Installing a header on your Chevy 350 is a good scope for improvement. You’ll experience a noticeable improvement in overall performance if you can pick one of the best headers for Chevy 350. It offers several other benefits too.
There are a lot of headers available in the market for you. Matching the model and make is challenging and takes a lot of time when the market is full of similar products for all types of vehicles. I don’t think you should spend a lot of time on it when you have a good guide.
Here I’m a good guide offering you to check my top picks from the market when it comes to choosing an exhaust header for your Chevy 350. The list is made based on performance evaluation, first-hand use, user experiences, and so on. So, I must say that this article is a good one for you if you’re looking for an aftermarket header.
Don’t miss it. I’ve added a buying guide and several necessary information with my suggestions. Spend some time here to get the best exhaust header.
Top 5 Best Headers for Chevy 350 Reviews
1. Flowtech 11500FLT Long Tube Header – Black Paint
If you have a mid-budget for a long-tube header, you should go for this one from Flowtech. Performance within a reasonable price- this characteristic has made it one of the best 350 small block headers. Let’s see what it offers.
0.049 cold roll flash mild steel tubes are used to construct this header. These are bent using mandrel-bend technology for smoothness and precision. This construction has made it suitable for the smooth passing of exhaust gas.
I love its black and bold appearance. The heat-resistant black paint finish has ensured this look.
Flowtech claims to design and build it precisely to fit factory-installed power brakes and power steering. As a result, you’ll enjoy a leak-proof performance.
After getting it installed, I’ve felt a good improvement in the overall performance of my Chevy. My engine became able to use a bit more power. As a result, the overall experience of driving it turned better instantly.
It comes with 5/26” flanges and O-ringed seals for leak-proof operation. A leak test ensures it before the header is marketed. You’ll find all the necessary mounts in the package to install it.
- Perfect for use in racing vehicles
- Fits perfectly without any leak
- Doesn’t come with an expensive price tag
- Perfectly coated for blocking heat
- Slight modification might need to fit on the right side
2. TUPARTS Shorty Headers for Chevy Small Block Engine
Looking for a short-tube header should bring you to this one offered by Tuparts. Though I wouldn’t say I like silver-colored finishes that much, its smooth and bright silver finish is something I should admire. Besides the appearance, let’s see what it offers from the point of performance.
The whole structure is made of stainless steel to ensure heat and shock resistance. This ensures a shiny silver finish. Stainless steel tubes with smooth curves allow exhaust gas to pass without facing any barrier. Thus, it ensured improved engine power in my vehicle.
Precisely welded connections ensure leak-proof operation. It comes with preciously designed and made flanges, seals, and other parts to avoid further leaks. With it, you’ll find everything needed to ensure a firm connection with your vehicle.
This short-tube header is designed and made to fit under the hood of your Chevy 350. So, the installation process is not complex at all. After installation, you’ll see an improvement in your engine performance and handling. Overall, this ensures the value you’re looking for.
- Designed for a smooth look and performance
- Provides value for the money spent
- Offers a visible performance improvement
- Comes with everything needed to install
- Installing in the passenger side might need modification
3. Southwest Speed Ceramic Hot Coated Lake Style Headers
Among the lake-style headers for Chevy 350, I love this one from Southwest Speed the most. The reason is the performance it ensures in hot rods, rat rods, and street rods. If you have a high budget for a header upgrade, I will ask you to go for this one.
This Southwest Speed lake-style header is made of high-quality stainless steel. But this is not the only thing that allows it to perform great. It is coated with Ceramic Hot Coating, which ensures superior heat and corrosion resistance. Besides, it holds the shiny look for a long time.
Its 3-1/2-inch megaphone-style collector is connected to four 1-5/8-inch primary tubes to collect and pass exhaust gas smoothly. The smooth connections have made it possible. Necessary bolts and gaskets are included in the package.
It comes with several features for easy and versatile operation. For example- because of the removable end plates, you can easily run with open headers.
Overall, this is a great header offering you a significant improvement in the overall performance of your Chevy. Though it comes with an expensive price tag, you’ll find similar performance too. However, you can pick from the chrome and black finishes coming with a cheaper price tag.
- Shows a boost in overall performance
- Fits properly under the hood
- Comes with a lot of user-friendly features
- Includes gaskets and other components
- A bit pricey
4. Southwest Speed Black 1964-1989 Chevy Long Tube Headers
Southwest Speed has offered this long-tube header for you if you’re looking for a header for an old Chevy 350. It is a direct fit header for 1964-1989 passenger cars, no matter it is with automatic or manual transmission.
It is constructed with high-quality steel to be durable. A flat black paint coating improves heat and rust resistance. Smooth connections and curves ensure a barrier-free path for exhaust gas to pass from the primary tubes to the collector tube.
Primary tubes are 1-5/8-inch, and the collector is 3-inch. Also, you’ll find a 3-inch to 2-1/2-inch converter that helps to connect to the exhaust under the vehicle. It is constructed to fit all types of variables of compatible models.
If you’re looking for a new header for your old Chevy 350, go for it. This great header offers a boost in engine performance if you know how to install and maintain it. Compared to the amount needed to buy it, it offers better performance.
In the package, you’ll find everything, including the flanges, gaskets, and others.
- Made to be strong and last long
- Ensures better mileage and improved performance
- Converter included in the package
- Direct fit to the compatible vehicles
5. A-Team Performance Ceramic Coated Headers
If you’re looking for a ceramic-coated header for your Chevy 350 within a budget, going for this one from A-team Performance can be a good pick. I won’t say this is the best, but you won’t find another good ceramic-coated option at this price point.
Being made of 304 stainless steel, it is heavy, strong, and durable. The ceramic coating over it has ensured more durability. Besides, the coating also provides superior rust and heat protection.
CNC-machined primary tubes ensure smooth curves for exhaust gas. These tubes come with 1-5/8-inch diameter. On the other hand, the collector tube is 3 inches. A-team has ensured a smooth connection of the primaries and a collector for better performance.
The flanges are CNC machined. Also, it comes with standard graphite manifold gaskets for durable and leak-proof connections.
I suggest taking professional help to install it in your vehicle because installation is a bit complex. The weight of the header is a factor too.
Once installed, if you check carefully, you’ll see the improvement. Compared to the improvement done by previous ones, this is a bit low. But for the price, the performance is okay.
- Ceramic coating within a reasonable price
- Made with high-quality 304 stainless steel
- Everything comes with satisfactory quality
- Strong, heavy, and durable
- A bit of modification might be needed
How to Buy the Best Header for Chevy 350
As there are several types and dimensions of headers, you need to focus on some basic things while picking one. Here I’m sharing my buying guide you can use while buying the best headers for 350 small blocks.
Type of the Header
You’ll find short or long-tube headers. Also, there are some headers coming with different designs, like- lake headers or Tri-Y ones. Some headers don’t have any collector pipe with them.
Each has some advantages and disadvantages. You need to check those to determine the best one for your vehicle.
The best way is to use one like the factory-installed header. If you want a different one, consult an expert first.
The tube size or the opening of the primary tubes is also very important. Everyone assumes that bigger tubes ensure better performance as those offer better exhaust flow. This is true, but smaller ones have benefits too.
Smaller tubes ensure better exhaust velocity, which results in slightly better power from the engine.
So, I suggest picking the medium ones. However, the tube size of factory-installed headers should be taken into consideration.
Typically, you’ll find headers made of mild steel or stainless steel. The benefit of a mild steel header is the cost. You’ll find it cheaper than other headers. But it is not as durable as a stainless steel one.
Because of the construction, stainless steel can withstand extreme heat. So, the heat of exhaust gas can’t cause any damage to it. Also, it is rust-resistant. So, the risk of corrosion is very low.
That’s why I suggest going for stainless steel headers though they cost a bit higher.
Three common finishes of the headers are- ceramic, painting, and natural. Ceramic coated header costs you a lot but ensures a huge benefit. With its extreme heat resistance, the ceramic coat keeps the heat inside the tubes. Thus, the under-hood environment remains comparatively cooler.
Painting finish doesn’t ensure such a benefit. Also, it doesn’t last long. But it is comparatively cheaper than ceramic. A natural finish means no coating. So, the price is also low here.
Different Types Of Headers on the Market
Depending on the style, size, and design, you’ll find several types of headers in the market. Knowing the types is mandatory, as the reason behind picking a header is to ensure the best for your vehicle.
1. Short-tube Header
Short-tube header is the type of header that comes with very short primary tubes. The collector tube here is also short, maybe only a few inches. This type is the best for vehicles with very limited space in the engine bay. Also, for lowered cars, this is the best option.
As the collector pipe is short here, it ensures consistent power and mid-range torque to your vehicle.
2. Long-tube Header
Long-tube header comes with long primary tubes that end up in a collector tube. As the primary tubes are long, the scope for the back-feed of gas is almost zero here. This has helped long-tube headers to ensure better performance.
You can go for a long-tube header if there is enough space in the engine bay. It ensures good feedback in overall power and a bread rpm spectrum.
3. Tri-Y Header
This design is a bit different from the previous two I’ve discussed. Here four primary tubes make two Ys to turn into two secondary tubes. Then the secondary tubes make a Y to be connected to the collector tube. As there are a total of three Ys in the design, it is called a Tri-Y header.
The best thing about this design is you can use it in some cases where the other types can’t be used because of space issues. It ensures low to mid-range RPM without sacrificing the top horsepower.
4. Lake Header
This is the type of header in which the primary tubes are connected to the collector tube one by one. Here the collector tube is very long, and the primary ones are comparatively short.
Lake headers are typically louder than other types. Also, the chance of back-feed is low here.
5. Zoomie Header
The Zoomie header doesn’t have a collector tube. In this design, the primary tubes are not connected to each other. The outer sides of the tubes are ended at the same place without interrupting each other’s ways.
This type of header is loved by street and drag racers.
Long Tube Vs Shorty Headers – What to Choose?
Difference between Exhaust Header and Exhaust Manifold
Header and manifold do the same thing- collecting gas and sending it to the exhaust system. The difference is in size, material, and performance.
A manifold is the factory-installed one made of thick material and weighs heavy. On the other hand, a header is made of strong and light material, so the weight remains low. Also, a header is made to last for a long time, whereas a manifold typically lasts for an average time.
Being lightweight, a header reduces the overall weight of the vehicle. Also, it is designed to perform better than the manifold. As a result, the header ensures a noticeable improvement in the vehicle’s performance.
The header is typically used in high-performance vehicles where the weight should be decreased, and performance should be increased.
A manifold is okay for you if you’re a typical driver using your vehicle for commuting purposes. But if you want performance, you should replace your manifold with a header.
How to Clean an Exhaust Header?
The exhaust header may show signs of wear, tear, or damage as it remains exposed to high heat. So, cleaning it regularly is necessary if you want it to last long. You can take it to a garage for cleaning or do it by yourself at home. Below is the process of cleaning a header.
Remove the header from your vehicle. Before removing, make sure that the engine is cooled down properly. Doing this would keep you safe.
Then clean it with a cloth and soapy water. This would help you to remove the loose grime and gunk and prepare it for the next step. If there is rust, spray some cleaner and scrub it with a cloth.
Allow it to dry. To make the process faster, you can use a dry towel or cloth to wipe out the water from it. Then let it dry in the sun.
Spray a break cleaner on the surface and use sandpaper to rub it firmly. Use a circular motion for better cleaning. Apply as much as needed to clean the whole header. Wear a pair of latex gloves to avoid skin irritation.
Once the header is clean, spray metal polish on it and rub it with 1000-grit sandpaper. Spray a moderate amount of polish, so it doesn’t get accumulated somewhere.
Use plain water to rinse off the excess metal polish. Don’t apply much water however.
If you wish, rinse it again with soapy water for better results. Then apply some plain water to it to rinse off the soapy surface.
Allow it to dry under the sun. Just like in step 3, you can use a dry towel or cloth to make the process faster.
Use 800-grit sandpaper to dry sand the header. This would help you to remove the uneven surface from it. Then rewash it and let it air dry.
The cleaning process is done. If you want, you can apply metal polish again to make it look shinier.
This lengthy process takes a considerable time, maybe 5-6 hours or more. So, you need to start the process in the morning. Have enough time and patience before starting the process. Also, gather everything before starting to work. Doing this would save some time.
Is it Worthy to Install a Header?
Installing a header to your car is a costly investment. So, you must get the expected benefit from this. This is the reason most people want to know whether it is worthy or not.
If you ask me, I will say installing a header is worth it. The reason is the benefits it offers to you.
The primary benefit of installing a header is increased performance. Being a performance-oriented upgrade, the header always shows around 10%-20% improvement in the performance of your vehicle.
The second benefit is the reason behind the improved performance- an increase in exhaust gas flow. In a header, there are almost zero barriers to the exhaust gas flow. Also, the scope of back pressure is very low here. Thus, the power becomes utilized efficiently, and you see an increase in performance.
Another benefit your exhaust header ensures is the improvement in sound. A header is a good choice if you love to show off your exhaust sound.
I’ve discussed the benefits of installing an aftermarket exhaust header in your vehicle. So, it is your time to decide whether it is worthy for you or not. I’ve already said that I think this is worthy. You should go for that if you have the bucks to spend on an aftermarket exhaust. Just make sure that you’re picking the best one for you.
FAQs About Chevy 350 Headers
Is using header wrap necessary?
Header wrap is a wrapping material used to wrap around the tubes of a header to reduce the heat under the hood. It blocks the heat that the primary tubes carry. It is not a must but using it can help keep the temperature under the hood extremely low so that other parts work fine.
If your header comes with a ceramic coating, wrapping is not necessary, as ceramic blocks most of the heat. In other cases, wrapping might help you to see a slight improvement in overall performance.
Is it okay to custom-make a header?
Customizing a header is completely okay. A lot of people customize the header because of the modification under the hood. However, while doing this, you should be a bit careful. The design and make should be perfect so that no accident happens. Customization should be done by experts having enough knowledge and experience in doing this.
What is the typical temperature of an exhaust?
In the case of normal vehicles used for commuting, the typical temperature is around 400-500 degree Fahrenheit. In the case of performance vehicles, the temperature is double, 900-1000 degrees Fahrenheit or even more than this.
How to Install Longtube Header on Chevy 350
When it comes to picking the best headers for Chevy 350, a lot of things matter- including the type of header suitable for your vehicle. So, everyone’s pick won’t be the same. I’ve picked five from a lot available in the market. Now you have to choose one from the five.
If you want me to grab one for you, I suggest the one from Flowtech. This is something everyone would love. Within a reasonable price, it ensures the performance you’re looking for. Also, it is durable and strong.
However, for short-tube and lake-style options, I’ve talked about only one for each. You can pick those. Also, there is an option within a reasonable price.
While choosing one, make sure it fits most of your requirements. Otherwise, you’ll end up buying a mess.
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