The Instructions for Upgrading Chevrolet LS2 Headers. In 2005, GM/Chevy debuted the magnificent LS2 V8 engine, which was used in vehicles including the SSR pickup, Pontiac GTO, and C6 Corvette. Within a few years, they began utilising LS2 variants in a larger variety of applications. This comprised a number of trucks and SUVs, including the GMC Sierra and Yukon, the Chevy Silverado, and the Chevy Trailblazer SS. Depending on the application, the engine delivered 360–400 lb–ft of torque and 300–400 horsepower.
While the factory-installed 300–400 horsepower is obviously not underpowered, the LS2 has so much more potential. Without breaking a sweat, these engines can easily add 30 to 50 horsepower, and they can handle much more. Changing the factory exhaust for a set of headers is one of the most popular modifications for LS2 powered vehicles, trucks, and SUVs. The GM/Chevy 6.0 L engine will be fully unlocked by upgraded LS2 headers, which will also increase horsepower and torque and improve throttle response. Naturally, it will also enable the LS2 to growl significantly louder than before.
The best solutions for replacing your LS2 headers will be covered in this article. We’ll examine the most highly regarded and well-reviewed LS2 headers in the GM/Chevy community and compare them on the basis of price, quality, and performance.
*Remember that the LS2 was offered in a sizable variety of automobiles. This manual aims to cover headers for the greatest number of LS2 equipped automobiles. But, before making any purchases, make sure you verify fitment with your exact car model.
A GM/Chevy 6.0 LS2 header is what?
The component of an exhaust system known as headers connects directly to the LS2 engine’s exhaust ports. These are commonly referred to as exhaust manifolds from the manufacturer, whereas headers denote aftermarket parts. They are used by enthusiasts who want to boost the power of their LS2 engine.
As hot exhaust gases are forced out of the engine, headers catch them and route them through the rest of the exhaust system. Design and construction are crucial to avoid leaks and cracks because they are bolted directly to the engine. The performance of the OEM exhaust manifolds is sufficient for applications and power levels that are standard. Nonetheless, aftermarket headers become incredibly helpful for anyone trying to boost their performance or make the most of their other bolt-ons. In contrast to factory exhausts, aftermarket headers often have bigger diameter pipework and are constructed of 304 stainless steel.
You want headers that are lighter than the factory exhaust and offer good flow with the least amount of turbulence. Poorly thought-out designs that include huge, unnecessary bends and joints, which obstruct flow, cause exhaust gas turbulence. This lessens the impact and, occasionally, results in reversion.
As heated exhaust gases are forced back into the combustion chamber, a phenomena known as reversion occurs. This deprives the engine of fresh, cool air. A good header should reduce overall weight, lower exhaust gas temperatures, and prevent reversal while opening the exhaust flow.
Header: GM/Chevy 6.0 Long-tube vs. Short-tube
Long-tube headers and short-tube headers are the two styles of aftermarket headers that are frequently offered for the LS2 engine. The main distinction between the two of them is their length, as implied by their titles. Long-tubes, commonly known as longies, stretch significantly farther back than short-tubes (also known as shorties), and often either come with high-flow cats or have the catalytic converters removed. The cats are kept in place by short-tubes, but we’ll cover that in more detail below.
Without a doubt, long-tube headers will improve overall performance more than short-tube headers, especially in the middle and top of the power band. Short-tube headers will improve low-end performance at the cost of top-end power. Moreover, they generate less power overall than long tubes across the whole power band. Even the greatest 6.0 L long-tube headers will likely surpass the best shorty LS2 headers in terms of performance.
Factors for the Chevy LS2’s Catted vs. Catless Header
Selecting catted or catless LS2 headers is one of the most crucial decisions you will have to make. Two catalytic converters in the factory LS2 exhaust system are situated quite near to the stock exhaust manifold. Catalytic converters are used to cut engine emissions, which are a factor in global warming. But catalytic converters also restrict exhaust flow, which lowers horsepower.
While long-tube headers also replace the area with the factory cats, LS2 short-tube headers just replace the space between the engine and the cats. While some lengthy tubes are entirely cat-free, others have high-flow cat substitutes integrated into them.
The only choice is short-tube LS2 headers if you don’t want to handle your cats. Long-tube headers are a preferable choice if you don’t mind removing them or converting to high-flow cats. This headers, even those that are catted, will deliver the best performance, as we previously indicated.
Long-tube headers with high-flow cats are likely to be the best compromise for the majority of individuals. They continue to rev the engine and boost horsepower while largely remaining legal.
Legality of Catless LS2 Headers
The issue of legality is crucial. In addition to breaking numerous state and local regulations, removing your catalytic converters may also be against the EPA’s Clean Air Act. Due to state pollution regulations, the great majority of the U.S. does not allow catless exhausts on public roads. Vehicles that are only used on racetracks are exempt from this rule.
Long tubes with cats typically pass the sniffer test for emissions and are widely regarded as street legal for use. However, some state (namely California) and local rules forbid any modification to the animals, so even high-flow versions won’t pass aesthetic examination. Before agreeing to any specific headers, be careful to check and adhere to all relevant local, state, and federal regulations.
Advantages of the GM/Chevy LS2 Header Upgrade
Power improvements are the main reason why enthusiasts look at header upgrades, but there are a number of additional advantages. The following are some advantages of improved LS2 headers:
- +5 to 30 horsepower
- +15% to 25% torque
- Reversion and back pressure reduction
- lower temperatures of the exhaust gas (EGTs)
- increased scavenging of exhaust
- Enhanced/louder exhaust tone and loudness
Gains of between 15 and 30 horsepower can be obtained just from a set of Gm/Chevy 6.0 L long-tube headers. The difference in horsepower between the catted and catless variants should be roughly 5 horsepower. Short LS2 headers will increase horsepower by 5 to 15.
The effectiveness of scavenging is increased and back pressure is decreased, which is one of the main benefits of header modifications. OEM heads, which are often built of cast iron, perform less well outside of stock power levels. Aftermarket headers are specifically made to be lighter, less back-pressure, and more scavenging at power levels greater than those of the factory.
Lowering back-pressure decreases EGTs and boosts scavenging, both of which have numerous advantages. EGT reduction increases engine longevity and maintains peak performance. Clean air can reach the combustion chamber as a result of increased scavenging and less reversion, which removes the exhaust gases’ impurities. which results in more and longer-lasting power.
Of course, installing new headers will also cause a very noticeable auditory difference in your car, truck, or SUV. Although they won’t be as loud as long tubes, short tubes will nonetheless make a distinct distinction. Long tubes will increase the volume of your exhaust by several decibels, with catless exhausts being louder than catted exhausts. The catless long-tube headers on the LS2 will increase the volume and make the tone deeper and more abrasive.
Increases in horsepower and torque for the Chevrolet 6.0 Header
As previously stated, short-tube LS2 headers will produce about 5-15 horsepower and 5-10 lb-ft of torque, while long-tube LS2 headers will produce roughly 15-30 horsepower and 10-25 lb-ft. With long-tubes versus shorties, the entire power band will also be raised far more. The win for the long-tubes is sealed by the removal or replacement of the standard cats with higher diameter pipe.
Due to several factors, like the individual engine type being utilised, the octane rating, and whether any other modifications (such a cold air intake) have been made, not every LS2 equipped vehicle will experience the same exact benefits. Using less expensive gas and without any other modifications, long tubes should typically produce at least 15 horsepower. Shorties can produce at least 5 horsepower, with a high-end maximum of 15 horsepower.
Headers are an excellent modification for the Gm/Chevy 6.0 L to obtain a little more power and volume without adding forced induction. They work well when combined with modifications like intakes and cat backs, and enthusiasts can truly customise their exhaust note by experimenting with all the various pairings.
GM 6.0 X-pipe versus H-pipe
If you decide to use LS2 long-tube headers, you must decide between an x-style and an h-style mid-pipe. The two headers never intersect and remain entirely independent with the h-style pipe. The headers on x-style mid-pipes will join before splitting apart once more for dual mufflers.
Just just, X-style pipes outperform h-style pipes in terms of performance. Increased flow is possible with the x-style, however testing has shown that this only results in a maximum of 5 horsepower. Better low-end performance is typically made possible by H-pipes, but x-pipes typically make a difference towards the top of the power spectrum. X-pipes have a higher pitch than h-pipes, which are more common in hot rods.
The x-pipe is typically the more prefered alternative, although it actually depends on the individual. You should probably listen to both of them to create a fair comparison because sound is one of the most important criteria.
Top 4 Chevrolet/GM LS2 Headers
Let’s now discuss the best LS2headers. This list of header upgrades is by no means complete. There are simply too many excellent possibilities to list them all. It’s important to remember that fitting varies by year, manufacture, and model. When buying any headers, always double-check the fitment.
As many GM/Chevy models and years as feasible are covered by the headers that we have chosen to highlight. The long and short tube headers that provide the best value in terms of cost, quality, fitment, and performance are listed. Let’s get going. Remember that most LS2 headers won’t fit the original pipes and will require a modified exhaust back to the muffler.
The top 4 GM/Chevy LS2 headers are as follows:
- United States Racing Headers
- Works in Stainless
- Headers by Kooks
- Speed and Performance in Texas
1) LS2 Long-tube Headers by American Racing
Long-tube, catted, and catless fashion
American Racing Headers is the company we suggest first for LS2 headers. One of the most well-known exhaust producers in the business, ARH is well-known for their work on the LS series. They produce all of their exhausts from 304SS and provide both 1-34″ and 1-78″ primary and merging collectors. Depending on your preferences, ARH offers choices with or without cats.
For the LS2 series, ARH provides a large selection of long-tube headers. ARH is going to be one of the more expensive manufacturers on the market, but you are definitely paying for quality because, as you can see above, they produce headers for the C6 Corvette, GTO, Trailblazer SS, G8, and Caprice PPV. All ARH items are manually tig welded and made entirely in the USA.
Depending on the application, ARH claims improvements of 20–40 wheel horsepower. With only the headers, real-world increases are probably closer to 30 horsepower, but you will undoubtedly notice a higher increase with tune and an intake. Out of all of our suggested headers, we’d propose the ARH because of their excellent reputation for both quality and customer service.
Related : The Guide for Nissan RB30 engines
2) Long-tube Header for LS2 by Stainless Works
Long-tube, catted, and catless fashion (CTS-V only)
The LS2 headers from Stainless Works are up next. Similar to ARH, Stainless Works is well-known in the exhaust industry, and its LS2 products have received good reviews. Even though Stainless Works doesn’t produce in great quantities, their products are of excellent quality.
For the GTO, CTS-V, Trailblazer SS, and Sierra/Silverado, Stainless supplies heads. Also, as the factory exhaust does not fit the LS2 headers’ cat-back, you must purchase it separately or have a custom one made. The sole available choice for the majority of their exhausts is high-flow cats. The CTS-V fitting headers are the lone exception; they are only offered catless.
With their headers and a tune, Stainless Works claims increases of more than 50 wheel horsepower and 45 wheel torque. Without a tune, real-world performance is probably closer to 30 horsepower, on par with the ARH LS2 headers. Price-wise and in terms of quality, Stainless and ARH will be comparable.
3) Long-Tube Headers for LS2 Trucks, SUVs, C6s, and GTOs from Texas Speed and Performance
Long-tube, catless style
The Texas Speed and Performance LS2 headers come next. These are our LS2 budget-friendly picks, but it doesn’t imply that they are of poor quality. A highly reputable company called Texas Speed and Performance creates exhausts for a variety of brands and uses.
Apart for the G8 headers, which can be ordered with cats, their LS2 exhaust line is exclusively catless and intended for the racetrack. They all use mandrel bends and are constructed from 304 SS. The TSP headers will cost half to a third less than our other suggestions in terms of price (except Kooks).
The 20 wheel-horsepower gains TSP claims are probably not too far off from actual performance. If you want to make a small financial cut without sacrificing high quality, the TSP headers are a smart choice.
4) LS2 Kooks Headers
Style: Catted and Catless, Long-tube and Short-tube
One of the best manufacturers in the sector and the recipient of our last recommendation for LS2 headers is Kooks Headers. Kooks’ headers are renowned for being of the highest calibre and have long been linked to high-quality exhaust components.
The most LS2 powered vehicles for which Kooks produces headers are the SSR, Trailblazer SS, Silverado, Yukon, Suburban, Caprice PPV, and others. They provide both catted and catless choices, and there are short-tube options for GM/Chevy trucks from 2007 to 2013. Like the others, Kooks is created entirely in the USA and uses 304SS.
With the Kooks headers, power increases of 20–30 horsepower are anticipated for the long tubes and 5–15 horsepower for the short tubes. They are utilised in some of the best LS2 builds and perform admirably on both trucks and autos. The Kooks are on the lower end of the price scale, but trust us when we say it does not mean they are of lower quality. Headers made by Kooks have a great reputation for being high-quality and effective.
Synopsis of the GM/Chevy LS2 Header Upgrade
The GM/Chevy LS2 is a fantastic engine, but it can perform at a far higher level than how it is set up at the factory. Just installing a solid set of headers will significantly awaken the LS2. Gains in performance and power will be noticeable, and you’ll be able to hear the LS2’s thunderous roar. On the GM/Chevy 6.0 V8, expect to obtain 15–30 horsepower from the long tubes and 5–15 horsepower from the small tubes.
In particular, we examined products from American Racing Headers, Stainless Works, Texas Speed and Performance, and Kooks Headers, among other leading manufacturers. Given their quality, we’d definitely choose the ARH out of all of them, but if you’re on a tight budget, the Kooks are difficult to pass up. Any of these headers would be excellent alternatives in any case.