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One of the best and most effective ways to get more power out of your engine is by swapping out the old exhaust manifolds with new, less restrictive exhaust manifolds. At their core, engines are nothing more than simple air pumps. The easier it is for air to flow through, the more power you can ultimately make. Speedway Motors has a variety of exhaust manifolds for classic Small Block Chevy engines to Ford Y-block engines and beyond. From cast iron “ram horn” Chevy 350 exhaust manifolds to turbo exhaust manifold options for LS turbo swaps, cast headers, and more, we have your project covered. Squeezing every bit of horsepower from your engine means having the least restrictions possible. Stock exhaust manifolds do not always provide acceptable fitment and are known to be restrictive. For enthusiasts like yourself, replacing the factory cast iron manifolds with something that performs better is a given, while often allowing more room in your engine bay.

What Do Exhaust Manifolds Do?

Simply put, exhaust manifolds are used to collect the spent gasses of an engine and safely route them out of the engine compartment to the exhaust system, usually exiting towards the rear of the vehicle. High-performance vehicles such as race cars or dragsters often need to operate with as little restriction as possible and will only use open headers/manifolds. Naturally aspirated engines can have their exhaust terminate at the manifolds but having a connected exhaust system will often help with scavenging and increase performance. Boosted applications can terminate under, on the side, or even above the engine, and will not always use a muffler or any additional exhaust piping.

Depending on the application, exhaust manifolds can be made from cast steel, mild steel, stainless steel, and even titanium. While cast iron exhaust manifolds are generally more durable, they will not do much in terms of weight reduction. However, they are great for high-heat applications like our LS turbo manifolds for turbocharged engines. We recommend a set of durable, yet lightweight stainless-steel manifolds if weight is a major concern.

How Hot Do Exhaust Manifolds Get? 

Exhaust manifolds have a tough job to do. The internal combustion engine generates a lot of heat and therefore an exhaust manifold can get as hot as 1,200-degrees Fahrenheit. It is unlikely that your engine will run that hot regularly, but it’s good knowing that it can handle it. For daily drivers, extreme temperature spikes are unlikely. However, on racing applications reaching those numbers is possible.

Cast iron headers are made from extra thick and durable iron to provide you with years of trouble-free operation. But years of constant expansion and contraction caused by the temperature swings can make them more prone to cracking. We offer high flow iron, steel, and stainless-steel manifolds from renowned names such as Hooker, Tru-Ram, and of course our own Speedway Motors brand that will surely get you that added throttle response and increased horsepower numbers you have been after!

Does Exhaust Material Affect Sound?

Yes! Different exhaust materials will play a big role in the overall sound of your car. Enthusiasts love being able to feel the power their engine makes and hear that deep growl that only a V8 can produce. There is nothing better than a good, cold start in the mornings, and bolting on an aftermarket exhaust manifold, such as a LS exhaust manifold, is one of the best ways to enhance that sound.

Cast iron exhaust manifolds only do so much for sound. Swapping them to cast iron headers, or even better yet a stainless steel exhaust manifold, will not only increase power but drastically change the sound of your ride. Renowned exhaust manufacturers not only tune exhaust manifolds for power but also sound. Looking to add some extra power to your American V8? Speedway Motors has a variety of LS turbo manifolds, log style turbo manifold, cast iron headers, and more for most engines including the Chevy Small Block, Chevy LS, and Ford Y-Block V8 engines!

Different Exhaust Manifold Styles

In the custom exhaust world, several names will get used interchangeably. Knowing the different designs and what they do is crucial.

Exhaust Manifold

The most common way to contain and route spent gasses away from the engine is via an exhaust manifold. Although not the most popular amongst car enthusiasts, it is the most widely used. It is a good, cost-effective way to safely get the exhaust to the rear of the vehicle in passenger car and truck applications.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much in terms of horsepower gains or sound. In fact, most exhaust manifolds will strip the engine of power in return for durability and reduced sound.

Log Manifold

The log manifold gest its name thanks to their resemblance to a tree trunk that has branches growing from it. A log style manifold will have a short individual pipe, usually of the same length, coming from each one of the cylinders and go into the main header pipe of the log manifold. They are ideal for applications where space is at a premium.

Additionally, log-style manifolds can also be used for turbo applications. Log style turbo manifolds are preferred thanks in part to their compact size and increased flow when compared to regular exhaust manifolds.

Turbo Manifold

Turbo manifolds are a must if you are looking to boost your V8 with an aftermarket turbo kit. They are specifically designed to accept turbochargers. Unlike regular exhaust manifolds, the runners will merge into one collector on a turbo exhaust manifold that is made to accept a specific turbocharger style.

LS engines are becoming more and more popular for engine swaps and have made their way into some of the most unexpected rides. For those who think that is arguably the most popular V8 in the world is not powerful enough, adding a turbocharger is the next best step. To do this, LS turbo manifolds are required. We offer a variety of LS turbo manifolds to easily help get you that much-needed power increase.


Headers and exhaust manifolds are often used interchangeably. However, they are not all the same. Exhaust manifolds are used for budget and fitment concerns and often create back pressure, which can hinder performance on any engine. For example, a 350 chevy exhaust manifold will do a good job of directing exhaust gas towards the rear of the vehicle but will not do much in terms of power gains or weight reduction. When every oz of weight and extra horsepower counts, a quality set of headers is well-worth it.

Now headers will provide a significant increase in horsepower and throttle response. Even cast-iron headers, although heavier than stainless headers, will see an improvement when installed. A simple modification such as headers is sure to put a smile on your face as it firmly plants you in the seat of your favorite muscle car, truck, or track-ready beast. No matter what you use your vehicle for, a little more “pep” is always welcome.