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Hot Rods Header fabrication system

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Engine man, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,310

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    I've seen a couple different television shows building headers using a kit with plastic pieces with various bends and lengths that are assembled to mock up the headers then metal pieces can be cut or formed to match that pattern. They could also be used to mock up roll cages and even railings.

    They appear to work really well so I looked them up. I was thinking probably a couple of hundred dollars but I was way off. There are different size kits as far as tubing diameter and 4 or 8 cylinder but the kits with the large number of pieces are $1,500. Not likely something anything other than a very large shop would buy. It would probably be cheaper to have a shop build the headers than to buy the kit. A large shop that makes a lot of headers and roll cages could probably justify them at that price but the average guy that watches these shows isn't likely to buy them. I assume the shops in the shows these were on got them free or just to use for the episode.
     
  2. Time is money. No different than plastic motors and trans and any other mock up tool.
     
  3. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,489

    Pete1
    Member
    from Wa.

    Whatever happened to learning to do it yourself with hand tools and junk yard pipe like the "olden dayz"?
     
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  4. Snake oil. Make your own 90, 60, 45, 30 & 15 degree samples to see what works best as you go along. Then cut that degree and message it or leave it alone.
     
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  5. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 990

    Mike VV
    Member

    Engine -

    A good friend of mine worked for a hand full+ of years building headers at a known header shop many years back. Long before the plastic building blocks were invented. Then he went on to Aerospace work.

    That said, since you don't mention the car, the chassis, the transmission or the engine...an approximate cost can't be thrown out there. But I can tell you, from headers I've seen him build over the 30+ years I've known him and the money he's gotten for them, a $1500.00 header would be a very simple, maybe even a fenderless 30's type car. That is, easy to reach everything.
    Good materials are not cheap, as is the hourly (dollar) rate in the 21st century, not so cheap.
    Sure, you can buy $20.00 small Chevy or Ford flanges, but it wouldn't be a good idea, not if you don't want them warping and leaking within a year. Same with the tube thickness. You can buy cheap collectors, but again..!?

    If you've got room, and if you can see things in your head, just give it a try. If it doesn't work the way you like, cut it up and try again.

    Mike
     
  6. slightly off topic but for those who haven't seen these tube welding clamps...

     
  7. buffaloracer
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 653

    buffaloracer
    Member
    from kansas

    We made patterns using flex tubing years ago and then copied it.
    Pete
     
  8. akoutlaw
    Joined: May 13, 2010
    Posts: 420

    akoutlaw
    Member

    cadillacoffin, Thanks for the video & info. Those are cool.
     
  9. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,310

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  10. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,310

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Maybe these are worth the price. There are some videos available.
     
    Blues4U likes this.
  11. patterg2003
    Joined: Sep 21, 2014
    Posts: 407

    patterg2003

    My friends & I built a large 4 seater Bearhawk airplane with a Continental engine. One partner is a professional welder & we considered manufacturing our own header type exhaust. We decided by the time we bought all the 321 SS bends and materials that it would be quite a chore with lots of surplus materials. Second point was we wanted the airplane built in our lifetime. We had the people that owned Experimental Aircraft exhaust build our exhaust system. They sent us the engine flanges and plastic pipe elbows. We bought pipe a a few more elbows to get exactly what we want. We documented the assemblies and marked all the connections. Broke Each side down into the runners and sent it off to have it fabricated. They assemble the customers mock up on jigs that are identical to the engine and then recreate the plastic mock up into the Stainless Steel exhaust. The exhaust comes out looking better as the pipe elbows are sharper turns that the SS bends. We were really impressed with the quality of our exhaust & it fit exactly like we laid it out. Experimental Aircraft Exhaust is a dual business in that they do performance car exhausts under their other company name Stainless Steel Exhaust. http://www.stainlessheaders.com/
     

    Attached Files:

  12. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 775

    bangngears
    Member
    from ofallon mo

    I used the flexible aluminum tubing that went from breather to exhaust on 70s cars. Worked great for a pattern.
     
    anothercarguy likes this.
  13. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 335

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Couldn't you use a combination of pcv pipe, pvc elbows or vacuum cleaner hose ? Way cheaper. Go to a Habitat restore place.
     
  14. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 2,975

    dana barlow
    Member
    from Miami Fla.

    First time I tryed to do any mock up,other then drawing up a planned idea an just doing it! Was with some flex pipe/but found it did not bend sharp enough at some points,so that was not great. I've built a number of headers,for both my hot rods an race cars,just winging it! If I can start with old set that are wrong shape but fit the heads,I'll cut off pipes about 1 in. from the flang=And thats a good start point,saving fab time. Go from there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 10:47 AM
    zzford likes this.
  15. Engine Man; I think your wrong about the Big Shops using them. If your a Big name shop you would have an employee talented enough to know how to build Headers or a cage or tube chassis without Toys. Personally I think the Plastic stuff is just Novelty Crap! For sure a waste of $$$$$ and looks like a lot of it. Like all parts of building Cars there is some Talent needed, some fore thought ability, and when it comes to bent pipe, how to correctly cut it. These things can't be learned with Plastic junk or fancy do metal clamps. It takes hands on along with some coaching. None of this comes printed on paper or in a box from U.P.S. You learn How by watching and you get Good by caring about what you do. If you do these two things you will get better with every project you take on. Here's proof and none of this was done with Plastic Crap or fancy clamps.
    The Wizzard
    P.S. Please note the cheep cheep cheep hose clamps at work.
    A.M.X. Headers 002.jpg
     
  16. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,260

    pitman
    Member
    from Hampsha

    I buy 360* exhaust donuts, makes 4-90's, or 3-120's. Add a length of straight pipe, you're good.
     
    Johnny Gee likes this.
  17. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 8,175

    Atwater Mike
    Member

    Actually, a Huth tube machine with sliding mandrels is compulsory for a quick and relatively simple job. Or, it would be...If:

    One had this Huth bender;
    Car was on site to fit pipe to;
    No a$$ ho's phoning every 10 minutes or 'dropping by';
    Time provided with no Clock!
     
  18. AZ_Nick
    Joined: Nov 29, 2015
    Posts: 19

    AZ_Nick

  19. XXL__
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,001

    XXL__
    Member

    I watch this video every once in a while to remind me that it's probably a good thing I'm not rich...

     
  20. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 38,979

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    How many 3d printing hours and rolls of filament is "free" equal to? :)

    I figured out a different way to mock up my headers, using 1/4" aluminum rod, through the center of where the tube needs to go. It worked pretty well. But I doubt it will catch on, it's too easy and cheap.

    IMG_1429.JPG
     
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  21. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 3,355

    Marty Strode
    Member

    For 25 years, I have used stainless radiator hose clamps with holes in them, to tack the pipes together.
     
  22. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,489

    Pete1
    Member
    from Wa.

    Nice fab job. The shock is mounted upside down.
     
  23. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,310

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Trial and error with metal pipe would take longer than these snap together plastic pieces that have index markings and the cutting setup to copy the bends. It would be especially helpful in building equal length runners. You can build anything without power tools also and gas weld the tubing but why would you when there is another easier way using power tools? When we work on our own vehicles, time might not be a concern but in a shop setting, time is money. They claim in the video that mocking up the headers with the kit took an hour. If that's true, it would save a large amount of time.
     
    prewarcars4me likes this.
  24. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 22,666

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm going to have to agree that that 1500 buck kit of plastic pieces comes in under the time is money and waste material is money category. Yup the experts can do it without primarily because they have a vision in their head of how they want it to be when done. I've been around too many people who have some serious hands on skills but cannot visualize worth a damn and you have to draw everything out for them to the minute detail before they get it. Most of us as rodders do have the ability to visualize, if we didn't we would probably be restorers and just put things back the way they came. Just think about the last time you tried to explain much of anything to someone who cannot visualize in their head but get it as soon as you show them a photo or drawing.
     
  25. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,489

    Pete1
    Member
    from Wa.

    How many shops understand laminar flow and smooth off the welds INSIDE the pipes?
    You can see the difference on the dyno.
     
  26. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 3,355

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Purging the pipe with argon certainly helps with weld run-through, especially on stainless. That info was meant for the newbies, not you Pete !
     
  27. XXL__
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,001

    XXL__
    Member

    Most of the people I know don't get it AFTER I build the damn thing.
     
  28. Your correct about dyno results. To clean welds inside the pipes is to be Extrude honed. After that is done then you pressure test each tube before coating them.
    The Wizzard
     
  29. Pete, no doubt you know way more than i do and i am absolutely not trying to argue but after watching this video its hard to imagine small obstructions like welds could effect dyno results.



    Would be interested in hearing more from you...
     
    bchctybob and 1946caddy like this.
  30. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 38,979

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm glad someone besides me posted that :)
     
    milwscruffy likes this.

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