Previously, we wrote a guide about the best 5.7 HEMI bolt-on mods. In the article, we briefly discussed 5.7 HEMI headers. They remain one of the best power upgrades for the 5.7L V8 – without moving to bigger mods like forced induction. Not only do long tube headers offer great power gains, but they also have a number of other benefits. In this article, I discuss some of the best 5.7 HEMI headers along with shorty vs long-tube, cost, power gains and more.
What Are Headers?
Headers simply refer to the engines exhaust manifold. The terms exhaust manifold, headers, or exhaust headers can often be used interchangeably. They’re all the same thing, however, headers is typically used when discussing aftermarket exhaust manifolds. This manifold bolts directly to the exhaust ports, and is the first part of the bolt-on exhaust system.
An exhaust manifold or headers help exhaust gases flow out of the engine. Gases then travel through the cats and eventually out of the tailpipes. Ultimately, headers are a simple part of the exhaust system but they play an important role in performance, power, and more. More on that in the coming sections.
For now, let’s discuss 5.7 HEMI long tube headers vs shorty headers and catalytic converters. Afterwards, we discuss benefits of 345 HEMI headers then move onto some of the best header upgrades.
5.7 HEMI Headers: Long-tube vs Shorty
The two main headers upgrades you may come across include shorty and long-tube. A long-tube header design has longer individual pipes before merging together. 5.7 HEMI long tube headers promote faster exhaust gas flow and improvements to scavenging.
In other words, long-tube headers reduce exhaust gas reversion. This is the process of exhaust gases actually flowing back into the combustion chamber. Of course, that’s not good for performance or power. Shorty headers also offer the same benefit, but to a slightly lesser degree.
Some associate long-tube headers with worse low-end torque and power. However, that often isn’t the case and there are numerous dynos showing long tube headers offer better hp gains throughout the entire RPM range. So, long tube 5.7 HEMI headers are the best option for performance. They’re more expensive and can be more challenging to install, though.
Catless vs High-Flow Cats
Catalytic converters on the 5.7 HEMI are located in the midpipes. However, this is an important topic to cover when it comes to headers. Long tube headers are quite a bit longer than the OEM exhaust manifold. This means long tube headers for the 5.7L V8 require aftermarket midpipes. As a side note – it’s a good idea to go with the matching midpipe if you purchase long-tube headers. This helps ensure proper, quality fitment.
Anyway, with long-tube headers you have the option for catless or high-flow cats. Catless will offer the biggest power gains. However, deleting the cats is only intended for off-road use. You will not pass inspection without catalytic converters. That’s where the high-flow cats come into play. However, it’s still possible to fail emissions testing even with high-flow cats.
Shorty 5.7 HEMI headers should retain OEM fitment. As such, you don’t need to worry about the mid-pipes. Although, it’s still a good upgrade to add in addition to the shorty headers. The OEM cats are the next major restriction, so power gains will be on the lower end if you don’t opt for catless or high-flow midpipes.
5.7 HEMI Headers Benefits
Chances are, most 345 HEMI owners are in the market for headers thanks to the impressive power gains. It’s far from the only upside with upgraded headers, though. Some benefits of 5.7 HEMI headers upgrades include:
- 15-30+ horsepower
- 10-20+ torque
- Lower backpressure
- Reduced EGT’s
- Exhaust sounds
A set of 5.7 HEMI headers usually offer hp gains in the ballpark of 15-30 horsepower and 10-20 torque. We will circle back to power gains in the next section since there’s a lot of other benefits to discuss here.
One of the main goals of header upgrades is to reduce back-pressure. This has numerous benefits like lowering exhaust gas temperatures and improving exhaust gas scavenging. It’s great stuff for power, performance, and engine health.
Another big purpose of headers is for a louder, more aggressive exhaust note. Different headers will offer their own unique sounds. Some love it and others may not. If you’re opting for just headers and leaving the rest of the exhaust stock then the sound usually isn’t overly intrusive. However, it might get too loud very quickly if you intend to modify the rest of the exhaust too.
Headers HP Gains
Again, 15-30 horsepower and 10-20 torque is a good general ballpark for 5.7 HEMI horsepower gains. It’s tough to put perfect numbers on power gains, though. There are a lot of various factors like dynos, tuning, other mods, conditions, etc. As such, not everyone is going to see the same results.
Some 345 HEMI’s may pick up more power while others may see less. However, there are a few major points to consider. Long-tube headers with a cat delete or high-flow cats typically offer the best gains. With proper tuning and other bolt-on mods you’ll probably see power gains on the higher end of the range. Picking up 25-30+ horsepower isn’t unrealistic from the long tube headers.
Those sticking with shorty headers and the OEM midpipes + cats should expect gains on the lower end. With other mods and tuning you may still see gains up to 15-20+ hp. Regardless of what 5.7 HEMI headers you opt for they’re among the best basic bolt-on power mods. Only a few mods like cams, forced induction, NOS, etc. offer more potential (and they’re much more complex upgrades).
Best 5.7 HEMI Headers Upgrades
With the background info out of the way it’s time to dive into some of the best 5.7 HEMI headers. Note – this is far from an exhaustive list of header upgrades. Tons of great options exist and we don’t have time or space to cover every single set of headers. Additionally, fitment can vary by year and model. Always double check fitment before purchasing any headers.
That said, we’ll try to focus on headers that have options for as many models and years as possible. They’re also 5.7 HEMI headers that we believe offer a good balance of price, quality, fitment, and performance. Let’s jump right in and discuss some of the best header upgrades.
1) BBK Performance 1.75″ Shorty Headers
First up are the shorty style headers from BBK Performance. As a side note – this list isn’t in any particular order. However, if we were to pick one set of shorty headers for the 5.7 HEMI it would be this BBK option. They’ll set you back about $400-500, which is an excellent price for headers.
They’re surely not the best shorty headers around, but they do offer a great balance of price and quality. Headers are pretty simple as they’re just metal piping. All that you really need is decent quality and proper fitment. These BBK 5.7 HEMI headers seem to deliver that at a great price.
Expect to pick up about 8-15 horsepower with these shorty headers. More power is possible with midpipe upgrades to delete the cats or switch to high-flow cats. However, if you’re considering midpipes it might make sense to make the move to long-tube headers.
2) Powergo Motorsport Headers
Powergo isn’t really the primary focus here even though we’re listing them. They’re simply a good example of an inexpensive option on Amazon. As we mentioned in the last section headers are pretty straight-forward. With a decent design, quality, and fitment there isn’t much else to ask for.
If price isn’t an issue then we would look elsewhere for 5.7 HEMI headers. However, it’s a solid option for those on a tighter budget. Amazon makes returns pretty easy, so if there are any fitment or quality issues then just send them right back. Point is – if you want to save a couple hundred bucks there may be some good options on Ebay and/or Amazon.
These Powergo 345 HEMI headers are for the Ram 1500 trucks. They’re made from stainless steel and feature a 1 5/8 inch design flowing into a 2.5″ collector. Again, expect power gains around 8-15 horsepower or possibly more with midpipe upgrades. Pretty darn good power gains for the price if you ask us.
3) BBK 5.7 HEMI Long Tube Headers
Price: $550 (+$570 midpipes)
Once again we have an option from BBK Performance. This time it’s their 5.7 HEMI long tube headers at a great price of $550. They’re not going to bolt-up to the OEM midpipes, so you’ll probably want their high-flow catted midpipe for an extra $570. This brings you to $1,120 all in, but it’s still an excellent price for a full long-tube headers setup.
If you want to go fully catless you could also get this done much cheaper. Simply opt for the headers and build some custom midpipes. If you’re handy you could do it for the cost of materials.
As with their shorty headers the BBK long-tubes use 1 3/4″ piping and are made from CNC-machined mandrel bent tubing. Anyways, BBK is a great overall option for those on a budget. $1,100+ for the full setup is still a pretty good price. You’ll also likely pick up somewhere around 20-30 horsepower with the right mods and tuning. More power may be possible, especially for off-road use with a cat delete.
4) AFE Long Tube Headers
The price of these AFE long-tube headers will certainly scare some away. At over $2,000 they’re far from the cheapest option around, but they’re also not the most expensive. They’re a great looking set of headers and they feature large 1 7/8″ tubes. AFE 5.7 HEMI headers also use the standard 304 mandrel bent stainless steel.
AFE also offers two choices for the midpipe (included in price) – a catless race pipe or high-flow cats. High-flow cats are 200 CPSI and deliver a great balance of performance and quality. All in all, the AFE headers are a great choice for a high-quality set while delivering excellent performance.
5.7 HEMI Header Upgrade Summary
The 5.7 HEMI is an excellent engine, but it is fairly underpowered from the factory. Fortunately, a few simple bolt-on mods can really wake up the 5.7L V8. Among the best power mods is a set of headers. Not only do they offer impressive 10-30+ horsepower gains, but they also have a number of other benefits.
A reduction in back-pressure, exhaust temps, and exhaust gas reversion greatly improve performance and promote engine health. The right header set-up can also deliver some awesome sounds. Those wanting to maximize performance should consider 5.7 HEMI long tube headers. Shorty headers still deliver solid results for less money, though.
We really like the BBK Performance headers for their great balance of price and quality. They have shorty and long-tube 5.7 HEMI headers to meet anyone’s needs and goals. You might also find some good options on Amazon, but quality likely won’t be up to par with some bigger brand names. Regardless, a set of 345 HEMI headers is sure to impress with great power gains for a good price.