The Guide to Nissan 350Z Headers. The Nissan VQ35DE and VQ35HR engines in the 350z are both excellent. They provide excellent NA performance, power, and sound. VQ35 engines are also simple to upgrade and modify for increased power. Among the best upgrades are a set of Nissan 350Z headers. It’s an excellent power mod with numerous additional advantages. This guide discusses the best 350z headers, as well as their benefits, horsepower gains, cost, and more.
*This guide applies to all Z33 350z models equipped with the VQ35DE and HR engines. However, always double-check fitment. Some headers are only compatible with the DE engine, while others may only be compatible with the HR. Many 350z headers are compatible with both engines. The 350Z is also known as the Z33.
What Exactly Are 350z Headers?
Headers simply refer to an engine’s exhaust manifold. The term headers is typically reserved for aftermarket or upgraded exhaust manifolds. In any case, the exhaust manifold bolts directly to the engine’s exhaust ports. It is the initial component of the bolt-on exhaust system.
Exhaust manifolds or headers simply aid in the flow of exhaust gases from the engine, through the cats, and out the tailpipe. Because of its location, it is usually the most important part of the exhaust.
On the surface, headers and exhaust manifolds appear to be the same thing. They are a minor component of the exhaust, but they play a critical role. In the following section, we’ll go over long-tube headers, their benefits, power gains, and more. Following that, we’ll go over some of the best Nissan 350z headers.
Long-Tube Headers for Nissan Z33
There are two types of headers you may encounter: shorty and long-tube. A long-tube header design consists of longer individual tubes that merge into a common collector (as pictured at the beginning of the article). 350z long-tube headers improve exhaust gas flow and scavenging. As a result, they reduce exhaust gas reversion.
The best option for performance is 350z long-tube headers. They will result in the greatest decreases in back pressure and exhaust gas reversion. Long-tube headers are the way to go if power is the end goal. The only disadvantage is that they are more difficult to install and may require O2 sensor extension harnesses.
The Advantages of 350z Header Upgrades
After we’ve covered the fundamentals, let’s look at some of the advantages of Nissan 350z headers. Of course, many people are interested in headers because of the power gains. However, it is not the only advantage of using aftermarket headers. Among the many advantages of 350Z header upgrades are:
- 5 to 20 horsepower
- 5-15 Nm torque
- Reduce back pain
- Reduced EGTs
- Enhanced exhaust sounds
A set of 350z headers can provide 5-20 horsepower and 5-15 torque gains. In a moment, we’ll return to the topic of power gains. There’s a lot more to say about the numerous other advantages of header upgrades.
One of the primary goals of headers is to reduce back-pressure. Factory 350z exhaust manifolds perform admirably in terms of emissions and function. They do, however, generate a lot of back-pressure, which reduces performance and overall engine health.
Back-pressure slows exhaust gas flow and traps heat inside and around the engine. It also increases exhaust gas reversion, which is the process by which exhaust gases return to the combustion chamber. Headers increase exhaust gas flow while decreasing exhaust temperatures.
Finally, with headers, you’ll notice a louder, more aggressive exhaust note. The sounds are usually not overly intrusive with a stock exhaust. It is mostly audible during cold starts or under heavy throttle. If you intend to modify any other parts of the exhaust, be cautious because things can quickly become too loud.
HP Gains for Nissan 350Z Headers
Alright. We briefly mentioned rough 350z headers horsepower gains above. We’ll go into more detail later, but providing power increases is always difficult. Many factors, such as different dynos, other mods, tuning, conditions, and so on, can influence it. For 350z header horsepower gains, rough estimates of 10-20 horsepower and 5-15 torque are reasonable.
Some may perceive more power, while others perceive less. However, there are a few key points to consider. The most gains will come from long-tube headers with a cat delete. With proper tuning to account for the header upgrade, you should see higher-end gains. Those who stick with high-flow or OEM cats and shorty headers should expect lower-end performance.
Regardless, 350z exhaust manifold upgrades are among the most cost-effective mods. It’s difficult to find better power mods than a set of headers without serious mods like boring, stroking, or forced induction. It’s a simple bolt-on mod that produces impressive results.
High-Flow Cats vs. Catless
This topic is related to the debate over long-tube vs. shorty headers. Catalytic converters will be destroyed if you use long-tube headers. Without cats, your vehicle will fail emissions testing and inspections. It’s also illegal to use on the street. Shorty headers leave the OEM cat-pipes in place, allowing you to maintain emissions compliance.
However, with the restrictive stock cats in place, you will not reap the full benefits of 350z headers upgrades. You can either delete them all or upgrade to a high-flow cat. This provides a good compromise between performance and emissions compliance.
Headers for Nissan 350Z
The information provided above is a good starting point for understanding what headers are and the numerous benefits they provide for the 350z. It’s now time to look at some of the best Nissan 350Z header upgrades. Please keep in mind that this is far from an exhaustive list, and there are numerous other viable options. We simply do not have the time to go over every possible header set.
Instead, we’ll concentrate on a few of our favorite 350z headers for various budgets and setups. We’ll go over some long-tube 350z headers as well as some shorty options. Without further ado, let’s get started on some of the best Nissan headers.
Related : The 5.7 Upgrade Guide for HEMI Headers
1) Tomei Expreme Headers for Nissan 350Z
All 350z models are compatible (extra parts for 07-08)
Shorty is a design concept.
The Tomei Expreme exhaust headers are first on the list, in no particular order. They’re a popular option for the 350z, and it’s a fantastic product in general. However, at $891, they are far from the cheapest headers available. It’s especially pricey for a pair of shorty headers.
However, 350Z Tomei headers are popular for a reason. They provide an outstanding balance of quality, performance, and sound. Tomei is a good option if you’re looking for a high-end option. We believe the price is a little high and would prefer something more affordable with comparable results.
2) DC Sports Ceramic Header Improvement
Shorty is a design concept.
The DC sports headers are a good option for shorty headers at a reasonable price. The link above takes you to an Amazon Prime product listing. There are some mixed reactions, but the majority are positive. If there are any problems with the product, Amazon makes it simple to return it. It might be worth the chance to save $200-300+ over other headers.
Anyway, there isn’t much more to say about the DC Sports 350z headers in particular. Remember that these shorty options do not remove or replace the OEM cats with higher flowing options. Consider installing high-flow cats or long-tube headers to get the most out of your engine. The following 350z exhaust manifold options will be long-tube.
3) Long-Tube Nissan 350z ISR Headers
Price: $742.5 – 832.5
Fits all 350Z models.
When it comes to long-tube headers, we like the ISR 350z headers. They start at $742.50 for just the headers, and the O2 harness (for 2002-2004 Z’s) is an additional $90. These stainless steel long-tube headers feature a design that helps retain low-end performance while maximizing top-end power.
They’re a good set of headers at a reasonable price. Ultimately, headers are just metal pipes. It’s difficult to go wrong as long as the design maximizes performance and the fitment and quality are satisfactory. These ISR 350z long-tube headers definitely deliver in every way.
4) Upgraded Z33 PPE Long-Tube Header
PPE long-tube headers are difficult to come by. They can be difficult to find, and the price is quite high. Many 350z owners who have PPE headers have had positive experiences with them. They’re made of 304 stainless steel, just like the option above. Overall, the design is very similar.
Again, headers are fairly straightforward. We believe the price for a set of 350z headers is a little high. The quality and proven results of PPE long-tube header, on the other hand, speak for themselves. Check out PPE headers if you want a quality brand with a proven track record. Otherwise, stick to more cost-effective options.
Summary of Nissan 350Z Header Upgrades
Headers are among the most effective bolt-on modifications for naturally aspirated 350Zs. A set of headers provides significant horsepower gains while also providing a number of other advantages. Aside from increased horsepower, you’ll also get some awesome aggressive exhaust sounds. Otherwise, the decrease in back-pressure and EGTs is beneficial to engine health.
Most people will see horsepower gains of 8-15hp and torque gains of the same magnitude. It is determined by a variety of factors, including other mods and header designs. Long-tube headers should be considered if performance is your top priority. Shorty headers can also be useful, but the biggest power gains will come from removing the cat or switching to high-flow cats.
Tomei is a well-known manufacturer of high-quality Nissan 350Z headers. They’re a bit pricey, so those on a tight budget should look into the DC Sports option. ISR makes some nice-looking long-tube headers at a reasonable price. PPE is also a good option, but it is quite expensive, which may deter most people. In any case, a 350z exhaust manifold is a great way to get more power out of the VQ35 engines.