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Old 04-28-2013, 06:11 PM   #1
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Headers and Gaskets?

I'm new here but have owned my 3.8L 98 Camaro since 2004, she runs nice and Ive kept her in decent shape. I have been wanting to add a set of headers to it and so far from what I can tell majority of people agree that the OBX headers on Ebay are the way to go (or the armor coated pacesetters, but Im leaning towards the OBXs).

I have a few questions about these for those of you out there have installed them on your 3.8Ls. (before you ask, yes I did do a search and found a few threads but they didnt really answer my questions)

1: With the OBX headers found on ebay, was there any modifications such as welding or machining needed? (as I cannot do either of those I would need to take my car somewhere to have it done)

2: Same as question 1 but pacesetter headers.

3: The gaskets in the header package from OBX, what kind are they? I saw that they also sell separately a set of graphite gaskets.

4: What kind of gaskets should I get? (I see alot of people mentioning Abbott aluminum gaskets, I have googled and googled and I cannot find these mythical Abbott gaskets for my car (I found these 2 websites, this one has nothing to do with cars Abbott Rubber - Rubber Gasket , and this is the one I'm assuming everyone is talking about but I cannot find the gaskets I need Abbott Racing)

5: I am decent with a set of tools in my hands but I'm certainly no pro, should I just get someone else to do it for me?


Any help here would be great! Thanks!
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:21 PM   #2
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1: Welding will more than likely be needed to mount the y-pipe up to the intermediate pipe. If you're doing headers on stock exhaust, please don't. If you have a catback, carry on. I installed my longtube headers and drove it to an exhaust shop to have the rest of the stuff welded up.

2: OBX's are copies of the Pacesetters except they are in stainless steel, not mild steel. If you live in a land where rust is a nemesis (northern US or coastal) then I'd recommend the stainless OBX's. The underhood temps aren't going to be huge with just stainless headers, I live in the TX panhandle and am able to work on the headers after a bit of a cooldown and mechanix gloves. I don't have melting wires or anything like that.

3: Reuse the stock metal gaskets if they're in good shape. Clean them up really good with some engine degreaser, then brake cleaner and finally after it dries, spray it with copper gasket spray. Let it get tacky and then reinstall.

4: See above. If you're really wanting the abbott gaskets, here is the company: GM3800V6

5: If all you have is a hydraulic jack, I wouldn't recommend it. After front and rear swaybar install and a whisper lid, headers was my first true major mod on my car. I'd never really done anything like this on a car before. I spread it out over a few days and got it installed all by myself without any outside help. It isn't an easy thing to do, but not impossible if you take your time.

Here's a short writeup of advice I gave somebody else on a header install:
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarShrike
At the time, it was the hardest thing I'd ever done to a car. And I did it all on my own. Take your time, take some breaks if you're having issues or call on somebody of you're needing help. I spread this out over 2 days because of work schedules and stuff.
1 week leading up to header removal:
Get a few cans of PB Blaster, spray all bolts on header flange and ball flange down at the base where it meets the y-pipe. Do this every day, before and after you take it for a drive. It might also be a good time to clean/degrease the engine bay and underside of the car real well before you do this job. It had looked like I had gone slip'n'sliding in an oil slick when I first pulled my stock exhaust out.

I'd recommend buying new spark plug wires and NGK TR55 plugs (the NGK TR55's aren't high mile plugs but they do excellent on our V6's). You might want to anticipate buying new O2 sensors for the left and right header after burn in has finished. Many people have O2 sensors go bad after a header install, it's easily understandable because of higher flow in the headers, coatings inside the headers burning off and fouling the O2's, etc. etc.

Get a car on a lift, or ramps and stands. DO NOT USE JUST A JACK! If you do, you deserve whatever Darwin sends your way.

•Disconnect battery.
•Pull spark plug wires
•Disconnect starter, carefully remove and set aside with bolts (I keep them in a ziplock and write what they are with a sharpie).
•Remove spark plugs
•Figure out how far back the y-pipe on the new headers go, give yourself a little more room and cut the y-pipe off the car. If you're installing a whole new catback, it really doesn't matter. I chopped mine off in sections.
•Unbolt ball flanges to y-pipe
•Unbolt stock manifolds. If the bolt doesn't give, soak it in PB blaster some more and move to the next one.
•Remove headers taking care to not damage the metal gaskets.
•Clean surface of cylinder head with a good degreaser, brake clean or whatever. Same goes for the old gaskets. The OBX's might come with some good quality gaskets, you could use them as long as they're not paper.
•Use clean rubber/nitrile gloves if you're installing stainless headers, grease/oil will make splotches on the primaries during the burn in process. Not necessary, but I do it for that cleaner look during install.
•Spray surface of header flange and gaskets with copper gasket spray
•I keep one of the stock studs/nuts for both sides to slide the gasket and then header onto to make the install easier (I do all my wrenching alone).
•Slide gasket on over that stud, try to keep your fingers off the gasket spray.
•Start bolts by hand, not with a socket or wrench as you can cross thread and then screw yourself horribly. Do not tighten with a wrench yet!
•Attach y-pipe, finger tighten these bolts and align the merge of the y-pipe with the i-pipe or new catback.
•Tighten the header bolts from the innermost primary to the outside, that way you don't bind the gasket and have a potential for a leak later down the road.
•Tighten y-pipe bolts, thread locking compound will help on these.
•Install new spark plugs.
•Run spark plug wires be sure that the wires do not rest on the header primaries or they will melt/burn through and you'll get a nasty misfire.
•Reinstall starter.
•Reconnect battery.
•Double check all connections, make sure parts and tools are out of the way.
•Fire it up and let it idle for a few minutes, making sure everything is okay. Take it for a drive afterwards.
•If you're running an open y-pipe, you'll need to take it to an exhaust shop asap. Do not run it with open headers and no y-pipe! You're risking a fire along with the O2 sensors really do not cope with this very well and you will stall after about 10 minutes of run time.

I think that's it.

It's a real fun time wrestling mine in with only a set of ramps and stands compared to the aftermarket mid length headers:
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:31 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for the info. Now I know to take it somewhere and let a pro handle it. Also I already have a Borla catback, a Random tech. highflow cat, whisper ls1 airlid, and an SS hood from a junk yard. So these headers will finish my airflow front to back.

I was also wondering about those MSD coil packs Ive seen floating around? Are they worth it? Do I need them? Ive seen some people say you need an MSD ignition kit for longtube headers.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by licont View Post
I'm new here but have owned my 3.8L 98 Camaro since 2004, she runs nice and Ive kept her in decent shape. I have been wanting to add a set of headers to it and so far from what I can tell majority of people agree that the OBX headers on Ebay are the way to go (or the armor coated pacesetters, but Im leaning towards the OBXs).

I have a few questions about these for those of you out there have installed them on your 3.8Ls. (before you ask, yes I did do a search and found a few threads but they didnt really answer my questions)

1: With the OBX headers found on ebay, was there any modifications such as welding or machining needed? (as I cannot do either of those I would need to take my car somewhere to have it done)

2: Same as question 1 but pacesetter headers.

3: The gaskets in the header package from OBX, what kind are they? I saw that they also sell separately a set of graphite gaskets.

4: What kind of gaskets should I get? (I see alot of people mentioning Abbott aluminum gaskets, I have googled and googled and I cannot find these mythical Abbott gaskets for my car (I found these 2 websites, this one has nothing to do with cars Abbott Rubber - Rubber Gasket , and this is the one I'm assuming everyone is talking about but I cannot find the gaskets I need Abbott Racing)

5: I am decent with a set of tools in my hands but I'm certainly no pro, should I just get someone else to do it for me?

Any help here would be great! Thanks!
I will try my best to answers your questions

1.welding will be needed. A exhaust shop should do it for around $50-100. You gotta get the new y pipe welded on either brand u go with.

3. Not sure

4. Go with either the stock gaskets or abbot racing heads gasket. Goggle abbot racing heads 3800 and email him. I got mine from him, just haven't installed yet. They are nice and think and are supposed to be the best.

5. It's medium difficulty I'd say.

Warshrike beat me to it!!! Either way now u know
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by licont View Post
I was also wondering about those MSD coil packs Ive seen floating around? Are they worth it? Do I need them? Ive seen some people say you need an MSD ignition kit for longtube headers.
Totally uneccessary. Stock coils are actually more than sufficient and surpass the MSD coils. Get some good quality wires and I'd recommend some spark plug wire boots (DEI style) to protect them from the headers as an added precaution.

I thought two different sets of wires were clear of my longtubes but they eventually got scorched.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:49 PM   #6
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Well, I just put some Pacesetter headers on my 3.8L not too long ago.

Welding will most likely be needed for the y-pipe to the rest of your piping as WarShrike said. I had to weld with my Pacesetter set-up (after I managed to track someone down with a portable welder, total pain).

I'd recommend the Abbot racing gaskets. I ordered some and put them on mine when I did it. Well worth the money, no leaks and you really don't even have to go back and tighten the bolts. If money's tight, re-use your original gaskets if you can, also like War said.

Definitely go with taking it to a shop if you're not really comfortable with it. It will save you a lot of headaches. Took me around 2 long days on my own. (Minus the hang time on waiting for a welder)
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:31 PM   #7
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Yah I have a nice set of the thick wires (forgot the brand) and protected them with the original wire boots (took a bit of wiggling to get them on but they fit) and some nice plastic wire protectors for the majority of the wiring.

Now I just need to pick a shop (the hardest part, who will do a good job? whats the right price? etc etc). Itll be a few more weeks before I even order the parts because I am currently in the middle of a speaker upgrade (waiting for new speakers to arrive from KeeAudio). Got the interior in pieces and all my wires labeled....where u at UPS man!?
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:47 PM   #8
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Find a local automotive forum and ask around.
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