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9 minute read
Green Man JBA Header Install
Compliments of Green Man @ challengertalk.com
Here is the link to pictures I took during the JBA installation on December 1 and 2.
1. After cleaning the headers I saw evidence of rust right away. The first header I washed with soap and water...bad idea, it got rusty overnight. The 2nd one I cleaned with Isopropol alcohol...no rust. Also, there was lots of rough welds around the ports, so I took a dremel and ground them smooth.
2. I opted to paint my headers flat grey with the VHT high temp header paint ($8). I cured it in the oven, per the can label, the day after Thanksgiving. I could not find a local place that did ceramic coating, and ceramic coating was another $300 from JBA.
3. Have a solid pair of steel ramps. Challengers are heavy, so don't buy the plastic death ramps from Harbor Freight. New steel ones on eBay cost $45, each ramp is rated at 2000 lbs (Peterson Tru-Cut Ultra Loading Ramps #UR650 ). To keep the front spoiler from scraping on the ramp I had to put two 1" thick panels before each tire. That lifted the tire enough for the ramp to clear the spoiler while driving up. (RACE RAMPS ARE BEST).
4. Set aside at least 2 full days if you are working by yourself. You can't complete this in one day, unless you have a buddy and access to a car lift. Also, buy a package of disposable rubber gloves...these are a must to save your hands.
5. Have a good assortment of metric tools from 10mm to 18mm. Have both short and deep sockets. An assortment of swivels, extensions and open end wrenches is also needed. Once I sized up my tool arsenal I went to Sears and spent $77 on more Craftsman tools.
6. Have a reliable hydraulic floor jack to lift the engine and some solid blocks of wood.
7. I took the cats and mid-pipes off first. This was my first encounter with trouble. The entire MBRP cat-back system slides up to the mid-pipes from the back so I had to drop the ENTIRE cat-back system...ouch.
8. I did the passenger side first because it's supposed to be the hardest...yes it was. The instructions say to remove the motor mount to get access to the manifold bolts. This is not totally true, you need to jack the engine up to give room for the heat shield removal and to drop the stock exhaust. The evil detail is the alternator brace needs to come off before you can get one of the motor mount bolts out. The problem is the alternator bracket bolts to the motor mount. That bolt has a stud that hits the frame so you can't get the last motor mount bolt out. I had to saw off the stud, then the bolt went forward enough to get a 15mm deep socket on the last motor mount bolt. That alone took about 1 hour to figure out what to do. Once it was loose, the engine jacked up enough to get the heat shield and manifold out. FYI, the heat shield had to be bent around to get it off. Before that the O2 sensor had to to be taken off. An 22mm open end wrench or 7/8 open end works. It is very tight and requires umph to loosen (caution: potential knuckle buster).
9. You need to remove the oil filter and loosen two hose clamps to get the hoses out of the way. This gives better access to the front part of the header. Note: make sure you have a catch bucket under the oil filter, oil will slosh out when you loosen it.
10. I bought a set of stock 5.7L Mopar exhaust gaskets. They come with a built in heat shield. Cost $15.
Passenger side: 53032966AF
Driver side: 53032965AF
11. The dipstick on the passenger side also had an issue with the spacer. JBA made it the same length as the thickness of the stock manifold. Really, it's the difference between the stock manifold thickness and the JBA header flange. I had to cut it down to 0.73" and the dipstick went back in fine (once I got the stock stud bolt in the right hole).
12. Passenger side header went in okay. The M8 bolts that came with the JBA kit had 3/8" heads which made getting the bolts in much easier. I noticed the bolts seemed a little short compared to the stock bolts. They could have been 8mm longer and provided more threads into the head. I surmise they made them shorter to make it easier to use the wrenches and sockets. I also used the green high temp Locktite on the threads. For 1 bolt I needed to use the "rubber hose" trick to hold it to get the threads started. Everything was re-tightened and the alternator bracket is now only attached on one side...so be it, I don't think the brace was needed anyway.
13. The driver side was much easier. I did get the motor mount lifted almost off to make header bolt installation easier. But getting the motor mount back on was a pain.
14. Once both sides were all tight I put the cats and mid-pipes back on. They were both tight, but the alignment at the H-pipe section looked wrong. I had to loosen the Cat bolts a bit to get the H-pipe on and the rest of the cat-back system. The Cat flange has two degrees of freedom, it can rotate slightly on axis and rock side to side. These are booth needed to get the ends for the H-pipe section to align. Not easy to do when laying on your bruised back. My arms felt like I flew in from Chicago.
15. I got all the Cat-back exhaust re-installed and started up the Green Man.
16. The pair of JBA headers weighed 16.2 lbs and the stock manifolds weighed 26 lbs...a 9.8 lb weight savings.
First impression is the exhaust seems a bit quieter and mellow. It also sounds smoother at idle. The throttle response seems a bit quicker. Until I get back on a dyno, I won't know what the HP gains are...I don't trust the calibration of my cheap butt dyno.
Under the hood, I could hear a faint sound of possible exhaust leaks, but it was not loud enough to hear with the hood closed. After a week and 35 miles the engine leak sounds are almost gone. In a while, I'll get under there and re-tighten everything.
That's it. Not easy at all, and now I know why an auto shop would charge $1000 to put these in; this is labor and time intensive to say the least. But, on the bright side, the exhaust system is done, and if I want to add a supercharger, I know I can breath well.
Yes, Hogan is correct, the OEM bolts are too long. I also believe the ones supplied are too short. I put lock washers on the supplied bolts and locktite on the threads because they looked a bit wimpy. On several of the bolts there is no room for a torque wrench so you have to use your best judgement for torque. I did find several to be loose several months later. One was ready to fall out. For that setup there may not be enough threads engaged.
I found longer better ones at Mcmaster-Carr (McMaster-Carr). You want the metric vibration resistant flange-head medium-strength steel bolts. M8, Pitch 1.25mm. Several lengths are available, 30mm will probably work best (92820A435). I suggest getting some steel washers in case the closest length you buy bottoms out. When I get around to it, I'm replacing all the header bolts with these.
I did not torque mine...but they are really tight with hi-temp Locktite. It's almost impossible to tighten some of the bolts. I could barely get a wrench in there to tighten them. A torque wrench will be larger/longer and may not even fit in the space between the header and body panel. I'm sure the exhaust manifolds are bolted and torqued to the heads before the engine gets dropped in. If you do this install yourself it will be difficult. Access to a lift would be great...if you don't, then buy a pair of Race Ramps. If you have the $$ take it to an experienced mechanic.