Header Q&A

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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Header Q&A

Post by speedtalk » Wed Apr 30, 2003 12:24 am

OUTLINE of Interview with Mark Lelchook of performance welding headers:

What is your racing background?

Ive been in the racing for almost 20 years, started out doing turbocharger/ innercooler fabrication and design. Building headers and manifolds for those applications. I started Performance Welding 5 years ago learning how untaught the industry was on a good naturally aspirated header, and realized it would be a great buisness to get into.

What does performance welding headers do?
We build mainly headers for Competition Eliminator NHRA race cars and Custom one off headers for any race vehicle. Sales in Merged Collectors and header materials.

Let's first talk about the different styles of headers. List and describe the pro and con for each (180, Tri-Y, etc), or what application would they work for?
I dont have time to type each pro and con of each particular header, only to say that a Tri-Y header is very complicated in the sizing to give it a performance advantage over a properly built 4 into 1 header, the 180 degree header will only work on a lower RPM race car as the tubes have to be so long, and only for vehicles with lots of space, basicly its an obsolete header in my personal racing industry. The 4 into 1 and Tri -Y header will work in all racing applications after being sized correctly, and that is the true key , is the sizing.

If a racer is going to have you build him some headers, what information do you need from him and what can he do to make your job easier and the final product better?
What we like to know is what RPM the engine is run at, where the engine is pulled down to on shifts or at corners, and what the Max RPM is, whats the weight of the vehicle, type of trans and amount of gears. horspower for the actual engine is important for tube sizing and collector sizing. Cylinder head and flow #s are helpful.

Once he gets the headers, what can he do to get the most power out of them?
Our headers are built with lots of reasearch and previous experiance, they are pretty much a bolt on item unless you choose a Tri-Y design, these headers really need to be put on the Dyno to have the collector sizing and 2nd primary tube length adjusted, dyno sheets before and after sent to us shows us if something is to big or to small. The 4 into 1 header is 99 % of the time correct from the start.

What advice can you give to the racer who decides to take a shot at
building his own headers?

We sell lots of materials to customers, and with the sales of our materials and merged collectors we give advice on what length to make the primary tubes, we must know about each application to finalize an opinion on the primary tube length and merged collector sizing.

How does he decide tube diameter? Length? Style? Steps? Collector? Etc.
Unless the customer has past experiance its really impossible to try to guess on what size and length to build his headers, he can build a header that will be close, but its that last bit of experiance that wins races, acceleration is the key factor, not Dyno #s, you can put a pretty big header on the Dyno and see good #s but, it most likely will be slower on the racetrack. Ive build headers that were down a bit on power on the dyno but are definatly faster on the racetrack on my own vehicle and customers applications, this shows how important sizing and experiance can be.

Let's talk about tuning headers.
What can a racer do on the dyno?
What can he do at the track?

The only thing a racer can do on the dyno or the racetrack is change the length of the primary tubes and the final throat size of the merged collector. You can see on the dyno the powerband will move slightly up or down if anything at all. Ive found that if the Volumetric Effiency is very high on the engine its very hard to see anything on the dyno with headers, again thats where acceleration is a key factor , and sizing is critical for that last hundreth.

What are the biggest mistakes racers make when it comes to headers?
People make the mistake of too big, way to big, it goes back to the days of hog it out and make it bigger, the header industry took that direction also, you only need so much tube area to make so much power, and the bigger the header the slower the acceleration of the vehicle.

How can people contact you?
We can be contacted through uor website at www.performanceweldingheaders.com
or by phone at 530-367-4124

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