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New ARH stainless headers & Xpipe have arrived...

 
Old 12-08-2010, 01:50 AM
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LT1*C4
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Default New ARH stainless headers & Xpipe have arrived...

A few weeks back, a company by the name of "American Racing Headers" posted a thread here on Corvette Forum, advertising the release of their new header system, designed exclusively for the C4 market.

When I first read the news, I was genuinely excited. Not just because I was in the market to replace my current headers, but because it's always exciting to see a company come out with something NEW for the dwindling C4 market.

What I really liked about these new headers was that for the first time ever, virtually ALLof the features I'm really interested in, have finally all been incorporated into one header design.

Up until now, if you wanted stainless steel, your only option was headers with 1 5/8" primaries. If you wanted 1 3/4' primaries, your only option was headers made of mild steel. If you wanted a stepped header design, well, you were out of luck entirely...

Finally, for the first time, ARH has come out with a full length, stainless steel, 1 3/4" primary header and even gives us the option of going with a 1 3/4" - 1 7/8" stepped design as well !!!

Needless to say, I immediately placed an order.

I have to admit though, I'm still a bit nervous for having bought something that basically nobody else has had experience with. But, as nervous as I am in regards to how well these headers will fit, I'm still really excited about getting the chance to install them on my C4.

All the C5/C6 owners appear to be very happy with their headers from ARH, so with any luck, the C4 version will fit/perform just as well as the headers ARH offers the C5/C6 crowd!

I'm going to try and install them this week and I'll be sure to update this thread with pictures and a review of how well these new headers fit and how well they perform.

For now, here's a few pictures I just took of the headers right out of the box.

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Here are the spec's:

- 100% 304 Stainless steel construction
- Stepped (1 3/4" - 1 7/8") primaries
- 3/8” thick flanges with hand ported inlets
- 3" merge collectors with scavenger spikes
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- 100% 304 Stainless steel 3" Xpipe
- 200 cell metallic substrate cats
- 3" intermediate pipes
- New gaskets and header bolts supplied as well (A very pleasant surprise)

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The entire system is designed to hook right up to factory exhaust just before the rear axle, so it necks down from 3" to 2 3/4" to fit the factory exhaust. However, it can also be ordered with either 2 1/2" reducers or maintain a 3" diameter to fit aftermarket exhaust systems like Corsa or B&B. On my setup, it will be connected to the Corsa exhaust that I'm currently already running.

[By accident, the Xpipe that was shipped out to me came with cats (I ordered them without). Not a huge setback or anything, but I'll have to wait until the catless Xpipe arrives before I can complete the entire install]

AMERICAN RACING HEADERS:

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Last edited by LT1*C4; 12-17-2010 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:51 AM
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UPDATE: 12/08/10

I had some time today so I went out and picked up one of those diesel/kerosene portable heaters to warm up the garage so I wouldn't freeze to death working on the car!

Once the garage had warmed up enough, I began the process of removing the exhaust from the car. I started off by removing the mufflers and worked my way towards the front of the car, until all that was left was the old headers. They took a while to finally come out up, (reaching some of those header bolts was a real pain in the butt) but eventually, I managed to free everything from the car.

I guess that means I'm half way there already!


Removal of the old headers:

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Polishing up the Corsa mufflers and axle pipes that will be re-used:

I've always had a habit of cleaning up all the parts I take off a car (if I plan on re-installing them over again of coarse) and since I was going to be re-using the existing mufflers and axle pipes from my Corsa exhaust, I figured now would be the best time to clean them up since they were off the car.

A damp rag and a bit of metal polish and everything came out looking like new again. Gotta love stainless steel! Still looks every bit as good today as it did when I installed it 2 years ago.

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American Racing Headers vs Exotic Muscle:

In the mean time, thought you'd all might like to see a few comparison shots of my old headers (Exotic Muscle) and the new ARH design...

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Issues with 2 year old Exotic Muscle headers:


(Disclaimer: I do NOT speak on anybody else's behalf in regards to EM's headers. Only my own. I'm merely stating a few of the issues I had with my EM's which forced me to go with another header design/brand. The pictures below were added to better illustrate what it is that I'm trying to describe. If anyone's running EM's without issue, by all means, keep them and enjoy them. I do NOT want this thread to turn into an EM vs ARH debate. Look at the photo's. Read my descriptions/experience of both headers. Decide for yourselves which choice is best for you. - Thank you)


Now, for those of you wondering why I'm replacing one set of headers for another, just take a look at a few of the "close-up" shots below. Bare in mind, these headers were purchased NEW in 2009.

I had MAJOR clearance issues with these EM headers right from the start. Look closely at the first picture and you can clearly see 3 spots where the passenger side header was sandwiched right up against the frame of the car. Over time, the constant vibration of the motor was enough to wear down the ceramic coating entirely, exposing the bare metal underneath!

To make matters worse, take a look at the bottoms of the primary tubes. They're literally falling apart as the rust has eaten right through the metal from the inside and worked its way through the ceramic coating (which is bubbling out all over the place). Even the collectors are all rusted out.

Like I said, these things were bought NEW in 2009.

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UPDATE: 12/10/10

New American Racing Headers installed on the motor:

Finally got around to installing the new headers today.

You can see in the first 2 pictures that I wrapped the headers up with some bags/padding material. I did this to help prevent them from getting scratched/damaged during their installation, so even though it looks kind of goofy, there was a reason for doing it.

The first thought that went through my head as I started the install was that these were a LOT easier to go in, then my EM's were. I remember having a hell of a time trying to squeeze the EM's into place, with so much pushing, sliding and angling every which way, just to get them lined up with the cylinder heads. It was a nightmare.

The new ARH's slid right into place with very little effort. I'm genuinely impressed with how easy they went in.


[A word of advice for those doing a header swap. Make it easy on yourseves and remove the coolant temperature sensor from the passenger side cylinder head (be sure to lay a container underneath to catch the antifreeze that comes out) and remove the starter while your at it. Otherwise, both the starter and the sensor, will be in your way and make things more difficult then they need to be.
Once the passenger side is in, don't tighten the bolts all the way just yet. Tighten them only 2-3 threads just so that they hold the header in place. You're going to need a little side-to-side "play" from underneath in order to have enough clearance to re-install the starter. Once the starters back in, then you can fully tighten the header in place.]



Well, after finally installing the headers, I'm happy to report... THEY BOTH FIT PERFECT!!!

There is NO contact anywhere with the frame. Man, what a relief!

These things fit so much better than the EM's that were on there before, it's literally a night and day difference between the two. The routing of the primaries is done so much better, I actually have MORE clearance now with LARGER 1 7/8" primaries than I did with EM's 1 3/4 tubing!

I couldn't be happier. Well done ARH!

As an added bonus, there's even enough spacing between the primary tubes and the header bolts, that I was able to tighten all the bolts with a standard wrench. With the EM's, the bolts were so close to the primaries, none of my wrenches would fit as they were all "too fat" and couldn't fit around the head of the bolts. I had to take an old 10mm wrench, and grind it down until it was paper thin, in order to get it over each of the bolts.

With the new ARH's, I was able to use a standard wrench without a problem!

On a final note, it appears as if I'm going to have a lot more ground clearance as well. Looking at the bottom of the collectors, they actually sit just about level with the bottom of the transmission. This is great news because I was having second thoughts about lowering my car because I'd already banged up the collectors on my EM's at the stock ride height.

Since the ARH's tuck in better then the EM's as well, I'll have no trouble lowering the car now.

I'm going to have to wait until next week until the new Xpipe arrives so there's not much more I can do. Until then, I'm going to order a new pair of O2 sensors and new spark plugs as well

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UPDATE: 12/13/10

Plug access with the ARH's in place:

Just installed the new Spark Plugs (NGK TR55GP), while I wait for the new Xpipe to arrive. Plug access is excellent. All 8 were installed in 20 minutes flat. I no longer had to reach any of the plugs from underneath as I did with the EM's. Everything is easily accessible from up above now.

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UPDATE: 12/16/10

Cats vs No cats

The 2nd Xpipe just arrived. Still waiting on the new O2 sensors before I can finish bolting everything back up. I noticed that the Xpipe without cats weighed 4lbs less than the Xpipe with cats not that it makes a huge difference but still...

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UPDATE: 12/27/10

This must have been the longest header install in history

Sorry it's taken so long, but this time of year, with all the Christmas festivities happening, get-togethers, shopping etc. I just haven't had the time to work on the car..... At least not until TODAY!

Just finished installing everything. The new extensions ARH sent me worked like a charm and I was finally able to get everything put together.

Last edited by LT1*C4; 08-24-2011 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:06 AM
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One thing I would recommend. Look and see where the Cats are going to be and if they are not protected by a heat shield, look into TJ WOngs write up with pics a few years back where he made a heat shield attached to the underside to protect the car. Another person had the same problem, BlackHarleyMan.
Just a precaution.
Here is the install pics from them. It appears a heat shield is justified.

Last edited by Charleston2012; 12-08-2010 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:50 AM
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I'll be watching this with great anticipation as I am also considering the same purchase. Most interested in seeing how the fitament is and since I am also running Corsa's, with cats, what these will do as far as resonance and overall noise is affected.
Glad you are doing the writeup as your past ones have been outstanding. Good luck and thanks for being the first
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:13 AM
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JackDidley
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I hope they fit as good as they look. Hard to believe someone is making those for a C4. Nice.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:15 AM
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:14 PM
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Excellent, that is what I would get if I didn't have a brand new set of headers already. Do you have a baseline dyno for your motor?

Good luck!
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:45 PM
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Very cool. Congrats man. When I had the 93 I would have done the same.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:58 PM
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Nice! How much were they if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:04 PM
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Thinking of getting these for my bracket car. Might be quicker than my Hookers.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Charleston2012 View Post

One thing I would recommend. Look and see where the Cats are going to be and if they are not protected by a heat shield, look into TJ WOngs write up with pics a few years back where he made a heat shield attached to the underside to protect the car. Another person had the same problem, BlackHarleyMan.
Just a precaution.
Here is the install pics from them. It appears a heat shield is justified.
I tried searching for that write up about the heat shields but coulnt find it. If you can find it, could you please post.
Thanks
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jon0108 View Post
I tried searching for that write up about the heat shields but coulnt find it. If you can find it, could you please post.
Thanks
Will do. Here, its an old thread. TJ may be able to direct you to pics. They are floating somewhere. The material and install were critical.
http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c4-t...ts-beware.html
http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c4-s...ml?forum_id=82

Last edited by Charleston2012; 12-08-2010 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:06 AM
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Just updated the thread with a few new pictures. The old EM's have been removed from the car and the new headers are now ready and waiting to go in as soon as I can find the time. Check out post #2 for addition pictures including some side by side comparison photo's of EM's header design and the new ARH design.



Originally Posted by Charleston2012 View Post
Thanks for the links, they might just come in handy...



Originally Posted by USAsOnlyWay View Post
Excellent, that is what I would get if I didn't have a brand new set of headers already. Do you have a baseline dyno for your motor?

Good luck!
Thanks!

As far as a base line, no, I never got one for the 'Vette. Having owned other LT1 vehicles in the past (Fbodies) I'm already pretty familiar with these motors and how they respond to various mods. Way back when, I used to always dyno my car's after every single mod, no matter how small. I learned a lot about these LT1's over the years, so even though this is might be my first 'Vette, it's by no means mu first Lt1 - I have a pretty good idea what to expect...

Once I finally get around to diving into the motor itself, than that's another story...

I've got a 396 LT4 currently in the works which these headers will eventually find themselves attached to.

THEN, I'll be on the dyno for sure


Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Nice! How much were they if you don't mind me asking?
Depends on what your looking for.

1 3/4" primaries? Stepped design? Just the headers themselves or headers and a matching xpipe? Cats? Straight pipe? The pricing varies depending on which options you're interested in. You can check out ARH's website here:

http://www.americanracingheaders.com/C4_Corvette.html

Hope that helps!

Last edited by LT1*C4; 12-09-2010 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:00 AM
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wow, wish these had been available before I bought my 1-5/8" stainless headers a year ago. crap. i really woulda preferred 1-3/4" primaries. darn.

"all good things come to those who wait..."

oh well...
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for the info LT1, I just ordered a set of stepped headers for my bracket car this morning. Hopefully I'll gain a tenth at least. Willie
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:16 PM
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Wow, so glad I don't have some new in box EMs right now.... I'm hoping the coating on your set is an anomaly...

Regardless, I'm looking forward to reading about the install and fitment.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:23 PM
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wicked mikey!!
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:48 PM
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those headers are only 2 yrs old,they look like 10yrs old.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:09 PM
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I had to go in the kitchen to see all the pix's
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:34 PM
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keep us posted . I'm liking that exhaust
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