The Nissan VQ37VHR V6 engine inside the Nissan 370z coupe is a fantastic and more than capable motor. It is naturally aspirated and makes between 325-350 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque from the factory — depending on market and trim. Like its predecessor the 350z, the 370z is ripe for engine upgrades and mods that increase both horsepower and torque. Headers are one of the most popular upgrades for the VQ37VHR, as they increase power and enhance the exhaust note. In this guide, we will look at the best 370z headers upgrades, along with benefits, costs, and more.
Make sure to check out our other Nissan 370z content: Including the Best 370z Wheel Upgrades and Common VQ37VHR Engine Problems Guide, find out how the Nissan 350z vs the 370z stack up against each other, and the differences between the 350z and 370z engines with our VQ35HR vs VQ37VHR Guide.
How do Nissan 370z Headers Work?
First, let’s start with what 370z headers are and how they work. Headers are the part of a car’s exhaust system that connects directly to the engine. In their factory form, they are usually known as exhaust manifolds. The term headers typically indicates an aftermarket piece of equipment. Headers have two main parts: The individual runners that connect to each of the cylinders, and a merge collector where all of them meet together to form one exit.
The job of headers is to collect the hot gasses being pushed out of the engine and direct them through the rest of the exhaust system. They bolt directly onto the cylinder head(s), and since the 370z has two cylinder banks it uses two headers to form one set. For stock power levels, the OEM exhaust manifolds are capable of adequate performance. However, for anyone looking to add horsepower and get the most out of their other bolt-ons, aftermarket headers become very useful.
In a nutshell, the purpose of aftermarket exhaust headers is to increase the velocity of exhaust gasses leaving the engine. The faster oxygen-poor exhaust gasses leave the engine, the faster they can be replaced by oxygen-rich clean air. This means more horsepower and torque and is known as scavenging. The way to increase scavenging is to reduce back pressure in the exhaust system.
This is (usually) done by using wider diameter runners and a larger merge collector compared with stock, and also by sometimes removing OEM catalytic converters or replacing them with high-flow versions.
Z34 Nissan 370z Long-tube vs Short-tube Headers
There are two types of aftermarket 370z headers that are commonly available for the VQ37VHR: Long-tube headers and short-tube headers. As their names suggest, the primary difference between the two of them is their length. Short-tube headers only replace the exhaust manifold up to the catalytic converters. In contrast, long-tube headers extend much further back, all the way to where the cat-back starts.
Nissan 370z long-tube headers will offer better overall performance gains than short-tube headers. The reason being is that long-tube headers remove or replace the catalytic converters in the system. Catalytic converters are huge restrictions in the exhaust and are responsible for a great deal of back pressure. Removing them or adding high-flow versions cuts down on back pressure, encouraging scavenging and exhaust flow.
However, there are important legal implications to consider emissions wise when removing your cats, which we’ll get into below.
Catless vs High-flow Cat Headers
As we mentioned above, the difference between long-tube and short-tube 370z headers is that long-tube headers often remove the catalytic converters entirely. Unfortunately, this means that in some places, long-tube headers can run afoul of local emissions laws. Removing catalytic converters from your exhaust is against federal emissions laws and most (though not all) state emissions laws.
One way to get around this is by instead replacing them with high-flow catalytic converters. High-flow catted 370z headers are usually emissions compliant, because they have a catalytic converter. However, the converters are not as robust as stock, so they still result in reduced back pressure. This is a good half-way point for most people, as it still allows for increased performance while maintaining street legality.
Short-tube headers retain the stock catalytic converters on the 370z, and they are the best option for those who do not want to touch any emissions equipment. It’s important to note, that in some places even high-flow catalytic converters are considered non-compliant for emissions, leaving short-tubes as the only legal option for some.
In addition, another thing to keep in mind about fully catless exhaust systems is the smell. With the lack of emissions filtering the exhaust fumes smell absolutely horrible inside the cab, and are another reason to go with high-flow cats rather than being catless.
370z Test Pipes
For those just looking to remove the catalytic converters from their exhaust and keep the majority of the stock unit in place, some manufacturers make what are known as test pipes. These only replace the catalytic converter section of the exhaust manifold, leaving the rest of it intact.
Technically, you can add test pipes to short-tubes, but at that point you should probably just upgrade to a full set of long-tubes. Test pipes are good for replacing the most restrictive part of the exhaust, and fall between long-tubes and short-tubes in terms of performance gains.
Benefits of Nissan 370z Headers Upgrades
The top benefits of Nissan 370z header upgrades:
- +10-30 horsepower
- +5-20 lb-ft of torque
- Improved throttle response
- Reduced back pressure
- Increased exhaust scavenging
- Increased exhaust sound
By themselves, a pair of 370z headers will give gains of 10-20 horsepower and 5-15 lb-ft of torque. With tuning, you can expect to see a little more, in the neighborhood of 15-30 horsepower and 10-20 lb-ft of torque. As we mentioned, long-tube headers will provide more horsepower than short-tube headers. In addition to just peak power, you’ll also notice a more responsive throttle, and the entire powerband is larger and more usable.
The increase in horsepower and torque is a result of the reduced back pressure and increased exhaust scavenging. Not only will this result in better power, but you’ll also notice a pretty big increase in exhaust volume, too. Catless and high-flow cat (HFC) long-tube headers will be louder than short-tube headers by a significant margin.
Headers 370z Horsepower Gains
Now, let’s get back to the most important part about header upgrades – the power increases. As mentioned before, upgraded 370z headers will typically give gains of 10-20 horsepower and 5-15 lb-ft of torque without a tune. With a tune, gains generally increase another 5-10 horsepower and 5-10 lb-ft of torque.
ECU calibration is highly recommended for any 370z headers upgrades, because headers significantly change exhaust flow characteristics. Without tuning, upgraded headers 370z can cause lean air-to-fuel ratios under wide open throttle. This leads to detonation and pre-ignition, and can eventually cause catastrophic engine failure.
Once again, 370z long-tube headers will typically provide more power throughout the rpm range compared to 370z short-tube headers. This is because 370z short-tube headers still retain the restrictive factory catalytic converters. Short-tube headers will still give a noticeable power increase over stock, but it’s nothing compared to what long-tubes will bring. Additionally, other upgrades like intakes and cat-back exhausts will also help to increase overall air and exhaust flow.
Headers are a great upgrade for getting a little extra power and volume without adding forced induction. When coupled with aforementioned mods like intakes and cat backs, enthusiasts can really tailor their exhaust note to their choice by exploring all of the different combinations.
Best Nissan 370z Headers Upgrades
The best Nissan 370z Header Upgrades are:
- Fast Intentions
- PPE Engineering
- Z1 Motorsports
- DC Sports
Now for some headers 370z recommendations. This list is not aimed to be exhaustive or comprehensive, as there are so many potential choices out there. Rather, this list is meant to be a look at the top practical 370z headers available on the market today. The list has both long-tube and short-tube headers, keeping in mind a variety of budgets, setups, and power goals. Let’s look at the top 5 370z VQ37VHR headers upgrades.
1) Fast Intentions 370z Long-Tube Headers
Price: $1,359.00 – $1,899.00
Fits: All years
The first entry on the list are the Fast Intentions 370z Long-Tube Headers. There are two different versions, one for the 2009-2011 models and one for the 2012-2021 models: All are catless. They are also available with two different finishes, either non-polished stainless steel or black ceramic. The black ceramic can withstand temperatures up to 1,600°F – though it is a $450 increase to go with it. The manufacturer notes they specifically engineered the header to be firing order specific, so that proper scavenging is achieved and turbulence is reduced.
According to their website, when coupled with a high-flow cat back exhaust they saw average gains of 8 wheel-horsepower, and a maximum of 15 wheel-horsepower and 18 wheel-torque. The product is hand-built and made to order, and is the loudest option Fast Intentions has.
They can be a bit on the pricey side with the ceramic coating, but they are still a good deal and solid option for a 370z long-tube header upgrade. Reviews on the FI headers are fantastic and praise the sound and performance gains.
2) Motordyne 370z Long-Tube Headers
Price: $2,077.95 – $3,269.95
Fits: All years
Motordyne is the second entry on the list, and they are by far the most expensive option on the VQ37VHR. Motordyne is a relatively new company to the 370z world, but their products have a solid reputation already. The Motordyne 370z Long-Tube Headers are unique among 370z headers. It is the only reliable long-tube header option available that can be had with high-flow catalytic converters. Users can choose between a straight-pipe, helmholtz resonator, or a high-flow cat option. They can be changed without having to remove the entire header. Which is incredibly useful for those who need cars that are street-legal but also capable of being track-ready.
According to their website, Motordyne’s long-tube headers are capable of gains of 25 wheel-horsepower and 10 wheel-torque with ECU tuning. They are a bit hard to find, as they are only made in batches and are often out of stock. But, when available they are a top of the line option. Price can be a discouraging factor, but the interchangeability is incredible. Reviews surrounding Motordyne’s 370z headers are positive, with users pointing out the exhaust tone, performance, and fitment were all excellent.
3) PPE Engineering Long-tube 370z Race Headers
Fits: All years
Next on the list is the PPE Engineering 370z Long-Tube, Equal-length Race Headers. PPE Engineering is one of the best known Nissan performance brands, and their headers have been given outstanding reviews by those who have used them. They are highly recommended by owners for their aggressive tone and performance gains, but they can be a bit hard to find – like the Motordynes. They are all made to order and have to be purchased from a dealer rather than the manufacturer themselves.
Per the manufacturer’s website, they achieved gains of up to 23 wheel-horsepower with their VQ37VHR long-tube race headers. With a tune, they claim their headers are capable of an astonishing 35 wheel-horsepower. Like the FI headers, these come with ceramic coating. They are an excellent choice for a header upgrade, and a middle ground between the FI and the Motordyne.
4) 370z Z1 Motorsports Short-Tubes
Price: $1,399.00 – $2,197.00
Fits: All years
The next entry on our list is our first pair of short tube headers: The Z1 Motorsports Short-Tube Performance Headers. These were originally designed to be used with the 350z, but they can also be used on the 370z with the stock catalytic converters, with high flow cats, or with test pipes (per the manufacturer). 370z buyers will also need new gaskets to connect the manifold to the cats, too. Reviews for the Z1s are very solid, with buyers highlighting the good craftsmanship, excellent fit, and solid performance gains.
Being short-tube headers, the Z1s will not give you the performance of the first three headers on the list, but they will still be helpful and aid in power while staying completely emissions compliant. The merge collector is solid, and the equal length runners aid in scavenging. Overall, they are good options for those looking to retain the stock cats.
5) 370z DC Sports Short-Tubes
Fits: All years
The final entry on our list are the DC Sports Short-Tube Headers. The DC headers are by far the cheapest option on the market, though they do still offer some good gains. They have equal-length runners and can be had with ceramic coating, and are a direct bolt-on fitment for OEM.
The DC headers are a good option for those looking to upgrade their 370z on a budget. They will not give you the performance gains of long-tube headers, but their larger diameter will help exhaust flow and free up some extra ponies.
Nissan 370z Headers Upgrade FAQ
With 370z headers, you can expect to gain 10-20 horsepower and 5-15 lb-ft of torque without a tune. With a tune, gains generally increase another 5-10 horsepower and 5-10 lb-ft of torque.
The best 370z headers are the Fast Intentions Long-Tube headers. They provide the most performance at the best price.
Yes. Long-tube or short-tube headers will add both horsepower and torque, and improve the entire power band of the Nissan 370z.