Pipe Music – Tuning Headers

Efficiency of headers mainly depends on the camshaft. Primary length, overlap, diameter, and collector type of a header is affected by the cam’s duration and lobe centers. Stock cams are not so sensitive to differences in header designs. However, once overlap and duration are increased, tuning the headers becomes necessary.

Tuning Headers

Adding or subtracting primary tube and collector lengths is made possible with tunable headers. Size of the primary tube is the main consideration in header tuning. Its length, however, can be modified to alter torque curve.

Tuned and custom headers are generally advantageous for modified engines. For street racing or short circuit racing, tuning the headers between the torque and power peak is sufficient, while all out drag racing would need tuning for rpm of the power peak.

 Tuning Headers 2

Adjustable kits are available for tunable headers. This kit normally includes some primary extensions in different lengths. The extensions can just be slipped unto the primary pipes after taking of the collector. When you’re done, just put the collector back in place.

Header tuning is best done by professionals. You have to provide them with engine details including all modifications made, to correctly compute the primary length, diameter, step sized, megaphone diameter and length, and step sizes.

To fully optimize header to your engine combination, dyno testing can do this job. Tuned headers may still not be optimal for your engine. Optimal tuned length for the header’s primaries can still be changed by a change in cam timing done on the dyno.

Use slip fit collectors to hold header primaries together. Primaries are held together by the use of springs. This will allow you to make a test header wherein tuned length of a header can be altered during testing to find the optimum performance of the header.

A megaphone merge collector with slip venturis that can be changed with different sizes to determine which works best during dyno testing is also advisable. Header tuning for different track conditions is also possible with this design.

In engines equipped with turbo, longer tubes in a tuned header dissipate more heat energy before the turbo causes turbo lag. However, it can also increase turbo spool. By using stainless steel in making the header, the lag and heat loss may be minimized.

Stainless steel is the preferred material in custom headers. Stainless has poor thermal conductivity that keeps the heat in pipes and at the same time keeping thermal energy higher.

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