Afterburners Suck Page
I thought that installing the Afterburners would be the hard part. I was wrong. Getting them to seal was much harder.
Pictures on the previous page show that the AB's are designed such that the primary tubes
protrude through the flanges and are welded on the back side. The welds are then ground (supposedly) to the same plain.
Every time I installed the headers they leaked. I tried several different gasket designs and techniques. I eventually ended up with six different gasket designs and eight different installations. If you hate installing headers, try installing them eight times. I had experienced gearhead buddies assisting. We were all stumped as to why they wouldn�t seal. One even happened to be a seal/gasket engineer. He still couldn�t get them to seal.
Also had some issues with getting my local well-meaning-but-inept exhaust shop getting the Pypes X-pipe lined up straight with the collector reducers. Those 3-bolt collector reducers suck, even with the nice Al gaskets.
I finally decided to do an experiment. I applied copper RTV to the header surface and then bolted it to a spare LT1 head on my bench. The bolts were torqued and the RTV was allowed to cure overnight. I removed the header and saw that some of the RTV wasn�t even compressed.
Guess the flange wasn�t as flat as it looked, and that also explained why it always leaked between the #3 and #5 primaries.
In the process of investigating the leaks, I essentially ended up with a gasket analysis facility on my bench top. I learned a lot about why not to put round port headers on D-port heads and lots on gasket design. If you�ve got any questions, feel free to ask.
I finally called Todd at Jet-Hot. Even though it was six months after I�d ordered, he sent me another pair. Those showed up WITHOUT O2 bungs. Useless. Welds looked a little better, but there was a small defect on the mating surface what would�ve caused a leak. So Todd sent a 3rd pair. I waited six weeks for the 3rd pair since they were on back order. That set showed up and made me thoroughly disgusted. The O2 bungs were on the wrong sides, but the mating surfaces were trash. I know these are welded in Tijuana, but at least the guy could be sober.
Anyway, I�d had it. I called Todd at Jet-Hot and told him I wanted my money back. He offered a couple of other options, but we decided to stop bothering each other and give up. To their credit, Jet-Hot refunded me fully nearly a year after my first order.
I finally did what I said I�d never do: I ordered Try-Y�s. Luckily the entire year my car sat idle let me save up enough cash (under the wifey�s radar, of course) for the Try-Y�s and I got in on the group purchase. Parts took FOREVER to show up, but when they did, one friend and I put everything together (along with a new Pypes X-pipe) and started the car. No leaks. None. I didn�t even document the Try-Y installation because it�s so easy.
So I said I�d never spend so much money for Try-Y�s. In trying to avoid them, I spent:
$200 on gaskets (Mr. Gasket X 4, copper, Earl�s X 3, etc�)
$212 for a Pypes X-pipe that my exhaust shop trashed
$110 for custom-bent AC lines and a recharge
$108 for generic Walker cats that my exhaust shop trashed
$253 for installation at my exhaust shop
$40 for Jet-hot Afterburners (refunded), minus shipping
Seeing it all totaled up makes me sick. I didn�t add what the price of not being able to drive my car for nearly a year was.
My recommendation to header shoppers is to avoid Afterburners. If you MUST go cheap, get Dan�s Budget Headers. They weren�t available when I started.
By uncoated FlowTech Afterburners and prep them yourself, then have them coated.
Have a friend who can weld and bend pipe �cause an exhaust shop will cost you.
At least it�s all over now. I got the Try-Y�s/Pypes installed on Saturday and I�ve been driving the car to work all week. Man does it run.
And no, Dan didn�t pay me to write this up. ;)