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Torqueing header bolts

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Desert Rat, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Ok, probably a dumb question but, given the tight quarters that some of the header bolts have, how in the world to you get them to torque spec? I can barely get a box end on them..........
     
  2. rustyear

    rustyear Registered Member

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    ah, yes...the no-room-on-the-bolt-for-the-wrench header bolt tightening dilemma...there's actually a bunch of ways to tackle this problem...first, you could do the allen-head thing and round up a set of allen-head header bolts...get an allen-head socket which will let you use your ratchet ..another option is to just beat on the header pipe with whatever tool you can get in there and make room for the wrench, i have used a ball pein and a 3/8 extension...go ez cuz header pipe is simple to dent, this doesnt affect performance to any degree. You can also pick up cheapo wrenches from swap meets, etc, and modify them to fit...grind 'em, bend 'em...whatever you need. Also, a craftsman 1/4 drive 3/8 socket (what size are header bolts anyway..3/8?) has a very thin wall and will fit where it doesnt look like its possible to fit..adapt it up to 3/8 drive and lean on 'em. Lastly, i myself have never even cared whether or not the bolts were torqued to spec...never had a problem. Just get 'em good and tight. Unless you lock them on, you're prob gonna need to tighten them a few more times anyway.
     
  3. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    I don't want to beat on the header since they are ceramic coated. I'm wondering of those funky super short box end ones that you can stick an extension into might work? I was able to torque all but two on each side and hand tightened those. I'm wondering of the allen socket head ones would work better....:thinking:
     
  4. rustyear

    rustyear Registered Member

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    oh yeah, ceramic coated...i never thought of that, duh...but the allen heads will make a quick and ez fix...but if you stick with reg bolts, ive found that an open-end wrench will at least let you tighten them pretty good...you may have to shorten a reg one so that you can turn it without hitting the next tube...or a 'shorty', as you mentioned, should work good
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    My Hedmans came with bolts that had reduced wrench flat size on them, so that a smaller box end fits on a (typically) larger thread sized bolt. Something dinky like a 5/16" box end IIRC.

    Also using a 1/4" drive set usually changes the socket dimensions over 3/8" drive stuff, so that might help as well.

    Only one bolt on my hedmans is a bit of a pain with the smaller bolt head, #5.
     
  6. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Mine had the smaller hex head as well. It helps, but it is still tough to get the sock on. Maybe I'll try the 1/4 drive but I am dubious as to whether or not the thin extension will take the 35. lbs. of torque needed. I'm going to get on down to Sears and pick up some of those shorty box end ones that attach to a socket extension and try that too. I haven't fired it up yet so maybe I am worrying for nothing.....
     
  7. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I don't think you'll see any problems putting 35 ftlbs on say, craftsman 1/4" drive stuff. I don't have a torque wrench that I'd trust at that low of a measurement, I just torqued them down good, and haven't had problems with them loosening up.

    The cheap (yes I know some say that about craftsman) Chinese stuff you've gotta be careful with...the sockets are often so loose on tolerances that they round the very edges off with a minimum amount of effort.
     
  8. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    What you could do is get a feel for how much you need to tighten another bolt to that foot-pound with your torque wrench, and then try and replicate it by feel on the headers bolts.

    Since the length of your torque wrench and regular one are different, first get the practice bolt to the torque you want, then try it with the same length wrench as you will use on the headers.

    It'll be pretty close.

    I've got to say, though, that I also didn't bother :D
     
  9. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Yeah, I guess I'm just being anal. I'll run it for a while, then re-tighten them up later. In a similar vein, I just used the gaskets that came with the Doug's headers. Good enough?
     
  10. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Don't know the composition of the ones you've got, I've heard numerous times that the steel faced ones made for exhaust manifolds are better than the paper ones that typically come with headers.

    I'm using the steel faced ones (came with my engine gasket set) and have pulled them a couple of times...no evidence of leakage or burning through.
     
  11. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    metal-faced gaskets > paper gaskets

    I have stainless allen bolts on mine.
     
  12. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Well crap, I used the paper ones that came with the headers. They were very thick though. I guess I'll run them and see what happens. I've heard copper is the way to go. Looks like I also solved my problem with the right header hitting the rear spring shackle too. I'll post up pics in another post.
     
  13. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    The good thing about the metal faced ones (that I've seen and used) is that you can just loosen the bolts up and install them, instead of having to put the bolt in place to hold them, then trying to get the threads started.
     
  14. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    You mean the bolt holes aren't closed up? I haven't seen that.......
     
  15. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yep, the bolt holes aren't holes, they are an inverted "U". Drop them in from the top. Simple pleasures eh? :)
     
  16. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    I've had great results using the allen head header bolts in the past. They take a 5/16's allen wrench, but if you use a ball-end wrench, then you can get to the bolts from an angle. That helps a LOT. To make sure I could snug them down well, I slipped a 5/16's combo wrench over the allen wrench to provide good leverage. For about the first week after installing the headers, I would snug all the bolts up once a day. Worked like a charm. :cool1:
     
  17. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    I'll have to keep that in mind. Maybe I'll run them for a bit, then check the torque. A couple of them did get chewed up a tad bit so they may have to come out anyways if they start backing off. Did you ever have any problems stripping a ball end allen?
     
  18. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Never broke off a ball end. But then again, you aren't supposed to torque them up like lug nuts. ;)
     
  19. Desert Rat

    Desert Rat Fetch the comfy chair

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    Well, it says 35 lbs. and that ain't much......
     

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