Replace Headers or go back with intake manifolds??

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Afert years of LC absence, I am a little rusty of 2F knowledge. I am no mechanic by any means. I need to replace my headers, or go back with what came with them from the factory. So, the question is, what are the benefits to headers? I mean. It’s a 2F and I cant expect much in the way of performance from Headers. What disadvantages are there to the intake manifold set up?
Note: I am trying to get the truck back to its original form as possible….with the exception of some creature comforts, ie: AC and PS.
 

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chupacabra
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The following is just my opinion, but based on experience:

Headers will flow more air more efficiently, but yeah, it's a tractor motor not a drag racing motor. Headers also dump a lot of heat into the engine bay; this can be hard on plastic/rubber components like VCV's and vacuum lines, etc. In my experience, headers tend to vibrate loose and need to be re-tightened periodically. They also tend to rust out over time and give you pinhole leaks.

The stock cast iron manifolds do not flow efficiently, but at the useful rpm range of the 2F they are good enough. Disadvantages: sometimes the heat riser will fail and/or leak. Sometimes it may take (machine shop) work to get the intake and exhaust flanges the same thickness so they will seal well.

A good compromise I would like to try next time, is to use a 3FE exhaust manifold on the 2F, retaining the stock 2F intake manifold. It is said to flow better than the stock 2F exhaust manifolds - it is a different shape for sure, and has two exhaust outputs, so you would need to re-work your exhaust pipe(s) to fit.
 
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why do you have to replace the headers?
if they aren't leaking I would leave them alone
if they are leaking I'd go back to stock manifold setup
Well, they are fairly rusty. I think we can clean them up and paint them, but they are also welded together and is making it hard to work in the engine bay with the motor out awaiting a replacement. We can cut them and resell, but I am not suse if its one of those ”while we are in there” things.
 
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The supply of decent quality headers is low or non existent now. More than likely any new header you buy now will sooner than later have the same problems and be a waste of money. Unless the promise of extra performance is that important to you, go for a cast iron manifold, get it machined flat and call it good for many years. The 3FE manifolds are an interesting option.
 

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