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Kooks vs American Racing Headers

Discussion in '5.2L V8 Voodoo Engine Mods & Bolt-Ons' started by Bcobb85, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. Bcobb85

    Bcobb85 Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys! Trying to decide on which headers to go with. I'm in between American Racing and Kooks. I was originally 100% sold on the ARH ones but the more I look at the Kooks, the more I like. It seems the Kooks were developed with Ford Engineers specifically for the GT350 while the ARH are pretty much identical to the ones they offer for the 5.0.
    Which do you prefer and why?
    I've seen a few issues with the Kooks developing cracks but not sure how common that is, has anyone had the same issues with ARH?
    Also, the header design itself is very different between both manufacturers, is one known to make more power than the other?
     
  2. honeybadger

    honeybadger Just don't care

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    Kooks didn't design them with Ford from what I know, but followed some guidance specifically for the 350 (i.e. adding the dampeners). That said, I run the ARH on my car which gets driven harder than most and haven't had any issues. Highly recommend.

    Neither will make more power. The "big" power increase comes from removing the cats. OEM headers flow well enough for an N/A motor.
     
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    Bcobb85

    Bcobb85 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback! This is the article that I read that eluded to Kooks work with Ford to develop the headers... https://www.fordmuscle.com/tech-sto...gets-a-power-boost-from-kooks-custom-headers/
     
  4. honeybadger

    honeybadger Just don't care

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    I read "Kooks has the ability to work closely with Ford’s engineering team" as a fairly loose statement. Could be wrong, but I didn't get the impression they're co-engineered or "blessed" by Ford. I'd assume either is a gamble. Given that I know a few guys who cracked Kooks headers, I chose to go with ARH.

    From what I've seen, it looks like Kooks has better fitment but ARH is more durable.
     
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    Bcobb85

    Bcobb85 Well-Known Member

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    Yea, its definitely wishy washy but when they mentioned working with Multimatic on the Roush car I made the assumption. I'm definitely leaning towards ARH mainly for the sound. I've watched alot of your vids and love the tone. The fact that you run the shit out of yours and haven't had any cracking issues gives me alot of confidence in the durability. What issues did you have fitment wise?
     
  6. Bryanh24

    Bryanh24 Well-Known Member

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    Went with ARH on my car they are currently getting installed as we speak. Can’t wait to go pick it up!
     
  7. Ninjak

    Ninjak Posting from the Shadows

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    I run Kooks was my first mod 2 weeks into ownership. No issues, and sounds really good. I also run a off road xpipe, no resonators, but the OEM mufflers
     
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    Bcobb85

    Bcobb85 Well-Known Member

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    Any sound clips of your setup?
     
  9. madlag

    madlag Snake Charmer

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    Kooks is local to me and I know many there personally. They worked with Ford Performance directly on many aspects including their FPC crate motor "Aluminator" project. Having said that, their complete exhaust system for the 350 was rushed to market. I ended up having their R&D team build me a one off custom system that performed better and was much quieter than the public offering.

    As for durability, last I checked the Kooks headers were built stronger using a stepped/graduated approach and included flex couplings for their X pipe where the ARH doesn't. That flex coupling is a must and will keep cracks from forming. just my 2 cents but I'd do Kooks every time if nothing else, for strength.
     
  10. honeybadger

    honeybadger Just don't care

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    We're probably getting into semantics, but I'd still bet there's some confusion here. Unless I missed it, there's no FPC crate motor "aluminator" project. The Aluminator is CPC and the Voodoo is the only FPC V8 Ford makes.

    No doubt Kooks works with Ford on their race cars....but those are CPC. They could have worked on the GT350RC that was raced initially. Either way, I'm not seeing enough clarity on the matter for me to feel confident really betting on that either way.

    Given the lack of clarity and official statements from Ford, I chose to go with real-world feedback that I could find. As mentioned earlier, I know a few who have cracked Kooks systems at the welds and no one with a broken ARH system (although fitment was sketchy for some).

    Regarding your flex fitting statement, agreed that's a nice touch (as are the dampeners). But I'd argue that's mostly for the street. Most track cars don't use flex fittings (can fail under extreme heat) or the dampeners (loosen and fall off) based on my experience. Given that I've never seen the ARH headers fail, not sure a flex fitting is needed. Would be a lot easier during install, tho.
     
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  11. honeybadger

    honeybadger Just don't care

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    I don't think my fitment issues were normal. Given the engine upgrades and extreme G's more car sees, the engine moves around a good bit. I was having very light contact with the frame rail. I just clearanced them a bit.

    But I know others that had to send their's back in the early days. They've supposedly fixed the jog and it now fits correctly.
     
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    Bcobb85

    Bcobb85 Well-Known Member

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    Thats good to hear. I saw that Alton had issues as he was one of the first to run them and they sent him a revised set. Was hoping they fixed the issues since.
     
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  13. madlag

    madlag Snake Charmer

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    Yes I realize the aluminator is a cpc engine but my point is that they work closely with FP on a lot of different projects including the initial FPC engines. its one of the reasons they were some of first to market with an exhaust solution. They've actually revised their kit to remove dampeners as they cause more vibration than they solve for. The headers + the flex is all they need apparently. The construction of the header itself appears to be structurally superior. Agree on the flex pipe failure point.. I'll add that its the first thing to scrape road and shred. Def a maintenance thing to keep an eye on with it but worth it for longevity of system.


    Edit to add for those that question the dampeners: I saw the harmonics/vibration numbers taken on my car and another like it but NA during development and testing. The difference was definitely there.
     
  14. sublime1996525

    sublime1996525 Well-Known Member

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    ARH is who I want to go with based on HB and the sound alone. :dance:
     
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    Bcobb85

    Bcobb85 Well-Known Member

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    But even still, they removed them because they were doing more harm than good?
     
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