MSA Help Center (Internal & External Use)
MSA Help Center (Internal & External Use)

All collections

Long tube vs normal length headers, which is better?

If you’re running a turbocharged car, long tube headers aren’t usually feasible or practical, so these cars will usually have shorty headers that feed right into the hot-side inlet of the turbo. Otherwise, long-tube headers are generally considered to be the best for reducing back pressure as much as possible, and therefore the best for scavenging — this is despite the fact that they actually technically flow less than shorty headers generally do, but after the section above, we have a good understanding of why that is.

Another advantage with long-tube headers is that they not only give solid peak power numbers, but help to raise horsepower and torque in the low and mid-range of the RPM band, giving you more useable power down where you usually need it. This makes for a more fun drive day to day, as you’re rarely able to enjoy wide-open throttle out to redline out on the street.

The disadvantage comes in the form of packaging. Some cars are worse than others, but it can be difficult to route that big cluster of tubes out of the way of motor mounts, the firewall, the transmission, and still have ground clearance for them afterwards.

We always recommend speaking to your tuner before getting headers fitted. This way, they can optimise your vehicle to your request with the right parts.

Quick Summary:

Long tube headers build a ton of power in the mid to high RPM range. They are the best option for high-rev vehicles, and track terrors. But they aren’t necessarily street legal, depending on emission standards. And usually, long tube headers are difficult to install. All the extra room they need inside the engine compartment may call for some costly reconfiguration.

Short tube headers perform best in the idle to mid-RPM range. This makes them the perfect headers for vehicles that rely on low-RPM power, like a daily commuter or a work pickup that sees a lot of towing and hauling

Was this article helpful?