Dynatech SuperMaxx Headers
Installation for the 5.7 HEMI RAM 1500 (2WD)
By Mark Simonds (MrHemi)
Virginia Beach, Virginia
I’m one of those guys that just can never get enough… horsepower, that is. Our HemiTruckClub.com project truck started as a stock ’03 Hemi Ram with 345 horsepower at the flywheel. That was fine for a while, but we soon found out we wanted more power… so a cold air intake and a cat-back exhaust were installed, which bumped up the power to approximately 365-370 at the flywheel. Then along came the Superchips programmer, which added another 20 horsepower. That was all well and good, but we still wanted more… something that would work well with the previous modifications, and provide a real noticeable “kick in the pants” performance boost. The answer was simple… headers! And not just any headers would do - we wanted a complete performance system that included stainless steel long tubes, the “Y” pipe, and two high-flow performance catalytic converters. In other words, we wanted Dynatech’s SuperMaxx headers.
When you first look at the $1,295 price tag of the Dynatech SuperMaxx headers, you're tempted to say “that’s a lot of money just for headers!” But Dynatech's Supermaxx system is a complete package - it includes the long tube headers, the "Y" pipe, two high-flow cats, and an extension pipe… all stainless steel. A true “bolt-on” application... and on the 5.7 Hemi, the horsepower and torque gains are substantial (see dyno chart below). Dynatech’s SuperMaxx header system is fully OBD-II compatible. They do not however, carry a C.A.R.B. number… so this system is not authorized for street use in California or other state that follows California’s emission restriction laws.
When I started researching the “Headers Market”, I quickly discovered most companies offered just the headers… maybe if we were lucky the “Y” pipe might be included. The results of the Internet journey is best summed up with the below chart:
*Average cost of a high-flow catalytic converter is $90-$190 EACH (most are a “universal fit” application). ** Additional cost of “Y” pipe for this application is $473.
So let’s do the math – we’ll take the average price for everything needed for a complete application. Take Gibson headers for example: $500 for the headers, $150 (X2) for hi-flow performance cats, and $400 or so for a “Y” pipe (if you can find one). The total comes to $1,200 – and that’s for miss-matched parts that may or may not work together… and definitely have not been tuned to perfection. So after all the research, the final decision was an easy one. Not too many days later, there was a big white box on my doorstep with “Dynatech SuperMaxx” on the side. I called my friends at Dynotuned Performance, Inc. to set up an appointment to install the headers, and we were ready to go.
The morning of the install I stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and a dozen donuts… I wanted to make sure the folks that were going to install the Dynatech headers would be happy to see me coming! More about the great guys at Dynotuned Performance, Inc. later in this article… read on!
Dynatech’s brochure states the installation should take 2.5 hours… we started at 10am and finished the installation at 2:30pm – extra time was required to wait until the engine cooled down and to modify the Gibson Super Truck cat-back exhaust (more on that later). The first thing we did was review the comprehensive instruction booklet that came with the kit. I was quite impressed with Dynatech’s installation manual… 14 pages of very detailed, step-by-step instructions, which included 28 full color photos to guide you along the installation process. The booklet also contained safety notices, safety gear recommended for the installation, and a 1-800 number to call - if for whatever reason you get stuck somewhere during the install. We didn’t have to call the toll-free number…
The most important safety precaution during this entire installation was right at the beginning – ensure the engine is completely cool before starting. The most obvious reason for this is the ease of handling the stock manifolds. But another important reason is with the Hemi’s aluminum heads - you don’t want to be backing out bolts while the heads are still hot. All bolts to be removed were sprayed with penetrating oil at this time as well.
While we were waiting for the Hemi to cool down, the truck was lifted it up on the rack to make life easier for the installation process. This installation can be done without a lift (such as a driveway), but since Dynotuned Performance, Inc. had a lift, it was a no-brainer. The front wheels were removed, followed by the plastic inner wheel well protectors. Next the thin aluminum manifold shields were removed, followed by the bolts securing the manifold to the mid-pipe.
Since this Hemi Ram had an aftermarket cat-back exhaust, we removed the “U” clamp that secured it to the stock cat pipe, and removed the entire cat-back assembly (again, for the ease of assembly of the header pipes. Make sure the two oxygen sensors’ electrical harnesses are unplugged before removing the pipes. After removing all the bolts holding the stock manifold, mid-pipe, and cat pipe together, the entire stock exhaust was removed.
This was a great opportunity to see the difference between the Dynatech headers and the stock manifold… I was amazed at how small and insignificant-looking the stock manifold was compared to the headers. The Dynatech headers are a full 2.5” inner diameter, whereas the stock manifold was barely 2 ¼” in diameter. The new headers literally dwarfed the stock manifold!
Now it was time to install the new headers… and to no one’s surprise everything fit perfectly, including the gaskets. We made sure that the header bolts had anti-seize on the tips, since we were bolting into aluminum heads. Life was made easier by placing all bolts in before tightening any one bolt (in case the flange needed to be adjusted). All bolts were torqued to 15 ft lbs.
One note of concern from one of the guys at the shop – it was a challenge using the torque wrench on the lower flange bolts of each header. But if you’ve been turning wrenches for awhile, you can gauge pretty close to what 15 foot pounds feels like. One minor item that was not addressed in the instruction manual is on the passenger side upper control arm mount (rear), there are two little tabs that stick out. These must be bent just a hair to properly fit the headers. This also ensured us that during engine operation there will be no chance of vibration from the headers touching these mounts tabs. A pair of regular pliers did the trick!
Also included in the header kit was some heat shield fabric for fuel lines and miscellaneous wiring that comes fairly close to the driver’s side header (Dynatech thought of everything!). It is recommended that the shielding by wrapped around these lines and wires prior to installing the driver’s side header (makes it easier to install).
Next was the installation of the catalytic converters - these high-flow catalytic converters deliver a 106% increase in exhaust flow compared to the stock cats! We placed the stock oxygen sensor into the cat (the other sensor on the mid pipe), making sure to use anti-seize on the threads. The mid pipe was then attached with the stainless steel clamps provided in the kit. The final piece of plumbing was the extension pipe, that fitted with a “ball and socket” joint… a very professional fit.
Now if you have a stock exhaust, the extension pipe fits directly to the rest of the exhaust system and you’re pretty much done. Our project truck had a Gibson Super Truck cat-back, so we had to do some modifications.
We cut approximately 7” off of Dynatech’s extension pipe, and another 8” off of the Gibson’s pipe (front of the muffler). A Saws-All did the trick quite nicely. We then took the extension pipe to a local muffler shop, and for ten bucks had them widen the tip for proper seating to the cat-back pipe. Everything fit perfectly afterwards, so the cat-back was re-installed and all bolts were tightened. Dynatech thought this one out… it fits perfectly to a stock rear exhaust, but in addition, they give you enough length on the extension pipe to make modifications if necessary to fit just about any aftermarket cat-back exhaust.
One of the mechanics at Dynotuned Performance stated that out of the 40+ header installations he has done in his lifetime, the Dynatech system was by far the easiest install he has ever done. Great job fellas!
Here’s an excerpt form Dynatech’s web site which lists the features of this system:
SuperMaxx Features & Benefits
Okay… now for the numbers. It was another hot and humid day once again here in Virginia Beach…
92 degrees in the dyno shop and 45% humidity. Not the best day to see the maximum horsepower the Hemi had to offer! We did three runs on the dyno, running 3rd gear pulls (1:1 ratio), and used a 23% drivetrain loss factor. The baseline horsepower and torque was achieved with the 3:92 rear end running 20” wheels, and the following modifications (previously installed): aFe cold air intake, Gibson Super Truck, Superchips Programmer, and AMSOIL Series 2000 0W-30 synthetic engine oil.
Baseline: Dynatech headers install results:
RWHP: 281 Est. Flywheel HP: 365 RWHP: 298 Est. Flywheel HP: 387
RWTQ: 304 Est. Flywheel TQ: 395 RWTQ: 319 Est. Flywheel TQ: 415
I believe if it had been a much cooler day (temperatures in the low 70s and low humidity); there should have been no reason not to see the above numbers at three to four percent higher than they were.
A positive note – there were discussions about the use of long tube headers and the Superchips programmer… folks were concerned that the Hemi might run too lean with the combination of the two. After three dyno runs with both of these products installed, the Hemi never once ran lean… in fact, it actually ran 0.5 richer than with the stock manifolds!
We owe a special thanks to Frank, Brent, and Shawn at Dynotuned Performance, Inc., located in Chesapeake, Virginia. Their professional knowledge and expertise made a fairly easy installation even easier! And the fact that they have an on-site dynamometer made life very easy for the “before and after” results. Give them a call at (757) 549-DYNO or stop by their shop… three runs on their Chassis Dynamometer for one very low price. And by the way - Brent just bought himself a 2003 Hemi Ram 3500 Dually! He is now waiting patiently for Dynatech to offer headers for the Hemi 3500 series…
In summary, we couldn’t be happier with this header system… very easy to install, outstanding sound, and increased performance. This Hemi truck now sounds like the Hemi of yesteryear! Dynatech continues to be the exhaust leader in all forms of racing and high performance applications. Since 1991 Dynatech has produced headers and exhaust applications for drag racing and circle track racing (including NASCAR Late Model Sock). And now we can enjoy the benefits of their performance products in our trucks and SUVs. They are truly from a racing background, and they know what it takes to manufacture a high quality and dependable exhaust system! But don’t take just my word for it – at the 2002 SEMA show in Las Vegas, Dynatech achieved two prestigious awards: Best New Product, and Best Off-Road Product. Achieving these awards from over 4,000 competitors is truly a significant accomplishment! For more information on Dynatech’s products, go to http://www.dynatechheaders.com.