Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Headers For 5.3 Silverado Reviewed

We have reviewed the best headers on the market for the 5.3 Silverado. Here are the top-rated short and long tube options from the highest quality brands.

Headers are bolt-on accessories used to improve engine performance. The header makes it easier for the engine to remove exhaust gases out of the cylinders. In addition to finding the best tuner, you want the best headers for 5.3 Silverado, which we review in-depth.


Preview

Product

Compatible Vehicles

Header Type

Thickness

Check Price

Pace Setter 72C2265 Performance Armor Coat...

Pace Setter 72C2265

1999-2006 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra

Long tube

1-3/4”

Gibson GP129S Stainless Steel Performance...

Gibson GP129S

Most Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra w/o air injection

Short tube

1-5/8”

Gibson Performance Exhaust GP115S-C Ceramic...

Gibson GP115S-C

Most Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra w/o air injection

Short tube

1-5/8”

Pace Setter 70-2265 Performance Long Tube...

Pace Setter 70-2265

1999-2006 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra

Long tube

1-3/4”

DNA Motoring HDS-GY99 Stainless Steel Exhaust...

DNA Motoring HDS-GY99 Header

2002-2011 Chevrolet/ GMC Pickups and SUVs

Short tube

1-3/4”

BBK 40050 1-3/4' Shorty Tuned Length...

BBK 40050

1999-2007 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and SUV models

Short tube

1-3/4”

Flowtech 14-15 Gm P/U/Suv Shorty Header...

Flowtech

2014-2015 Chevy/GMC trucks and SUVs

Short tube

1-5/8”

Chevy GMC 07-14 4.8L 5.3L 6.0L Long Tube...

TUNERBITS

2007-2014 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and SUVs

Long tube

1-3/4”


How Headers Work on 5.3 Silverado Engines

With a typical engine, the exhaust gas exits the cylinder, pushing it into the exhaust manifold. From here, the gases flow into one pipe leading to the catalytic converter and muffler. The header eliminates the back pressure experienced in the manifold. The headers and exhaust for a 5.3 Vortec Chevy Silverado make the process more efficient.


Benefits of Headers on a Silverado

When you have a header installed on your 5.3 Silverado engine, you receive several benefits. First, the header improves the engine’s efficiency, plus it can increase the horsepower and torque. Furthermore, it maximizes the clean air intake into the engine, allowing everything to run smoother.


How To Choose The Right 5.3 Silverado Header

Header Type

There are two different header types to choose from.

  • Full Length/Long Tubes
    The long tube header is designed with racing in mind. It is meant to replace the factory catalytic converter but is also illegal in some states. Most options are made from cast steel or bent tubes, making for a more complex installation.
  • Shorty/Short Tube Option
    Short tube headers provide low to mid-range RPM power. They are meant for the everyday driver and connect into the factory catalytic converter. Because of this, you can change the manifold while still adhering to state emission laws.

Vehicle Compatibility

If you are looking at headers for a 2014 Silverado 5.3 engine, you wouldn’t want to purchase headers for a 2004 Silverado 5.3 engine as it may not be compatible. Instead, search by your make and model number to see what headers will work with your configuration.

Peak Torque RPM

Peak torque is the maximum that a motor can produce to hit a certain number of revolutions per minute, or RPM. You want to know what the peak torque RPM that a header can produce before purchasing.

Header Size

The header tube diameter typically measures between 1-3/4-inches to 1-7/8-inches for use on a smaller engine and up to 2-3/8-inch tubes for a larger displacement, high-horsepower engine.

Header Configuration & Dimensions

You can choose from either a 4-into-1 header or the Tri-Y header configuration. The 4-into-1 header provides additional top-end power, while the Tri-Y bolsters midrange torque instead.

Durability/Material

You want the headers for a Chevy Silverado 5.3 engine to last long, without the need for a replacement. For this to occur, you want a durable material, preferably a mild or stainless steel design.

Header Coating

It’s also important to look at the header finish. Obviously, the finish needs to look good and should mesh well with your truck’s appearance. You can find plain black options, as well as chrome. Additionally, it helps if the header is corrosion-resistant to avoid rust and wear. With a stainless steel interior or ceramic coating, the header will hold up better against impact.

Airflow Restrictions

A good header provides better pressure release than a manifold by producing a pipe for each cylinder. However, the header must also create a good seal to avoid leakage through a faulty connection. You want room for the gases to flow without losing any air.

Emission Requirements

State emission laws vary, so you might need an eco-friendly header. Otherwise, you could fail your emission inspection, making your new header a waste of money. Research what is required in your area and choose a header that won't mess with the requirements.

Installation Requirements

Length is the most important consideration when looking at the installation. If your truck has the space to accommodate the header, you shouldn’t have a tough job. However, if there isn’t enough room, you might need to make some modifications to rearrange components.


8 Best Headers for 5.3 Silverado Reviewed

1. Pace Setter 72C2265

Best Long Tube Header for 5.3 Silverado

Compatible Vehicles

1999-2006 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra

Header Type

Long tube

Material

Mild steel

Finishing/Coating

Ceramic ArmorCoat

Header Configuration

4-1

Thickness

1-3/4”

The long tube headers for a 5.3 Silverado come from Pace Setter. This set features a polished 2000-degree metallic ceramic coating, which improves longevity. This specialized ArmorCoat doesn’t discolor like paint. It also resists rust and corrosion, plus it is simple to clean. Additionally, this set is CNC-machined with port-matched thick steel flanges that offer a positive seal for reduced leakage and unrestricted flow to the primary tubes. With a tight seal, you can count on more performance.

Installation isn't tricky, and basic skills are all that's required. The easy bolt-on installation ensures that most vehicles won't require fabrication or welding. The kit comes complete with everything you need to get started, including the gaskets and fasteners. Pace Setter uses mandrel-bent tubing, which is optimized to provide the largest performance boost.

Considering the low price, one would think that this product wouldn’t be high-quality, but that’s not the case. Just read through the customer reviews for proof. Additionally, the company provides a two-year warranty for further protection. However, this kit isn’t meant for the newer Silverado trucks. Instead, it fits the 99-06 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra lineup. We recommend this kit to increase performance and efficiency without needing a professional installer to do the job. 

Pros

  • Durable finish
  • Reasonable price
  • Bolt-on installation
  • 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Not for newer trucks

2. Gibson GP129S

Best Short Tube Header for 5.3 Silverado

Compatible Vehicles

Most Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra w/o air injection

Header Type

Short tube

Material

Stainless steel

Finishing/Coating

Not coated

Header Configuration

4-1

Thickness

1-5/8”

On the other hand, if you want the best short tube headers for a 5.3 Silverado, we recommend this kit from Gibson. It features 1-5/8” tubing with a direct fit bolt-on installation. You can use all of the OEM style connections to get this installed quickly. As a stainless steel header, you know that this kit is built to last. Even if you frequently drive in harsh conditions, you shouldn’t notice any premature failure.

The kit comes with heavy-duty laser cut port flanges that protect from warping. It also includes leak-proof premium gaskets and all the hardware you require. Changing out your header with this option won’t affect your truck’s factory warranty. It also meets all carb and EPA requirements. This header is recommended for use with most Silverado trucks, but it won’t work with any pickups with air injection.

As the best shorty headers for a 5.3 Silverado, you will have a slightly higher price tag than some other options. Additionally, the company only provides a 90-day warranty, which is lower than some of the other top brands. Still, after looking through the customer reviews, it’s clear that this is one of the best options on the market, in terms of fit and durability.

Pros

  • Strong stainless steel construction
  • Meets CARB and EPA requirements
  • Bolt-on installation
  • Works with OEM connections

Cons

  • Can’t be used with air injection

3. Gibson GP115S-C

Top of the Range

Compatible Vehicles

Most Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra w/o air injection

Header Type

Short tube

Material

Stainless steel

Finishing/Coating

Not coated

Header Configuration

4-1

Thickness

1-5/8”

Another short tube header option from Gibson is this performance model. It also features 5/8-inch tubing, as well as a flat flange ball with EGR fitting. As with the last model, you can't use this with air injection. Unlike the previous model, this performance header does feature ceramic coating for additional durability. It also has heavy-duty laser cut port flanges to prevent warping.

The direct-fit bolt-on replacement ensures that you don't have to perform any welding. Simply use the OEM style connections. It's a direct replacement for your factory manifold and uses the stock crossover pipe. You can use this with a truck that has a lift kit or has been lowered. Additionally, the headers meet all CARB and EPA requirements, plus are street legal in all 50 states.

You are spending a little more than with the last kit, but you are getting a better header, especially when you consider the coating. Gibson DYNO tests this header to ensure better horsepower and torque on Silverado trucks. However, you will only get a 90-day warranty, but most customers agree that the quality is top-notch, ensuring you shouldn’t need to file a claim. We recommend this option if you want a performance-focused short tube header and aren’t worried about the cost.

Pros

  • Performance-focused
  • Meets CARB and EPA requirements
  • Bolt-on installation
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Can’t be used with air injection

4. Pace Setter 70-2265

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

1999-2006 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra

Header Type

Long tube

Material

16-gauge carbon steel

Finishing/Coating

Black finish

Header Configuration

4-1

Thickness

1-3/4”

There’s also another Pace Setter option if you prefer that brand. This CNC-machined header provides port-matched thick steel flanges for a positive seal and unrestricted airflow. The mandrel-bent tubing is made from 16-gauge carbon steel to provide exceptional durability and longevity. The standard black paint finish offers some protection from the elements.

Additionally, it doesn’t take much effort to install this header. Even with the most basic skills, you should get a perfect fit in minimal time. The gaskets that you need are included in the kit, so there’s nothing lacking that you need. The 1-3/4” primary tubes enter a three-inch collector, offering ideal cylinder evacuation for your 1999-2006 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra.

For the price, it’s hard to beat the Pace Setter header. Long tube headers don’t generally come at a price this low. However, even though it’s a budget-friendly option, the company still provides a two-year warranty for maximum protection. According to the customer reviews, there’s no need to spend more unless you need something with a larger tube diameter. For many people, this is quite an upgrade from the factory exhaust system, offering more horsepower and better fuel economy. For how simple it is to install, there's no reason not to give it a try.

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Simple to install
  • 2-year warranty
  • Durable materials

Cons

  • Not as many positive reviews

5. DNA Motoring HDS-GY99 Header

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

2002-2011 Chevrolet/ GMC Pickups and SUVs

Header Type

Short tube

Material

T304 stainless steel

Finishing/Coating

none

Header Configuration

4-1

Thickness

1-3/4”

Another low-cost option comes from DNA Motoring. The precision-machined steel flanges with this manifold offer a tight head seal that also allows for superior airflow through the primary tubes. The headers are constructed from T304 stainless steel for maximum durability and plenty of strength. All of the tubing is also mandrel-bent, so no corners have been cut.

Use this header with your 2002-2011 Chevrolet/ GMC Pickups and SUVs for a superior fit. The shorty headers are designed for off-road use, allowing exhaust gas to flow from each cylinder freely and combine in a more efficient way. The design reduces back pressure to improve exhaust velocity. What you will receive is an increase in horsepower and torque, plus better fuel economy, as a result.

The kit is simple to install and comes with the gaskets you need. Because the price is low, you have every reason to give it a try. However, it's essential to keep in mind that the company doesn't provide a warranty. Thankfully, the ratings lead us to believe that there shouldn't be an issue that would require this type of coverage. You may even be the next customer that leaves a five-star review for this product.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Easy install
  • Increase horsepower
  • Solid construction

Cons

  • No warranty

6. BBK 40050

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

1999-2007 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and SUV models

Header Type

Short tube

Material

Steel

Finishing/Coating

Silver ceramic

Header Configuration

4-1

Thickness

1-3/4”

Another shorty header option is this model from BBK. This aftermarket header is made in the United States and built with quality products. In fact, the CNC-machined mandrel-bent tubing offers 35% more airflow when compared with the stock manifold. This can add up to 15 horsepower, while also improving the torque and performance.

The heavy gauge 1-3/4” tubing comes with 3/8” laser cut flanges and a larger bore. It offers a perfect fit over the factory exhaust, with replacement gaskets and hardware. You will also notice the unique sound that is offered with this upgrade. This particular model will work with your 1999-2007 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and SUV models. Plus, it is polished with a silver ceramic finish for even more protection. 

While looking at the reviews, it’s clear that the company stands by its products. There is not only a one-year warranty but also a 30-day return policy. This return policy covers you even if you don’t like the setup or are unhappy with the performance. Many other aftermarket companies don’t provide this type of guarantee, which is one thing that sets this model apart. However, the kit is on the pricey side, considering that it is a short tube header. The old saying goes – you get what you pay for.

Pros

  • Highly rated
  • Easy install
  • Improved performance
  • 1-year warranty; 30-day guarantee

Cons

  • More expensive

7. Flowtech

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

2014-2015 Chevy/GMC trucks and SUVs

Header Type

Short tube

Material

16-gauge 409 stainless steel

Finishing/Coating

none

Header Configuration

4-1

Thickness

1-5/8”

Another solid shorty header is this option made from Flowtech. The mandrel-bent tubing is constructed from 16-gauge 409 stainless steel for consistent airflow and increased velocity of the exhaust gases. Plus, this construction increases the durability and strength, ensuring you won’t need to replace the headers anytime soon. Unlike some of the smaller options, the 1-5/8” diameter ensures that the exhaust flow moves freely, improving performance and torque.

Plus, the installation is simple. The OE style ball and socket collector can easily connect to your factory exhaust head pipe, without the need to weld or cut anything. The TIG-welded and machined 3/8" header flange also offers a leak-free seal for even more precision. You can use this on your 2014-2015 Chevy/GMC trucks and SUVs.

There aren't a lot of customer ratings for this set yet, but the ones that are there are favorable. Plus, the price is reasonable, considering the level of performance that's offered. Sadly, there is no warranty information. If this is important to you, it might be better to choose one of the other options we mentioned instead. Overall, this doesn't work on many vehicles but seems to offer superior performance when it is a good fit.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • No modifications needed
  • Increased performance
  • Large tubing

Cons

  • No warranty

8. TUNERBITS

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

2007-2014 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and SUVs

Header Type

Long tube

Material

Stainless steel

Finishing/Coating

none

Header Configuration

Tri-Y

Thickness

1-3/4”

Our final option offers a unique design featuring two exhaust headers and Y-pipes with gaskets. It is an 8-2-1 piping design that provides superior performance. Plus, the CNC-machined flanges are constructed with MIG and TIG welding to ensure a superior build. The pipes feature a high-quality polished stainless steel finish for a great look and maximum protection. Additionally, there are blanking plugs included for the three O2 sensor locations if your truck doesn’t require them.

The primary tube size is 1-3/4” that fits your 2007-2014 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and SUVs. The installation is also simple to do, with all of your gaskets and hardware included. You shouldn’t need to make any modifications to get this installed, ensuring that you won’t need the help of a professional, as long as you have basic mechanical skills and tools.

The price of this long tube header is exceptional, but there is no warranty information. Without this protection, it could cause a little alarm, leaving you to decide if it is worth the risk. However, the existing customer reviews suggest that this is a solidly-built option from a reputable company, which offers some peace of mind. We feel confident recommending it as one of the best headers for your Chevy truck.

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • No modifications required
  • Reasonable price
  • Reputable brand

Cons

  • No warranty information

All About 5.3 Silverado Engines

The L83 engine is a 5.3-liter V8 motor, part of the EcoTec3 engine family (Generation V Small Block), which replaced the Vortec lineup. It is used in 2014-2018 Chevy Silverado trucks, as well as the GMC Sierra and many SUVs.  The Vortec 5.3-liter V8 engine suffered from many problems, such as excessive oil consumption, a cracked cylinder head, spark plug failure, and intake manifold and gasket failure.


5.3 Silverado Engine Header Size Compatibility

Choosing headers for a 5.3 Silverado starts with picking the right size. 1-1/2” is too small. Instead, it would be better to use the stock manifold. 1-5/8” is a good choice for some upgraded airflow. 1-3/4” is the most popular for a reliable flow, and might be the best diameter overall. However, 1-7/8" is suitable for heavily modified trucks as far as the extreme benefits are concerned.


Installing Headers on 5.3 Silverado Engine

Each vehicle will be different, which is why you want to read the installation instructions with the header you choose. However, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Gather all of your tools ahead of time.
  • Maintain a clean work surface.
  • Disconnect the battery before beginning.
  • Secure your vehicle on a jack with jack stands.
  • Consider using header wraps, which keep the heat in the pipe and improve exhaust flow.

You can also watch this helpful installation video.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How much horsepower do headers add?

A quality set of headers can add ten to twenty more horsepower. The long pipe headers cause less back pressure in the exhaust, which causes more horsepower.

Will I get better mileage with these headers?

Headers combined with a cat-back system offer a boost in power, which either maintains the existing fuel economy or improves it slightly.

Do headers make my truck sound better or louder?

There might be a slight noise increase, but the headers don’t make the truck itself louder. Instead, the gas is released more efficiently, which turns into larger sounds. The long tube header will create more noise than the short tube option.

Are headers bad for your engine?

No, headers help the exhaust flow more efficiently, which is beneficial to the engine and won’t hurt it.

Do headers increase mpg?

With a cat-back system and headers, you gain a boost in power, which maintains your mpg or offers a slight increase in performance.

How long do these headers last?

It depends on your driving style, the conditions you drive in, and how frequently you use your truck. If you drive for two years daily, you should get plenty of life out of mild steel headers. However, the stainless option might last for double the time, while cast iron manifolds can survive for more than ten years.

How much should I spend on a quality header for my 5.3 Silverado engine?

The cheapest headers will cost several hundred dollars, but you can also expect to spend thousands if you want a high-quality header. Short tube options are generally less expensive than the long tube counterparts.


Conclusion

If you want to find the best long tube headers for a 5.3 Silverado, we recommend the Pace Setter 72C2265. It comes at a reasonable price and features a polished 2000-degree metallic ceramic coating.

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