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!

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Final Prep & Initial Engine Start – Rebuild Video 12.5

Throttle and Cruise Control Wires

Throttle and Cruise Control Wires

After buttoning up the last few items (like bolting up the steering shaft, the last few screws, and the throttle and cruise control wires) it was time for fluids.  I put coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid in the car.

 

 

For the first test, there were no spark plugs, just a few drops of oil in the spark plug holes, and I pulled the fuel pump relay.  This way we did not have spark or fuel, but this is an important test to see if there was oil pressure.

I was actually shaking with the gauge went up to 60 psi letting me know I had oil pressure in the system.

Dash Gauge Showing Oil Pressure

Dash Gauge Showing Oil Pressure

 

Half way there!

 

Next it was time to put the spark plugs back in, put the fuel pump relay back in, hold my breath, and hope that the last 6 months of work wasn’t all for naught.  Those hundreds of hours, … and everything was riding on the turn of the key ……

Fuse Diagram Showing Fuel Pump Relay

Fuse Diagram Showing Fuel Pump Relay

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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Tall Holley Valve Covers LS Motor Comp Roller Rockers – Rebuild Video 10

Comp Cams 1.72 Roller Rockers

Comp Cams 1.72 Roller Rockers

I had the Holley Tall Valve covers on the engine and in the car, but I ran into trouble when it came time to install the coils.  The stock coil bracket was no longer useable and the hole pattern from the pedestals on the new valve covers were different than my stock ones.

Difference between Tall Holley Valve Covers and Stock

Difference between Tall Holley Valve Covers and Stock

The whole reason for buying the Holley Tall Valve covers was because my Comp Cams 1.72 roller rockers were too tall for the stock valve covers.  Since I had to take the valve covers off, it was a good time to paint them.  I bought the cheapest option from Holley and I never really liked the way they looked.
After 3 coats of Chevy Orange and 3 coats of clear, I was ready to start on some custom brackets to get the coils to mount on the valve covers.  Apparently MSD makes some coils with the mounting holes 72 mm apart, but I had already dropped serious money in some genuine AC Delco replacements which had the mounting holes to fit the stock coil bracket.

Tall Holley Valve covers over Comp Cams 1.72 Roller Rockers

Tall Holley Valve covers over Comp Cams 1.72 Roller Rockers

So I had to drill larger holes in the mounting holes of the coils and I made my brackets out of a strip of $4 aluminum that I bought at Lowes, and slapped them on.  I think they look pretty good, all things considered.

 

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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Intake Manifold Install – Rebuild Video 6

Forgot where all the wires go for your GM Truck LS Vortec Engine? Check out the video!

Forgot where all the wires go for your GM Truck LS Vortec Engine? Check out the video!

After getting the knock sensors in, I tried to make a resource for anyone who may have gone too fast and just threw everything together but didn’t pay attention to how they did it.  This video is just an overview of stuff and where it goes.  There is another video later in the series where I visit the concept of, “where stuff goes”, to finish off the engine build.

I learned a trick from someone along the way about using a (preferably new) toilet bowl brush and some carb cleaner to clean out the intake manifold while it’s still outside the truck.  I did do that and then used another smaller brush for the intake runners.  I will be installing a catch can later, so I wanted to base line the intake as clean as possible.

Later in the video, I get to the installation of the intake manifold.  It’s not hard, I chose do it when all the lines were off to the side thinking I would reduce the effort necessary to get it in.  It wasn’t hard at all.

GM Truck LS Vortec Intake manifold re installed.

GM Truck LS Vortec Intake manifold re installed.

Next on went the power steering / alternator bracket.  Take care to make sure all the hoses are where they belong so that it does not present a problem for you later.

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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