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Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote Headers Upgrades

We previously wrote an article on the best performance mods for the 5.0 Mustang Coyote that included headers as one of the top mods. The Ford Mustang 5.0 Coyote is a tried and true engine that is known to respond extremely well to performance upgrades. Specifically, one of the best upgrades is the headers to boost performance and power. In this article, we discuss 5.0 Coyote headers upgrades along with power gains, benefits, cost, and more.

Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote Headers Upgrade

What are Headers?

Headers are an interchangeable word for your exhaust manifold. Headers are generally a term associated with aftermarket exhaust manifolds. This is the first part of the exhaust system, helping the engine expel exhaust gases from the cylinders.

Due to their location, headers are often considered the most important part of your exhaust system. Especially considering that your header may contain a catalytic converter which further affects horsepower gains and engine sounds.

Below in this article, we will dive further into the two main categories of headers, horsepower and torque gains, and which options might be best for your 5.0 Coyote.

Long Tube Versus Shorty Headers

As many gearheads already know, there are two main sub-categories of headers: long tube or short tube often called “shorty”. As the name infers, a long tube header has longer tubes before merging together. These longer tubes offer better gas flow and improved engine scavenging. Yet, with the benefits in exhaust flow and scavenging comes a price. Generally, long-tube header upgrades are substantially more costly than shortys. (Due to the potential need of a catalytic converter and more production material needed.) Long tube headers however can also reduce exhaust gas reversion making the upgrade potentially cost-worthy.

5.0 Coyote long tube headers are generally the recommended route versus shortys for the best performance upgrade. Long tube headers typically offer the biggest reduction in back-pressure. Notable downsides of long tube headers are that they are often more difficult or costly to install.

Shorty headers can be much more affordable and generally easier to install than long tube headers. Those benefits, along with the fact that certain short tube headers can offer a quick big gain in horsepower make them an option for any Mustang GT 5.0 driver to consider.

Benefits of 5.0 Coyote Header Upgrades

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics for 5.0 Coyote Headers, let’s discuss the true benefits of a header mod for your Mustang. Regardless of many Mustang GT 5.0 drivers seeking out headers for pure power gains, there are many benefits that come along with upgrading your headers. Some of the benefits of this upgrade include:

  • 10-25 horsepower gains
  • 5-20 torque gains
  • Louder/More aggressive exhaust sound
  • Reduced back-pressure
  • Reduced gas reversion
  • Lower EGTs

As many benefits as we can list from a header upgrade, it’s important to focus on the potential gain of 20-25 horsepower. It’s one of the biggest power gains you’ll see from bolt-on mods without moving to forced induction or other serious upgrades.

Back-pressure can be greatly reduced in the 5.0 Mustang Coyote with an upgraded header system. Reducing backpressure improves engine performance, durability or longevity, and therefore overall engine health. With the reduction of gas reversion or exhaust gases re-entering the combustion chamber, your engine can breathe and perform better. It can also help reduce your exhaust gas temps.

Finally, as stated before, headers offer a dynamic change in the aggressive sound of your exhaust. The sound from headers alone is more aggressive, but it usually isn’t intrusive or obnoxious.  Be cautious adding other exhaust mods after headers, though. Upgraded headers and additional exhaust mods can get very loud.

Mustang GT 5.0 Headers HP Gains

As previously stated in this article, most drivers can expect hp gains around 15-25whp with headers. The GT 5.0 Coyote engine is notoriously good at responding to modifications, especially with a proper tune. Many variables can affect the horsepower gains from a header upgrade. These variables can range from other supporting mods, different dynos, tuning, and other variables.

Other variables that affect the horsepower gained for your engine are the type of header variations and their previously listed benefits. Ford Mustang GT long tube catless headers usually offer the best gain in horsepower and performance. Aside from more costly upgrades (forced induction, boring, etc.) headers are one of the most cost-effective upgrades with the greatest power and performance gains in return.

Catless Versus High-Flow Catted

Catless are headers that do not have a catalytic converter. Catted obviously then refers to headers that contain a catalytic converter. Long tube headers come with the option of catted or catless in most circumstances. Technically it is illegal, only meant for off-road use, if utilizing a catless header. Catless options though offer the biggest power gains. Catless headers will likely fail emissions tests and visual inspections.

That’s where high-flow catalytic converters come into play. The power gains aren’t quite as impressive, but they’re more likely to pass any form of visual or emissions testing. Expect to pick up about 5whp less than catless headers. It’s also important to note even high-flow catted headers can still be considered illegal.

Best 5.0 Coyote Headers

All the information above is helpful when considering 5.0 Coyote headers. Now, it’s time to dive into some of the best headers for the 5.0 Mustang GT. It is important to recognize that the 5.0 Coyote has a vast amount of header upgrade options available. It would be impossible to cover every option so we’re simply looking at some of the headers that offer the best balance of price, quality, and performance.

Below we will list a few long tube header options, as well as a few shorties. Some may be catted or catless, so it’s important to know what your priorities are before making a purchase for your 5.0 Coyote header.

1) American Racing Long-Tube Headers

Price: $1,870 (Catless) – $2,050 (Catted)

Fits: All 2011 – 2014 Mustang 5.0 GT Coyote models

Design: Long-tube

The American Racing long-tube system is a great high-quality header upgrade regardless of the steep pricing. With 304 stainless steel, a trusted brand that’s American manufactured, and great power gains the American Racing headers are a great pick. This is one of those cases that you get what you pay for – a trusted brand that uses high-quality manufacturing products and processes to create their products.

American Racing even has an optional “X-Pipe” or “H-Pipe,” an additional variation to the system where drivers can choose either a more classic muscular sound or a more aggressive loud sound. Regardless of going with the catted or catless options, this long tube system is a great option for a reliable way to increase the power and performance for your 5.0 Mustang Coyote.

Best 5.0 Coyote Headers Upgrades

2) BBK Performance 1-3/4″ Shorty Headers

Price: $500

Fits: All 2011 – 2017 Mustang 5.0 GT Coyote models

Design: Shorty

This option from BBK Performance comes in at a great price for those looking for an affordable high-quality short tube header upgrade. BBK advertises an immediate 15+ horsepower upon bolt-on installation. Steel tubing and a “durable ceramic coat finish” also showcase why this affordable option also has great quality.

With proper fitment, this option is optimal for an affordable quick upgrade to your overall engine power and performance. As headers are essentially just metal tubing it’s important to note that there is a spectrum of quality header upgrades. The BBK Performance option listed above just balances out quality, affordability, and gains perfectly enough to make our list for your 5.0 Coyote Header upgrade consideration.

Obviously, more power is available with additional supportive mods like a good tune and upgraded mid-pipes. However, if you’re considering upgrading your mid-pipes it might make more sense to just purchase a long tube system. Yet, these shorty bolt-on headers from BBK are a guaranteed 15+ horsepower at a great price!

3) Kooks 1-7/8″ Stainless Long-Tube Headers

Price: $1,464 – 1,483

Fits: 2011 – 2020 Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote

Design: Long-Tube

Kooks is another big brand when it comes to Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote headers. This is a 1-7/8″ long-tube header made from 304 stainless steel. Kooks also offers several ceramic coating options for roughly $400 extra. With long tube headers you may need a few additional parts for installation, especially on newer 2018+ 3rd gen Coyote engines.

Anyway, Kooks is a compelling option overall. They aren’t the cheapest 5.0 Coyote headers around, but they’re also far from the most expensive. It puts Kooks right in the middle price-wise and they back it up with their great quality. As a catless long-tube header these are sure to deliver excellent power gains. With proper supporting mods and tuning expect to see gains of 20+whp.

4) Flowtech Headers Long-Tube

Price: $532

Fits: All 2011 – 2014 Mustang 5.0 GT Coyote models

Design: Long-tube

FlowTech is currently offering a very affordable long tube header upgrade for 2011-2014 5.0 Mustang Coyote engines. With free shipping and quality stainless steel, this may be a great option for someone trying to save hundreds of dollars on a long tube header upgrade without compromising quality completely.

Regardless of how responsive 5.0 Mustang engines are to modifications, this product especially would benefit in combination with a great tune to maximize horsepower to a higher capacity. Yet, drivers can hope to add at least 10-15+ horsepower with this option and proper fitment. Flowtech’s offered price and quality are reasons why this upgrade option made our list.

5.0 Mustang Header Upgrade Summary

Headers are amongst the most popular mods for your 5.0 Coyote for a multitude of reasons. Benefits include gains of up to 25 hp, torque gains, and a more aggressive Mustang GT sound. Not only are the power gains notable, but lowering back-pressure and EGTs also make for a healthier and more durable engine.

Horsepower and torque gains are dependent on many variables for your header upgrade. The obviously discussed long-tube versus shorty options, however also details such as deleted or high flow cats can substantially change the power gained from your header upgrade.

American Racing offers some very pricey yet high-quality options for your 5.0 Coyote Header. BBK, Kooks, and a large variety of other manufacturers offer affordable, great quality options as well. At the end of the day, it really comes down to what you want to spend, what sounds you’re seeking, and how important certain benefits are to each driver seeking an upgrade. Either way, Mustang GT headers are sure to take the 5.0L Coyote to the next level.

Let us know down below in the comments your experience with upgrading your Mustang’s headers!

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