Headers vs. Manifolds – Which is better?

Another one of those age old debates. Are headers better than manifolds or are manifolds better than headers. In the typical Jeeper type answer – it depends. Personally on a trail Jeep manifolds will get the job done and sometimes will be an advantage.

Manifolds: More restriction usually equals more low end torque. Torque is good on a trail Jeep that spends all day moving at 2mph. Manifolds also are less prone to exhaust leaks. I have spent a good amount of money on header gaskets, even gimmicky ones that still fail eventually. I guess crappy headers can’t help the situation, but find a set of “good” headers for an AMC V8 in a CJ. Manifolds will pass the heat along downstream in the exhaust system reducing underhood temperature. The down side is

Headers: Less restriction allows for freer flow at higher rpm. Since most trail Jeeps never see rpm of any significance it seems that headers may not provide any benefit. On a Jeep racer or street warrior headers may make more sense.

You need to decide based on your intentions with your Jeep.
Related article: CJ-5 Frame Replacement. I replaced the frame on my CJ a while back and eliminated the headers. I am happy about that move to this day.

1 Comment

  1. Neat write up.
    I have borla headers on my jeep. I think i have to experiment more on my jeep performance parts ’til i get the best parts suited for my activities and my jeep.

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