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Hot Rods Header fabrication system

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

  1. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 4,509


    It depends on what you need. Competition? Big bucks make sense. Just for grins and fun? I don't pretend that these are pro quality but for never having built a set ever......... I bought eight or nine of these. I don't remember.,11308.html

    I piece of 4 inch from the local parts store for the collector. I was gave the flanges. So I have under $200 in them.


    Are they perfect equal length? No. They will work.
    bchctybob and brEad like this.
  2. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,787


    What's the big deal. If you pay attention, you can build your own from tubing or cut up an old set a reconfigure them, no big deal...
  3. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,489

    from Wa.

    We are talking all out race engines here where a one hp gain is a big deal.
    These headers are length tuned for a certain rpm, have reversion dams and sometimes are
    designed to make just as much hp with race mufflers as running open.
  4. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,489

    from Wa.

    Yup, I am familiar with that scenario. Back in the olden dayz when I was working for someone else, we
    got a job to build a set of pipes for an unlimited hydro. The fancy aircraft engineer they had consulted said the pipe had to be Inconel X-750. They furnished the pipe, I welded it with argon inside and away they went. When they got our bill, they decided to use mild steel next time......LOL
    1927graham, cadillacoffin and XXL__ like this.
  5. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 56


    When I built the Tri-Y's for the coupster I used the flanges off an old set and cheaped out with Speedway bends. They were a little thin on the outside of the bend but they fit the budget. To hold the pieces together when mocking up and tacking I used wide masking tape pulled tight. When it came time to tack I just used a razor blade and cut away 1/2 inch or so of the tape across the joint.
  6. Now that's funny, and thanks for the complement. It was a fun part of the project and took about 20 hours total for the complete system. Adding the fake Zoomies found 6 more H.P. over just the pipe off the collector. Every little bit helps. I don't remember making a pile of Scrap while building them but that was 5 years ago. If all 8 primary tubes were laid out strait they would be within 1/4" of each other and 34" total length each.
    The Wizzard
  7. mr.chevrolet
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 5,614


    wasn't there an old thread here where someone used flexible duct to mock up each tube, then sprayed foam in each one to retain the shape, then duplicated in steel? I thought that was a great idea.
    carolinakid and seb fontana like this.
  8. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 787

    The Shift Wizard

    15 years ago, I was big time into O/T turbo hop ups and hard pipes for air handling was preferred. I came up with the idea of using swimming pool noodle for mockups. This also works for making a pattern for a radiator hose to take to the parts store and find a close match hanging on the wall. Just cut the "noodle" with a kitchen knife and glue it to shape.

    It's great for simple projects. I've never made headers but I don't see why it couldn't be scaled up for that, too. You can mock up a header, then cut it up/glue it back to make the individual runs as needed.

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
    Terrible80 and willys36 like this.
  9. Hmmm . . . I think they are over-thinking the problem. I use Squirrel's method except I use gas welding rod. Cheaper and I always have a handful of it on hand. Then buy a handful of 180 deg bends and start cutting and tacking together the headers using some plywood supports, my Harbor Freight metal cutting band saw, Harbor Freight 4 1/2" grinder and Sharpie pens. Always seems to come out OK.

    Hemi 2.jpg
    7-25-2013 6-47-58 AM.jpg
  10. woodbox
    Joined: Jul 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,108


  11. TheFish
    Joined: Sep 7, 2009
    Posts: 136


    Those clamps are made by Ice Engineworks. They also make the header fab modeling blocks as Engine Man is speaking of. Both pricey but sure are time savers. It all depends on how much your going to use them.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using H.A.M.B. mobile app
  12. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,169


    I watched Dick Smith build headers. (Roadster in Ford Museum) He would slightly bell each piece before welding. The heat would shrink the joint so it was almost flush. He would then file the joint so it could not be detected. Incredible workmanship.
  13. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,650

    from No. Cal

    I'm pretty sure I'm the least talented guy on this forum.
    I used Jim Forbes' & Willys36 method using Coat Hangers.
    I also use the coat hangers as welding rod
    bchctybob and dana barlow like this.
  14. VOETOM
    Joined: Aug 6, 2006
    Posts: 218

    from MO

    Stainless Works used to sell a "Fit Kit". You got flexible wire wound elastomeric hose and shaped it, poked holes in it, and then injected a special expanding foam in it. You sent the tubes back to them, they scanned them, and duplicated them in st. st. and sent them back. It was an awesome way to get customs pipes. I used it for headers and then used s similar method to make pipes for a later 60's muscle car.
  15. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,317

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    Many people "modify" headers to fit with a hammer.
  16. Joe McGlynn
    Joined: Jul 14, 2016
    Posts: 31

    Joe McGlynn

    For a hobby builder (me) the price is offputting, but I can definitely see how useful this would be. One practical concern is the centerline radius of the bends. For example, the 1.75" kit has 2", 3", 4" and 6" CLR bends. What about bends that are 2.5" CLR or 1.75" CLR (like donuts)? Maybe it doesn't matter a lot, or maybe you just make sure you only use tubing that matches the plastic in the kit. Another thing to consider is how they will work with something other than a 4-into-1 collector. What if you wanted to build a tri-y setup? I'm sure you could make it work, maybe using the 3-into-1 clamp to model (and then fab) the first stage, then model and fab the second stage. I'm probably over-thinking it :)

    I started to build a set of headers for my stude (500 Caddy in a 56 Studebaker PU), and it was starting to look like a mess. I probably should have spent more time planning, instead I changed directions and bought a set of shorty headers from Sanderson. But I might end up revisiting that decision depending on steering and ground clearance when I get back to the engine compartment.

    I know that anything that either saves me time or helps me do a more professional job is interesting. If these were a bit cheaper I'm sure I'd buy a set. Or if I was going to build headers regularly. Maybe I should open a custom header fab shop...hmmm...
  17. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,317

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    Another benefit I see is the shop can have a guy who knows what he's doing lay out the headers. Then the cutting of pieces can be turned over to a lesser skilled employee, allowing the highly skilled employee to work on other projects instead of spending time cutting pieces.

    They could also let the lesser skilled employee lay out the header with the kit and not have a lot of material and time tied up and it can be easily changed.

    There are projects where the looks are more important than performance too. They could also use the kit to send the mockups out to be mandrel bent instead of piecing them together.
  18. Joe McGlynn
    Joined: Jul 14, 2016
    Posts: 31

    Joe McGlynn

    I just watched the video on the clamps -- those look great. I've used hose clamps to mock up tubing, and they work (and are cheap) but it's not a very rigid setup. When I get to building the exhaust for my truck I'll get some of the clamps for sure.
  19. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,317

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    I wonder if anybody rents these sets. If you could rent it for $100/week and you pay for any damage, it would get people using them.

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