Turbocharged engines are becoming increasingly popular in the automotive world, thanks to their ability to deliver more power and better performance. However, when it comes to upgrading the exhaust system on a turbocharged car, many car enthusiasts are unsure whether headers are necessary. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of headers in turbocharged cars and how they can enhance the performance of your vehicle.
We’ll also delve into the differences between turbocharged and naturally aspirated engines, and why these differences matter when it comes to exhaust upgrades. So, whether you’re a seasoned gearhead or just starting to get interested in car modifications, read on to learn more about turbo cars and headers!
Do Turbo Cars Have Headers
Yes, turbocharged cars can have headers. Headers are an important component of the exhaust system, which is responsible for guiding exhaust gases out of the engine and away from the car. Headers are essentially tubular manifolds that collect the exhaust gases from each cylinder and direct them into a single pipe.
In a turbocharged engine, the turbocharger is mounted between the engine and the headers, and it uses the energy from the exhaust gases to compress the incoming air before it enters the engine. The compressed air allows the engine to burn more fuel and produce more power.
Headers can play a crucial role in optimizing the performance of a turbocharged engine. By increasing the diameter of the exhaust pipes and reducing restrictions in the exhaust system, headers can help to improve exhaust flow and reduce backpressure, which can improve turbo spool-up time and increase horsepower and torque.
It’s important to note that not all turbocharged cars come with headers from the factory. Some cars may come with restrictive factory exhaust manifolds, which can limit the performance potential of the engine. In these cases, upgrading to aftermarket headers can be a worthwhile investment, especially if you are looking to maximize the performance of your turbocharged car.
What Is Turbo And How Does It Work In A Car Engine?
In internal combustion engines, the turbo (turbocharger) acts as a power-boosting device. They are usually driven by the kinetic energy of the exhaust gases. A turbo increases the engine’s power output from being attached to the vehicle’s exhaust manifold and contributes to fuel economy.
Two turbines at either end of a turbo shaft are connected to two separate ports. One of these ports serves for intake and one for exhaust. When hot air exits the engine, it turns the turbine at the exhaust end of the port. This rotation of the exhaust turbine also causes the intake turbine to rotate.
As the intake turbine rotates, it forces more compressed and denser air into the combustion chamber of the engine. As a result, the engine receives more oxygen and the amount of power produced increases. In short, turbo produces more power by burning fuel completely and more efficiently.
What Is A Header Of A Turbo Car?
The reason for adding a header to a turbo car is that it removes the exhaust gasses from the cylinder easier way. Although exhaust manifolds do the same job, headers can do the job more efficiently and quickly. Manufacturers specially tune the headers to improve exhaust scavenging performance.
Using an exhaust manifold in a turbo car allows the exhaust gasses from all cylinders to reach the exhaust system together. This often leads to back pressure. So this system is not that useful for high-speed driving.
The headers, on the other hand, are connected to each cylinder through a different exhaust pipe. As a result, they help the exhaust gases to exit well than the exhaust manifold. Plus, a header improves the sound of your turbo car a bit.
Types Of Turbo Car’s Headers
Turbo car headers are generally size related. We notice three types of headers in the market. I would like to explain a little about all three types of turbo car headers here.
- Shorty Header
In these types of headers, the pipes connected to the cylinders are shorter and the port tubes are longer. Longer port tubes reduce the chance of exhaust back pressure. This system plays a significant role in improving oxygen supply and increasing horsepower.
- Mid-length Header
These headers have tubes at a 45-degree angle to the ground, slightly curved downwards, and shorter than shorty headers. Although mid-length headers are relatively better than stock, they produce less low-end torque.
- Long Header
You will find long headers on most road bikes. In these headers, the pipes connected to the cylinder are long and the end parts are together with the collector pipe. Experts consider this header to be the best for cars that run in the low and mid-rpm range.
Can You Put Headers On A Turbo Car?
Yes, of course, you can use headers with your turbo car. A header with a 15- to 25-inch-long tube provides a better boost while reducing the risk of cracking. You can get standard headers on some models for under $125. Anyway, some models of headers may cost you $450 or more.
The benefit of using headers on a turbo car is that it improves your car’s performance. They are somewhat lighter than the exhaust manifold, which helps in reducing the overall weight of your vehicle.
Especially for racing, you don’t want to compromise on performance. Headers can play a very important role in racing cars. As they improve the scavenging effect, the exhaust gases are removed from the cylinder faster. So the car can run smoothly at high speed.
Header VS Exhaust Manifold: Which Is Better For Your Car?
If you like to drive your car at normal speed, then the exhaust manifold is right for you. They are relatively robust and help generate less noise. But if you love to drive cars at high speed or are a racer, you should definitely use headers. Headers will help make your riding more exciting and enjoyable.
Difference Between Exhaust Manifold And Headers
Although the exhaust manifold and header perform similar functions, many consider the two to be the same. But there are several structural and functional differences between both of them. I would like to present the differences between exhaust manifold and headers here through a chart, which will help you understand better.
|Purpose of use||Removes the exhaust gases of the engine.||Used to improve engine performance and noise in addition to exhaust gas|
|Material||Companies usually use cast iron to make the exhaust manifold.||In most cases, manufacturers use stainless steel to make the headers.|
|Functionality||Relatively less effective.||More efficient than an exhaust manifold.|
|Effect on engine performance||May not increase engine performance.||More efficient than an exhaust manifold.|
|Weight||Heavier than headers.||Relatively light.|
|Effect on sounds||Has an effect on reducing car engine sound.||Increases car engine sound.|
|Size||A bit smaller in size.||Longer than the exhaust manifold.|
Can A Header Really Make A Car Louder?
Yes, a header can indeed make your car louder. Many refer to this as the downside of headers. But there are many others who like and enjoy this sound. Most of the time, youngsters and young adults prefer high-sounding headers. The video below may help you the most in understanding the change in the sound of your turbo car when switching from an exhaust manifold to a header.
Drawbacks Of Headers In Turbo Cars
Usually, speed enthusiasts add headers as the last step along with other optimizations to the exhaust system to reduce backflow pressure. They want to get maximum horsepower during competitive rides. However, along with the advantages of adding headers, there are also some disadvantages. Such as:
- These will increase the cost of your car upgrade. Since the headers are made of stainless steel, they will be much more expensive than the stock exhaust manifold.
- The walls of headers are relatively thin, so they tend to crack more often.
- They don’t last as long as the exhaust manifold.
- Often companies tune the header pipes to fit properly, which can make maintenance access more difficult.
- Can produce extra noise which can be annoying at times.
Turbo cars are more popular these days due to their ability to deliver more horsepower. Nonetheless, many people dislike turbo cars as the turbocharger takes a few seconds to rotate because of turbo lag. Today’s hybrid turbos solve that problem with an electrically assisted turbocharger. These can provide a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency, a 50% improvement in engine torque, and a 70% reduction in turbo lag.
Adding headers to turbo cars is a brilliant decision during car modification for better performance. The headers improve the performance and the sound of the car, which is a favorite among youngsters. The combined power of turbos and headers can make a tremendous difference not only in racing cars but also in passenger cars.