The 5.7 Upgrade Guide for HEMI Headers

The 5.7 Upgrade Guide for HEMI Headers. We previously published a guide on the best 5.7 HEMI bolt-on mods. We briefly discussed 5.7 HEMI headers in the article. They are still one of the best power upgrades for the 5.7L V8 if you don’t want to go with bigger mods like forced induction. Long tube headers not only increase power, but they also have a number of other advantages. This article discusses some of the best 5.7 HEMI headers, as well as shorty vs long-tube, cost, power gains, and other topics.

*This guide covers all 5.7 HEMI engines. However, fitment and exact results vary because the 5.7L V8 has been used in a variety of Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, and other vehicles for a long time. The 5.7 HEMI is also known as the 345 HEMI.

The 5.7 Upgrade Guide for HEMI Headers

What Exactly Are Headers?

Headers are simply the engine’s exhaust manifold. Exhaust manifold, headers, and exhaust headers are all terms that are frequently used interchangeably. Although they are all the same thing, headers are commonly used when discussing aftermarket exhaust manifolds. The bolt-on exhaust system begins with this manifold, which bolts directly to the exhaust ports.

An exhaust manifold or headers aid in the flow of exhaust gases from the engine. The gases then pass through the cats and out the tailpipes. Finally, headers are a simple component of the exhaust system, but they play a significant role in performance, power, and other factors. More on that in the sections that follow.

For the time being, let’s compare 5.7 HEMI long tube headers to shorty headers and catalytic converters. Following that, we discuss the advantages of 345 HEMI headers before moving on to some of the best header upgrades.

Long-tube 5.7 HEMI Headers vs. Shorty

Shorty and long-tube headers are the two most common header upgrades. Individual pipes in a long-tube header design are longer before joining together. 5.7 HEMI long tube headers improve scavenging and promote faster exhaust gas flow.

Long-tube headers, in other words, reduce exhaust gas reversion. This is the process of exhaust gases returning to the combustion chamber. That, of course, is not good for performance or power. Shorty headers provide the same benefit, albeit to a lesser extent.

Long-tube headers are sometimes associated with lower low-end torque and power. However, this isn’t always the case, and numerous dynos show that long tube headers provide better horsepower gains across the entire RPM range. As a result, long tube 5.7 HEMI headers are the best option in terms of performance. They are, however, more expensive and can be more difficult to install.

Catless 5.7L V8 Dodge vs High-Flow Cats

The 5.7 HEMI’s catalytic converters are located in the midpipes. However, when it comes to headers, this is an important topic to cover. Long tube headers are significantly longer than the factory exhaust manifold. Long tube headers for the 5.7L V8 will require aftermarket midpipes. If you buy long-tube headers, it’s a good idea to get the matching midpipe as well. This contributes to proper, high-quality fitment.

Anyway, with long-tube headers, you can choose between catless and high-flow cats. Catless will provide the most power boosts. However, removing the cats is only for off-road use. Without catalytic converters, you will fail inspection. This is where the high-flow cats come in. Even with high-flow cats, it is possible to fail emissions testing.

Shorty 5.7 HEMI headers should be OEM compatible. As a result, you shouldn’t be concerned about the mid-pipes. Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile addition to the shorty headers. The OEM cats are the next major limitation, so power gains will be limited if you do not use catless or high-flow midpipes.

Advantages of 5.7 HEMI Headers

Because of the impressive power gains, most 345 HEMI owners are likely in the market for headers. However, it is far from the only advantage of upgraded headers. Some advantages of upgrading 5.7 HEMI headers include:

  • 15-30 hp and up
  • 10-20% torque is recommended
  • Reduce back pressure
  • EGTs have been reduced
  • Exhaust noises

A set of 5.7 HEMI headers will typically increase horsepower by 15-30% and torque by 10-20%. We’ll return to power gains in the following section because there are so many other advantages to discuss.

Back-pressure reduction is one of the primary goals of header upgrades. This has numerous advantages, including lower exhaust gas temperatures and improved exhaust gas scavenging. It’s fantastic for increasing power, performance, and engine health.

Another important function of headers is to produce a louder, more aggressive exhaust note. Different headers will produce distinct sounds. Some people adore it, while others despise it. If you only use headers and leave the rest of the exhaust stock, the sound is usually not too loud. However, if you intend to modify the rest of the exhaust as well, it may become far too loud very quickly.

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HP Gains on 345 HEMI Headers

Again, 15-30 horsepower and 10-20 torque are reasonable estimates for 5.7 HEMI horsepower gains. It’s difficult, however, to quantify power gains. There are numerous variables to consider, such as dynos, tuning, other mods, conditions, and so on. As a result, not everyone will experience the same outcomes.

Some 345 HEMIs may experience more power than others. There are, however, a few major points to consider. Long-tube headers with a cat delete or high-flow cats provide the best gains. Power gains on the higher end of the range are likely with proper tuning and other bolt-on mods. The long tube headers are capable of producing 25-30+ horsepower.

Those who stick with shorty headers and the OEM midpipes + cats can expect lower-end gains. Other mods and tuning may result in gains of 15-20+ hp. Whatever 5.7 HEMI headers you choose, they’re among the best basic bolt-on power mods. Only a few mods, such as cams, forced induction, NOS, and so on, provide more potential (and are much more complex upgrades).

Upgrades for 5.7 HEMI Headers

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the best 5.7 HEMI headers. Please keep in mind that this is far from an exhaustive list of header upgrades. There are numerous excellent options, and we do not have the time or space to cover every single set of headers. Fitment can also differ depending on the year and model. Before purchasing any headers, always double-check the fitment.

Having said that, we’ll try to concentrate on headers that are available for as many models and years as possible. They’re also 5.7 HEMI headers that we believe provide an excellent value in terms of price, quality, fitment, and performance. Let’s get right into it and talk about some of the best header upgrades.

1) BBK Performance 1.75′′ Shorty Headers

Price: $400-500

Shorty is a design concept.

The first are the BBK Performance shorty style headers. As an aside, this list is not arranged in any particular order. If we had to choose just one set of shorty headers for the 5.7 HEMI, it would be this BBK option. They’ll cost you around $400-500, which is a great deal for headers.

They’re not the best shorty headers on the market, but they provide an excellent value for money. Headers are straightforward because they are simply metal piping. All you really need is good quality and proper fit. These BBK 5.7 HEMI headers appear to provide that at a reasonable price.

With these shorty headers, you can expect to gain 8-15 horsepower. With midpipe upgrades to delete the cats or switch to high-flow cats, more power is possible. However, if you’re thinking about midpipes, it might be a good idea to switch to long-tube headers.

The 5.7 Upgrade Guide for HEMI Headers

2) 5.7 HEMI Powergo Motorsport Headers

Price: $270

Shorty is a design concept.

Even though we list them, Powergo isn’t the primary focus here. They’re simply an example of a low-cost Amazon option. As we mentioned in the previous section, headers are simple. There isn’t much else to ask for with a decent design, quality, and fitment.

If cost isn’t an issue, we’d look elsewhere for 5.7 HEMI headers. It is, however, a good option for those on a tighter budget. Returns are fairly simple on Amazon, so if there are any fitment or quality issues, simply send them back. The point is, if you want to save a couple hundred dollars, you might find some good deals on Ebay and/or Amazon.

These Powergo 345 HEMI headers are designed for Ram 1500 pickup trucks. They are made of stainless steel and have a 1 5/8 inch design that flows into a 2.5′′ collector. Expect power increases of 8-15 horsepower or more with midpipe upgrades. If you ask us, these are pretty good power gains for the price.

The 5.7 Upgrade Guide for HEMI Headers

3) Headers BBK 5.7 HEMI Long Tube

Price: $550 (+$570 midpipes)

Long-tube construction

We have another option from BBK Performance. This time, they’re offering their 5.7 HEMI long tube headers for a low price of $550. They won’t bolt up to the OEM midpipes, so you’ll probably want their $570 high-flow catted midpipe. This brings the total to $1,120, which is still an excellent price for a full long-tube headers setup.

If you want to go completely catless, you can do so for a lot less money. Simply go with the headers and make your own midpipes. You could do it for the cost of materials if you’re handy.

The BBK long-tube headers, like their shorty headers, use 1 3/4′′ piping and are made of CNC-machined mandrel bent tubing. Anyway, BBK is an excellent overall value for those on a tight budget. $1,100+ for the entire setup is still a good deal. With the right mods and tuning, you should be able to gain 20-30 horsepower. With a cat delete, more power may be possible, especially for off-road use.

4) Upgrades to the 345 V8 AFE Long Tube Headers

Price: $2,076

Long-tube construction

The price of these AFE long-tube headers will undoubtedly put some people off. They’re not the cheapest option on the market, but they’re also not the most expensive. They’re a great-looking set of headers with large 1 7/8″ tubes. The standard 304 mandrel bent stainless steel is also used in AFE 5.7 HEMI headers.

AFE also offers two midpipe options (included in the price): a catless race pipe or high-flow cats. High-flow cats have a CPSI of 200 and provide an excellent balance of performance and quality. Overall, the AFE headers are an excellent choice for a high-quality set that also delivers excellent performance.

5.7 Summary of HEMI Header Upgrades

The 5.7 HEMI is an excellent engine, but it is underpowered out of the box. Fortunately, a few simple bolt-on mods can completely revitalize the 5.7L V8. A set of headers is one of the best power mods. They not only provide impressive 10-30+ horsepower gains, but they also have a number of other advantages.

Back-pressure, exhaust temperature, and exhaust gas reversion all improve performance and promote engine health. The right header configuration can also produce some amazing sounds. 5.7 HEMI long tube headers are recommended for those looking to maximize performance. Shorty headers, on the other hand, produce good results for less money.

We like the BBK Performance headers because of their excellent price/quality ratio. They have both shorty and long-tube 5.7 HEMI headers to accommodate any needs or goals. You might also find some good options on Amazon, but the quality will most likely be inferior to that of some larger brand names. Regardless, a set of 345 HEMI headers will impress with significant power gains at a reasonable price.