LS 180 Degree Headers: What Should You Know About It?

LS 180 degree headers are necessary to improve the exhaust system and boost the engine performance. But you can only enjoy such benefits with the correct-sized headers.

Thus, understanding these headers is essential when installing them in your vehicle. This article will help you learn more useful information about these components. 

I will cover everything, like the functions, benefits, problems related to these headers, and simple tips to use them to gain more engine performance.

Keep reading for details!

What Are Headers?

ls 180 degree headers

Headers are the aftermarket parts that resemble exhaust manifolds in functions, which is a piece fitting into your car’s exhaust system.

They are thin, long steel tubes that gather gasses in the engine and send them to the exhaust system. People usually install it on high-performance cars for a boost in power.

Vehicles use 4 types of headers, typically shorty headers, lakester headers, long-tube headers, and tri-Y headers.

In the following section, I will help you understand more about the characteristics of each header type.

Long Tube Headers

They are in 8-cylinder engines with 4 primary tubes going into the collector. These headers are appropriate for medium and low torque.

Shorty Headers

This type is quieter than the long-tube header type. These headers can merge in one exhaust pipe compared to the long-tube type at a shorter distance.

Thus, they are suitable for high-speed range.

Lakester Headers

These headers are applicable in dry lake racing. They include a short primary tube and are common with older hot rod vehicles.


These headers feature a “Y” shape that allows exhaust gas from one tube to pass through the “Y” to sweep air out of the other tube.

Also, they make more power than different designs with more low-end torque than the same 4-1 headers in the vehicle.

LS 180 Degree Headers: What Should You Know About It?

bundle of snakes exhaust

LS 180-degree headers look like a bundle of snakes, allowing every firing cycle (in each collector) to take place at 18 degrees apart

This means these headers let gasses cross over 2 tubes from 2 opposite banks’ collectors – the so-called flat-plane or 180-degree crank.

When installing LS 180-degree headers for your vehicle, you must consider the important things, including their design, functions, and benefits.

Besides, you also keep an eye on the problems with the faulty headers to fix them properly for the best car performance and protection.

What Is LS 180 Degree Header Design?

After knowing what 180-degree headers are, you must know about their design. The 180-degree header has the “bundle of snakes” special design.

The bundle of snakes exhaust design enables these headers to gather two pipes from each bank into a single collector of 4-1. Also, this design produces 4 exhaust pulses with equal space, like the design of the flat crank header.

Due to the small size of the collector, the 180-degree header design inherently has a wide power band. I think that it was a great idea for the GT40’s success at the time.

These headers have the cylinders paired 180 degrees apart when fired, maximizing cleanup.

While one may be on its compression stroke, the other will be on its exhaust stroke, so there is a constant flow that helps smooth the pulses out.

In the 180 headers design, there are still 2 collectors, but part of each collector’s pipe exits the engine on either side.

In addition, plumbing is a hassle as half of the pipe has to cross the engine somewhere. 

The modified model has a tubular frame with a sheet metal or plastic body, allowing free pipe routing.

How Do LS 180 Degree Headers Work?

The 180-degree headers have a role in improving the performance of most engines. They function properly to make a big difference in performance just by lowering back pressure.

Headers differ from exhaust manifolds because they include separate pipes for each cylinder, joining a collector together. Ideally, these pipes are tuned with the same length.

The meaning of “tuned” is that the pipes are of the right diameter and proper length to function optimally for a given RPM range and engine displacement.

Instead of a continuous flow of exhaust gasses, they exit a given cylinder in pulses, with a new pulse when the exhaust valve opens.

Each pulse can form a high-pressure point that passes through the header tube. At this time, the pressure between each pulse is quite low.

What Are Some Problems With LS 180 Degree Headers?

The problem is that in a conventional exhaust header of 4-1, the gap between two exhaust or firing impulses is 90 degrees on each collector, whereas, in an engine with a flat crank, it is 180 crank degrees.

This lends the engine’s inherent “American V-8” exhaust burble but leads to a congested situation in the collector if 2 exhaust pulses detached by just 90 degrees of crank angle try to exist in the collector.

The 90-degree crank engine collector should be bigger than the flat crank engine to accommodate this.

Besides, you also need to care about some symptoms warning the failure of the 180-degree headers in your vehicle.

First, the faulty engine exhaust manifold produces an excessively loud noise.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t ignore the problems with the engine performance, such as poor fuel efficiency, sluggish acceleration, or low power.

Can Your Car Get Louder  With LS 180 Degree Headers?

No, it can not. Headers don’t make your vehicle’s sound louder. They do help improve the car’s overall sound, though not much.

When comparing a revving vehicle’s sound with a manifold vs a header, I notice that the sound from headers gets a higher and smoother pitch.

Thus, your car will generate cleaner sound but at the same volume if you install the headers.

More specifically, the header installation also helps change the exhaust tone a bit and gives your car a little performance boost.

If you still want to enjoy the roaring sound, consider changing/modifying the exhaust system, then.

Does LS 180 Degree Headers Make Your Vehicle Faster?

Yes. Investing in and installing new 180-degree headers is an ideal way to improve your vehicle’s torque and horsepower.

Whether you buy shorty headers or long-tube type, they still help boost your vehicle’s performance by making air move more efficiently and faster.

As a result, exhaust gasses may flow unimpeded like in a stock manifold.

Plus, the improved flow also increases engine torque and horsepower, most noticeable when you step on the throttle.

Besides, high-quality headers and powerful engines also allow your engine to reach up to 50 horsepower.

What To Do With LS 180 Degree Headers To Get More Performance?

gt40 headers

Your engine can achieve optimal performance if you properly install the LS 180-degree headers.

What to do for low- and mid-range engines or high-budget designs? You can still optimize your exhaust system by customizing the exhaust manifold to match the engine structure and application.

Besides, a well-designed exhaust may be as effective or better than the 180-degree header designs.

One of the simplest tips for installing 180-degree headers to boost your engine’s performance is to look for complete custom-designed headers that combine high velocity and flow.


What Is The Importance Of 180 Degree Headers?

The configuration of the 180-degree headers helps improve low-end, mid-range, and scavenging torque by using collectors with a smaller diameter.

Besides, they also provide performance benefits by increasing airflow to the engine and promoting exhaust flow.

How to Make 180 Degree Headers?

I’m afraid that you can’t make them yourself. But you can build them on your car after getting the parts from a trustable store. I recommend you choose the adjustable headers.

They are versatile and quickly become compatible with track condition changes.

In addition, you also need to understand some features of these headers, including designs or functions, to make them successful and easy.


I hope this article has given you critical knowledge about LS 180 degree headers.

These parts can give your engine various benefits, including a performance boost. In addition, they help your engine consume less fuel efficiency.

Yet, 180-degree headers sometimes cause problems or failures that can affect your vehicle’s performance or operation.

And not all cars are qualified enough to be equipped with these headers.

Thus, you shouldn’t ignore symptoms of bad headers to protect your engine from more severe damage.

If you have a car with high performance, you should invest in upgrading the headers for a better performance boost.

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