Technically Speaking: Exhaust System

James Berry Mar 13, 2013 0 Comment(s)
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Part 2: Bolting on the Headers
1. Begin with the driver-side header.
2. Apply anti-seize to all threaded components, such as O2 sensors, spark plugs, bolts, etc.
3. Loosen the motor mounts to raise the engine for easier access.
4. You’ll need to remove the intermediate shaft from the steering box so the driver-side header can be installed. Take care not to damage the plastic power-steering-pump pulley during this process.
5. You may need an extra set of hands to help move the engine so you can maneuver the header into place. Be careful not to damage any components during this process.
6.Install the header-to-cylinder-head gasket. (Note that some kits do not come with the necessary gaskets. If yours did not, you’ll need to purchase header, collector, and air-injection-tube gaskets separately.)
7. Bolt the top of the header to the cylinder head using the factory-recommended torque rating. Tighten from the center of the flange out.
8. Install the O2 sensor.
9. Install the air-injection line in the same manner and location it was originally.
10. Install the spark plugs, taking care to route the plug wires so they’re not damaged by heat from the headers.
11. Moving to the passenger side, you may need to extend and reroute several wires for the starter to clear the headers (Image A). Locate the T-shaped junction in the wiring harness at the rear of the passenger-side cylinder head. Remove enough of the protective tape at the joint to allow the removal of about an inch of the plastic loom that runs down to the starter. Disconnect the wires and removed the starter. Then, extend each of the wires going to the starter by approximately 14 inches and position them through the rear header-tube loop to prevent them from being burnt.
12I recommend installing a length of heat-shield tubing over the starter wires, the positive battery cable, and the engine oil-sensor lead (Image B).
13. Some header applications require extending the crankshaft-position-sensor lead. If this is needed in your case, make sure the necessary part is included in your kit. If not, you’ll need to buy it separately.
14. Fasten all coil packs and spark-plug wires, making sure the firing order is correct.
15. Install the alternator per the factory recommendations.
16. Double-check everything, then replace the plastic coil covers.
17. If you’re only installing short-tube headers, and no additional exhaust parts, connect the headers to the collectors, reconnect the battery, and you’re done. Otherwise, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Part 3: Installing the Rest of the System
1. Unpack the entire system and lay the components out on the floor. Then, check the instructions to make sure all the required parts are present. This will also give you the opportunity to orient all the components prior to installation.
2. Before removing the factory exhaust system, note the placement and positioning of the clamps, bolts, and hangers.
3. Remove the oxygen-sensor leads and clips.
4. Remove the exhaust pipes and tips, then drop the mufflers. You may find that first loosening and moving the rear stabilizer bar makes this step easier.
5. Remove the remainder of the factory exhaust components.
6. Install the new H- or X-downpipe and catalytic converters (Image C).
7. With the rear stabilizer bar still loosened or removed, route the new tailpipes over the rear-axle assembly (Image D).
8. It’s a good idea to trial fit and align the mufflers and exhaust tips before bolting everything into place (Image E).

A Corvette owner with average mechanical skill should be able to complete this job. Keep in mind, however, that it may take a few days, especially if you’re not using a lift. If you get in a bind, you can always call the manufacturer’s support line. Good luck. vette

Got a question for our Tech Corner expert? Just jot it down on a paper towel or a lightly soiled shop rag and send it to us at VETTE Magazine, Attn: Technically Speaking, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Alternatively, you can submit your question via the Web, by emailing it to us at Be sure to put “Technically Speaking” in the subject line.




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