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Should I get headers?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by newyorkin, Jun 12, 2001.

  1. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status Premium Member

    May 8, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Los Estados Unitos
    I was just reading some other posts about headers and the problems that come with them. Originally I had wanted to dump the manifolds and go with headers, but then started reading the posts about them...
    Are they really high maintenance, or just certain ones? I.E., collector gasket replacement, tightening, etc.
    Is the performance gain worth the added hassles?
    I know the sound changes substantially, but does it get a lot louder, beyond a good muffler making a difference?

    I have a chance to pick up some used headers too, should I stay away from them? I'm asking that after reading about warping issues...

    Thanks in advance for the tips!!

    **<A target="_blank" HREF=http://k5.8m.com>http://k5.8m.com</A> What more is there to life?**
  2. muddin4fun

    muddin4fun 3/4 ton status

    Feb 19, 2001
    Likes Received:
    N Texas
    If you get a good quality header and a good quality gasket, then they aren't as much trouble as you think. If you put lock tight on the bolts, then you shouldn't have to retorque them.

    Sometimes you have clearence issues and sometimes they get in the way of the starter if you have to replace it. I have Heddman headers on the blazer and I don't have clearence issues nor are they in the way of the starter.
    The truck will sound different with the headers. I don't know about louder. I guess maybe a little louder, but it depends on the mufflers. The gaines you get also depend on the exhaust you run.
    You need to get really well insulated spark plug wires. I got some racing wires from Napa and they're holding up great! It's best to get some that you can customize the length. Also, get some good wire looms. You have to keep the spark plug wires away from the headers as well as everything else. I had a battery wire burn up on one really quick!
    I would not get used headers. There's a lot of things that could be wrong with them that you won't find until you install them. Mine were 150 bones. If I had to change anything, I'd get the ceramic coated ones.
    With headers, you get what you pay for in most cases.
    If you are looking for torque gains, go with a smaller tubed header. For more HP get a larger tubed header. Hope this helps!

    <font color=purple>Have you hugged your K5 today?</font color=purple>
  3. 89Blazin

    89Blazin 1/2 ton status

    Mar 20, 2001
    Likes Received:
    midwest KC area
    IMHO....forget the headers. Been there 3 times...all Burbs. If you do get em, use the individual gaskets vs. the long single piece gasket. Lot's easier to replace and seem to last much longer. Shield your starter from the heat. Get super-good insulated plug wires....and as mentioned, pay particular attention to the exhaust system behind them, or there will be no improvement in performance.

    85 Burb and an 89 Blazer
    One just for fun, one simply for pleazer
  4. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

    Jul 23, 2000
    Likes Received:
    E-town baby!
    Headers are a little more maintenance. I use the stock exhaust mainfold gaskets and they hold up very well. I hesitate to use loc-tite on any bolt going into the head though. I just retighten every once in a while.

    I like the sound, and with some good flowmasters it does make an appreciable difference. I would stay away from used headers though. I wish I could have afforded to get ceramic coated headers. I blasted mine with 2 coats of VHT 1500 degree flame proff coating. It silver colored and does not burn off. That was 3 months ago and they still look great.

    If you do get headers, get the best ones you can afford. Look for flange thickness and tubing wall thickness when making comparisons.

    For collector gaskets I used the dead soft aluminum gaskets and haven't had a leak there yet.


    <font color=green>Dyslexics of the world...UNTIE!</font color=green>
  5. solowookie

    solowookie 1/2 ton status

    Mar 31, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I got hooker super comp headers, and it was a great move! I had a HUGE performance increase.

    [​IMG] <font color=blue> Jeff </font color=blue> [​IMG]
  6. Seventy4Blazer

    Seventy4Blazer 3/4 ton status

    Apr 21, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Escondido, CA
    i have a cheap set of headmans and they never been a problem, well untill it is time to do a starter swap. my buddy has a 74 burbon with hooker super comps and his are the same way.

    ad for tightening bolts i would never put lock tight on heads. in fact i would use anti seize with the lock style 3 peice bolts from summit . they work well on mind and when i do have to pull my starter they come out easily. but only if you want them to....

    1974 Chevy Blazer Cheyanne. lots of plans for it....
    but it is on 33's now, with saggy old springs. i am in so cali if ya got any parts for me.
  7. rodzzilla

    rodzzilla 1/2 ton status

    May 30, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Grinnell, IA
    I just put Thorley's on my 'Burb. Did it when I did the engine swap, so I can't say how much extra they added. They have thick flanges at the head and collector. I was able to get to all of the bolts easy. The plugs are fairly easy to get to, also. They clear the starter fine. My brother has had the aluminum collector gaskets blow out. We have switched to the copper ones, and have not had any problems.
  8. 502Burban

    502Burban 1/2 ton status

    Jun 8, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Southern California
    In my experience, the performance gain from headers is well worth it. However, you will have far less trouble from a quality set. Doug Thorley makes a very fine product that I ran on my V8 J**p CJ, and I run Hooker SuperComps on my big block.

    When it comes to gaskets, my current favorite setup is to run the soft copper gaskets. They seal well, are reusable, and don't burn through like the fiber/paper types. Downside is they are expensive; like $50 each!

    If you don't want to spend that much, I've also had good luck with the standard fiber types. Either use 2 on each side, or you can soak them in water for an evening before bolting them on. This causes them to swell up like a sponge, and after startup of the engine, they will conform to all the little irregularities/imperfections in the sealing surfaces. This also works great with collector gaskets. Problem with this type is they can't be reused like the copper ones.

    As far as fasteners, I agree with tRustyK5 and Seventy4Blazer. Don't Loctite them. The locking fasteners from Stage8/TD Performance that Seventy4Blazer mentioned are the hot tip. They will never back out on you, and are what I use.

    Wouldn't mess with used headers. Might have hairline cracks that you wouldn't notice until running and leaking.

    Noise factor is a muffler issue, IMHO, not a header issue. Good quality spark plug wires with some heat sleeves will solve any heat problems you may experience.

    Sorry this ran kinda long. Hope it helps.


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