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Header Install

This is a discussion on Header Install within the External Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; ...

  1. #1
    Something Diabolical... chuckie669's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Houston, Texas
    2000 C5 Torch Red

    Header Install

    Would like to start up a technical post on long tube header install. I see allot of people that have bought headers recently (including myself) and are wary about installing them.

    Iíve tried to take the best photos I have, but please excuse if the photos are dark, most of my work was done in the garage at nighttime with the doors closed and my cheap camera tends to blur if I try to toy with the settings.

    * Floor jack - at least 20" of lift. 18Ē is bare minimum, but not recommended
    * 4 Jack Stands - at least 20"
    * ratchet - 8mm for battery: 10mm for coil pack bolts and header bolts: 8mm (deep) and 13mm (deep) for leads to starter and 13mm (deep) for starter bolts: 15mm for dipstick tube and exhaust plumbing: 5/8" spark plug socket
    * wrenches - 10mm ratcheting wrench for last bolt on each side of coil pack holders: 7/8" or 22mm wrench to remove 02 sensors.(then throw that damn bolt away)
    * PB Penetrating lube
    * Anti-Seize Ė buy a big bottle. Keep it around.
    * Soft blanket or fender mat Ė protect your car paint from scuffs while leaning into your engine bay.
    * A friend to help!!! Iíve heard of people doing this themselves and I did all but line up the gaskets on the headers by myself. Donít be stupid like me.

    Optional Tools
    SAWZALL Ė if your having problems with your bolts from the flanges on the y-pipe people have referenced to cut it.
    Benzomatic Torch Ė stubborn bolts

    * Headers - Your choice. I used the Pacesetter ceramic coated
    * Y-pipe Ė referenced here is the TSP catted Y-pipe. PITA
    *exhaust clamps Ė Your Y-pipe should come with new clamps, verify.
    PLEASEÖ Donít use the u-bolt style exhaust clamps. Get band clamps
    * GM Header Gasket - new model released PN 12617944 $21 each (GMPartsDirect has them for ~$9.80 ea)

    optional parts
    * Corvette 02 sensors - Rear 2001 Corvette 02 Sensors Bosch PN 13111 (square end connectors) $69.99 ea.
    Just noticed it looks like our front 02's are the square pin connectors which would be the rear corvette 02's
    * 98-02 02 sims - $99.99 pair (ouch)
    * 02 extensions - 2 24" square 4-pin extensions PN O2EXT12 ~$30
    * Stage 8 locking header bolts - $37.99
    * 98-00 EGR Block off Plate - $9 ea
    * 98-02 Air block off plate & gaskets - Pair $12

    * Spark plugs Ė If you havenít changed Plugs before, now IS the time to do it.
    * Spark plug wires Ė ditto
    * Motor mounts Ė some change while theyíre in there

    food for thought
    -Corvette 02's you can get from any major parts store, or you can get the extenders but just one or the other.
    -No sims, get it tuned out in your mail order tune ( $125 for mail order tuning)
    -most people re-use their stock gaskets and never have problems, just make sure you DO NOT use the wierd paper gaskets most headers come with because they will burn through.
    - plugs and wires
    - I will try to list sizes of tools during the install, but probably wonít go into specifics if you should use a shallow socket, deep socket or wrench. Iím hoping you can figure this out on your own.
    - Make sure to pretreat your bolts with PB Blaster. Life is so much easier this way.
    - I did not list it, but ANTISEIZE all threaded bolts that deal with heat.

  2. #2
    Something Diabolical... chuckie669's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Houston, Texas
    2000 C5 Torch Red

    - NOTE - Before starting, make sure you have all your parts and tools, test fit anything such as y-pipe to verify fitment. You donít want to be stuck with a part that doesnít fit.

    - Remove negative battery cable (or both if u wanna).

    - Jack the car up and put it on stands or lift if your lucky enough. I did the whole install with only 18Ē of lift, but made for a very unpleasant experience on my back (sure thatís how my first gf felt).

    - OPTIONAL - Remove 13mm bolts holding starter in place and carefully wiggle it free. Then remove the 8mm nut holding lead to ignition and 13mm nut and power wire and remove starter. I didnít follow this step and it was a non-issue for me.

    - Take apart anything that might be in your way in the engine bay. I removed my Fuel Rail Covers.

    - Remove AIR provisions from your manifold using 10mm ratchet and good extensions. Once off I used a flathead screwdriver to remove the metal AIR pipe from the hose.

    Time to go under the carÖ
    - Remove the four bolts holding the cross brace that sits right underneath your Y-pipe 15mm if I recall. My new 3Ē Y-pipe didnít clear so I left it off. Others have shimmed and reinstalled it after

    - Now itís time to remove the stock Y-pipe using a 15mm ratchet and some brute force. (Arenít you glad you used pbblaster now). The flange piece that molds to the cats was the hardest part here.
    - OPTIONAL Ė Some people have cut theirs off with a sawzall.

    - After you loosened the Y-pipe from the cats, go ahead and remove any extra clamps or mounts holding the Y-pipe in.

    - Now you should be able to gently remove the stock Y-pipe and get it out of your way.

    - Remove your 02 sensor connections from the car.

    - OPTIONAL - If you plan on reusing your 02ís, I would now go and using the 7/8ís wrench take them out. Mine were near impossible and I was only able to remove one out of four. I later took a benzo torch and heated them up (about 5-8 seconds) where the 02ís meet with the piping. They popped right off without any effort. Otherwise, you can leave them in the cats.

    - Now remove your catalytic converters using the same 15mm wrench. You may need some extensions, and definitely a lot of oomph to get these off. Try pb blasting again if your having trouble. I was able to get my driver side off, but left the passenger cat attached to the header and removed without a problem (later separated by benzo torch)

    Now we can go back into the engine bayÖ

    Throw a blanket or fender mat over your fender for whichever side you are working on. You donít want your clothes scuffing/scratching your paint while your upgrading your car. Might also need a small stepping stool (or if your like TS|S, a ladder).

    -Remove the 10 bolts from the coil pack assembly (5 on each side) using a 10mm deep socket or ratcheting wrench (99-02 cars, 98 cars will have to remove them one by one) . They look like a basic 10mm bolt with a long point top. You will start thinking how easy this is, but when you hit the 5th bolt, they get pretty unpleasant. You donít have to put that one back when youíre done. Driver side had an extra bolt holding my AIR provision piece in place also. Also, remove the wiring harness before removing.
    Iíve previously done a spark plug install and did NOT put the #5 back one back onto the coil packs. Made life much easier for this install.

    -Remove dipstick tube by unbolting 15mm bolt that holds the bracket to the head. Before just lifting it out, go back under and follow the tube down to know how it sits in the block for reinstall later.

    Time for the dreaded spark plug removal. At this point, this should be super easy with the exhaust and emissions removed. (pic is removing #8)

    - Remove the spark plug wires using the 5/8ís plug socket. With everything removed you should be able to get all eight from either the top or bottom with basic ratchet, socket and a single extension. (DAMNÖ It wasnít that easy my first time).

    - Hopefully you have a friend handy now. Remove the six header bolts 10mm carefully and you can slide the header down and out. Take the gasket and bolts and put them somewhere safely if you plan on reusing.

    You should now have all of your old crap out and those shiny parts that have been calling to you can come out of the corner now.

    - OPTIONAL - If you plan on doing motor mounts, now would be the time. Go find that thread and come back here when youíre done.

    Using new gasket and header bolts or reusing stockers go to the next step.

    - The passenger side header should slide in with minimal effort. You will either want a jack or a friend holding the header steady while you line up the gasket and put in the bolts. Rethread the bolts starting in the center and work your way out evenly. Torque to 11 ft lbs starting in the center and work your way out evenly. Then go back over at 18 ft lbs. Donít forget ant seize

    Driver side can be quite a bit more effort

    - Gently slide it the header up and keep an eye for clearances. If god has blessed you, it will slide in. If your mortal like the rest of us, you will need to take some additional steps. Find where the problem is and the following are the typical solutions Iíve heard of.:
    - With the new motor mounts, the problem may be solved
    - Some will remove the DS motor mount bolts and slightly jack the motor to allow the header to slide in.
    - Some remove the Trans mount bolt and lift the rear of the trans up and the header slides right in (automatic cars?)
    - Some have had to grind the K-member back slightly
    - Massaging the firewall
    - Some have had to Remove oil pan drain plug and oil filter

    Mine was catching on the firewall and K member. I tried ďmassaging the firewall slightly where it was catching. I still had an issue and shaved the K-member back slightly and after another test fitting hammered back a lip that was catching the back tab on the firewall. Header went in without any more grief.

    - Same as passenger side. Slide in and line up the gasket, work from center out and torque to 11 ft lbs then 18 ft lbs. Donít forget ant seize

    - Reinstall your existing or new spark plugs now and snug up. Donít forget ant seize

    - Put your stock or new wires onto the plugs
    - Reinstall your AIR provisions or install the block off plates now.

    - Put your coil packs back on and snug up bolts Remember that #5 bolt? Put him in a Ziploc back and keep with all your other T/A keepsakes for a rainy day. Then reattach the plug wires to the coils. For first two days I only put two of the bolts on because I was going to pull and recheck all my bolts.

    - Go back under your car and either put the stock 02ís with extension or corvette 02ís on now.

    - OPTIONAL Ė start up the car and giggle like a little girlÖ..

    - Y-pipe install might vary, but basically test fit and then install. Leave everything loose until you have it how you like. Then tighten everything back up. (check out the difference between stock and TSP

    - OPTIONAL Ė finish removing AIR System

    - Go back over and make sure that you have reattached all your wiring harness (around coil packs, 02ís)

    Time for a tune now!!!


    Special Thanks to the arborbarbor!!! Great guy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Beaver Dam KY

    79 T/A -91 Firebird
    1998 Trans Am -Oynx Black

    Great writeup!!


  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    OKC OK

    2002 Pontiac Trans AM WS6

    I used the paper gaskets and never had an issue until my header bolts started working loose. They leaked but never burned out the 2 years I had them. When I did my heads and cam install I swapped to the metalish gaskets and thoughs never sealed right for me.

    This weekend I swapped my headers again because I got a huge dent in one of the primaries and used the paper gaskets. I also used ARP header studs those made everything so much easier. I was also able to use Lock washers and I have 0 exhaust leakage at the headers now.

    I did have to do some extra work and remove the steering linkage but the was only 2 bolts and was a hell of a lot easier than I thought it would be.

  5. #5
    Just me Y2KPewterSS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Broken Arrow, OK

    Pewter metallic
    2000 Camaro SS

    Thanks for taking the time to do such a thorough and detailed write up on a popular topic. Sticky for sure

  6. #6
    ArtistFormerlyKnownAsMac Silver Streak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Indianapolis, IN

    All Black
    83, 87, 02 All WS6 T/As

    Yep, good write up.. .should help a lot of people that haven't done this yet.
    1983 Black WS6 "WindCharger"
    1987 Black WS6 "WS87"
    2002 Black WS6 "Silver Streak"
    Sold the other four f-bodies

  7. #7
    O U 8 1 2 Spaz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    over here...

    []D [] []V[] []D
    1999 trans am

    nicely done... and at the TSS part...

  8. #8
    Member NoscamaroSS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Durant, Okla

    2002 Camaro

    Dont forget that sometimes on the Drivers side you will need to slightly grind the "tab" on the side of the block. Alot of times, that is all that is needed to get the DS to slide in.
    02 Camaro
    PRC Stg 2.5 5.3's, Futral F14, PP Typhoon intake, True duals, Performabuilt tranny, & 3500 convertor, HSW plate kit.
    *Old Time* 10.90@ 125mph

  9. #9
    Senior Member 01ws6er's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    The 717

    2001 Trash Can

    Nice new thread thanks for taking pics!!! Glad we could help you on your install and thanks for returning the favor with such a detailed writeup!!!

  10. #10
    Junior Member Bama99z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Muscle Shoals AL

    Artic White
    1999 Camaro Z28

    Thanks for all of the info guys, I am fixing to get started on my install tonight actually. Sure i will be checking back on this Sticky for reference.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    savannah, mo

    2000 camaro Z28

    nice post i doing the same thing today!! i pray it all goes wel

  12. #12
    Senior Member JoshuaGrooms83's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Lake Geneva, WI

    98 Trans Am

    this is gonna help me alot, ive been looking into getting LTH's and y-pipe upgrades for a while and one thing thats was stopping me was the lack of info, this helped alot. Of course the other was money lol! but now i got alittle extra cash coming and i want to ge this started! Now i gotta look at the other thread for which headers are best...
    Turbo build 99.9% complete

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Las Vegas
    2000 ss/1994 z28/1979 z28

    I installed headers on my ls1 and it wasent so bad,but next week i am installing some long tubes on my other camaro with a lt1,has anybody done both? and are they harder to do on a lt1?

  14. #14
    The Silver Bullet LS1_ws6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Brush Colorado

    1999 Trans Am

    Thanks for posting this chuckie669 did mine today and sounds great.

  15. #15
    Member vette0009's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    2003 Z06 Corvette

    Nice Job Buddy

    I just finished my Header install this week-end

    It went pretty well

    Happy New year to all !


  16. #16
    "The Snake Skinner" Smokaholik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Navy Blue Metallic
    2001 WS-6 M6

    Great thread chuckie thx for posting

  17. #17
    Member AiDRocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Bay Area, Cali

    1999 WS6

    I would assume that installing mid tubes would be a lot simpler. I wouldn't need extensions right? What's the benefits of putting on Corvette O2 sensors?

  18. #18
    Something Diabolical... chuckie669's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Houston, Texas
    2000 C5 Torch Red

    corvette rear 02's are just longer, so no need for extensions or splicing etc. Exact same 02 with longer cord.

  19. #19
    Member lsgunner28's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Johnstown Pa.

    Medium Red Metallic
    2000 Camaro Z28

    Quote Originally Posted by AiDRocks View Post
    I would assume that installing mid tubes would be a lot simpler. I wouldn't need extensions right? What's the benefits of putting on Corvette O2 sensors?
    From what I have read on here they are all about as hard for LT and mids, but you get very little performance gain compared to LT's. Def go with LT's if you are gonna do headers.

  20. #20
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    2002 SS Camaro

    When removing the AIR system, I noticed that the lines from the drivers side header to behind the drivers side head to some type of t-bar then to the passenger side header. My question is is there anything that needs to be plugged or removed at the t-bar when removing this system?

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