Absolutely makes a difference! On my 1981 I replaced the stock manifolds with a pair of Black Jack 5000 Aluminakote headers and 3" pipes back in '86. Also pulled the 3-stage Cat and replaced with a "free-flow" 2-stage Cat. (You FL guys don't have to worry about those stupid Cats). The headers have a neat place for the Oxygen sensor too that is very accessable when it needs to be replaced. Permormance improved greatly plus added a real sweet rumble with the stock mufflers.
I posted this question in the C3 section titled "Opinions Wanted Until Exhausted" and received very good input. You may wish to check it out.
My concern with headers was when I had them in college I kept getting exhaust leaks at the gaskets and it was a pain to regularly change them out. Often. Due to the advice I received and the application I was looking for, I opted to keep my exhaust manifolds and change my CA system to dual exhaust.
The 78 is my daily driver, weather permitting (oh, blessed sunshine!) and my goal is to keep my baby on the road with as little down time for repairs as possible.
I have the Dynomax CeramaCoat headers. $209 from Jegs. Jet Hot coated inside and out. They run nice and cool, you can actually lay a hand on the tubes within 5 minutes of shutting the engine off. As for leaks, just use quality gaskets and locking fasteners = no problems. I figure that on a stock '75 L-48 with true dual exhaust, I have picked up 40 HP over the restrictive single cat setup.
So far my headers have not been much of a problem. I agree, quality gaskets and fasteners will make maintenance minimul. As for performance, you should gain 30 horsepower or more w/headers and making the exhaust true dual with full flow mufflers and hi flow cats.
I probably would'nt have replied, but I,ve got headers fresh on my mind, I just put a set on a customers car today.
You definatly want some quality gaskets, and even quality headers too, their a big pain to install.
( without scratching, or breaking anything )
But I agree their worth the investment, I also like the sound of an engine with headers.
In the 80's some corvettes came with shorty headers
originaly, They use donut type gaskets instead of the surface to surface gaskets. These would be a good choice if your worried about the leaks, just use stock exh. manifold gaskets on top. Use locking bolts and them things are not going to be leaking for awhile.
Boy, Kids, you think you raise them right and then......
As most of you know I think headers in the daily driver are not worth the hassle. I believe that the original rams head manifolds flow very well when compared to the trouble that inherintly comes with header maintenance. Now, if you are talking about the sound......well that is absolutly true, The sound is differant and music to my ears, as long as somebody else has to mess with all the leaks(unless they are paying me to mess with the leaks). But I go back to my original premiss that, An L48 or even a stock L82 is not going to gain all that much from them......You say "yea but it lets the motor breath better" That's true.....But you can not exhale more then you inhale. And the heads, intakes, and carburation on these small motors just don't take that big of gulps of air.......I do think they look cool and they sound good........Hey it's your car you want headers, get 'em......Just get some good ones....If they are under $100. don't waste your money......Steve
Roy, When you do this.Get a set of HOOKER SUPER COMP. These are a great headder. put them on first to make sure they dont hit anything! You might have to dent the headder in some place for clearance. Then send them to JET HOT 1-800-432-3379. Do not instal them untill this has been done first!Money well spent. Also get a set of TD locking headder bolts part # 8836 1-800-843-7836.Make sure you use Permatex Anti Seize # 133k on the bolts!! Have fun!RUMBLE RUMBLE.
I have Hookers Super Comps on my '70 350/300, and there was a big difference! I also have to add...
I used the bolts that came with the headers, and I haven't had any problems...I retorqued them a few times after installation 4 years ago. Also, I found a ceramic based paint for headers at a local auto parts store, and it has worked fine! I touch them up once a year in the spring time. When I did the headers I was on a budget and passed on the ceramic coating by Jet Hot. If I ever have to replace them, I will go the Jet Hot route. But for the $130 I spent, I think I have already gotten my money's worth out of them...and they still look and perform great.
I am also running 2.5" pipes with MagnaFlow mufflers.
Robert, Welcome to The Corvette Action Center. You need to go to the "introduction" Forum and tell everybody a little about yourself and your car, don't tell to much though, and I promise not to tell to much about you too. There are a lot of good folks on this forum and Tom. BTW Robert Tom and I are planning on meeting at Bloomington this year, are you up for a 3rd year trip this June???????Steve
I agree with the others...Headers is only one part of the equation to get the gases out - to benefit your engine youll need to consider the intake side also : Intake, Carb, Fresh Air...
I have Hooker SUper COmps. Jet Coated and like them alot. I have scrapped the bottom of the collectors a few times though , so if you get headers, consider how close to the ground they will be and what sort of roads you will be driving your vette on.
CCflorida I put a set on a brand new fire bird I bought in 76 kept blowing gaskets I put double gaskets on that stoped it were still on there when I sold it I had same problem on a 79 TransAm doubled up on gaskets on it was still holding up when I sold it But they are a pain to put on if you have all power ac,ps,and all that stuff But I will not put them on my vette It,s just not worth the head aches to me
When I bought my '74 (454), it had headers and side pipes which needed to be replaced. I replaced them with new Hooker headers (#2222) and side pipes (#2221). I didn't really notice much difference because I did not drive the car with "normal" exhaust. Also, at the time I did the exhaust, I also did the timing chain, added Rhodes lifters, a new cam shaft (don't remember which one, but it was a performance cam), plus a few other things. The car ran alot better after that.
From a sound perspective, headers are the way to go. I'm partial to the sidepipes myself (awesome sound, and lots of it!), but they don't look good on all cars. My car was orange and the pipes were black.