The differences UEL headers make?
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This is a discussion on The differences UEL headers make? within the Engine Modifications forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Mod bug is nipping at my arse again. I am thinking of getting some UEL headers, but I do have ...

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    Lando Calrissian DemonWRX's Avatar
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    The differences UEL headers make?

    Mod bug is nipping at my arse again. I am thinking of getting some UEL headers, but I do have a few questions about them (general)

    1) I have read that as I am looking at UEL they do not 'require' tuning to be installed, but to really take advantage of possible gains I would need tuning. Thoughts on this?

    2) What kind of gains and/or losses should I expect when still running stock injectors and VF52 turbo?

    3) Sound. How much will UEL headers change the sound over the stock pig-iron cast crap? I know UEL should retain the rumble, but will the pitch change? I am thinking about getting the Borla set (real, not repro/knock-off) which boasts a change in sound, though I am not sure if this is just jargen for their entire system, or if they mean the headers alone will make a "distinctive BORLA Sound of Power respected by motoring enthusiasts everywhere". The only headers I have heard when I knew they were installed are the EL ones Brandon has, and I am unable to find a comparison sound clip for just UEL headers....only stock vs complete system change.
    Stink-Eye Mob #39
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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    1) You may be able to get away without tuning the car. Without tuning, it's not worth the $$.
    2) Mild gains with proper tuning. Not to the extent of ELH, but you could probably bump up the timing a few degrees.
    3) It will likely quiet your exhaust a little bit. With heat wrap (which you need), it will quiet it down more. Pitch, expect it to sound slightly higher-pitched. For the rumble, depending how unequal the length, it will become more prominent, stay the same, or slightly go away.

    That said, if you're going to replace your headers, just go EL...
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

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    Registered User nsibanez's Avatar
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    Sounds like too many factors for aftermarket UEL if you want to keep an amazing sound. Maybe companies should have a try it before you buy it section.

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    Lando Calrissian DemonWRX's Avatar
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    higher pitched....no thanks. I would want deeper sound if the sound is going to change....I would want it to sound like it has a pair, not like it got kicked in the pair.
    Stink-Eye Mob #39
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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DemonWRX
    higher pitched....no thanks. I would want deeper sound if the sound is going to change....I would want it to sound like it has a pair, not like it got kicked in the pair.
    2005 WRX STi (Mods | Virtual Dyno)

    Resident Tuner @ WTF Tuning

    "Never trust anything that bleeds for a week and lives ..."

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    Lando Calrissian DemonWRX's Avatar
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    ok.... to summarize some PM'd stuff, to help get info out there for any other interested parties.....


    Adding headers, UnEqual Length (UEL) or Equal Length (EL), will change the pitch higher. This is due to the material (stainless pipe) they are made of and how thin it is compared to the cast thick stock manifolds.

    To keep the same general sound, I could go with PnP service on the manifolds along with upgraded cross-pipe....according to some sources, that could gain me 10whp/wtq +/-....other sources say no such power increase to be found from doing that.

    So....if I want the power/performance gains found in headers, I would need to just bite the bullet and get EL headers, give up all hopes of keeping the rumble, and hope to find a deeper sounding catback to off set the 'been racked' pitch change.

    Troubles are:

    1) I like the current sound I have. (Cobb DP, Nameless resonated MP, Nameless AB with Magnaflow muffler)
    2) I'm not aware of any deeper sounding catbacks for the quad-tip 3rd gen hatches
    3) I don't really want to spend the money on a new catback


    more input is always accepted if anyone has more to add.
    Stink-Eye Mob #39
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    OMG WTF MainFrame's Avatar
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    I don't think mine sounded quieter or higher pitched with the "replica" UEL headers I had.. if anything it was louder and deeper. Then again, it had a different muffler on it, so I can't say anything as far as a back to back comparison. Now that I have ELH I find myself annoyed with the "boxer rumble" burble sound of most Subarus around here. ELH just sounds so much better to my ear.

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    Registered User Eric05mx's Avatar
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    What mods/tune do you have now? If you still have the stock tmic I'd upgrade that first with a tune. That's a difference you will feel for sure.
    2012 WRX ice silver metallic
    Protuned by Agile Auto 315whp/342wtq @ 20.5psi

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    Registered User wrx1234's Avatar
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    I would get EL, no sense in buying headers for sound over performance in my opinion.
    2009 WRX - Catted DP, Torqued performance stage 2
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    Lando Calrissian DemonWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric05mx View Post
    What mods/tune do you have now? If you still have the stock tmic I'd upgrade that first with a tune. That's a difference you will feel for sure.
    CAI, TBE, PW TMIC, cobb pulley....and running on a customized stage2 HWG OTS tune ...haha, looks like alphabet soup

    Quote Originally Posted by wrx1234 View Post
    I would get EL, no sense in buying headers for sound over performance in my opinion.
    I hear ya, but I really don't care for the EL sound as much as I love the barble barble. If I were like Drews and had multiple toys I would get EL for one.....I'm just not ready to get rid of the barble from my life just yet.
    Stink-Eye Mob #39
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    Registered User Axex's Avatar
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    I don't have too much experience to speak from, but I thought I'd give you my thoughts anyways!

    1) I would think that part would need to be tuned, wouldn't be worth the money+install if you can't get the most out of it. Are you getting the most out of your current tune? You mentioned you are on a "customized OTS tune"

    2) I would think you are going to max out the stock injectors pretty soon if you aren't pushing them already. At least comparing to other people's builds that I have seen.

    3) I'm sure the sound will definitely change. Personally I don't like the sound of EL headers. I know the performance benefit is more important to some though. To me things like the boxer rumble, the hood scoop, the STI wing, etc... are all a unique part of the WRX/STI which makes them recognizable and special. I wouldn't give up any of them

    If it does make the pitch higher I would definitely try a different catback. You've probably seen this car/video and I know the setup is quite different than yours, but he's got the Borla UEL and a Greddy catback for the 3g hatch and I think it sounds friggin amazing! The rumble has definitely been "smoothed" so to speak, but its still present and I think it's really great.

    392 WHP Subaru WRX on Dyno and Atlanta Motorsports Park - YouTube

    If you're just looking for power, maybe your money would be better spent elsewhere though... Let us know what you go with though!

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