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Techin’ in with Fletch - August 2013

Dan Fletcher Aug 1, 2013
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Nova Header Swap

I have a ’73 Nova with a 350 engine and a four-speed transmission. It has the factory dual exhaust straight to the mufflers. The exhaust pipes are chrome, so I’d like to keep them. I really want to lose the stock exhaust manifolds and install direct fit headers. I can find them readily for later models, but I can’t seem to locate them for mine. Can you please help me?

Tom Koehler

Via email

Unfortunately, I’m afraid a direct-fit header for your application is not readily available, at least not that I’ve been able to locate. With that said, both Hedman (PN 68600) and Hooker (PN 2466) make a shorty header that you may be able to adapt to your chrome pipes with some careful and precise fabrication work. Obviously, you’d have to have your pipes altered somewhat, but hopefully the ugly spot would be hidden in the tunnel. Not a perfect answer, but one hell of a lot closer to fitting than a set of long tubes.

If it were me, I’d probably just decide what I really wanted more, headers or chrome pipes. If I chose headers, which I would, then I’d simply go with some ceramic coated long tubes and just fill in the blanks from there on back. As a much tattooed biker I once met had emblazoned upon his person, chrome don’t get ya home …

Shell Game

We are currently building a ’69 Camaro SS big-block car. We received the vehicle as pretty much a shell, with most of the parts in boxes. We are at the point of putting the frame together, and we have new engine mount frame brackets. There is one tall one and one short one, and we need to know which is right and which is left. Also, regarding the coil springs, are the coil springs for a ’68 Corvette the same as those for our ’69 Camaro? Can you tell us if they will work?

Thanks for all your techin’ in support.

Tony & Lisa

Via email

The taller mount is for the driver’s side of the car. It should measure 2.5 inches in height. The shorter one is for passenger side and should measure 2 inches in height. Please do ensure that you, in fact, have big-block mounts, as the small-block frame mounts will not locate the engine properly. And yes, unfortunately, as someone that has had virtually every engine configuration known to man in a ’69 Camaro, I know this from personal experience.

As for the coil spring interchangeability between a ’68 Vette and your ’69 Camaro, that would be a large negatory.

True Duals

I love, love, love your magazine! Reading it over the years has converted me from a “factory original” Chevy guy to a custom Chevy guy. I’m building a custom ’68 Camaro convertible and I’m having trouble finding a way to put true dual exhaust on it. Nobody seems to sell a turnkey exhaust system for it due to t It’s priced similarly to its competition, but if can’t afford even a 1LT base model, it’ll be too much no matter the cost. It’s priced similarly to its competition, but if can’t afford even a 1LT base model, it’ll be too much no matter the cost. he center structural cross bracket. Do you know of any vendor that sells full length (headers back) dual exhaust for this car, or can you recommend a custom solution? The original exhaust was a Y-pipe single pipe configuration. I’d like to get rid of the Y-pipe design and have two full-length exhaust pipes go to either one common muffler or two separate mufflers.

Ed Handschuh

North Wales, PA

I first spoke with the fine people at Summit Racing for some input into your question, and everything that they would offer came with the caveat of “except convertible.” I was thinking that you were probably destined for a custom exhaust shop and a high dollar fabricated set up, but then I called my local experts for everything Camaro, an establishment near Buffalo, New York, called Camaro Specialties.

I spoke with Keith, a member of the knowledgeable staff there for some help, and low and behold, it offers a kit that will do what you’re looking for. Well, almost. It’s made to bolt up to the stock exhaust manifolds, not headers. But to shorten the pipes and add a flange to mate up to a header collector really shouldn’t be too big of a chore. The kit is something that they pretty much have come up with on their own for customers like you with similar wants and desires. It is a factory aluminized dual exhaust with transverse mount featuring 2.25-inch main pipes with 2-inch tailpipes. It’s a single muffler design that is housed in the stock location. It is reasonably priced at $359. You can check out their website with the following link

Keith did say that some people simply remove the factory brace to facilitate proper clearance, but that is something he and I highly recommended against.

Fletch Questions Himself

I have a 1969 Chevelle wagon that my son, Thomas, campaigns in Stock Eliminator. Until last season, it had been a cruise night car and sometime bracket bomber. When we decided to make it into a class car, we rebuilt it from top to bottom, replacing or upgrading virtually every component in the car. At the first race of the season, it wasn’t quite as consistent as I thought it should have been, but I laid it off on other factors. Well, at the second event, the car fell off badly, losing a couple of tenths in the quarter-mile. We got the car home and went through everything, but really couldn’t find anything wrong.

Not being able to find anything concrete, I decided that with an all new fuel system, it somehow must have gotten a little trash in the carburetor, and that the problem would be resolved by a simple disassembly and a thorough cleaning. Thomas went to a few more races and the car still wandered around more than it should have, but by that time, I was gone racing elsewhere and he was on his own. He’s a driver, and not really much of a mechanic, so it got rather frustrating trying to diagnose things over the phone.

To make a long story short, during the course of the season, I changed everything but the roof. Multiple carburetors, fuel pump, regulator, coil, ignition box, plugs, wires, transmission, converter, etc. You name it, I changed it, but nothing seemed to help, at least not for long. There would be stints where it would run well, but then it would just slow down 3 to 5 hundredths for no good reason, and when you’re racing in a bracket style format, that just isn’t going to get it done. He still managed to win some races, but it was a constant struggle.

Near the end of the season, it did another major drop off at an event, and I happened to be there that time. I had checked the timing on several occasions during the course of the year, and it was always correct, but this time I physically removed the distributor to inspect it. It is the type with the advance locked, and I had an experience one time where the roll pin had sheared, but somehow it kept coming back to the same position. The inspection revealed the roll pin intact, and nothing else seemed amiss. One isn’t allowed a crank trigger in Stock Eliminator, so the distributor is more than just a plug wire holder, but still, it’s a pretty simple deal.

I put the distributor back in, and went to set the timing. Now when I put my distributor in, I’m always within a few degrees, and I was looking for 35. Fire the car, 10 degrees. Huh? That’s not possible. Pull it back out, bring No. 1 up, pointer at 35, put it back in, 35 degrees. Ok, what was that about? Shut the car off, take a deep breath, and then start it again. 10 degrees. OK, this really isn’t possible, but now it dawns on me, Thomas said the car started hard the other day, like it had way too much timing. Now it’s got way too little. Something is going on here, I’m just not sure what.

Got a restoration question that’s been puzzling you? Send it to: [ m ] Super Chevy, Fletch, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. [ e ] [ f ] 813/675-3557



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