Big Power - Your Guide to the Best Ford Mustang GT S550 Exhaust Headers

The Ford S550 Mustang GT is a symbol of American muscle car prowess, offering substantial power and performance. To further enhance this experience, selecting the right exhaust headers is essential. This guide aims to assist you in choosing the best exhaust headers for your S550 Mustang GT, focusing on enhancing performance, ensuring value, and maintaining quality. We’ve conducted extensive research, considering aspects like performance impact, cost-effectiveness, build quality, and real-world feedback from the Mustang community.

Choosing The Best Ford S550 Mustang GT Exhaust Headers

When it comes to selecting the ideal exhaust headers for the 2015-2023 Ford Mustang GT, our criteria are rigorous. We prioritize performance enhancements, such as increased horsepower and torque, along with improved exhaust flow. Price and value for money are also crucial, ensuring that the upgrades are accessible to a wide range of enthusiasts. The quality of materials and construction plays a significant role in our selection, as these factors directly impact the longevity and reliability of the headers. Lastly, we weigh in the experiences and opinions of the Mustang community, as real-world feedback is invaluable in assessing the effectiveness of these upgrades.

Stainless Power Long Tube Headers

For owners of the Ford S550 Mustang GT who seek versatile performance, the Stainless Power Long Tube Headers are a standout choice. Engineered to replace restrictive factory manifolds, these headers feature high-flow catalytic converters and venturi-style merge spikes, enhancing exhaust flow and scavenging for noticeable gains in rear wheel horsepower and torque. Made from 1-7/8" diameter, 304 stainless steel tubing, and featuring TIG welded construction with laser-cut 3/8" header flanges, they promise strength and corrosion resistance. The Stainless Power Long Tube Header are a popular choice for GT owners looking for a balance of performance, affordability, and durability, especially when complemented with a custom ECU tune.

Kooks Long Tube Headers

Kooks Long Tube Headers are renowned for their exceptional exhaust flow, resulting in a throaty sound and modest horsepower and torque gains for the Mustang GT. They are crafted from 1 7/8 inch, 304 stainless steel tubing with scavenger-spiked collectors, ensuring robust airflow and a precise fit. Featuring thick 3/8-inch laser-cut flanges and welded oxygen sensor, the Kooks Long Tube Headers offer up to 30 horsepower and 20 lb-ft of torque with a tune, ensuring your Mustang feels like a completely different Pony after you get back on the road.

BBK Long Tube Headers

The BBK Long Tube Headers are designed to significantly improve exhaust flow over factory manifolds, boosting rear wheel horsepower and torque. Ideal for Nitrous, Supercharged, or Turbocharged applications, these headers are made from 1-7/8 inch CNC mandrel-bent tubing with laser-cut 3/8 inch header flanges.The BBK Long Tube Headers  offer substantial power increases, with potential gains of up to 30 rear wheel horsepower when paired with a matching BBK X pipe or Midpipe Adapter.

XForce Long Tube Headers

XForce Long Tube Headers excel in enhancing exhaust flow, contributing to a powerful growl and improved performance. Constructed from industrial-grade 304 stainless steel, they ensure durability and a smooth exhaust flow. Motorsport and Performance’s review reveals that after extensive testing, these headers have proven to be of sound quality and durability, fitting well with both full Xforce systems and aftermarket cat-backs. They significantly lift the Coyote engine's power limits, with potential gains of 100lbft of torque and 75hp at the wheels with a custom calibration.

Pypes Long Tube Headers

Pypes Long Tube Headers offer a practical power and torque boost, featuring a unique stepped runner design for reduced back pressure and enhanced overall performance. AmericanMuscle notes that these headers are made from premium 16-gauge 304-grade stainless steel and feature a 1-3/4-inch to 1-7/8-inch stepped design, ending in a 3-inch collector. This design provides a broader power band and a deep, aggressive exhaust note. They are expected to deliver power gains of 10 to 20 wheel horsepower, making them a valuable choice for track use.

American Racing Long Tube Headers

American Racing Long Tube Headers bring a new level of performance to the latest generation Mustangs. Designed in various sizes, including 1-3/4", 1-7/8", and 2" options, these headers cater to a wide range of performance needs. The 3" exhaust system, known as the Bottleneck Eliminator Kit, is particularly noteworthy for its ability to unlock up to 30 RWHP, significantly enhancing power and torque. These headers are engineered for aftermarket catback exhausts, requiring a simple mark and cut for installation, with no welding needed. They effectively address the 2-1/4" restriction at the Catback connection point, allowing for full, unrestricted power delivery.

Understanding Exhaust Headers

Black Ford Mustang GT on country road

Exhaust headers are integral components in a vehicle's exhaust system, specifically designed to manage exhaust gases expelled from the engine. In high-performance vehicles like the Ford S550 Mustang GT, they replace the more restrictive exhaust manifold, allowing for a quicker and more efficient exit of gases. This reduced back pressure significantly improves the engine's breathing efficiency, leading to better overall performance. Headers are engineered to gather exhaust gases from each cylinder and channel them into the exhaust system, minimizing resistance and optimizing flow.

How Exhaust Headers Affect Performance

The primary impact of exhaust headers on performance is the reduction of back pressure, which directly translates to increased engine efficiency and power output. By allowing exhaust gases to escape more freely, headers reduce the workload on the engine, enabling it to generate more horsepower and torque. This improvement in engine breathing not only enhances acceleration but also contributes to a smoother and more responsive power delivery. For performance enthusiasts, this means quicker throttle response and more immediate power on demand.

Types of Exhaust Headers for S550 Mustang GT

The S550 Mustang GT can be equipped with various types of exhaust headers, each tailored to specific performance needs. The most common types are shorty and long tube headers. Shorty headers are more compact and generally easier to install, making them a popular choice for those seeking a performance boost without extensive modifications. Long tube headers, offering more significant performance gains, are preferred for racing and high-performance applications, as they provide a more pronounced increase in horsepower and torque.

Shorty Headers vs Long Tube Headers

Shorty and long tube headers differ significantly in design and performance impact. Shorty headers, designed to be more compact, fit more easily within the Mustang's engine bay and are often used for street driving where extensive modifications are not feasible. They offer a moderate increase in power and can improve engine efficiency. Long tube headers, on the other hand, are longer and designed to optimize exhaust gas flow over a greater distance, significantly reducing back pressure and increasing power, especially at higher RPMs. They are ideal for track and performance-focused applications but may require more extensive installation efforts.

How To Install Your S550 Mustang GT Exhaust Headers

Tuning Your Mustang GT

After installing new headers, it's often crucial to tune the Mustang GT to achieve the full performance potential. This tuning process involves adjusting the vehicle's computer settings to accommodate the changes in exhaust flow and pressure. Proper tuning can optimize the air-fuel mixture, ignition timing, and other engine parameters to ensure smooth running, enhanced power output, and in some cases, improved fuel efficiency. It's a critical step in harmonizing the engine's function with the new exhaust system for maximum performance gains.

The Performance Benefits of Mustang GT Exhaust Headers

Modified Silver Mustang GT on coastal road

Upgrading to performance headers significantly impacts the horsepower and sound of the Mustang GT. These headers facilitate a more efficient exit of exhaust gases, which directly contributes to an increase in horsepower. This enhancement not only improves acceleration but also alters the sound of the vehicle, often resulting in a deeper, more resonant exhaust note that is highly sought after by car enthusiasts.

Increased Horsepower & Torque

The installation of high-quality exhaust headers can lead to noticeable improvements in both horsepower and torque. By reducing back pressure and optimizing exhaust gas flow, headers allow the Coyote 5.0L engine to operate more efficiently, translating to increased power output. This improvement is particularly evident during high RPMs, where the engine can breathe more freely, unleashing additional power.

Transform Your Exhaust Note

Exhaust headers significantly alter the sound of the Mustang GT. Long tube headers, in particular, create a deeper, more aggressive exhaust note, enhancing the vehicle's auditory appeal. This change in sound profile is due to the way headers manage exhaust gases, offering a less restricted flow and a more resonant tone.

How To Maintain Your S550 Mustang GT Exhaust Headers

2 Black Mustang GTs cruising on urban freeway

Maintaining your Mustang GT's exhaust headers is key to their longevity and performance. Regular checks for leaks and signs of wear are important. It's also essential to keep bolts tightened and the headers clean. The durability of headers varies with their material: stainless steel offers strength and corrosion resistance, while ceramic-coated headers provide heat resistance but need careful cleaning without harsh chemicals. Proper maintenance can greatly extend the life and efficiency of your headers.

Exhaust Wrap vs Ceramic Coating

In maintaining Mustang GT exhaust headers, choosing between exhaust wrap and ceramic coating is key for heat management. Exhaust wrap, a cost-effective solution, is wrapped around the headers to retain heat, thus improving exhaust gas velocity and engine performance. Ceramic coating, while more expensive, offers a more durable solution. It not only enhances heat retention but also provides corrosion resistance and maintains the headers' appearance. For Mustang GT owners, ceramic coating is often favored for its long-term benefits and sleek look, complementing both the headers' function and the vehicle's overall aesthetic.

More Ford S550 Mustang GT Mods

Silver Ford Mustang on 2 post lift

In addition to exhaust headers, other modifications can further enhance the Mustang GT's performance. These include upgrading the exhaust system, improving air intake efficiency, and modifying the suspension with coilovers. To complement exhaust header upgrades, consider installing a high-flow exhaust system and cold air intake. These modifications work synergistically to improve airflow, boost horsepower, and enhance overall engine performance.

Ford S550 Mustang GT Catback Exhausts

Upgrading to a performance exhaust system can further enhance the benefits of new headers. This not only improves exhaust flow and potentially increases power but also contributes to a more aggressive exhaust note, elevating the auditory experience of the Mustang GT.

Ford S550 Mustang GT Cold Air Intakes

Cold air intakes can significantly improve airflow into the engine, complementing the exhaust header’s efficiency. This leads to better combustion, more power, and in some cases, improved fuel economy.

Ford S550 Mustang GT Coilovers

For handling improvements, coilovers are an excellent modification. They provide adjustable suspension settings, allowing for a customized stance and improved cornering ability, further enhancing the Mustang GT's driving dynamics.

OverRev’s Ford S550 Mustang GT Exhaust Header Guide

Red and Blue Mustang GTs parked on country road during the fall.

In this guide, we've taken a comprehensive look at selecting and installing exhaust headers for your Ford S550 Mustang GT. From understanding the fundamental roles and types of headers to examining the specific benefits and considerations of shorty versus long tube headers, we've covered essential aspects. The guide also highlighted the significance of materials like stainless steel and ceramic for your header choice. We hope this guide has been informative and helpful in your journey to enhance your Mustang. For more insights into maximizing your Mustang's performance, be sure to check out our other content, including the Mustang GT Air Intake Guide, Exhaust Guide, and our detailed S550 Mustang Tuning guide. Thanks for reading and happy wrenching!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much HP do headers add to a Mustang GT?

Headers can add approximately 10 to 30 horsepower to a Mustang GT, varying based on the header type and other vehicle modifications.

What type of exhaust header is best for a Mustang GT?

The best header type depends on usage: long tube headers for maximum performance, especially for racing, and shorty headers for street use and easier installation.

What's the difference between shorty and long tube headers?

Shorty headers are more compact and easier to install, offering moderate performance gains. Long tube headers provide larger increases in horsepower and torque but require more extensive installation.

Is it worth upgrading headers on a Mustang GT?

Yes, upgrading headers is worth it for enhanced performance, including better horsepower, torque, and exhaust sound.

Will headers make my Mustang GT’s engine louder?

Yes, headers typically make the Mustang GT’s engine louder and give a more aggressive exhaust note.

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