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So I get my SSAutochrome headers from eBay for $124 shipped. They arrive and they are pretty sweet for the money I paid. The flanges are crazy thick and the welds look great. They aren't exactly race quality looking into the collector, but I didn't pay for race quality; my main goal was to imake an improvement over the factory setup while eliminating the annoying exhaust leak on the passenger side manifold.

Having read about warped flanges on Tundrasolutions, I laid the flanges face-to-face. They aren't perfect, but they are pretty close. I didn't slide in a feeler gauge, but the teeny bit of daylight I did see between the flanges looked small enough to ignore. The nuts and bolts and gaskets were all present as well as two full sheets of "race" stickers for my bumpers, windows, quarter panels, etc. I'll do a before and after dyno pull and report how much horsepower the stickers add in an upcoming thread.

I "borrowed" some Aerokroil spray lubricant from work, bought $30 worth of gaskets from my local stealership and picked up some long extensions and ratchet wrenches from Harbor Freight. I had no luck finding a mid-depth socket as recommended here, but a couple folks mentioned just making my own with a hacksaw and a file. Thursday night I sprayed all the nuts/bolts with kroil.

Friday night I got the truck jacked up on stands and removed the passenger side tire and inner splash guards. Sprayed all the nuts/bolts again. I got the exhaust heat shields off with no trouble and immediately gave thanks for my new 24" extension. As advertised, the top four nuts are pretty accessible with an long extension, a universal joint and a deepwell socket. I used my 18" breaker bar on all of 'em, and that thing has paid for itself a hundred times over. The front and rear lower bolts were not too much trouble, though my forearms are starting to get pretty chewed up from all the creative reaching I am having to do to get the socket onto the nuts.

Now the two inner lower nuts are all I have left. I bought a spare 14mm deepwell with the intent of cutting it down to size for these two nuts, but I thought I would just give it a try first with the unmodified socket. By sacrificing a little more skin and hair on my forearms, I was able to get the socket on one of the nuts and then connect the universal, extension and breaker bar. When I pulled on the breaker bar the universal scattered itself all over the floor due to the extreme angle I forced it into.

I am too filthy to get cleaned up and get to Autozone before closing, so my amused bride runs for me. In the meantime, I tried removing the exhaust y-pipe. The three nuts holding the pipe to the collector flange were no fun. I immediately found myself wanting a three-foot piece of rigid pipe to augment my suddenly inadequate breaker bar. I sprayed 'em all once more and leaned into them with teeth gritted. When the first one broke free, I thought for sure it has snapped off the stud. The socond was just as difficult. The third split my Craftsman 6-point deepwell. Great. I still had my extra cheapo Autozone socket, so I shortened up the extension and tried an angle from in the wheelwell instead of on the floor. It worked, and now my wife has returned and laughs at how dirty I am (face and hair full of dried kroil and rust flakes from lying under my work - real smart, eh?).

I remove the rear bolts holding the y-pipe (no problem), drop it and encounter the joy of trying to disconnect the weatherpack connector for the O2 sensor. I ended up unmounting the connector from its attachment point so I could get two fingers from each hand on it. I tried three different size screwdrivers to seperate the two halves, but this thing is kicking my butt. Affter 30 minutes, I give up and decide to take off the manifold so I can get a little more slack in the wires.

I took my newly-ruined craftsman deepwell socket and clamped it in a vise. The split was only about half the legth of the socket well, so I cut just behind the split and viola! - a perfect mid-depth socket. It only took maybe five minutes to cut through with a 24-tooth hacksaw blade and a little spray lube to keep it biting. With this new tool in hand, I made short work of the two most difficult nuts and pulled the manfold off the head. Let me say: A mid-depth socket is an absolute must-have item for this project! But don't buy one, just make one - it's cheaper and easy to do.

Once I got the manifold off and a little slack in the O2 wires, I was able to jam a very-small-bladed screwdriver into the connection point of the electrical connector and pop it apart. Once I got the manifold out, the O2 sensor came right out with a 7/8's open end wrench (I don't have metric wrenches that big - yet).

I install the new Toyota gasket and slip the new header into the engine bay from below (plenty of room). When I try to lay the header onto the manifold studs (I am using the factory hardware - I'll take studs over bolts any day), it won't...quite...fit. Despair. After a moment, I realize the holes are just a teeny bit out of alignment, prob'ly from when the flange warped ever-so-slightly when the tubes were welded on. It would have been nice if SSAutochrome had laid it back up on a jig and dressed up the holes a little, but again - for $124, I am not complaining out loud. I chucked up a bit in my drill and "adjusted" the holes a smidge.

This time it went right on, no sweat. I applied anti-sieze to all the original spring nuts (or whatever they are called) and began hand-tightening them. Now I see why the ratchet wrenches were called for. I had to get a lot more creative with the extensions (at this point, my 2" extension became absolutely necessary on one end of the u-joint), u-joint, wrenches and my arms in order to get any torque on these nuts. I tightened in sequence from the inside out in four stages, which got me familiar with all the different tool assemblies and body positions for each nut. I am so contorted for some of these, I can feel my shoulder and elbow and wrist joints separating slightly when I apply pressure to the ratchet/wrench. Fortunately, the sting of oil/grease/spray lube seeping into the thousand open cuts on my arms distracts me from the impending dislocation events.

The O2 sensor threads right in and the electrical connector snaps together instantly as if to mock me. I reuse the collector gasket and the new collector gasket as recommended here, and the new nuts and bolts. I have to install one of them upside-down (to my mind) because you can't drop in one of the bolts from the topside due to the O2 bung being in the way. Lots of anti-sieze on these nuts in case I ever have to pull them off again. Rear of the y-pipe bolts right up and we are in business.

I fire it up to check for leaks, and the absence of the annoying exhaust leak that started this whole mess is immediately apparant. No leaks at all - the truck sounds great.

I snap the splash guards back up and bolt on the tire. Dismount the driver's side tire and drop the splash guards, then spray everything with kroil and call it a night. Total elapsed time: FOUR HOURS! Holy cow - what took so long? Oh yeah: broken tool, modify a tool, fight with stupid electical connector, drill out holes on the flange, mini-breaks to let blood run back into my arms and out my many cuts, scrapes, scratches, hangnails or pool to form plenty of colorful and festive bruises.

Saturday morning I am stoked to attack the not-so-easy side. First a quick spray and then remove the dipstick tube. Going in through the fenderwell, I have all the manifold nuts off in ten minutes with my trusty new mid-length socket and fistfull of extensions. This is gonna be a snap! HA!

Again I am amazed at how difficult the three collector nuts prove to be. Again I thought I had snapped of a stud when the first one finally broke free. I am no bodybuilder, but I do hit the gym enough to know that I can bench press a little over 200 lbs and curl a little over 100 lbs. Let me tell you I am straining for all I am worth, seeing little spots in my vision and watching my muscles stand out as equal force is applied to both the nut in question and to pulling my elbow out of joint. The second one breaks loose. The last one just laughs at my best efforts. I finally get contorted enough to get some serious leverage on this sucker when it just rounds off as pretty as you please. I am using a six-point socket, but this doesn't seem to matter to this nut which is now the bane of my existence.

Taking a look at the transmission crossmember, it is patantly obvious that I will never be able to get the manifold/y-pipe assembly out as a unit. After removing the O2 sensor (the electical connector only fought me for five minutes this time) I try it anyway just to prove it can't be done. I prove it, but I am able to get the collector flange down several inches into a more accessible location. I tried hammering a smaller socket onto the round nut, but that just makes a smaller, uglier round nut. Being a man of action, I retrieve my BFH and trusty cold chisel, which is sharp as the devil himself. These Toyota spring-nuts (what is the proper name for these things, anyway) already have a "cut" in them to facilitate their grabbing whetever they are screwed on to. I start chiseling there and my wife yanks open the garage door to find out what all the ruckus is about. She is accustomed to the ever-present blue language coming from under the truck, but when I switch to the "bigger hammer" mentality, she knows it won't be long until the real trouble starts. This time I am able to reassure her that I am wailing on my pride and joy with a purpose and she ducks back into the house to start my favorite dinner - she knows just how to defuse me after a wrenching session degenerates into a hammering session.

After twenty minutes of chipping away steel and having no luck, I take another look at the transmission crossmember while my arms are lying on the garage floor and accepting blood once again. The joy of pounding on this last stupid nut has subsided, and now I just want to done. I grab my junior floor jack and discover it's reach to be too short to touch the bottom of the transfer case skid plate. A couple of four-by-fours later, and I make contact with the skid plate. A quick shot of spray lube and out come the bolts from the bottom of the tranny. Two pumps on the jack to raise the tranny off the crossmember and out come three of the four crossmember bolts, which lets me drop one side of the crossmember and pull the hated manifold/y-pipe.

I break out the trusty hacksaw again and slice off the chewed-up nut and manifold stud. Whew. Almost done. HA!

After cleaning the head mouting surface with a brass brush and sliding the gasket into place, I fish in the header. I am expecting it to not fit, and it doesn't disappoint me. I can't even get the front part of the flange into place because the rear mount of the power steering pump is in the way. Not by much, but enough that I can't just force it. Ten minutes with a file on the corner of the aluminum power steering pump mount and I get enough clearance to slip the flange onto the studs. As expected, the mounting holes don't line up. Really, how tough would it be for SSAutochrome to lay it back onto the jig and clean up these holes? I have to remind myself that the hassle is well worth the savings. Another session with Mr. Drill and I slip it back into place. It still doesn't fit. I have to remind myself that the hassle is well worth the savings. More drill. Still no fit. I have to remind myself that the hassle is well worth the savings. More drill. Still no fit. I wonder how strong this mild steel really is as I attack it wtih the drill yet again; I mean, it cuts pretty easy if I keep the bit lubed, but a couple of these holes are close to the edge of the flange and I am just making 'em closer.

Eventually, I spray the studs with lube and the header slides most of the way onto them. It won't fully seat on the head, but it's close. I am betting that I can just let the nuts pull it the rest of the way as I tighten them. After applying anti-sieze to all the nuts, I attempt to thread them on by hand only to discover that the driver's-side header is constructed in such a way that several of the studs are shrouded by the primary tubes and are only accesible by someone whose arm has no bones.

I have blocked this portion of the install from my memory, because I am ashamed of the words that came from my mouth and the evil thoughts that passed through my head towards Toyota and SSAutochrome. I try to remind myself that the hassle is well worth the savings. Somehow, I got all the nuts started on their respective studs through sheer willpower. Now to tighten them. In sequence. To spec. How the...?!

Again, this install cannot be done without a mid-depth socket, and the ratchet wrench paid for itself many times over. The header did indeed pull itself to the head with no protest, and I got pretty good at changing extensions, u-joints, ratchets and sockets using one hand, one boot, the crook of an elbow and my teeth and one eye socket. I must have looked like a monkey jumping from the engine bay to the wheelwell to the floor trying to get everything attached and lined up, only to give it a 3/4 turn before moving to the next adventure in self-torture.

After geting the header bolted on, the O2 sensor gave me a serious scare when it would not thread into the bung. I rested my head against the now-clean framerail (clean because all the dirt that had coated it was now in my hair, on my face, ground into my many wounds, under my fingernails, etc) and really considered weeping at the prospect of having to unmount this thing to find a fix for a buggered-up O2 bung. After finding my center, going to my happy place and consoling my inner child, I tried again and found that for some reason it went in. I really think God just took pity on his poor creature, because that thing was not threading in just a minute ago. The electrical connector gave me a fit. I read here that it almost doesn't fit on the driver's side, so I was prepared for it. Again, I had to grow a second elbow in my arm, but I got it to snap into place.

I got the y-pipe into place and got one bolt started on the collector flange when I noticed the collector gasket lying next to me. Yanked out the bolt and slid the gasket in, and bolted everything down with one upside-down again. Big handful of anti-sieze on these nuts so I never have to go through that hassle with this truck again. Bolt up the rear of the y-pipe. Bolt the crossmember back in, lower the jack and bolt the tranny back into place.

I reinstall the dipstick tube and give everything the once-over, finding a couple vacuum tubes that had popped loose when I was hip-deep in the engine bay. Everything looks good, so I fire it up and - no leaks. Thank you Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, the Great Spirit and everyone else who made this possible. I remind myself that the hassle is well worth the savings. Back on go the splash guards and the tire. Out go the old manifolds, heat shields, busted u-joint pieces, half a socket, used-up hacksaw blade and such. When I get back in the house after sweeping up, I discover the elapsed time: SEVEN HOURS! WTF? This ain't my first rodeo! What is going on?! Oh, yeah - I got my butt kicked.

I didn't even drive the truck last night; I was too whipped. This morning, though, was the payoff. The truck revs much easier, and pulls stronger right around the 3000 RPM mark. I spun the tires turning onto main street, taking me by surprise because it has never done that before; it just tached right up! The best part is the lack of the exhaust tick that got me started on this project to begin with. So I can say this install totally sucked, but was totally worth it. My arms look like hamburger, but I am smiling.

Just thought you might like to know!
 

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I think i just missed a whole episode of TRUCKS! reading this :p Sounds like a real PITA. if i ever get headers maybe i will just pay someone to do it.
 

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mandzach
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great writeup - its those moments that truly build character in a man!
i did it with a buddy and i salute any man who does this job alone. :tu:
 

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Lifer - Moving Forward --->
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Ahhhhh

:D LOL, LMAO... ya gotta love it, great story :tu: :ts:
 

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Drunk Redneck
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Does that process sound familiar to any one else? lol. great story. I have done many, many very similar things on my many projects. the rx7 is by far the worst to work on.

I also think I am just going to pay someone to install the headers if I get some. I'm getting lazy.
 

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Great story

I fell on the floor laughing :D (not at you, at myself, cause I went through the same thing) Welcome to the club! :tu: :tu: (still laughing!!!)

Ed
 

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Just remembered

The fun is not over yet.....you still need to get back in there and retorque all of the bolts :eek:

Ed
 

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[After applying anti-sieze to all the nuts, I attempt to thread them on by hand only to discover that the driver's-side header is constructed in such a way that several of the studs are shrouded by the primary tubes and are only accesible by someone whose arm has no bones.

I have blocked this portion of the install from my memory, because I am ashamed of the words that came from my mouth and the evil thoughts that passed through my head towards Toyota and SSAutochrome. I try to remind myself that the hassle is well worth the savings. Somehow, I got all the nuts started on their respective studs through sheer willpower. Now to tighten them. In sequence. To spec. How the...?!]

I know exactly what you're talking about with this one!!! I think you described my situation also. :D Sounds pretty much like the encounter I had putting my headers on.......EXCEPT, I crossthreaded a stud and had to remove the headers and put in a new stud!!! GREAT STORY

JD
 

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This is like an episode of "The Twilight Zone". Lol.. I feel your pain. Atleast you got a sticker and some gaskets. Does anyone know how I cna can get that. I have had mine for a few months and it only came with the pipes...no gaskets...no stickers. I have been running around with a slight exhaust leak from where the headers bolt to the Y-pipe and I can't find the gaskets here on island. Would anyone be willing to help a fellow member out? Thanks guys..


John
 

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Yeah... installing my headers was fun......... :rolleyes:

Actually, I had a much harder time installing my uniball upper control arms than I did with my headers... who woulda thunk it?
 

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LOLOL! well, now you have a strong truck, and you know you have a good woman :p.

your install sounds a lot like mine :eek:. dont forget to retorque :tu:! grab a set of metric 180* swivel head ratchet wrenches, they make retorquing a breeze.

-sean
 

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Don't feel bad I probably took as long as you did to install my JBAs. It's better to take your time and do it right once. Fortunately I have 2 other cars I can drive, so I went slow and worked on the headers 1-2 hrs per night over the course of a week. Two things I did differently from you, I used a nut splitter on most of the collector nuts. Another thing was I installed the oxygen sensors onto the headers before putting them on the truck. If I had to I would definately do it again, the gains are worth it. Also it's really not complicated, just takes some time and patience.
 

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I can completely relate. I was foolish enough to start my JBA header install on the driver's side. I think I spent over 5 hrs on that side alone. I too drilled out each mounting hole in the flange to get it to fit over the factory studs. If I read these threads correctly, can the factory gaskets be used successfully as a replacement for the JBA supplied gaskets? My greatest fear has been that these will eventually burn through. Will the dealer sell the "spring nuts" - I would like to replace the originals if I can build up enough courage. I am beginning to hear a slight tick off of the driver's side header. All nuts are tight on the studs and I can see no indication of a gasket leak. I have not had the valves adjusted (now at 60K miles). Could this be what I am hearing? I may end up having to tig weld repair these JBAs if it is indeed a CRACK! Has anyone else had an issue with these cracking? I bought these new off of EBay for $200 (they were most likely factory rejects) -the welds were poor looking (lots of excess porosity, some lack of penetration, and no blending work done). I spent plenty of time re-working them before install but who knows what has happend.

Thanks for any feedback on my questions.
:ts:
John
 

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Stoner,
I was singing the same song, different verse, when I installed my S&S headers. Yes, the result was worth the effort. I found the driver side easier than the passenger side because the engine is mounted off-center to the right. Anyway, same grief with the O2 sensor connectors and the bolts between the manifold and the cat. I knew the manifold-head nuts would be a challenge, so I was happy if I could turn them a full hex at a time. Half-a-hex and flipping the wrench over was my expectation.

So...for every brand of header, match it against the gasket and check the bolt hole alignment...improve as needed.


Ken
 

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Ohh yeah...

:rolleyes: Well, just finished up day two of the SSA header install. Passenger side took the better of 7 hrs...all was well until I stripped the nut and STUD for the front inside lower nut (Up behind the engine mount)

Several trips to Sears/Home Depot/Walmart, not caring HOW DISGUSTINGLY DIRTY I was, for bolts/nut remover tools, Uni-wiggles, and bigger, longer breaker bars and I was ready to call it a night.

Got up a$$-crack early to finish off the driver's side...

Having all the proper tools now, this only took 5 hours aggregate. (2 hr break for lunch) I did have to use a 3ft chain link fence post as a breaker bar extender though, and my legs to provide the force, but all in all that side went well. Also had to ground off about 1/8th inch from the front of the header flange to "sqeeze" by the A/C Compressor unit, but all in all, things went on smoothly.

Haven't road tested yet as I was not going to go driving on New Year's eve, but the initila run-up and idles SOUND great!

A very long job when done alone minus proper tools...gets some knowledgable friends and a good set of air tools, ratchets, extensions and "easy outs"

Just have the Unichip to go and I think I'm done. :devil:
 

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I finished my SSA install last night. Here are my overall observations:

1. Have a helper for sure. I think my time (and temperature) would have doubled if I did it alone.

2. I sprayed all the bolts/studs/nuts with PB Blaster, and had NO trouble getting all of them off, and this is a three year old truck. One factory stud backed out of the head instead of the nut coming off, so reinstalled it with Loktite and "double nut" method.

3. I don't know about the Tundra, but the Sequoia has a heat guard on either side, mounted over the stock manifolds. I took these off to access the manifold bolts. On the driver's side, I had to bend it up to get it out.

4. I dropped the "mid pipe" between the manifold and the muffler on the driver's side in order to get the manifold out and header in. Had I known I would have to do this, it would have been easy to get the heat shield out without bending. It's just two bolts and one rubber mount.

5. Removing the wheels and dropping the little rubber covers made it really easy to get the majority of the nuts from the sides. I used two U-joints, and two extensions to get everything. I couldn't find a "mid-depth" socket (only standard and deep, which I own), so I bought another deep and hack-sawed it. It worked perfectly.

6. I did have to "customize" the stud holes on the driver's side header. I didn't drill them with a larger bit, just "rounded" them out a little to help them slide over the studs.

7. I've only done a short test-drive so far, but the sound at mid to upper rpm is great, and I still have the factory (huge) muffler. I'll be trading that for a Spin Tech soon. It feels like a nice little rush of power, too, but I think I need to reset the ECU, right?

8. I bought mine from the factory's eBay auction. I was the only bidder at $100, plus $23 shipping. How can you beat that?!? I would think the stainless steel would cost that much.

9. When looking at the old and new together on the workbench (I took a pic and will try to post), I had to wonder why they would ever design the stock manifold as they did. The exhaust literally "dead-ends" into a single pipe, and has to "decide" which way to go along with the exhaust from the other three cylinders. The primary tubes are VERY short and straight, and don't direct the flow toward the "outlet" at all.

Overall, for the money and one-full day's worth of time with two people, this seems outstanding. :sleep:
 

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Stoner,

That has got to be the best/funniest write up I have ever read. People here at work are starting to look at me funny as I am rolling on the floor! :D
 

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This write up was painfully hilarious. It convinced me to let this job be done by someone else and I am glad I did (my wife and neighbors have probably heard enough swearing coming out of my garage). It was the best $240 I ever spent. The tech that did the install looked like he had done battle under the hood. I tipped him to help pay for bandages and to buy some liquid pain relief medication.

Rob
 

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No Really, I swear, I'm Done..
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I have never taken the time to read this due to the length, but am glad I finally did.

Absolutely hilarious. I can laugh with you on this, I have been there and it is just that entertaining.
 

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bdpower! said:
I can completely relate. I was foolish enough to start my JBA header install on the driver's side. I think I spent over 5 hrs on that side alone. I too drilled out each mounting hole in the flange to get it to fit over the factory studs. If I read these threads correctly, can the factory gaskets be used successfully as a replacement for the JBA supplied gaskets? My greatest fear has been that these will eventually burn through. Will the dealer sell the "spring nuts" - I would like to replace the originals if I can build up enough courage. I am beginning to hear a slight tick off of the driver's side header. All nuts are tight on the studs and I can see no indication of a gasket leak. I have not had the valves adjusted (now at 60K miles). Could this be what I am hearing? I may end up having to tig weld repair these JBAs if it is indeed a CRACK! Has anyone else had an issue with these cracking? I bought these new off of EBay for $200 (they were most likely factory rejects) -the welds were poor looking (lots of excess porosity, some lack of penetration, and no blending work done). I spent plenty of time re-working them before install but who knows what has happend.

Thanks for any feedback on my questions.
:ts:
John
Yes i went to the dealer and purchased new set of factory gaskets and
"spring nuts" before installing JBA headers. i couldn't imagine trying to
remove the studs and installing headers with the bolts and lock washers
provided by JBA. The factory metal gasket has to be better than the
fiber/paper ones?
 
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