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I'm finally getting around to the last of my nagging issues in building my "traverse the Rockies with 7 people" build. My driver's side exhaust manifold is badly cracked. When I sea foamed the engine, you could see the smoke pouring out from there (as if the loud tick on start up wasn't bad enough). Normally, I would just ignore this - it doesn't affect drivability, and I don't have any CELs coming on, but as I'm putting together the final winter preparations, I realized that if I were to get stuck, and heaven forbid have to camp in the vehicle, that damned exhaust leak up front could be very problematic.

I'm a decent shade-tree mechanic, but I lack the more advanced tools (in this case, it seems like a torch and an engine hoist are probably required). This is one job I think I'm going to leave to the professionals. It seems the consensus is to buy the JBA short-tube headers (~$500) and then pay a shop to install them (~$1000). Am I missing something, or is that what I'm legitimately facing? Are there any better options? Factory headers cost more than the JBAs. So do the other aftermarket stock replacement options. I live in an area with plenty of reputable non-dealer mechanics, so I know I can find someone to do the work.

Any votes at all for just leaving it? Seems unsafe to me, but I know plenty of people have probably been running around with a cracked manifold for 100k or more...
 

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1A-autoparts has a good video online for replacing the exhaust manifolds yourself. You just need a very long extension, and access to both sides which means wheel removal. It seems best to have the vehicle raised so you can also remove the cat to manifold bolts.



I heard noise when i accelerate but im not sure my exhaust manifold is cracked. It may be, but i also changed my exhaust to magnaflow stainless steel from the headers on back to the muffler so not sure if thats where its coming from...



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I replace my with JBA headers in my garage. Since I live in CA I don't have rust to deal with. If you have rust it's better to pay someone to do it save you a lot of headache. I did not have to remove the driver side motor mount when I did my. Here's some pictures side by side.
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