Bassani X pipe/Offroad Pipe Combination

For those of you wanting to have an X pipe, but don\’t want to cut up
your stock setup, Bassani offers a combination of pipes that will allow
you to bolt on an xpipe, get rid of those pesky cats, save weight, and as
a bonus release raw LS1/LS6 exhausts into the atmosphere!
I have a
2000 FRC, and after a year of holding out and keeping it stock, I finally
gave in and purchased a bunch of stuff. Among my wish list was the
Bassani combo, which is part numbers C501-2 and 5797X.
I wont go
into too much detail because there\’s another very thorough tech tip
already, but I\’ll give you the most important things I ran into.
First of all, call up a guy named Shelton at Bassani. Look up
their website, get the phone number, and ask for him personally. He\’ll
answer any tech tips you might have, and he\’ll refer you to a retailer
in your area. Shelton refered me to a guy named Jim(I think) at Fairway
Ford. That\’s right, you read that correctly! Apparently, Fairway ford
is right down the street from Bassani, and they deal with each other a
lot. I not only got the best price, but had EXCELLENT service, and had no
problems whatsoever. I ordered the stuff on tuesday morning, had it
delivered by thursday afternoon, THAT\’S good service. Anyway, ask for
shelton, then ask him to give you fairway ford\’s number, you\’ll save
some green, and get treated right.
The set up involves removal of
the stock H-pipe, the catalytic converters (all four of them), and pretty
much anything in between the header tri-bolt flanges and the flanges that
mount up to the pipe that goes over the rear axle.
Off course,
you\’ll also need a pair of O2 simulators. I got mine from Tbyrne
motorsports, another quality vendor. I wouldn\’t dare run without them,
so its worth the extra cash to not see the dreaded check engine
light.
LIft up the car, you\’ll need approximately 12\” of
clearance at a minimum.
Get to work on the stock O2 sensors, if
you can\’t remove them, you\’re out of luck, and you probably will
have to go to a muffler shop to get them loose. They are located about
halfway between the tri-bolt flanges and the H pipe, one on each bank. Do
this first because you don\’t want to start wrenching and then be
sidelined with a pair of jammed O2\’s. I think I used a 3/4 wrench to
get them off, once you unscrew them, let them hang there.
Next, get
to work on the exhaust manifold flanges, again, if these break or become
jammed, you wont be able to proceed. After you get all three nuts on both
sides off, proceed to the rear flanges. Take the two bolts on either side
completely out.
At this point, you\’ll have the mid section
pipe hanging by the rear spring hangers (you might not have known these
had springs on \’em), and the two bolts on the bracket that\’s bolted
to the tranny.
I used some bricks and a spare jackstand to support
the pipe as I unbolted the last bolts, place it so it\’s approximately
1/4-1/2\” below the cats and the H-pipe itself. DO NOT unbolt it and
think you\’re superman and try to hold it up, you\’ll not only wreck
your arm, but possibly damage the mounting points and the header flange.
Go to work on the rear hanger bolts, and once they\’re off, go to work
on the front tranny bracket. Once its all off, you\’ll have to work the
pipe out of the tri-bolt flange, take your time, don\’t wreck the studs.
At this time, you\’ll see these \”donut\” gasket things pop out also,
keep them, don\’t trash them as you\’ll need them again.
Once
the entire pipe is out, set it aside, you\’re 1/3 done! That\’s
right, 1/3rd….
Next step is to put in the O2 simulators. Trace
the path of the rear O2 sensor wiring, its that black protective wrapped
wiring that strings along the heat shield and goes up to a jumble of
connectors. The first thing you\’ll see is this blue wire stuff
that\’s there to make sure the connector doesn\’t come loose. Cut it
off right at the snap clip for the 4 pin connector, and it should slip
off. Next, undo the connector, and put in the O2 sim. Clip it in place.
You might be wondering what you\’re gonna do with the wiring that\’s
hanging there, and the answer is nothing. Do not remove it, as doing so
will be irreversible, the clips that anchor it to the heatshield can\’t
be reused. Put some electrical tape on the exposed 02 connector clip, and
tie wrap that, the O2 sim, and any hanging wires to some wiring that\’s
there already. The plan is to put in the O2\’s back into the offroad
pipe, and while they won\’t matter, in case you gotta revert to stock,
everything will be there for you to do so. After you do both sides, its
time to make a choice.
You can assemble both pipes, and try to bolt
that up together, or you can put in the front piece first and then the
second. I chose to put in a piece at a time, and while I haven\’t done
this more than once, I have to wonder if I did it the hard way(I\’ll
explain later).
Start by positioning the pipe, and then bolting it
up to the tri-bolt flange. Remember to reuse the strange donut gasket
deal again. In case you\’re wondering, the guide edge goes up towards
the engine, the bottom should be completely round. Remember to use a
jackstand or whatever else you can use to help you position the pipe,
don\’t let it hang at anytime by just one set of clamps.
Once you
threat the nuts on the header bolts 2-3 turns, swivel up the pipe, and
hope the tranny bracket lines up with the holes on the offroad pipe. Mine
didn\’t!! At first, I was horrified, then I realized I had a handy
dremel grinder that could fix the problem. After about 45 minutes of
grinding, I managed to get one bolt up. At this point I realized that the
steel used in the xpipes is top notch, since I couldn\’t even grind away
1mm without a lot of work. Good news, but bad news since I couldn\’t get
it to line up. After a LOT of grinding, I managed to get it to mate. I
tightened up everything, torqued the tri-bolt flanges. Last thing to do,
is to bolt up both oxygen sensors again. They should fit right into the
holes that bassani place on the pipe. Take a break!
Now you\’re
2/3 of the way done!!
I came back thinking that the back should be
easy, WRONG. I went to position the rear pipe, and to my horror(AGAIN), I
found out that the offorad pipe was about 1/2\” off from matching the
rear section. 1/2\” isn\’t much, but when you\’re by yourself, and
dealing with only 12\” of clearance, stainless steel pipes, tired, and
only have 2 hands, its pretty challenging to get it to match. I ended up
rigging some spring clamps, a slide clamp, and some gum(I had to throw
that in a-la McGyver), to be able to \”spread\” the pipes easily while I
positioned the rear pipe. After a while, I managed to get the pipe to
slide in (man, maybe I should\’ve bought it dinner first). I then
torqued down the spring hanger clamps. TWO THINGS TO REMEMBER, put in the
supplied band clamps into the offroad side of the piping before mating up
the pipes, or you\’ll have to do it again(don\’t get the adjustment
bolts placed both in the middle, one in the middle, one on the outside of
the pipe), and also move the rear muffler section out of the way to give
you some room (you don\’t have to remove the rear mufflers, just undo
the hangers at the back and wiggle the pipe as far back as
possible).
This is the part where I wondered if mating the two
pieces would\’ve been easier from the start, but if you\’re doing it
by yourself, it can be tough to manuever the entire assembly up by
yourself.
Next, torque down the flanges from the xpipe to the
exhaust pipe that goes over the rear axle. You can reuse the same bolts
again if you purchase some nuts and washers from the local hardware store.
If I remember right, get M10/1.50 pitch nuts.
At this point, the
last thing you have to do is torque down the band clamps. Make sure you
tighten it down at a point where it is centered.
THAT\’S
IT!!
I probably could\’ve done the install a lot faster if I\’d
had someone with me and did the entire set up at the same time, doing a
piece at a time really set me back when I got to the back.
However,
with the fitment problems I had, I don\’t know if I would\’ve been
that much better off. The two tranny bracket holes just didn\’t line
up, and that cost me a LOT of time. The second thing was trying to get
the rear xpipe to slide into the offroad pipe was a PAIN. I swear I had
to rig up something crazy, and I was so glad when it worked.
Besides those two set backs, I must say the quality of the pipes
is second to none. The flange at the exhaust manifold really looks like a
quality piece, and I like the small welded in plates that say Bassani at
the bottom. Welds are strong, and steel is thick.
I have a B&B
PRT exhaust, and I had to realign the mufflers again since the xpipe was a
bit off from the stock set up, that\’s understandable since everything
pretty much changed. It didn\’t take me long and wasn\’t difficult
compared to what I had to deal with earlier.
I did this by myself,
with hand tools and only one trip to the hardware store. I had only 12\”
of clearance. It wasn\’t the easiest thing I\’ve done(by far), but it
sure is one of the most rewarding!!