It's a question many car enthusiasts ask themselves. If you're looking for more power, are aftermarket headers worth it?
It's understandable that certain parts, like a turbo or supercharger, are going to show significant gains in horsepower over other aftermarket parts, like headers or go-faster stripes. And that's okay, that's what they're meant to do.
But where does that leave these other parts? Well, go-faster stripes are only ever going to be cosmetic, but headers can achieve performance gains. It may be minimal, and with the time and money required to change them, are these slight gains worth it? We join Zack from Donut Media on his show, Money Pit, to find out.
First things first, let's explain headers to those at the back of the class. Aftermarket headers replace the factory exhaust manifold, which is a piece of solid cast iron that spans all cylinders. The header is different in that it allows each cylinder in the engine to have its own steel tube. This is good because it eliminates backpressure and allows more exhaust gas to escape from the motor.
There are a variety of options for headers. In this case, Zack is working on his four-cylinder Mazda Miata and is looking for top-end gains. He's opted for a four-into-one, which he says, "Is best at scavenging and flow at high revs". The con is that he might lose low end and mid-range torque, but that doesn't matter because he wants peak horsepower.
In the video below, Zack takes us to the dyno to see what horsepower his Miata is starting with. Then it's back home to show us how to change the headers, and then finally back to the dyno to test the gains.
Are aftermarket headers worth it then? You'll have to press play to find out!