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Camaro V8 LS3 / L99 Engine, Exhaust, and Bolt-Ons Bolt-Ons | Intakes | Exhaust

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Old 05-26-2010, 09:39 PM   #1
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Best Shorty Headers

I've found a lot of good advice here about cat-backs. I think I'm going with the Borla Type-S. I'd also like to get a good set of shorty headers.

I've found a few. Borla makes one, Edelbrock makes one, and Doug Thorley makes two (different coating materials). Any opinions on these (or others) would be appreciated.

My one caveat is that I am in California and I need this ride to be street legal. So, I need a set of headers that work with the stock cats and have CARB certification :-(
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:42 PM   #2
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Save your money. Shorty's will do nothing for you but empty your wallet.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:56 PM   #3
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Why shorty headers?

"I've heard of alot of people buying shorties and wishing they had spent the extra but never the other way around!"
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:42 PM   #4
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Save your money. Shorty's will do nothing for you but empty your wallet.
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:49 PM   #5
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Shorties are pointless.
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:59 PM   #6
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I'm trying to work within the law. I know that long tubes will give me more horsepower, but none of them are legal for street use here. A lot of guys will do long headers anyway figuring that the chance of getting caught is small, but I'd rather do it by the book.

Besides, 426 is plenty. I just want a little more than stock. I'm not trying to break records.

A well designed shorty will clear better than stock, because of the varying length of the tubes and the bends relative to the order in which the cylinders fire. You want the exhaust from each cylinder to line up evenly in time. The stock design pays relatively little attention to this because they want it to be quiet and somewhat restrictive.

I'm an engineer by training, and I'm confident in my understanding of the technology. What I am interested in is actual experience with the models available for the LS3. How good are the available ones? Do any stand out over the others?
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:27 PM   #7
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Do a search on the forum on "Shorty's" and you will see Dyno's posted of losses by adding these over the stock manifold. Haven't seen anyone prove these are better than stock and so why waste your money?
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:31 PM   #8
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If you're gonna do it I would only do Doug Thorley
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:49 PM   #9
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Put that money towards other things like a good intake and tune. As long as you have a catback that you like the sound of you will be wasting your money on the shorties. A really good intake and tune will be way better for performance than the shorties. If you already have the tune and intake save the money toward a supercharger as there are 50 state legal units.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:06 AM   #10
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BBK Has "tuned length" shorty's. If you HAVE to spend the money on a part that will only net you maybe 2hp, those are the only ones I would get. Honestly, there was a shorty test done by a shop on here a while back and a couple sets of headers actually lost power.

The factory headers are not like older units you may be used to. They are very strong and flow extreamly well.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:12 AM   #11
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BBK Has "tuned length" shorty's. If you HAVE to spend the money on a part that will only net you maybe 2hp, those are the only ones I would get. Honestly, there was a shorty test done by a shop on here a while back and a couple sets of headers actually lost power.

The factory headers are not like older units you may be used to. They are very strong and flow extreamly well.
who did that test? i want to look it up for that info
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:14 AM   #12
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Jannetty Racing. Ted has done a LT test, CAI test, etc. I'm assuming I was on crack when I thought I saw a shorty test, cant find the thread when I search for it.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:39 AM   #13
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I searched and found this: http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73977

Is that what you were talking about?

He lost power using the BBK shorties. No other headers were tested. And he did it with everything else stock.

I am a bit surprised that he *lost* power, but I'm not surprised that the shorties did nothing with stock mufflers. The mufflers are the bottleneck. The cat is a problem too, but better timing of the headers should flow more through the cat (More constant flow) unless you've got stock mufflers backing it up.

I want to see a real test with different brands and with free flowing exhaust behind it. I would bet money that at least some of them beat stock by a good deal, with or without the stock cats (Although getting rid of the cats is a no brainer, it's just not legal.)

So, I'm not sold on the shorties are worthless bit. With CAI, cat-back, and a good tune they should do quite a bit. However, I do buy the argument that I should spend my money on those other things first. So, I'll do that :-)
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by asroka View Post
I searched and found this: http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73977

Is that what you were talking about?

He lost power using the BBK shorties. No other headers were tested. And he did it with everything else stock.

I am a bit surprised that he *lost* power, but I'm not surprised that the shorties did nothing with stock mufflers. The mufflers are the bottleneck. The cat is a problem too, but better timing of the headers should flow more through the cat (More constant flow) unless you've got stock mufflers backing it up.

I want to see a real test with different brands and with free flowing exhaust behind it. I would bet money that at least some of them beat stock by a good deal, with or without the stock cats (Although getting rid of the cats is a no brainer, it's just not legal.)

So, I'm not sold on the shorties are worthless bit. With CAI, cat-back, and a good tune they should do quite a bit. However, I do buy the argument that I should spend my money on those other things first. So, I'll do that :-)
Spoken like a true engineer! A cat back has been PROVEN not to flow any better then the stock mufflers. The Cats are the "bottle neck" you speak of. Sure, shorties and a cat back SHOULD make better power from an engineering stand point, but its kinda like an when your working on a vehicle and your constantly saying "I wish the engineers would have to work on this thing!". Fact is, shorties do nothing and a cat back exhaust is for nothing more then sound. If you have the money to burn and you like to show off name brands, knock yourself out. If you want REAL performance, listen to the ones with REAL experiance.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlaSSt Off View Post
Spoken like a true engineer! A cat back has been PROVEN not to flow any better then the stock mufflers. The Cats are the "bottle neck" you speak of. Sure, shorties and a cat back SHOULD make better power from an engineering stand point, but its kinda like an when your working on a vehicle and your constantly saying "I wish the engineers would have to work on this thing!". Fact is, shorties do nothing and a cat back exhaust is for nothing more then sound. If you have the money to burn and you like to show off name brands, knock yourself out. If you want REAL performance, listen to the ones with REAL experiance.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:10 AM   #16
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Do us all a favor. Pick a set dyno your car before then after and tell us how you do. The truth is one car had subject results and everyone has attacked all shorties. We all know that different CAI's can produce extremely different results. So it would only make sense that the same might hold true for the shorties. Doug Thorleys have also show positive results as well. No they will not do what long tubes do, but they will pass inspection and they wont kill your warranty.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:19 AM   #17
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Spoken like a true engineer! A cat back has been PROVEN not to flow any better then the stock mufflers. The Cats are the "bottle neck" you speak of. Sure, shorties and a cat back SHOULD make better power from an engineering stand point, but its kinda like an when your working on a vehicle and your constantly saying "I wish the engineers would have to work on this thing!". Fact is, shorties do nothing and a cat back exhaust is for nothing more then sound. If you have the money to burn and you like to show off name brands, knock yourself out. If you want REAL performance, listen to the ones with REAL experiance.
LOL. Thanks for that.

It could be true that the cat-back flows no better than stock because the cat is the bottleneck. It is certainly not true for all applications, but you may know that it is true for this one. If so it is good to know. Do you have any references for the tests that proved it?

I appreciate the advice, and I am listening. I'm just probing for a bit more info than "don't waste your money." I'd like to know why you think it is a waste of money, and a little proof would be nice too.

P.S. did you misspell "experiance" on purpose to prove that you aren't an engineer? Nice touch ;-)
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:21 AM   #18
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Yeah the only test I could find was of the BBK and it lost power. Bottom line is that they should need no supporting mods to make power period. I can think of lots of mods that add power by them selfs with out needing any other mods. LT headers included. The mods that make power on there own are only going to increase power when other mods are added. Lets say they added a catback exhuast and cai to that stock car with just the shorties. How would you know if all the gains were not from the cai and catback? I guess the only way to know is to have a car with cai and catback only and then add shorties. Of course getting a good base line before the shorties. IMO the results would be the same. Anyone care to test this out with a cai and catback only car? MY guess is not many are willing to throw down $550+ on a mod that will gain them nothing and maybe even lose some power.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:52 AM   #19
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Considering I have seen post that show the Corsa making around 5rwhp through the rpm band, he could have lost power from the headers and gained it back from the catback
maybe so! That sucks, all that money for stock numbers... Oh well, they can say they have it I guess.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:56 AM   #20
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Yeah the only test I could find was of the BBK and it lost power. Bottom line is that they should need no supporting mods to make power period. I can think of lots of mods that add power by them selfs with out needing any other mods. LT headers included. The mods that make power on there own are only going to increase power when other mods are added. Lets say they added a catback exhuast and cai to that stock car with just the shorties. How would you know if all the gains were not from the cai and catback? I guess the only way to know is to have a car with cai and catback only and then add shorties. Of course getting a good base line before the shorties. IMO the results would be the same. Anyone care to test this out with a cai and catback only car? MY guess is not many are willing to throw down $550+ on a mod that will gain them nothing and maybe even lose some power.
It's not necessarily true that every mod will show horsepower gains alone. It is even true, at least in theory, that a mod could lose you horsepower by itself and gain you horsepower in combination with something else. That's because it all has to work together - air in, exhaust out, fuel, spark, etc.

Doug Thorley has a dyno on their site that shows about a 12 hp peak gain and gains throughout the curve. Of course, it is always a good idea to be skeptical of the manufacturers own tests. There also isn't any info about what they did to tune it (if anything.)

I'm with you about not spending money on something that is going to lose me power. I would be willing to test it though. What I think I'll do is do the cat-back and CAI first, get it tuned and tested with that. Then I'll add the shorties later and tune and test again. I suspect there will be a difference, but probably worst case I put the stock headers back on and I'm out about a grand.

I'll probably go with the Doug Thorley too. That seems to be the one that the non-haters like the most.
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:15 AM   #21
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IMO I would look into getting some high-flow cats before spending the money on shorties. The OEM exhaust manifolds arent bad as they are... i know that Solo has been testing some high flow cats lately and have gotten 20+ hp with no tune, stock car... and have done it without throwing any codes.
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:52 AM   #22
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+1 Solo Cats connected to stock manifolds before shorty headers.

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showth...t=79075&page=7

Also check out this article of a BBK dyno test on the 5.7 Hemi Challenger. I realize it is not the 6.2 LS3 but it should give you some more technical data.

http://www.moparmusclemagazine.com/t...ade/index.html

I am currently in the process of hand-porting my stock exhaust manifolds and having them high-temp coated as I dont want to go the shorty header route while wanting to maximize what I have to work with.

The stock cat inlet necks down to 2.25 inches - thereby becoming a large restriction. By running a 2.5 inch pipe from the manifold and increasing the cat inlet from 2.25 inches to 2.5 inches, you gain 123% increase in surface area, thereby reducing the opposition to flow from the manifold. Combine that with a high flow cat, use only one cat per side instead of two per side (factory) and the net result is increased power above the stock configuration.

In short, I would recommend going the Solo high flow cat route and not using shortys unless you want some underhood "bling", which is fine, too. If the price on the Solo cats works out to roughly the same price as the shorty headers, you will be bucks and power ahead going this route.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:35 AM   #23
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Yea, I agree with the Solo high flows cats being the BEST solution for most bang for the buck, for sure! They are still in the testing phase though, so far no CEL codes on the 2 test cars. I noticed that they are suggesting getting a tune to maiximize performance. I have Doug Thorley shorties and Solo Mach-X cat back which I love. I agree that I really didn't get much if any hp gain with these mods and haven't had my car dyno'd. The thing I worry about with adding the high flow cats is having TOO MUCH flow and without a tune to compensate for the air/fuel mix it might run lean or eventually throw a code. I wonder if that's why they're suggesting a tune. I spent about $1200 for the shorties and Mach-X, I love the looks and sound so I guess the price was worth it even though there was very little performance gain, and it's all legal!
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:51 AM   #24
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i've always been under the impression that there was no such thing as a good set of shorty headers. speaking in general not just on camaros.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:14 AM   #25
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Ok I know I will be attacked by shorty haters but I will tell my story any way. Last summer I put a set of ceramic coated Doug Thorley shorties on my Ls-3,this was my first modification to my car.When I took it for my first test drive the car was noticeably louder and the throttle response felt like it improved allot.I also belong to a camaro club and let a few members with stock Ls-3's drive my car and they were all impressed and told me they felt a big difference.I honestly feel like my car gained the advertised 18 rw-hp that the company claims.And they look awesome....
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