Long Tube Headers Sound, How loud are they? (Video)

Long tube headers - How do they sound?

Long tube headers – How do they sound?

My biggest question about getting long tube headers was, “how would they sound”?  Would they be too loud?  I found several long tube headers audio bytes on YouTube, but rarely did I find one with a before and after clip that actually sounded clear.  Most were recorded with nothing more than the guy’s cell phone camera.  So, having the resources from my day job, I tried to take the quality up a notch.

Audio Setup: Canon 5D Mk III and Sony lav mic

Audio Setup: Canon 5D Mk III and Sony lav mic

 

Armed with a Canon 5D Mk III and a nice Sony mic, I recorded my exhaust before and after the long tube header install.  I also recorded a dead stop pull away and a couple of drive by’s.  Then I recorded internal ride noise with the windows up and down, and tried to find the exact RPM for the dreaded “drone” noise.  Luckily, with my particular setup, I never found obnoxious drone.

Long Tube Headers Sound Before and After Install

Long Tube Headers Sound Before and After Install

 

I mean, if you want to get really picky, I did notice a bit of drone on a steady incline, on the gas at 2700 RPM and at 85 mph.  But I never drive that fast, so I am still gonna chalk that up to no drone noise.

Long Tube Headers - Drive by

Long Tube Headers – Drive by

 

So, if you are curious like me, check out the video!  Be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

Here’s my setup:

2002 Chevy Tahoe

Comp Cams .554/.558 Lift | Dur @ .05 208/212 | LOB 115

Flowmaster Delta Flow 50 Series

Speed Engineering Long Tube Headers and ORY Pipe

Test for inside drone of long tube headers

Test for inside drone of long tube headers

 

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

Installing Long Tube Headers & Y Pipe on Chevy Tahoe GM Truck (Video)

New long tube headers & Y pipe next to the old stuff

New long tube headers & Y pipe next to the old stuff

If I made it this far, anyone can!  The actual installation of the long tube headers (for me) was much easier than getting all those old rusty exhaust parts off.  Now the only question, will it fit?

I remember reading online mixed opinions on where to start.  Should I start with the headers and work my way back, or start from the back?  I decided to put the headers on first (only hand tight) and work my way back.  I knew the last piece was going to be hard, and had no idea how to handle it, but I just dove in.  By the way, having an assistant with you for the install not only makes it easier, but helps to save your sanity!

Long tube headers are absolutely gorgeous in there!

Long tube headers are absolutely gorgeous in there!

After fumbling through it for a short while (I left the clips in the video for your entertainment)

we figured out how to get the new Y pipe on the headers.  The trick is to put the 90 degree turn on the cross pipe first, and then slip the Y pipe on both headers simultaneously.  Don’t forget to put the brackets into place first!

Not enough room for the last pipe that attaches to the flange

Not enough room for the last pipe that attaches to the flange

Then there was only one more connection.  The Y pipe to the tail (flange) connection.  Of course, we were off by about 4 inches and tried pushing, pulling, and banging stuff into place.  After scratching our heads for a while, we decided to pull apart one of the hangers from the muffler pipe and that bought us a bunch of room –  enough to slip in the last Y pipe piece and bolt it all together.  I plan to take the whole thing to the exhaust shop and have them give it a once over and weld it together in a couple of places as soon as I decide on a final plan.

Y pipe where it crosses makes it hard to access transmission pan bolts

Y pipe where it crosses makes it hard to access transmission pan bolts

If you decide to take this on, remember not to weld the Y pipe to the headers and not to weld at the flange.  There will be a time when the pipe must come down to remove the transmission pan and do a transmission service.   That big new pretty cross pipe makes getting to the transmission pan bolts nearly, if not completely impossible.

I talked with a transmission pro and he said if only the cross pipe was an inch lower than it actually is, it would not need to be removed for trans service.  Oh, … the stuff you have to think about when modding your car!  I’m still not sure which route to go.  Apparently, it will be hard to find an exhaust shop that will do mandrel bends and weld 304 stainless steel to create the “ideal” cross pipe.  Perhaps someone who knows will comment.

Transmission cross member bolt in backwards to make room for Y Pipe

Transmission cross member bolt in backwards to make room for Y Pipe

Back to the install.  The transmission crossmember went back in, but with one big hiccup.  One of those massive bolts (on the driver’s side) needed to go in backwards because the new stainless pipe was in the way.  I don’t see this as a major issue as the bracket being held on [previously] by the 2 nuts (drivers side) is still being held on by one huge nut.  The 4 nuts holding the cross member on are all still doing their jobs.  If that’s a little unclear, check out the video (below).

So, what about fitment?  Under the hood, the driver’s side header pipes clear the steering shaft without issue.  Underneath, the driver’s side header comes VERY close to my front drive shaft (4wd).  I have driven about 50 miles since the install, and no issues so far, even in Auto 4wd or 4 Hi.  Seems to be ok.

Other than that, the damn thing seems to be flawless.  Oh, and the sound?  Wholly crap, the sound!  It is EXACTLY what I was hoping for.  Not too loud, not too quiet.  I can fire it up in the driveway and not wake the neighbors at idle, but if I get in the gas at 4:00 in the morning, it might piss off the closest neighbors.

Air wrench sped up the process

Air wrench sped up the process

I’m running mine with a mild cam and a Flowmaster Delta Series 50 muffler and I love it.  I do a before and after sound comparison in the video.  Check it out!

 

 

 

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

 

 

Short vs Long Tube Headers – My Personal Decision (Video)

Stock Exhaust Manifold still in there

Stock Exhaust Manifold still in there

My short vs long tube headers decision had been going on for at least a year – maybe longer.  At first, I desperately wanted shorty headers because I had read how much easier they were to install, and how they just “bolted on” with the stock Y pipe.  Then I read about how well made the stock exhaust manifolds were for GM trucks and that the shorty’s were a minimum improvement, but not worth the effort and the cost.  So, I accepted the thought that shorty’s were out – and put the great exhaust debate on the back burner (for like, 8 minutes).

On the other hand, I knew about the performance gains with long tube headers.  Article after article I read about how awesome it would be if I just made the effort to install them.  But they were so expensive, and what to do about the Y pipe and cats?

From what I understand, long tube headers were drastically more expensive than their shorter counterparts but then I kept seeing the same thing again and again, Speed Engineering Long Tube Headers and OR Y-Pipe package for under $400 – shipped!  WOW – those Gibson Shorty performance headers were $500.  What to do?  What to do?

Long Tube Headers and Y Pipe

Long Tube Headers and Y Pipe

So, I went for it.  Speed Engineering made the decision easy.  The worst thing that could happen is that I would get the headers on, and not be able to install the rest due to fitment issues.  So, I would go off to the exhaust shop and have them finish it up for me.

Long tube headers!  At last,  I had made a decision and they had arrived!

Exhaust manifold to Y pipe nuts can be some of the hardest to get off on the entire car

Exhaust manifold to Y pipe nuts can be some of the hardest to get off on the entire car

So here it goes!  Take it from a guy who is not a mechanic, and never did exhaust before.  Actual installation is not that big of a deal!  It’s getting those old rusty exhaust manifolds separated from the Y Pipe and unbolted from the head that is a total pain in the ass.  That’s all stuff you need to do if you go short or long.

Now, from my video (see below), you might think I got lucky.  My efforts to get those exhaust manifold to Y pipe nuts off went flawlessly.  Furthermore, you’ll notice no reference to getting bolts broken off in the head.  Lucky, you say?  No – not lucky at all.  You see, I did an engine rebuild last year.  I fought with one of the exhaust manifold nuts for days.  I twisted it, turned it, stripped it, drew blood on several occasions from it, cussed at it, cried about it, bought extractors for it, almost burned the place down hitting it with heat, and then finally beat it by grinding it down into oblivion.  As for the manifold bolts into the side of the head?  Yes, 2 of them broke off.  For this, I was a little lucky because my heads were off to the machine shop and I had the machinist do it for me.

Having said all that, YES, I can see where installing long tube headers can be a complete bitch.  But let me tell you, it is totally worth it, above any other mod I have done to the truck.  And, I’ve done a LOT!

On to the dismantling – In the video, I mention that if you want the old Y pipe out of there, you can cut it, or you must drop the transmission cross member.  I wanted to keep my stock Y pipe so I went through the hassle of dropping the cross member to get the Y pipe out.  It’s a lot of work, but I am glad I did it.

2 of the 4 long bolts that hold the transmission cross member

2 of the 4 long bolts that hold the transmission cross member

The transmission cross member has 4 massive bolts and I think the 6 nuts are 21mm.  Once you undo the 4 bolts, it will still hang on the transmission mount.  Or, at least it will hang with a 4wd because the transfer case sits on another cross member further back.  I’m not sure what the configuration is on a 2wd.  There are 2 more bolts underneath that need to come out to separate the transmission cross member from the transmission mount.  Once it was out of there, I supported the trans mount on some wood at the height it stood when the cross member was in there.  Not sure if this is required or not, but I didn’t want all that weight on the other cross member.  I was also concerned about the bolts attaching the transmission to the engine and what strain this might have on them at that angle.  But back to it……

Supporting the transmission at the mount with a block of wood

Supporting the transmission at the mount with a block of wood

Once the cross member is out, you can undo the rear 2 flange bolts and lower the Y pipe out of there.  I did it alone, but it’s probably easier (and safer) to do it with an assistant.  After that, I did the exhaust manifold to head bolts.  As for the manifold to head bolts, hit them with PB, too, and be gentle.  Having one snap off in the head is a whole world of headaches.

Like I said before, the nuts for the studs on the exhaust manifolds can be a show stopper.  Hit em with PB Blaster the night before, and if possible – beg, borrow, or steal some air tools to lighten the load.

Once you get past the two manifold headaches, you’re past the hard part.  Installation is way easier than removal. I’ll get to that in the next video.

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

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Unboxing GM Truck Long Tube Headers and Y Pipe from Speed Engineering (Video)

GM Truck Long Tube Headers and Y Pipe Box Has Arrived

GM Truck Long Tube Headers and Y Pipe Box Has Arrived

Close up of the shipping "oops"

Close up of the shipping “oops”

I’ll be the first to say, I don’t care much for “un-boxing” videos and I never set out to create one.  The thing is that when my long tube headers showed up, part of the mating surface from the header to the head was sticking outside the box.  I asked my wife to grab the camera and film me open the box because I wanted some proof just in case I needed to send it back and there were any problems.

After opening the package and being relieved that there was no damage to either the long tube headers or the Y pipe, I thought that maybe the video might help someone else out who actually does like unboxings.

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

 

Bilstein Springs and Shocks Installation (Video)

Bilstein Front & Rear Shocks and Bilstein Springs

Bilstein Front & Rear Shocks and Bilstein Springs

Bilstein Front Shock Installed

Bilstein Front Shock Installed

How to decide on which springs and shocks?  So many options, it will make your head spin.   Thanks to the guys over at www.tahoeyukonforum.com I was able to decide.  There was overwhelmingly positive feedback about these Bilstein Shocks and Springs.

If your ride height has been changed, opt for the 5100s, but for my stock ride height, I went for the 4600’s.  After getting the car up on jack stands, and the wheel and wheel well off, I started up front.  This is a very easy mod that even someone with NO experience can do.  The most important thing to keep in mind while doing this whole procedure is safety.  Make sure to use adequate jack stands, place them in the right spots on the frame, and be very careful not to hurt or kill yourself, or others.

 

Bilstein Springs Installed

Bilstein Springs Installed

Bilstein rear shocks Installed

Bilstein rear shocks Installed

For the bottom, all you have to do is hold the nut on one side as you loosen the bolt on the other.  The top is even easier.  Make sure to secure the lower control arm with a jack or jack stands so it does not slam to the pavement.  Putting the new one in is just as easy.  You may have to compress the shock a little to allow it to fit in there.

For the rears, again I lifted the car, got the wheel and wheel wells off to get easier access to the nuts and bolts.  I got both shocks off and then went to work on the springs.  To my surprise the springs just slipped out.  No spring compressor needed!  What a relief as that is a very dangerous process.

I had an assistant lift the rear differential so the springs would not fall out and then proceeded to install the new shocks.

This was one of those rare occasions where I was completely shocked at how easy this was. I was able to save hundreds by not having a shop do it for me.

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

Engine Oil Cooler Install and Making AN Hose Fittings (Video)

Engine Oil cooler plate w thermostat by Improved Racing

Engine Oil cooler plate w thermostat by Improved Racing

Oil getting too hot can be the death of an engine.  Enter, the oil cooler.  I had seen many sandwich plate oil coolers and actually purchased one but was disappointed by the fact that I could not find one with both a port for an oil temp gauge and a thermostat that would fit my Vortec LS engine.

I somehow found www.improvedracing.com while searching around the internet and gave them a call.  I don’t remember what my original question was, but boy did I get lucky!  They sell an oil cooler plate that covers the 2 holes above the oil filter on an LS engine!  I was completely floored when the guy told me it was thermostatically controlled and had a port for a gauge!

Location where Improved Racing Oil Cooler Plate Goes

Location of Improved Racing Oil Cooler Plate

Making AN Fittings on braided stainless steel lines

Making AN Fittings on braided stainless steel lines

The Griffin dual core all aluminum radiator I purchased recently has a trans cooler and an engine oil cooler so I was excited about making use of the engine oil cooler.  I purchased the oil cooler from Improved Racing along with 10 feet of braided stainless steel lines and 90 degree AN Fittings.  I was set!

If you are going to make your own lines (put the AN fittings on the stainless-steel lines), do yourself a favor and get the AN fitting holder for your bench vice.  I don’t know how you could make the lines without it.  I mean, you could, but I think I would totally scratch up those pretty AN fittings.  With the tool, it was very easy.

Oil Cooler Plate installed on side of LS block

Oil Cooler Plate installed on side of LS block

I hooked up the lines to the plate and then affixed everything to the engine block.  The lines run from the plate, straight forward (via 90 degree AN fittings) to the top and bottom of the driver’s side of the radiator.  If you don’t have an engine oil cooler built in your radiator, you can get an exterior cooler on eBay for cheap.  Just make sure you pull your front grill and measure to make sure it will fit somewhere on the front of the AC condenser.

Installation is difficult only because of some of the contortionist positions you need to get into to get the plate on the side of the block.  If you have 4wd, you will also need to unbolt and drop your front drive shaft (don’t forget to mark it!).  Also, if you run wiring for a gauge, run it forward so it doesn’t get chopped up by a front drive shaft, or burnt by the exhaust pipe.

Oil Cooler Plate and temp gauge installed on side of LS block

Oil Cooler Plate and temp gauge installed on side of LS block

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

 

 

Installing a Transmission Cooler (Flex-a-lite) (Video)

Stock Transmission Cooler

Stock Transmission Cooler

My GM truck was purchased with a “tow package”, so it had a stock trans cooler.

The stock transmission cooler is rather small, and had almost 190,000 miles on it, so I thought I would retire it.  The new Flex-a-lite trans cooler was not that expensive, and I had the whole car ripped apart anyway, so I decided to replace the stock unit.  That’s the short story, if you want the long story, read the next paragraph

< start long story> When shopping for a dual core all aluminum radiator, I first set out to get the Flex-a-lite.  They have a great reputation, and tons of positive reviews online.  The Flex-a-lite radiator did not have a trans cooler so I ordered the exterior one to go with the radiator.  After a few days, I never got confirmation that the radiator had shipped, but the trans cooler was already at my house.  I came to find out that the radiator was on back order and would not ship for a month.  It was then that I decided to cancel the Flex-a-lite order and go for the Griffin.  The Griffin had a trans cooler built in, so I just kept the Flex-a-lite exterior trans cooler and installed it.  </end long story>

Transmission lines going in/out of trans cooler in radiator

Transmission lines going in/out of trans cooler in radiator

Getting the old one out meant pulling those tiny e clips that hold the hard lines together.  A small pick is the tool of choice and after removal, the lines should come right apart.  I say should because I never got one of them to budge.

The new cooler required some drilling of new holes to get it to sit in place, but was not hard to do.  With the installation of the new trans cooler, the in and out lines were in different places (than the stock unit) so I had to cut the transmission oil lines and re plumb.

New Flex-a-lite Transmission Cooler

New Flex-a-lite Transmission Cooler

The oil follows the sequence as follows:  Leaves the tranny hot –> goes into the bottom of the radiator and gets cooled the first time –> comes out the top of the radiator –> goes in the top of the new (exterior) trans cooler –> comes out the bottom of the new trans cooler –> travels back to the transmission.

All in all, installation was fairly easy and I am thrilled with the performance.  Later, I installed a trans oil gauge (video coming soon) and the trans oil temp range is perfect.

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

 

How to hook up Electric Fans to the Air Conditioner (AC) Clutch (Video)

Access to AC wire is easy with wheel and wheel well off

Access to AC wire is easy with wheel and wheel well off

This is part 3 (of 3) of my video series on installing a Griffin Radiator and Spal Electric Fans.  At this point, the radiator is in the car, and the required electronics are hooked up.  This means that the fans operate on a thermostatic control we earlier placed in the radiator.  At this point the fans will only come on when the temp is above 185 degrees.

In addition to this functionality, I also want the fans to come on when the air conditioner is on.  That is what part 3 is about.

From our grey wire, we need to also tap into the green wire by the AC

3rd Relay joins grey wire with AC clutch wire and 2 grounds

3rd Relay joins grey wire with AC clutch wire and 2 grounds

compressor via a 3rd (store bought) relay.  This way, even if the thermostat is not hot enough for the fans to come on, the AC clutch will override this and turn the fans on.  This relay will have 2 wires going to ground, our grey wire, and an additional wire going from the relay to the green wire by the AC compressor.

The installation is not hard, you just should be careful when clipping the wire over by the AC compressor and “tap in” the new wire so it sends the “on” signal to the relay, and therefore, the fans. This part is made much simpler if you jack up the front of the car, place it on jack stands, take off the front passenger wheel and plastic wheel well.

Green wire of the AC Compressor

Green wire of the AC Compressor

I pulled away some of the black sheath covering the green wire, and used a Philips head screw driver to get the wire free from an attach point on the AC compressor.  This gave me more room to snip and tap the wire.

 

 

After everything was connected, I spent some time running tests, and all was perfect!

Green wire "tapped" by yellow wire going to relay #3

Green wire “tapped” by yellow wire going to relay #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!
 

 
 

Wiring Up Electrical Fans for Radiator (Video)

Relay for wiring electric fans to radiator

Relay for wiring electric fans to radiator

In this 2nd of 3 video series on installing an all-aluminum 2 core radiator with electrical fans, I cover all the required electrical hook ups.  This whole process is not hard, but I will say, it requires patience.

Temp sensor for wiring electric fans for radiator

Temp sensor for wiring electric fans for radiator

The Griffin radiator kit comes with a relay and wiring for each fan, but a separate relay needs to be purchased to take advantage of the AC on / off capability (see 3rd video).

The relays need to be mounted somewhere in the engine bay.  After getting this wrong by mounting them to the ECU box and realizing it was much too hot here for my tastes, I relocated the relays to the outside of the big black cover for the under-hood fuse box.  Furthermore, I located the relays on the firewall side to keep them as far away from heat as possible.

Fuse tap for wiring electric fans for radiator

Fuse tap for wiring electric fans for radiator

The relays (each) have 4 connections.  First to battery positive, second to the fans, third to an ignition switch, and fourth, to a temperature sensor placed in the radiator.  Having 2 fans required some “marrying up” of the wires, and for that, I used some homemade 3 way connectors.

Wiring Diagram for electric fans for radiator

Wiring Diagram for electric fans for radiator

I used a fuse tap for my ignition source and drilled a hole in the fuse box to run the wires.  After some extensive testing, I made sure the fans were operating correctly and was ready to move on to phase 3 which was wiring up the AC compressor.

 

 

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

 

 

 

Installing Griffin 2 Row All Aluminum Radiator (Video)

Griffin 2 Row All Aluminum Radiator

Griffin 2 Row All Aluminum Radiator

I’ve always wanted a big dual core all aluminum radiator.  But having one with a trans cooler and an engine cooler was too good to pass up.  The Griffin 2 row all aluminum radiator is just that.  Twice as big, and 2 oil coolers.

Plumbing the All Aluminum Radiator

Plumbing the All Aluminum Radiator

This video is part one of 3.  I show the radiator out of the box, and some of the wiring that came with it.  Griffin uses dual Spal fans, so you know they’re quality.   This video shows us getting the radiator in the car, and the required plumbing connections to make it cool.

I’ll go through all the electrical connections to make the Spal fans work in the next video.

So, check out the video, and be sure to check out my other videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like and comment.   Thanks!

 

 

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