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Warning - Hi-tek Marine Stainless Manifolds - please learn from my expensive lesson

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Old 07-09-2011, 12:28 AM
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Default Warning - Hi-tek Marine Stainless Manifolds - please learn from my expensive lesson

Hello all from slow boater land. I just wanted to post my experience with Hi-Tek Marine Manifolds out of Australia. I purchased these for my small block 5.7 GXI Volvo hoping to add a bit more HP to my boat. The purchase process wasn't too bad, but the claims that are made about the product are pretty far fetched. Allen the owner was very quick to call when I had questions, but of course he wanted my $2300. Nevertheless, I am a bit of a novice but with his direction, I was able to get them installed. Allen told me that I would love these manifolds and that he had a customer that installed these with my same motor and gained 400 rpms.

Well, to make it short, the manifolds no performance gain whatsoever for my 5.7 VP Gxi small block. I did seem to pick up a bit on the low end, but I also changed out the original sparkplugs for NGK Iridiums, so I give them the credit for that really. It sounds good, even from the stock exhaust, but that is it really. I even thought that it might need to be tuned (although Allen said that was not necessary), but there is no way to get an AF wideband sensor to the exhaust as there is no port for them. Needless to say but I think that the improvement numbers for the manifolds that Hi-Tek claims are not entirely accurate.

In short, they look pretty, but that is about it. For my application they were a total waste of money. Probably should have known that.
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:27 PM
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In short, they look pretty, but that is about it. For my application they were a total waste of money. Probably should have known that.
If you purchased these headers merely looking for a performance gain, then I truly believe you are missing the boat.

HiTek manufactures a one piece stainless exhaust header design that takes the place of the multiple components that comprise our marine exhaust systems. The headers do not handle antifreeze, just seawater, so they are devoid of any block off plates to fail as have done in my situation. Additional advantages include a significantly cooler engine compartment, less plumbing to fail, a major weight savings, and a performance gain (on my 454's).

With the system only handling seawater, I found the engine bay to be notably cooler. I have been flowing cooler seawater from my rebuilt heat exchangers through the exhaust as opposed to hot engine antifreeze through the stock manifolds. The engine room temperature difference is impressive on the hottest of days, making it tolerable to work (albeit I have A/C in the salon they are located underneath). The headers are also significantly lighter than the stock exhaust weighing in at 14 lbs each (compared to well over 100lbs per manifold/riser/elbow ea). This means they can easily be installed by one person in a tight spot, as opposed to two mechanics required to install the outside manifolds straining to line up the heavy, awkward setup while they bolt it on (I have 2 engines and the outsides of the motors have about 2 inches between the exhaust and the fuel tanks). Performance was also a factor, as the larger header tubes are less restrictive than stock.

The cost of the headers landed was just over $4000 (approx $1000 apiece). If you were to consider the cost of replacing the elbows with OEM parts (not aftermarket elbows), you’d be looking at $400-500 w/ labor marina dependant. That is, at best, a five year solution. If you keep the boat for 10 years, it is recommended the FWC manifolds be replaced with the elbow change. You have now exceeded the one time cost of the headers. The other scary reality is a premature failure of the stock cast iron system. There are MANY posts of this happening to boaters, and taking out engines when it does (happened to me as well). This solution solves that problem. The only routine maintenance is to check the zincs every three months like you would your heat exchanger and U-Cooler.

IF you look at the other positives for this lifetime exhaust solution, I believe the average boater will agree that they are in fact an excellent exhaust solution.

Cheers,
Glenn
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Glenn Radler View Post
If you purchased these headers merely looking for a performance gain, then I truly believe you are missing the boat.

HiTek manufactures a one piece stainless exhaust header design that takes the place of the multiple components that comprise our marine exhaust systems. The headers do not handle antifreeze, just seawater, so they are devoid of any block off plates to fail as have done in my situation. Additional advantages include a significantly cooler engine compartment, less plumbing to fail, a major weight savings, and a performance gain (on my 454's).

With the system only handling seawater, I found the engine bay to be notably cooler. I have been flowing cooler seawater from my rebuilt heat exchangers through the exhaust as opposed to hot engine antifreeze through the stock manifolds. The engine room temperature difference is impressive on the hottest of days, making it tolerable to work (albeit I have A/C in the salon they are located underneath). The headers are also significantly lighter than the stock exhaust weighing in at 14 lbs each (compared to well over 100lbs per manifold/riser/elbow ea). This means they can easily be installed by one person in a tight spot, as opposed to two mechanics required to install the outside manifolds straining to line up the heavy, awkward setup while they bolt it on (I have 2 engines and the outsides of the motors have about 2 inches between the exhaust and the fuel tanks). Performance was also a factor, as the larger header tubes are less restrictive than stock.

The cost of the headers landed was just over $4000 (approx $1000 apiece). If you were to consider the cost of replacing the elbows with OEM parts (not aftermarket elbows), you’d be looking at $400-500 w/ labor marina dependant. That is, at best, a five year solution. If you keep the boat for 10 years, it is recommended the FWC manifolds be replaced with the elbow change. You have now exceeded the one time cost of the headers. The other scary reality is a premature failure of the stock cast iron system. There are MANY posts of this happening to boaters, and taking out engines when it does (happened to me as well). This solution solves that problem. The only routine maintenance is to check the zincs every three months like you would your heat exchanger and U-Cooler.

IF you look at the other positives for this lifetime exhaust solution, I believe the average boater will agree that they are in fact an excellent exhaust solution.

Cheers,
Glenn

+1


headers alone dont generally offer any noticeable gains when added to a stock application. What they do is allow you the ability to take advantage of more meaningful modifications. A simple swap to a header may only yield ten or so HP (on stock engine) and that really wont be noticeable. Sorry to hear you are dissapointed buts it probably not any fault of the manufacturer. This is all research that should have been done outside of their involvement.
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:57 PM
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Agree with Dave and Glenn. Seems your expectations were a bit high for a "stock" engine.

Think of an engine as an air pump since that's really all it is. Air goes in air goes out. Maximizing efficiencies is what gives you more power. If your engine is "choked" for air either in or out that will damper your power.

Only way to pick up sizable gains from just exhaust is if the original design was hurting the flow to begin with. With no other mods the performance gains are minimal, as you experienced.

However, if you are looking to do things like cam, heads, blower, etc THEN you will see a power gain over the stock manifolds. Hope that makes sense.

It was still a good buy so dont knock yourself too bad. They should have been more upfront with expected power gains. Cant always trust posted power gains.
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:00 PM
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actual results may very . . . . .






sorry, i do hope you can maximize these headers with a few more add ons. Maybe a cam would be a good step in the right direction.
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Old 09-08-2011, 05:29 PM
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No header is gonna do much for a stock 350...
Get a nice cam and maybe some roller rockers and
then they will start to do something..
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:18 PM
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I was not impressed with Hi Tec when I had a set. Just a water box around a upside down SS header. Mine always rattled and after 2 summers of use one of the corners split on the "water box" for about 3 inches and to have them fixed I had to pay for them to be sent back to Australia ($450.00) and had to wait 3 months before they came back. Never will do that again.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:50 AM
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I think that one must be daft to voluntarily put SS tube next to the fire. Think 'leaky headers'.......
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:21 PM
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Hi Brownie, I have just spoken to the Ciggarette factory and they said Your THE guy to call, he said you may have some knowledge on fitting a single motor in something like a boat the size of a Gladiator, can you advise me, simon from the UK,Many Thank's.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:21 PM
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Default Marine Manifolds versus Marine Headers?

I am not responding to this thread as a pro or con on HI-Tek marine SS manifolds as I have no expierence with them from a performance gain or reliability standpoint.
The reason for my post here is just pretty much meant to be educational.
I have been trying for many years now to get performance boaters to understand and try and distinguish the differences between marine exhaust manifolds, their variations and true marine longer runner headers. In my performance expierence and years I try to let boaters know as an engine builder that there is a definite difference between marine manifolds and marine headers. When discussing normally aspirated marine engines, there are always usually net power gain benefits form changing either log type marine manifolds or short runner base manifold and riser type manifold exhaust pieces over to longer runner, merge collector tuned marine headers.
Even with small cubic inch smaller horsepower marine engines (250HP and 400Hp) you can see and measure generally about 10-30HP gains and associated torque increases when real longer tube true headers are used to replace original stock marine manifolds. In higher horsepower bigger cubic inch engines the increases can grow to 40-50HP form a real long tube header. Generally when stock center riser marine exhaust manifolds are replaced with true headers and not just another aftermarket marine manifold system the gains will be about 20-40HP.
Why do I say minimum? Its because with most recreational performance boats it takes somewhere between 12-25HP to net a 1 mph gain in actual boat speed and overall performance. This means a +20HP increase from any new exhaust header maqy only result in a 1-1.5mph increase in speed and thats only if all other prop, bottom and setups on the boat are spot on and correct.
We therefore get to the old addage"Bang for the Buck" .When you consider the real verified power increases from good real marine header system changes need to be measured against the costs that generally vary between $2500 and $5000 per engine for the headers only and not installation costs.
What I am also saying here is that you are not going to unbolt some of the current good design stock marine exhaust manifolds and bolt on a new marine manifold system like this design from Hi-Tek (short runner incorporated into a simple riser) or short E-top type headers or just marine replacement aftermarket manifold systems and see any real usuable net power increase.
If you are doing so for the look (BLING) and sound of the the new manifold or shorty header type polished pices then thats another story and cost justification to be considered.
If your stock manifolds are at end of life or damaged then the aftermarket manifolds will in many cases be at equal or sometimes lower cost than the OEM manifold and riser replacements. It is also advisable and a benefit for reliability to replace these exhaust manifolds with the new dry riser joint type manifolds and eliminate the wet water passage and gasket joints between the base manifold and riser where engine destroying leaks and corrosion can and do occur.
In summary here, don't expect most replacement short runner single riser manifold systems to add any real measurable power on stock engines and even on higher horsepower 400-500HP marine engines the gains may only be in the 15-20HP range which will net a very small or almost unmeasurable increase in boat performance.
Bottom line- Don't call marine short runner manifolds HEADERS! and when considering replacing exhaust systems on your boats try to find test data and actual performance boater results form independant sources and don't rely on manufacturers or distributor claims to make your $2500-$5000 exhaust system expenditures if you work on a budget and expect measurable results for the purchase!
I will receive a lot of flack for this post from varing sources and a lot of so called marine exhaust experts, but I have done a great deal of independant testing and evaluation on marine exhaust upgrades on V-8 marine engines between 300-700 HP in general as have others on OSO like Bob at Full Throttle and and many good marine engine builders. Most of us will say that a good true header or header manifold system will add some good measurable power increases. Do exhaust upgrades always translate to increased boat performance, Heck NO! That increase will depend on many variables and that's a choice for you as the boat owner and money supplier to make and substantiate.
Please also remember that all the other factors of hull form, type,size, weight, setup and drive and prop efficiences will also greatly affect the performance gains seen from exhaust upgrades.
Investigate header and manifold exhaust systems carefully and determine what you will accept and need in performance gains, then buy and spend accordingly.

Best Regards,
Ray @ Raylar

Last edited by Raylar; 12-14-2011 at 08:28 PM.
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