Headers?

This area is for posting questions/information concerning 1961-63 year Thunderbirds NO FOR SALE POSTINGS

Moderator: Wklink

Post Reply
tee byrd
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 8:09 pm

Headers?

Post by tee byrd » Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:45 pm

I tried to look over previous posts mentioning headers before starting this topic.
I didnt see too much, which was surprising.
I'd love to do headers on my '62.
From all accounts its one of those mods that should be simple, but never is.
I have a couple FE books by Rabotnick as well as original manuals and such,
but havent seen anything on clearances to towers etc. Seems like thats a huge challenge
I dont have means of hoisting the engine,
have any of you successfully swapped out stock manifolds for headers, particularly
w/o removing the engine?

I would also love to do new heads and intake manifold, but those are over my head, so in all likelihood
I'll just have to save the cash to have a shop maybe do all 3 of those at the same time....
-'62 Hardtop
(in progress, but she runs, usually)

stubbie
Posts: 405
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Headers?

Post by stubbie » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:39 pm


User avatar
El Leon
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: Headers?

Post by El Leon » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:58 pm

It's exceedingly unlikely that if replacing the intake manifold is above your mechanical skill-set that you're going to be able to get headers in without being able to at least lift the motor off the mounts even if you keep the driveline intact. There is very, very little room in the engine bay due to the suspension setup and necessarily large inner fenders.

Please note that I say this with humility and there is no intention to degrade your skills, discourage you, or say anything disrespectful. (tone doesn't come through text)
Stirling Moss once said “There are two things no man will admit he cannot do well: drive and make love.”

But then Albert Einstein replied, “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

tee byrd
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 8:09 pm

Re: Headers?

Post by tee byrd » Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:45 pm

Thanks El,
and no worries about taking offense. I think I may have incorrectly stated why they were over my head.
I dont have an engine hoist, so I should have said "I have no safe way to get that deep into the block, because I dont
have a proper hoist", that would have been more accurate.
I could certainly swap the I.M. (and have the savvy to do so) and wouldnt need to pull out the block, but to do heads
and headers, that would definitely need a shop with a hoist.
From all accounts, doing headers is quite difficult, even with pulling the whole engine because of clearance issues and also
the fact that the oem exhaust manifolds are probably so stuck on there, that just pulling the heads and then putting new ones in with headers
attached would be the best bet.
I'm open to suggestions from you and anyone else on this forum.
-'62 Hardtop
(in progress, but she runs, usually)

GeorgeG
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Smith Mountain Lake, VA

Re: Headers?

Post by GeorgeG » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:55 pm

Just a comment from someone who has removed heads a lot from our 390 engines while the engine is in the car: I've found that the hardest part, and the part I use a hoist for, is getting that ten zillion ton iron intake manifold off (and on). Heads are easy after that. Remove the exhaust pipes at the exhaust manifold and pull heads with the exhaust manifolds attached. It's a little bit of a struggle, but not too difficult, even working alone without a hoist. As an aside, I found that putting the stock exhaust manifolds on the heads before you put the heads on is the best (and maybe only) way to make sure the manifolds are torqued properly.

Now, getting it all back together with after market headers is another story, and one which has been covered in this forum before. I can't recall the exact posts, but I do recall that lots of shimming and fitting is involved. And not all headers fit as advertised.

George
Early '61 slowly going back together...in family since new: my project
'75 Porsche 914 1.8 FI upgraded to 2.0 specs: my toy

tee byrd
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 8:09 pm

Re: Headers?

Post by tee byrd » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:40 pm

Thanks George!
I agree that some sort of hoist would be best. Right now I'm debating between getting a hoist vs a lift (for other uses I mention in a separate recent post, specifically the quick-jack brand).
I did look over historical posts about headers before starting this new thread and I agree on all points you mentioned.
IMHO the factory EMs look hideous (but I'm admittedly a chrome snob) and both of mine have cracks I've patched. I know that replacement
manifolds are available, but I'd still be stuck with what I consider to be ugly parts that dont perform very well. I know there has been some debate
about realized performance of headers vs stock EMs, I am firmly in the camp that headers do provide better breathing.

I also hear you about putting the headers on while heads are out regarding torque spec. Might be a little dicey on that with non-OEM heads and headers, who's torque spec would I follow then, the header folks or the head folks, I'd think the factory repro manual spec would be irrelevant at that point...?

Have you seen/heard about the recently new offering by Trick-Flo (Powerport type)? Or just mostly the Edelbrocks?

I live at 5,500 ft (thats the low spot around here), so anything gearheads around here do to get more fresh air in and exhaust out, the better. Its another reason I wanna go to FI, despite how much I like the look and idea of a carb. If I drive even 30 minutes out of town I'm easily at 8-9k ft above sea level, so the old girl needs as much help as she can get. I committed the (according to many I'm sure) sin of just chopping my OEM mufflers off. Despite what some would say, I love the new sound. I also understand that many folks say that OEM EMs and mufflers are critical to back-pressure, I'm also not in that camp. But I dont want to debate anyone on that point either. You dont see mufflers on race cars for a reason (I fully realize these werent made to be the boss of the 1/4 mi, just making a quick point in my defense, in case any has an urge to get up in arms). After all, restomod is what I'm doing, not classic original, that ship sailed long before I ever owned her.

Anyway, I appreciate your experience with these and am kindof at a crossroads at the moment, trying to decide what way to go on the whole intake/head/exhaust thing. Makes some sense to me that I tackle them (or not) at the same time. I wish I had superior sheet metal skills because I would just make notches in the sections right where the headers might rub, there seems to be nothing stopping that, other than my lack of welding skills. Seems to be a couple inches (and would only probably need an inch) of non-interference on the other side of that section, springs and such have clearance on the other side.
-'62 Hardtop
(in progress, but she runs, usually)

stubbie
Posts: 405
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Headers?

Post by stubbie » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:02 pm

I would do your research on what heads to use as I read somewhere that the newer heads like Trick flow are much wider deeper or angled differently on exhaust ports (sorry not an expert on heads) so they may not be able to be used in a Tbird.

Post Reply