350 Chevy Small Block V8, Headers and Exhaust Parts

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In 1864, Nicolaus Otto patented the first modern internal combustion engine. The good old four stroke, "otto cycle" gasoline engine. The first engines were slow, and didn't make very much power. As engines became more and more refined, it became quite evident that a properly designed exhaust manifold or header was a must for maximum power and efficiency.

As time progressed, it was quickly realized that a proper tube header did much more than help get rid of the exhaust, it actually helped pull in MORE air and fuel which made for more POWER.

When it comes to SBC headers or small block Chevy headers, there’s a lot of upside to installing a set. The looks are impressive, the sound is even better, and there are real horsepower, torque, and fuel mileage gains to be had.

How do SBC headers make more power? One is that they provide a smooth, uniform port for each cylinder for the exhaust gasses to flow into instead of just dumping into a manifold and running into the pulses of the other exhaust gasses from the other cylinders. Another way is that they improve power by providing a large enough port to handle the increased amount of exhaust gas of a performance engine. Probably the biggest benefit of SBC headers or Chevy 350 headers, is the scavenging effect they create. On a typical small block 350 header, you have 4 long tubes on each side. These tubes connect together at the exhaust pipe into a merging device called a collector. What happens there is some real engineering magic. The exhaust pulses flow into the collector at supersonic speeds. As one pulse goes through the collector, it creates a low pressure area, and it helps its neighboring exhaust tube pull its exhaust gas in. Finally, the now increased exhaust gas speed exiting the engine through the header pipe allows the incoming fuel/air charge to “hitch a ride” on the high suction (low pressure) the exhaust creates and actually makes a “ramming effect” on the intake air and fuel. The power increase when it’s all tuned correctly can be staggering. On a highly tuned race small block Chevy, the difference between good headers and stock manifolds can be over a hundred horsepower! The science is far greater than we will talk about here, but pressure wave tuning and tuned headers are a lethal combination when properly executed.

Size matters? That’s what they say, and they would be right. If you have a big, high horsepower engine, then large primary tube sizes are a must. When you start going north of 450 hp, you want to be using the bigger 1.75” tubes if you can. The 1-5/8 tube sizes are great for 350 Chevy headers in the 400 hp range, and the 1.5” tube sizes work pretty well on 300 hp and small block Chevys. We even offer “stepped” tube small block Chevy headers. These start out with a smaller primary tube, like 1-5/8, and then they step up to a larger 1.75” size. These sometimes are an advantage on fit and performance.

Okay, enough of the science already. Let’s talk about SBC headers for your car or truck. SBC headers, first and foremost have to fit the chassis you have. Speedway Motors offers probably more headers than anyone else on the planet. If you have a specific original car, then you will need to find a good set of chassis headers. Pay attention to your SBC header choice. If you’ve got a 70 Camaro with a four speed and power steering, you will need to pay attention to the details listed. For example, if they will clear your clutch linkage, and other accessories like power steering, etc. Once you’ve got that nailed down, you then need to pick if you want a set of them in painted headers, chrome headers, stainless steel headers, plain finish headers or coated headers. At Speedway Motors, you have some serious choices when it comes to buying SBC headers. SBC headers are available in full length, mid length as well as “shorty” headers for special clearance issues.  You wanna talk about brands? How about Speedway Motors, Schoenfeld, Hooker, Pertronix, Patriot or JBA just for starters!

If you have a race car like drag racing or oval track, we’ve got you covered there too. We offer oval track headers for all major racing classes like modifieds, hobby stock, street stock, sprint cars, and midgets too! For those of you who need something in the street rod or universal street arena, look no further! You can get SBC headers by the bushel basket in all styles. T-bucket style sprints, 32 Hi-Boy style, shorty, universal style center dumps and special fender-well dump design for that beautiful “gasser” appearance. Man, when you have a 55 Chevy with a tunnel rammed and 350 Chevy headers that dump out the fender-wells, it truly is the epitome of the word “bitchin”.

Before we let you go, we’ll talk a little bit about header coatings. Did you know that coated headers can drop under hood temperatures dramatically? Yep, you heard that right. It’s been proven, and if you don’t believe it, just buy a heat gun and shoot some temps of a plain header tube on an engine and then do a coated set. You’ll be shocked! While we are on the subject of coated SBC headers, don’t forget the other goodies you are going to need. Most headers usually come with standard header bolts and gaskets, but you might want to invest in some premium type header gaskets and you always want the best header bolts you can buy. You always want to put them on right the first time.

Small block Chevy headers are probably the number 1 bolt-on improvement you can make to your little mouse motor. Even if it’s a 2 barrel wood hauler, they make more power and really wake up the low end torque. It’s not uncommon to pick up 20 hp and as many ft/lbs of torque on a typical 350 Chevy header set vs stock exhaust. So don’t delay, get to shopping at Speedway today!