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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Custom Headers

I've done lots of fabrication and custom parts on previous projects(mainly Jeeps) but building my MKIV has definitely created a bunch of "first time I've ever done that" moments. I have built exhaust systems in the past but always used off-the-shelf headers as a starting point. That wasn't an option for me based on engine choice this time so I decided to tackle building custom headers.



Buying the ICE Engine Works "lego" builder kit would have been nice but ouch on the pocket book. Instead I just started with a bunch of Schoenfeld Headers j-bends in 1-7/8" 16 gauge mild steel and I created a custom chart with all the common angles I might use. I cut a little tool to help scribe lines around the tubes and just started with a few chop saw cuts to see what angles might work. It really hasn't been difficult, just tedious. In the end, I'll most likely use a total of 9 j-bends to complete both sides, but as of now the driver's side is done using four and a half tubes.



I used a 1/2" header flange to resist heat warping and also tried some other tricks to keep things flat. The 4 port side pipe flange is from Factory Five and a local muffler shop stretched the ends of my 1-7/8" tube out to the 2" holes in that flange. You can also see the aluminum jig I created to hold the sidepipe and flange in the correct place while I was working.



I'm pretty happy with how they turned out considering it's a first attempt. The passenger side should go quicker and also look nicer. I'm planning to paint then wrap the headers instead of ceramic coat. Wrap has way better temperature control but definitely doesn't look as nice. I also know they'll rust out faster but one of my Jeeps has had wrapped headers for 10+ years with no issues and they were cheapo 18 gauge headers. Once I have an issue with these I'll just make another set and hopefully be even better at it a second time....

On to the passenger side!

-TJ

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 05:27 PM
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Looks Good



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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 07:25 PM
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Nice work brotha! I plan to do the same thing this fall winter, not out of necessity, but for the challenge. Looks good so far - I'm going to steal that angle-finder idea! Thanks for sharing.

MK IV # 8639 Delivered June 2015 - SBF 347 w/450hp, FITECH 30002, Levy SA T5, 3 Link w/ 3.55's, cobra discs, manual brakes/steering
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 07:51 PM
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Nice job and much better welds than mine! I had to do the same thing since no headers exist for mine. First time i've attempted headers. Had to pull each side off 4 times to weld each tube up after tacking in place. Lots of work but worth it. I pulled 1 side back off after about 5,000 miles and a small fire to rewrap it and it still looked brand new under the wrap. Paint wasnt even bad. With these cars and the conditions we drive them in I wouldn't worry about rusting out the header tubes for a long time.

Steven
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 08:18 PM
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Nice Job, they look great. Necessity is the mother of invention! Good Luck with the other side.

Mike

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 10:37 PM
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TJ:. Nice job!

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the compliments guys, it's been an interesting project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topfuelhydro View Post
Nice job and much better welds than mine! I had to do the same thing since no headers exist for mine. First time i've attempted headers. Had to pull each side off 4 times to weld each tube up after tacking in place. Lots of work but worth it. I pulled 1 side back off after about 5,000 miles and a small fire to rewrap it and it still looked brand new under the wrap. Paint wasnt even bad. With these cars and the conditions we drive them in I wouldn't worry about rusting out the header tubes for a long time.

Steven
Looks like you did one thing correctly that I'm now kinda starting to regret, you used stainless tubing. For a whole number of reasons I won't get into I chose not to use stainless, but relatively thick gauge mild steel instead. Mostly because I was afraid they wouldn't turn out all that nice so I didn't want to invest in stainless if I wasn't happy with the final product. I figured I'd redo them again in a couple years in stainless after getting some miles on the car. Well, they actually turned out way nicer than I thought and I'm kinda mad at myself for a short-sighted decision. Oh well, I think I'll only have about $140 invested in them when complete(plus header wrap...) so it hasn't been a major investment.
Did you use VHT or similar exhaust/header high temp paint?

-TJ
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepurz View Post
Thanks for the compliments guys, it's been an interesting project.


Looks like you did one thing correctly that I'm now kinda starting to regret, you used stainless tubing. For a whole number of reasons I won't get into I chose not to use stainless, but relatively thick gauge mild steel instead. Mostly because I was afraid they wouldn't turn out all that nice so I didn't want to invest in stainless if I wasn't happy with the final product. I figured I'd redo them again in a couple years in stainless after getting some miles on the car. Well, they actually turned out way nicer than I thought and I'm kinda mad at myself for a short-sighted decision. Oh well, I think I'll only have about $140 invested in them when complete(plus header wrap...) so it hasn't been a major investment.
Did you use VHT or similar exhaust/header high temp paint?

-TJ

Nope not stainless. Just plain old 16 gauge tubing from Jegs. Can't see my headers anyway and I was planning on wrapping them. I honestly never expected them to work long term and was planning on sending them out for duplication by a pro company but so far so good. I used VHT hi temp header paint.

Steven


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