In the past, we examined and wrote an article on the best 6.4 HEMI performance upgrades. A lot of this previous information is also helpful for those looking to upgrade their 6.4 Hemi headers. Upgrading your 6.4 Hemi headers remains one of the best performance mods for the 6.4L V8.
*This guide is useful for all 6.4 HEMI engines. Yet, results and particular fitment vary greatly as the 6.4L Hemi has been utilized in many different vehicle types and differing car companies. In this article, we will discuss both our recommendations for long tube versus shorty headers for this engine type. We will also simply discuss the differences between each, and their potential performance and power gains.
What Are Headers?
Dodge 6.4 V8 headers are simply a part of the initial exhaust system. The header directs exhaust gases away from the exhaust ports. Headers are simply another term for your exhaust manifold. Exhaust gases then travel through your cats (catalytic converter if present) and further through your exhaust system exiting your tailpipe.
Header upgrades can offer an improvement in decreasing backpressure, and increasing power and performance. Backpressure is reduced by increased airflow. The improvement in airflow to the exhaust can also offer engine sustainability and better horsepower. (However, we always recommend a good tune in combination with a dynamic upgrade or modification to your car’s engine and exhaust system.)
Dodge 6.4 V8 headers are usually among the first considerations as mods for 6.4L V8 HEMI engines. (Due to affordability, and general ease of installation in comparison to bigger upgrades.) Upgraded headers will give any car an instant improvement in exhaust gas expulsion and acceleration. There are two main different types of headers: long tubes versus “shortys” or short tube headers.
Let’s continue below to examine what the difference is and what the best options are for your 6.4 Hemi header upgrade.
392 HEMI Long Tube vs Shorty Headers
Long tube headers generally have longer individual pipes before connecting together versus a short tube header (hence the name). Long tube headers not only offer faster exhaust gas flow, but also a benefit to overall scavenging. Scavenging is the process of replacing the exhaust gas with fresh air for your engine. Long tubes, therefore, help defend against gas reversion. Gas reversion is the process of exhaust gases seeking the lowest pressure areas and retaining exhaust gases that need to be released. This problem can cause a loss of engine power and performance let alone durability.
Short tube versus long tube headers can wildly affect the performance. Upgraded headers can obviously benefit back pressure build-up, but also overall horsepower and torque gains for drivers. Many drivers may not have the luxury of choosing certain headers as an option (*due to their blatant illegal status in certain states), yet any quality products with affordability and performance gains require consideration from our team and our drivers.
*Technically, tampering with the emissions on any car is illegal by EPA standards. Yet, a catted pipe will at least pass the visual test if the car is raised and the undercarriage examined for the presence of a catalytic converter.
Comparably, long tube headers might offer that extra gain in performance that our readers are truly seeking. That leads us to evaluate what 6.4 Hemi header upgrade is truly best for each specific reader or consumer. Many short tube header upgrades are now manufactured to retain their “cats” to sustain legality and pass emissions tests or visual tests in all 50 states and therefore retain their semi-legal status. Long tube headers however can generally offer better immediate horsepower and torque.
Catless vs High-Flow Header Upgrades
Catless upgrades essentially mean they do not contain a catalytic converter. A catless upgrade option versus a high-flow header can have varying benefits and detriments. Catless headers may be associated with a more immediate gain in horsepower, yet may also not pass the emissions test and increase your car’s exhaust noise greatly. Catless upgrade options are also considered to be generally cheaper and more affordable than catted high-flow headers.
This option may offer a smaller increase in overall horsepower gains when considered amongst header upgrades. Some drivers also prefer the sound of a catless header. The overall sound can be more aggressive when considering catless header upgrades.
Considering the small differential in potential horsepower gains, some drivers may prefer the high flow header upgrade. High flow headers will usually always easily pass an emissions test. Catless headers can potentially put off a smell or sound that a keen officer can sense, that’s the last thing we want for our drivers. However, forced induction and consideration of keeping your exhaust system at cooler temperatures can make some consumers go catless.
Yet, some drivers with a catless upgraded header can still pass the emissions test easily if running the correct fuel type. Ironic considering the EPA still deems and tampering of an exhaust system to be considered illegal.
Let us know in the comments below what your preference is for Dodge 6.4 V8 Headers, catless for the extra gain, sound, and temperature balance; or high flow headers for the legality and potential longevity of a catalytic converter offers?
Benefits of 6.4 HEMI Headers
Here are some of the listed benefits that a header upgrade can immediately add to your Dodge 6.4 HEMI:
- 10-35 whp gains
- 10-25 torque gains (potentially more with supporting mods)
- reduction in backpressure/increased exhaust airflow
- reduced exhaust gas temperatures/”EGTs”
- A better/more aggressive exhaust sound
It’s important to remember all of these benefits can greatly rely on supporting mods and a good tune. Anyway, expect to pick up about 10-35whp and 10-25wtq. The exact 6.4 HEMI headers you choose can have a major impact. Shorty headers with OEM cats will likely see gains on the lower-end. Catless long-tube headers with proper supporting mods will likely show gains on the high-end of the range.
A reduction in back-pressure is good for engine health for many reasons. One important one is helping reduce EGT’s thereby allowing the engine to run cooler and avoid knock. Sounds are also a big benefit of Dodge Ram 6.4 HEMI headers. Of course, it’s tough to describe in words, and videos often don’t do it full justice either.
Headers HP Gains
Some manufacturers report an immediate increase of up to 25-30 gains in horsepower with their bolt-ons or other options. We may respect those reports and results as a combination of many supportive mods, a great tune, as well as header upgrades. Yet, it is important to realize that the Ram 392 Hemi can and will see an immediate improvement in power and performance as a result of a headers upgrade. Who are the trusted header upgrade manufacturers and why? Let us know below in the comments your experiences with modification manufacturers and your trusted preferences!
Best 6.4 HEMI Header Upgrades
Below we recommend two long tube headers for your 6.4 Hemi header upgrade options, as well as two “shorty” or short-tube options. Drivers should expect to spend a lot more on long tube systems. Drivers should also be aware that a mid-pipe or catted option may be a steep increase in price as well. We’ve already discussed the benefits offered from each different category above, so let us know your opinion or experience with the different types of header upgrades below in the comments.
1) 1 7/8″ Kooks Long Tube Headers
These long tube headers offered by Kooks could be the perfect upgrade for your 6.4 Hemi exhaust system. The company offers two different mid-pipe options. However, these babies are much pricier than our shorty options (as anticipated earlier in this article) with a base price of $1,618. The base price does not include the mid-pipe options that both range from an additional $775 or $1400 each.
However, this product still comes ready to install as a bolt-on with all necessary hardware needed besides a good mechanic. Kooks promises to “optimize scavenging and increase power” with this long tube header upgrade option. Regardless of the higher price, this is a guaranteed high-quality product that will immediately boost your 392 HEMI performance.
2) JBA Stainless Steel 1-7/8″ Long Tube Headers
JBA Performance also offers a somewhat pricey yet high-quality option for those considering long tube upgrades for their 6.4 Hemi headers. These headers promise an outstanding exhaust tone in combination with an immediate gain in horsepower and torque. For only a list price of $680, this is by far more affordable than many other long tube header upgrade options out there for the 6.4 HEMI.
These headers come with an optional ceramic coating in either silver or titanium. They also offer an additional catless midpipe option for the 6.4L for an add-on price of $400. These are sure to offer you some immediate louder exhaust tones as well.
Buy Here: JBA Stainless Steel 392 HEMI Headers
3) BBK Challenger/Charger Shorty Headers
BBK Performance is currently manufacturing a high-quality immediate bolt-on product. For only $450, BBK’s short header upgrade is a great option for consideration. This could be the easiest installation recommendation on our list, with all hardware needed already included.
This will offer an improvement in acceleration and an increase in overall airflow promoting full engine capacity. These BBK Shorty headers are an amazing option for those on a budget who want some immediate bolt-on horsepower gains.
Buy Here: 6.4 HEMI BBK Shorty Headers
Dodge 392 Headers Upgrade Summary
There’s plenty of evidence that shows a header upgrade is a great modification for your 6.4 HEMI. Our list of recommendations included both affordable options as well as complete catted systems that are on the pricier end of the choices available.
Shorty headers are more commonly associated with easier install and a cheaper upgrade. Long-tube headers often offer better power gains and benefits but are more expensive and harder to install. Either way, a set of 392 HEMI headers is sure to really wake up the 6.4L V8. Power gains can fall in the 10-30+whp ballpark depending on the exact setup.