Chevy Nova Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
298 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just got off the phone with the local custom exhaust guy everyone recommends in our area. I wanted to see if I could get my JC Whitney mandrel bent kit installed by his shop. He promptly reamed me out saying he "isn't interested" because that stuff is "crap" :mad: .

He then asked if I had headers, and he said "Headers are for racing only" and continued " They will constantly have gasket issues" and he "Never" recommends anyone use them on a regular driver.

Well based on his advice, I'm out the $150 I paid for my "crappy" system :( . And I need to go buy manifolds, and pay him to fabricate a custom exhaust if there is any chance I'm going to be happy with my car.

I thought some of the new metal header gaskets have really cut down on gasket problems, is all of this stuff true, are headers really that bad?

P.S. All the tech articles talk about how important it is to torque down the header bolts, and re-torque them, but I can't get a socket on most of the bolt heads because they are so close to the collector pipes, how on earth to people torque header bolts??

Thanks for bearing with me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,967 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
298 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Mike Goble said:
He's the only guy for a hundred miles around? I found over 20 shops within 60 miles of Madison in about 3 seconds on the internet.

http://www.magicyellow.com/category/Mufflers_and_Exhaust_Systems/Madison_WI.html


Perhaps he isn't interested in installing a system purchased elsewhere. Sort of like going to Dennys with your own ham and eggs and asking them to cook breakfast...
I said he is the "recommended" guy in our area for "custom exhaust". Not the only exhaust shop ;-). However I did call some other places, and they said they were nervous to "weld" and they actually recommended I go to the dude mentioned above.

So are headers really that bad?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,967 Posts
Yes, headers are terrible. They are hard to fit, hard to work around, prone to leak, scrape on the ground, noisy, and cost money. Other than the additional power to the rear wheels there is no reason to run them. Millions of cars run their whole lives without them.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,921 Posts
i would say if he claims headers are for "racing only" then he isnt that smart about his profession. ive had headers on my daily drivers for years with little or no gasket problems. and that is for both head and collector gaskets. i know some places get touchy about bringing in your own parts but thats cause they lose money buy not getting to resell the parts to you at a much higher cost. i would shop around and find someone else.. and i dont torque down my header bolts, i tighten them cold then take the car and get it warmed up, and let it cool down, then re-tighten them. and i also use bolt locks on them so they cant back out.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
298 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
big dog ss said:
i would say if he claims headers are for "racing only" then he isnt that smart about his profession. ive had headers on my daily drivers for years with little or no gasket problems. and that is for both head and collector gaskets. i know some places get touchy about bringing in your own parts but thats cause they lose money buy not getting to resell the parts to you at a much higher cost. i would shop around and find someone else.. and i dont torque down my header bolts, i tighten them cold then take the car and get it warmed up, and let it cool down, then re-tighten them. and i also use bolt locks on them so they cant back out.
Thanks big dogg, I was looking for a glimmer of hope here. I think I'm going to go ahead and invest in the copper gaskets, in seems to be a little insurance against immediate gasket blow-out.

I did call around some more as suggested by Goble, and I found more of a exhaust-chain place that didn't seem to care that I had a kit. I guess Mr. Grumpy-pants custom exhuast man lost out on a cutomer. I really feel like he just was trying to make the sale. I can't think of any good reason he couldn't work with thick-walled mandrel bent tubes. I mean they are already in the basic shape. If he can bend the shapes from a straight tube, then I don't see why he couldn't bend the pre-bent tubes to 'tweak' them up, and proceed from there. Unless he just wanted me to eat my money and buy a complete system from him. His loss, it probably would've only taken him a couple minutes and he could have charged me $200, and I wouldn't have complained.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,208 Posts
I have used headers on several tow vechicles with no problems. The ticket is to get the heavier tubes and flanges on your street headers. Racing headers are thin tubed light units. The headers I used on my motorhome were like 14 ga tubes and 5/16 flanges and were very heavy. That 440 powered RV pulled me and a 24 ft enclosed trailer all over the southern USA for 9 or 10 yrs and never leaked or blew a gasket. My 454 P/U use to loose the lower collector gasket once in awhile though. Never had a flage issue with it though. RM
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,318 Posts
Nova Nate,

Headers are known to have their issues just like exhaust manifolds are known to break the ears and bolts off the casting and weighing too much. Depending on the quality of header depends on whether it leaks or not. As far as the exhaust guy not liking them...this is ONLY because he obviously doesn't have high performance cars. You should never run exhaust manifolds on high performance applications.

BTW-It is much harder to bend the exhaust to meet the manifold than it is to bend it to meet the header flange underneath the car. You would think he would try to tell you to run headers for his OWN convenience...lol. He must be mad you bought a pre-bent exhaust system to meet a standard header set up..lol.

Yes...cheap headers can leak, some headers can make it harder to reach your starter or oil filter, and yes...many drag the ground over speed bumps. But this is the risk you take for the performance gain. Many times the header leaks are caused from people not checking the bolts for tightness or could simply be a cheap thin flange.

As far as the pre-bent exhaust. It could be a hit and miss deal. Some bolt right up and some aren't even close. YES...the shop does not make as much money using a pre-bent system as fabricating the exhaust from scratch. Additionally, the metal may be a different thickness than what they are used to working with. They also can not gaurantee the product (metal) like the can one they constructed.

I also must agree...This is almost like Mike Goble stated above...bringing your own eggs and ham to Denny's and expecting them to cook it for your breakfast. I don't, however, understand why they simply couldn't charge you by the hour (with an additional % charge for bringing your own parts) and made the attempt. If they did not work, then it would be your responsibility to pay them to bend the pipes correctly from scratch. This to me would be fair and would at least have given you some options.

I have known people who have bought the pre-bent mandrel system and for only a $100 more dollars could have paid a reputable shop to build them a custom system from scratch with a complete warranty.


Let me know how it works out for ya.:D

Dave:beer:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,967 Posts
Dave, it's a good thing you don't have your thumb on the missile launch button...It looks a little twitchy to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
My experiance with headers is two folded. I put a set of dynomax on one of my trucks(with prebent exhaust) fit real good no dining the pipes at all. They forgot to flare the pipe that fits over the collector, no biggie got it flared for free at a local shop. BLew out the collertor gasket in about an hour, replaced them with copper never leaked again. The header on my truck I'm driving now were put on in 88, have has two maby three sets of gaskets sience. I believe they were hedman??? Both sets fit great yes some of the plugs can be a pain but if you know how to over come theese isssues the will work great. Oh yeah there are about 5 diffrent types of ports avalible for the gaskets, they must match the heads and the header or they will nevr seal (found this out the hard way).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
158 Posts
Dodon't didon't didon't ma mak make ffffuun a ooao oof of d dd ddav ddddave!!!! h hhe he mmmii migh miigght hha hhaav hhave a ssssut stutt stttutterrrr! ss sssoosorrryyy mmaarkkk :shh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
673 Posts
I have never had a header related problem, except for leakage with my first hedman set. I replaced those, and tightened the bolts every time I drove tit for two weeks, and they never got loose again. I see there is a new header on the market that my friend deals, called patriot headers, that are welded so that the flange is 100% flat, there aren't any raised parts that most other headers have.

So, if you ar worried about headers, the patriots are the ones to get! buy yours at the portland swap meet from the doug's header and pertronix ignition guy... he's got them for all kinds of applications!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,072 Posts
are headers really that bad?
the only problem i have ever had with my fenderwells, is i forget that they are hot and i try to make sure the plug wires were snugly on the plugs...ouch...nice scars from that...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
928 Posts
NovaNate said:
I just got off the phone with the local custom exhaust guy everyone recommends in our area. I wanted to see if I could get my JC Whitney mandrel bent kit installed by his shop. He promptly reamed me out saying he "isn't interested" because that stuff is "crap" :mad: .

Thanks for bearing with me.
did you try the guys on Monona drive north of the strip center and before cottage grove road, on the east side of the road? the old man can be cranky, but his kid and the lead teck are pretty good. the tech is a gear head and knows how to get things done. headers should be ok, i had them on for twenty years and they never leaked, nor did i have problems with the bolts coming loose. get a good coating on them if you want them to stay looking good! thanks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,519 Posts
Go for the headers, you won't regret it.

I have found that the easiest way to tighten the hard to reach header bolts is with a 7/16" crows foot. Look at the picture below. With one of them, a small extension and a ratched you can get to ANY header.

The only other concern with headers you should be aware of is that spark plug wires can easily burn on headers, so make sure you get a decent loom. And they make these little socks that fit over the end of the wires to protect them from heat.

Also, if the money isn't an issue go for a decent ceramic coated set of headers. They greatly reduce underhood temperatures.

Just a few thoughts.

Here's a crows foot, only $20 for a set at Pep Boys.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,072 Posts
7/16" crows foot. Look at the picture below. With one of them, a small extension and a ratched you can get to ANY header
That crowsfoot MIGHT fit 1 bolt on my headers, but I doubt it--I have to use 3/8" 12 point bolts on most holes. Can't fit the 7/16 bolts on very many(3 actually)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,519 Posts
bowtie0069 said:
That crowsfoot MIGHT fit 1 bolt on my headers, but I doubt it--I have to use 3/8" 12 point bolts on most holes. Can't fit the 7/16 bolts on very many(3 actually)
That's why they make 3/8" crows feet too :)
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top