I must apologize to the many for the behavior of the few. It seems we have some distractions needing to be remedied. I'm not about to get into the conflicts that have dragged this group down for far too long, but its now time to resolve the questions that have come up about our new headers.
We have received your emails, although noone has called with any issues. Many potential buyers are now holding off on their purchase, looking for proof that these headers really work. Track tests, dyno's, anything for evidence. I understand this. It's a shell-shocked community from being hammered and taken advantage of for so long by less reputable shops. I completely understand when people ask questions and all my long time friends know I encourage that curiosity. Its time for some answers and I'm here to provide them.
The bulk of this drama has its foundation built around old technology. There are some old beliefs which do have their place in certain applications, and other old beliefs not in sync with the modern evolution of header theory. That is where the story behind these headers begins.
After contacting the various custom builders, the amount of work that a professional builder would truly put into a proper header design became obvious. The information they asked for all sounded like they were reading off the same sheet. Weight of vehicle, engine size, compression, stroke, cam, induction, trans type and gear ratio, stall speed, gearing, RPM ranges, cruise speed - everything to use all their knowledge,Computers and tools at hand to design and configure the proper headers for a Dakota RT.
The answers I got back were not the ones I wanted to hear.
You know, I wanted 1968 all over again; big pipes, big collectors, all meant to work with big double pumper carbs and fat, solid lifter cams. Let the good times roll again, right? Racing headers with big tubes, long primaries, big 4 into 1 style collectors - thats what I wanted for us and initally thats what I fought several companies to build. Something really custom built to get the job done, something that no one else had bothered to build for our trucks.
But one by one, as the answers came in they were all beginning to sound alike. I was told big, traditional headers would be a complete failure for the applications given. Too large of a collector. Too large of a primary pipe size. Step headers would be a waste of time, poor velocity, lack of pulses. Go with Tri-Y which are perfect for this application.
What I was getting back was an honest education in exhaust velocities, impulses, proper tuned header length and exclusive collector sizing and design to accomplish certain things for certain types of vehicles to perform the best. Instead of total overall size, it was computer designed custom sizing and design to give you as much power as the old days with more intellect involved. It was a real learning experience to get rid of my Old Time way of thinking and let go.
When we decided to make a go of it with what we were instructed would perform the best on an RT, I asked for support from one of your own, a guy with more RT knowledge than most. We actually had him lend his RT to have them developed. He also dedicated much of his own time test fitting and going back and forth changing the design to make it better. Months and months were involved to turn out the first prototypes for fitting.
What resulted was a totally custom built, tuned length, long tube header made for 1998 and up Dakota RT's. No other commercially available long tube header out there has been built strictly for this vehicle, though there are some fine examples of hand built headers available from shops around the country, if you want to spend thousands and wait months.
There was more time spent concentrating on design and application than I would have imagined before the first pipe was bent. There are custom design features built into these headers unlike typical cheaper off the shelf types that have been available for older year Dakota. These were test fitted on a 408, RT heads, stock heads, Hotchkis, Supercharger, all the bells and whistles just to make sure these pipes would be ok. Then we went the extra mile to test fit again on other year RT's.
Yes, they are a pain in the ass to install and there is a bag of tricks you will need to help get them on your truck. This is typical of long tubes due to trying to cram so many large pipes in such a small space. If you're after the typical shorty header 2 hour install, these are not for you. If you have no jack and tools to raise the engine and get the passenger side on, they are not for you. If you don't like to work on your truck, they are not for you. But, if you can get through this, I feel you are going to be enjoying something special, something helping you produce the gains you are after across a broader powerband than has been experienced previously.
Dyno's... they are coming. Track tests, they are coming. I know that saying "soon" is not going to pacify some people, but I also know the evidence will support the product or I would not have invested the money or my reputation. No one else would do this for you to get this product.
Today, I took the time to speak to the owner of S&S headers who was nice enough to help us. I emailed him the most critical posts I could find along with the picture that started this whole discussion, and explained in detail everyone's concerns. I have to tell you Lorn has been racing since he was 11 years old, and S&S headers has been in business since 1968. This is no fly by night back yard operation.
He explained to me why the flange had to be designed as it was. Port area, size of pipes, gasket sealing area, he went through it all. He also went over the collector configuration. For me to try to explain would be a waste of time as far as this guy goes into it. He sent me a small summary explanation to help, which I have permission to quote below.
I invite (and he welcomes) anyone who wants to speak to a real header builder with real knowledge and 39 years of experience to call Lorn @ 623-847-9000. He went to a convention and he will be back into town next Monday. If you're interested in stepping up to REAL R/T headers, just put it all to rest by calling him. You'll find out why he was chosen out of all the others. I only ask that if you do call him, you treat him with respect as a business owner, and not waste his time with cheap insults about the perceived quality of his work. Pictures may speak a thousand words, but they rarely tell the whole story.
Betty at S&S Headers said:
Lorn asked me to send you this info.
5610 Design Information
The center ports are intentionally ovaled in order to get the big 1 3/4" tube in them.
The end ports are ovaled with a small dog-leg under the bolt hole to get the tube in.
If you compare the ports of the head to the flange opening, you'll find that the 1 3/4" tube is almost off the gasket surface. That's why we had to put the dog-leg on the end ports, to save some sealing area.
Since the Y-Pipes are 2 1/2", it's better to keep the collector the same diameter to keep the air velocity fast so the collector will start scavenging at low RPM. These engines are not big revers and they need low end torque.
If we dumped the 2" Merges into a 3" outlet it would let the velocity slow down and require more RPM to make the collector scavenge. Then we would be choking the outlet down to the 2 1/2" Y-Pipe, forcing the velocity to speed up again. This generates a back pressure situation, just the opposite of the scavenging we want.