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Header Info 4 Na Junkies

Discussion in 'Engine Building' started by JDMilan, May 13, 2003.

  1. JDMilan

    JDMilan Senior Member

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    You can either read is here or go to this link where there are pictures also
    http://www.kcimportracing.com/headers.html

    Enjoy:

    A common question I often get on Honda forums is: should I get a 4-2-1 (tri-Y) header or should I get a 4-1?

    You may want to understand some basics about header design before making your decision about buyin one, so that your choice is an informed one. You have to remember that it is called an exhaust SYSTEM. Getting a header without considering how the header fits in with the cat and exhaust could prove to be a mistake you will regret in the future, if the header turns out to be incompatible with the other system parts. They work together as a unit to extract as much exhaust flow speed as possible.

    In this section, I'll try to show various aspects of header design and how these design characteristics affect your car's power output.


    I. Headers

    The most common thing you hear is 4-2-1 makes more midrange power at the sacrifice of peak hp and 4-1 makes more peak power at the sacrifice of midrange power.

    Is this always true? Not these days when we have long hybrid 4-2-1's.
    Primaries', secondaries', and collector's length & diameter affect where power is created along the rpm range.

    To understand how header layout affects power, you have to understand how the power curve is shaped.



    Exhaust gas flow velocity (or flow speed) determines where peak torque occurs along the rpm range. As a general rule, when exhaust flow velocity reaches the mean value of 240-260 ft/sec., peak torque is achieved. Peak torque also marks when your engine has achieved it's highest volumetric efficiency. Control how fast you can get up to a mean flow velocity of 240-260 ft/sec. by looking for certain header-exhaust characteristics or design and you control where peak torque occurs.

    The 2 goals of a header-cat-exhaust system is to:

    a) efficiently remove as much of the combusted inert exhaust gases out of the cylinder.

    Remember that burnt exhaust gas is inert or does not combust twice and therefore cannot make power if it is in the cylinder...it takes up space in the cylinder and prevents fresh air and fuel from coming into the combustion chamber to make power.

    B) keep the velocity or speed of the exhaust gas leaving very high.

    When high exhaust gas speeds are reached, a wake is created from an exhaust pulse leaving the cylinder head. Behind this wake, a vacuum is created. This vacuum sucks in more fresh air and fuel at cam overlap, when the intake valve is just starting to open and the exhaust valve is almost about to close. Both intake & exhaust valves are partially open and the exhaust manifold is connected to the intake manifold. The exhaust gas helps pull in the next fresh intake air & fuel. This is called scavenging. And scavenging is what helps draw in more oxygen and fuel for combustion. More these fresh air and fuel coming in with less inert burnt exhaust gases occupying combustion chamber volume makes more power.

    There are several aspects of header and exhaust tubing that affect when 240 ft/sec. of mean exhaust flow velocity is achieved:

    1. Diameter (or header tube cross-sectional area) :



    Bigger diameter shifts peak torque to a higher rpm compared to a smaller diameter.

    The bigger the diameter, the more cross-sectional area. Exhaust flow must overcome this extra tube cross-sectional area and therefore the flow travels slower . It takes the rpms to climb to a higher rpm before the speed of 240 ft/sec (and therefore, peak torque) is reached. So increasing diameter shifts when 240 ft/sec and peak torque is achieved to a higher or later rpm, because it takes longer for the air flow speed to reach 240 ft/sec.

    In addition, a bigger diameter will increase the value of peak torque. You can also vary diameter as well along the length of the header tube: This is called stepping the header. A stepped header will have along it's length the diameters gradually increasing as it moves towards the muffler end and away from the engine. Stepping a header will prevent exhaust flow from travelling backwards to the engine (called reversion).

    Figure 1. Here is a pic of stepped diameters on a Toda header where the diameters start at 45mm near the flange, then gradually increases to 50 mm further down at the secondaries, and 60mm just before the collector. Several good aftermarket headers are stepped.



    Some people port the JDM ITR or DC JDM 4-1 flange ports to a little larger diameter than the cylinder head exhaust port diameter to get this stepped effect early. Some people also port the JDM ITR 4-1 collector. Here's how much to dremel port the JDM ITR flange ports:



    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    from Dave Stadulis at SMSP

    you don't want to have the exhaust port on the head exactly matched to
    the manifold/header...I've been told to have the header port about 1mm
    (.039") larger all around the head port and no larger than 1/16". This
    provides an anti-reversion attribute to the header. The same goes for
    steps in the individual tubes.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    2. Length:


    Longer tubes will allow more torque at lower rpms.

    Longer tubes will speed up air flow velocity. The flow velocity of 240 ft/sec and peak torque will occur at an earlier rpm compared to a shorter tube. Changing the length of the header primary tubes does not increase the value of peak torque like diameter does. Instead length changes the behaviour of the torque around peak torque along the rpm band.

    If you imagine the torque vs rpm curve from a dyno to be like a see-saw: then, on a see-saw there is a point where the plank sits to allow it to rock up and down. This is usually in the middle of the see saw and is also called the fulcrum. On our torque vs rpm curve, imagine the peak torque to be the fulcrum, although this fulcrum doesn't necessarily have to be in the middle like the see-saw...it can be moved. Changing length "rocks" the torque curve about the peak torque.

    If you have a longer primary header tube, the torque curve will "rock" in such a way that the left side is higher than the right side. There is higher torque at earlier rpms before peak torque. There is less torque at later rpms after peak torque.

    If you shorten the length of the primary tube, the torque curve will will have the see-saw with the right side higher than the left. So there is more torque at later rpms after peak torque.

    3. Collector Diameter, Length, and Layout:

    In terms of layout, merge collectors are the portions of the header where the tubes join. So in a 4-2-1 header, the 4 primary tubes are first joined at a collector into 2 tubes. The 2 tubes are then joined by a second collector into 1 tube.

    In a 4-1, the 4 primaries are joined at only 1 collector into 1 tube.

    In some cases, the collectors are in a box shape where 2 tubes are stacked directly on top of the other 2 tubes. In other cases, the collectors have the top 2 tubes offset from the bottom 2 tubes. This is called a tri-Y collector. The box collectors give less ground clearance than tri-Y collectors.

    Hytech Tri-Y collector


    Hytech Box Collector



    The collectors join the tubes and co-ordinate the 4 exhaust pulses leaving the primaries. Shorter, large diameter collectors have more peak power. Longer , smaller diameter collectors have more power in the midrange. The angle of the merge collector tubes should not be steep or sharp, in order to keep the energy or speed of the merging pulses coming from the tubes at a high level. For example, the stock ITR header has a less steep merge collector angle than the stock GSR header (see SurferX's article on the features of the ITR). So, the diameter of the collector affects the flow volume or how much exhaust gas can be removed and how much peak hp can be achieved. The bigger the collector diameter, the higher the peak hp you can achieve. This is why the better headers have larger 2.5 in. collectors instead of the usual 2 in. collectors in some aftermarket headers made to match up to the stock catalytic converter 2 in. flange.


    4. how the primaries are paired: sequentially or non-sequentially:

    the ignition firing order determines which exhaust pulses leave in a particular order. In integras it's cylinder 1,3,4,2. How we pair the primary tubes together at the first collector determines the horsepower vs rpm curve characteristics. You can look at your header and see which tubes are paired together: Is it sequential: 1 with 2, and 3 with 4? Or is it non-sequential? 1-4, 2-3?



    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally Posted by SMSP

    ...the firing order is 1-3-4-2, if we add a few more cycles so we repeat it looks like 1-3-4-2-1-3-4-2-1 etc.

    So with a 4-cylinder engine how many tri-y configurations can we have?
    If cylinder #1 is paired with #2, then #3 and #4 are paired.

    If cylinder #1 is paired with #3, then #2 and #4 are paired.

    However, both these set ups are considered sequential pairing because each secondary gets 2 back to back pulses. Therefore, these set ups are the same and can be considered as 1 configuration.

    Next we pair #1 with #4, and then #2 and #3 are paired. This is considered non-sequential pairing, since the pulses alternate from one secondary to the other. We can?t pair #1 with anything else so the fact of the matter becomes there are only 2 ways to configure a 4-cylinder tri-y header.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Here's Larry Widmer's (of Endyn) take on sequentially pairing the header primaries from cylinder 1 with 2 and cylinders 3 with 4 (i.e. 90 crankshaft degrees apart from one another instead of 180 crankshaft degrees):


    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The reason it (sequentially pairing primaries 1-2, 3-4)works is due to the energy imparted the exhaust charge. If you just do 180 degree timing on the exhaust side, the exhaust pulses are evenly spaced, and they do permit a certain amount of "tuning", as opposed to just dumping everything into one collector.

    When you space the tubes so there are more sequential pulses, the
    energy from one tube will have a much greater impact on the cylinder
    it's paired with, and the combined energy will have a much greater
    effect on the other tube it merges with.

    Even spacing (pairing header primaries from cylinders 1 with cylinder 4 and pairing cylinders 2 with 3) is nice and smooth, but pairing sequential pulses provides more energy to (work) with.

    It's similar to the use of two single cylinder 2-stroke engines. If you want long running and smooth operation, connect the engines where they
    fire at 180 degrees to each other. If you want ball-busting
    acceleration, fire them together. It's all energy. You get the same
    amount either way, but the combination you pick will allow you to
    properly select the energy spread.

    On the exhaust side, you're dealing with waste heat, so if you can make
    it help scavenge other cylinder(s), you're simply not wasting as much
    energy.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    5. layout - 4-1 vs 4-2-1:



    A 4-1 header layout will have peak torque occurring at later rpms compared to a 4-2-1.

    Newer hybrid headers of the 21st century are a fusion of the old 4-1's extra length with the 4-2-1 layout, have stepped diameters, and have large diameter collectors. So you have low end peak torque with enough breathing capacity to support more peak gains (the best of both worlds).

    So the old adage that 4-1 = more peak hp with a loss in midrange torque and 4-2-1 = more midrange torque with less peak hp is an obsolete idea.


    Milan
     
  2. sohcslammer

    sohcslammer Senior Member

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    Wow. That was really long. But informative. I guess.
     
  3. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    I've seen versions of this article with all the pictures in it too for explanation... or maybe it was a different article altogether. Did this one originally have pics?
     
  4. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    there are pics on the link

    also heres a link with pics of a shit load of headers
    -Click Here-
     
  5. JDMilan

    JDMilan Senior Member

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    Yeah, just wanted to get some info out there for you guys so that maybe some of the less experienced fellows can learn a thing or two.


    Milan
     
  6. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    ok yea theres all kinds of info on header design, what makes gas flow better and all that shit, but it doesnt say which one is better. i jus want someone to plain out tell me which design is best for my application (all motor b18c1), a 4-1 or 4-2-1. all i want is a straight answer, not a long ass explaination on how the header works. sorry for the rant, but it seems that people are beating around the bush on the subject.
     
  7. sportlinecrx

    sportlinecrx Banned

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    here's a site with dyno charts. they used a civic with a GSR engine. comparisons were made between SMSP vs. DC JDM 4-1 and JDM 4-1 vs. Type-R header. there are some other good performance part comparisons there too (all dynoed).

    www.importreview.com
     
  8. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    sorry but there really is no "best" or "better"

    everyone wants something a little different so there are many "good" or "great" headers ... you kinda need to figure the "best" part out for yourself and what your wants and needs are

    its kinda like asking whats the "best" icecream or whats the "best" beer
    there is no one true answer for everyone
     
  9. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    well theres gotta be a right and wrong answer, cause its math, not a personal preference, the care doesnt like the header more jus because of if its a 4-1 or 4-2-1. if you are at a track and you make a run on a 4-2-1 header, then swap the header for a 4-1, there is gonna be a difference. and all i want to know is if it will make you run faster or slower. and im talking about for my engine in an all motor, cause i know different engines will react to it differently. making a faster time is all that matters, no one cares where they make the power on the powerband, as long as they make it, and make the times on the track. im not tryin to bash anyone, its jus not rocket science, for my setup a 4-1 will either help or hurt when compared to a 4-2-1. thats all i want to know. and if its the simple fact that no one knows, ok, but i find it hard to believe that no one has experience with an all motor GSR engine....
     
  10. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    actually it does make a differnce where the power is made .... people race differently .... lots of you are drag racers.... i like road course racing and think drag racing is almost as boring as watching golf on TV.... so the best header for me is not the same as the best header for someone who drags.... then there is the engine and how it likes to make power
    hondas make their power in the mid to high RPM range
    trying to force it to make power down low just isnt going to work .... so id say utilise the high end power as much as you can
    for drag id focus on peak power as much as possible
    for road course / autoX id try to get more in the mid range
     
  11. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    im going for drag, so which header are you saying i should get? i know that i want one for upper range power, but which design is that? cause everyone says that 4-1 is the one to go with, but that article says that thats basically just a myth, so i got confused, and now im at a stalemate and stuck on actually what is best.
     
  12. JDMilan

    JDMilan Senior Member

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    I am going to assume you mean MOSY HP Up on the Revs........if that is the case, then it's obvious SMSP

    I left the link on this one of these forums somewhere,,,can't find it right now, i will post later when i come home
     
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