 and C3, we make undercar and side-exit big-block headers, as well as LS1-conversion headers for C2/C3 Vettes with the Newman chassis. We are one of the only header manufacturers who make headers for the '85-'91 C4 and the '90-'95 ZR-1 (all with air tubes). We also make custom headers for special applications, as desired.

Trademark features:
Stainless Works makes all of its headers in-house in the USA from 304L stainless steel with a lifetime warranty. We feature 3/8-inch-thick CNC laser-cut header flanges, mandrel-bent 16-gauge 304 stainless-steel tubing for primary tubes, and formed 304 stainless-steel collectors sized for slip-fit connection points. Stainless Works headers are fully TIG welded to insure the highest quality, leak-proof product with the highest level of appearance in the market. We offer optional full polishing on our headers for show cars and the option of thermal-barrier ceramic-coating to reduce passenger and engine-compartment temperatures. We constantly bring in Corvettes to our manufacturing facility to retest product fitment, thereby insuring that what we offer fits and performs flawlessly.

Quote from company:
"Stainless Works is the single resource for all your Corvette header and exhaust needs. We offer multi-platform header designs and optional primary-tube sizes to satisfy a broad set of special needs. We provide the highest level of quality and workmanship in bringing you the best performance and sound level for your cherished vehicle."

Stan's Headers
(253) 854-5310

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Brief description:
Stan's Tri-Y headers were specifically designed to help C3s scavenge more efficiently. While four-tube headers are well suited for some applications, our Tri-Y design is significantly more effective on most street and off-road applications.

Trademark features:
Before you install our headers, please check out their quality-you won't find a better-built header anywhere. Look inside the collectors; there is no wire or "bee bees" from the welding, sticking to everything. Our headers are gas-welded inside which allows them to last nearly twice as long as headers with wire-feed welding; this is because gas welding flexes more. (Think about how the engine twists on acceleration and shakes while idling. All of this motion is transmitted through the exhaust system.)

Our header flanges are ground flat and deburred so that they are smooth inside. They utilize the entire machined surface of the head for a gasket surface (not an O-ring gasket area like other headers). A flat header surface won't warp like O-ring ports do.

Our headers are clearanced for the header bolts and box-end wrenches. Can you imagine that? Someone in the business is concerned about the ease of accessing parts and fasteners. We think that's unique.

Quote from company:
"Why buy from Stan's? Four reasons: Quality materials, quality fit, quality finish, and quality service."

SLP Performance Parts
(732) 349-2109

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Brief description:
SLP offers long-tube header packages that fit '97-'04 C5 and '05-'10 C6, Grand Sport, and Z06 Corvettes. Our C5 headers feature 13/4-inch main primary tubes flowing into two 3-inch, high-flow venturi collectors. Our C6 headers feature 13/4-inch main primary tubes flowing into two 21/2-inch, high-flow venturi collectors. Our C6 Z06 headers feature a 4-into-2-into-1 design with 13/4-inch main primaries flowing into two 21/4-inch secondary primaries, which then flow into one 3-inch, high-flow collector.

Our headers are hand-crafted from mandrel-bent 409 stainless steel and then ceramic coated to keep heat in, exhaust velocity up, and underhood temperatures down. The rest of the system is made from high-quality mandrel-bent 304 stainless steel.

Included in each package are a pair of 3-inch, high-flow catalytic converters, which flow into a fully integrated PowerFlo-X crossover assembly (3-inch for the C5 and 21/2-inch for C6) for unrestricted flow. Each package is fully compatible with all stock emissions-control equipment and uses OE flanges for a perfect fit and proper bolt retention. All necessary installation hardware and detailed installation instructions are included, along with our lifetime warranty and performance guarantee.

Trademark features:
Our headers are a complete bolt-on installation-no cutting, wiring, or welding is required. They're designed with Torca notches, band clamps, and slip-fit connections and come with all the necessary hardware. Metallic-substrate, 200-cell/inch high-flow cats are included, and our systems are compatible with all factory emissions-equipment.

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Quote from company:
"SLP designed and engineered all of these long-tube header packages with the highest quality, ease of installation, more-than-modest performance gains, and, best of all, at an affordable price that won't break the bank!"



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