Well, I finally got my headers put on my 94 GMC K1500 350. What a bitch!!
Had a particularly hard time on the driver side set.....pulling the power
steering pump, modifying the PS pump bracket so I could reuse the stud in
the front hole, and getting the bolt in the back hole. Man, tore up hands!!
Anyway, now that they're in, here's some (alot) of questions:
*How does one make sure that the bolts stay tight and you don't get any
leaks (if possible)? One of the backyard mechanics I work with says I can
guarantee on getting a leak and have to put in new gaskets at least yearly.
*How can you tell if you have a leak to begin with? Should one double up on
the gaskets or possibly use a high-temp silicone?
*Can a person use some sort of loctite on the bolts to help keep them in
without seizing them to the point where they won't come back out?
*Will allen head bolts work in place of the header bolts to make it easier
to get in/out?
*On the driver side, at the front of the manifold, there's an extra tapped
hole. Can the PS pump bracket be modified to use this hole to give one
access to the front manifold stud/bolt easier?
Any other useful advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm a newbie to
He's right, more or less. It might not be every year, but she'll leak
eventually. There is no real way to keep the bolts in there nice and tight,
other than checking them every few months.
Do not double up on gaskets and do not use silicone. Doubling up will make
the seal worse, and high-temp silicone will still burn off the first time
you light her up. If you have a leak, you'll hear it and see carbon
tracking on the flange where it's leaking.
As long as they are the same grade of bolt, why the hell not!
Anything can be fabricated, it's just a matter of how good you are at metal
fabrication. Short answer: no easy way.
Just enjoy the noise and power, check the bolt tightness every few months,
and use high quality gaskets.
My father had a set of headers that the bolts loosened up on all the time.
The manual said to check so often, and he did, and they always needed it.
Then he wired them (drill a hole through the head and time them all together
w/ wire) and he never really had that problem after. He never really got a
leak he said either. I have heard that some makers of headers have fewer
problems with leaking (hooker IIRC) and other have more (Tornado? IIRC).
Other than that - I always just let leaking exhaust anything tick.... My S10
had a bolt that was installed cross-threaded from the factory and I broke
the head off. It leaked from then on, and only when I really got on it (4K+)
could I hear it - and exhaust manifolds are quieter than headers!
I can get Bolts designed for use with headers that won't back off. Anyway
when you Install the Headers, Run the Motor until hot, then shut off and let
it cool back down and then ReTighten the bolts once again. This should
help keep the bolts from loosing up and causing a leak! If installed right
and will a good set of headers, you shouldn't have to be changing them every
If you have a header leak, you'll see some blocking og the Gasket, and as it
gets worse, you'll hear it! Don't double the gaskets or use Silicon, you'll
just be asking for a leak that way!
Loctite won't do anything for you here. The stuff loosens up under heat.
In fact if you loctite something and then you need to take it apart at some
later date and you can't brake is loose, or worring about rounding out the
bolt, heating it up will cure that problem.
But like I said, you can get special bolts, that you screw in tight and then
there's a clip that locks on the top of the bolt and it keep the bolt from
loosing back up.
Yes you can use allen held bolts. In fact some headers come with that type
of bolt with them.
Not sure without seeing it. But anything is possible. Just more work.
On my last GMC, an 86 350 I had no problem. Here is what I did.
I took a mini-grinder and split the flatbar flange. The flange and
the head have fdiffernet rates of expansion and virtually guarantee
that the bolts will work loose over time. The split flange cured the
problem and my bolts stayed tight for 4 years and until I sold the
truck. The headers were el-cheapo Blackjack.
Double gaskets will allow the flange to bend so that the area around
the bolts will be the only part that is sqeezed tight and the gaskets
will leak in record time.
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I always use fel-pro gaskets.
Never had a problem with them.
They have been in there about 4 years.
I re-tighten the bolts after a few hundred miles.I check them often but
never have to tighten them.
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1/4 Mile Junkies
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