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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have been researching headers for my Challenger R/T 5.7L for quite a while now. Reading through a lot of posts and forums, collecting information and finding the best methods and routes to go and what I have concluded is Stainless Works 2" Long Tubes with High Flow Cats (I need them for emissions) is the best header to go with for my purposes (already ordered and waiting for them to arrive). However, I discovered there's a lot more to headers than just swapping out my exhaust manifold, such as hardware, gaskets and coating/heat shielding. Here's where my questions come in before I start buying more stuff.

Hardware: I have read that Stage 8 Locking Header Fastener Kits are the best way to go in terms of hardware, expensive but they seem worth the expense. Is Stage 8 really the best hardware kit I can buy for the header install? Are there other options?

Gaskets: Stock/OEM gaskets seem to be the best route to go in terms of sealing and fitment on these cars. However, I have heard that Fel-Pro is also a good aftermarket gasket brand to go with and half the price of OEM, but does anyone have any opinions/experience on this? Should I just bite the bullet and get OEM despite the price? Also, I have a 5.7L and I read that if I got 5.7L gaskets, I'd have to modify them slightly to fit the Stainless Works Headers due to the small heat shield on the gaskets. I'd like to avoid having to modify anything unnecessarily so would I have any issues using 6.4L or 6.1L gaskets instead?

Coatings/Heat Shields: Due to how hot headers get and the inability to reuse the stock heat shields, ceramic coating seems to be the best route to go. I'm leaning toward Jet-Hot since they have a location semi-close to where I live. Will a ceramic coat keep the components around the headers safe from heat and not cause damage to anything? I was also told header wrap was an option but I read they'd damage the headers over time so I dismissed them quickly. What has everyone else done in terms of heat protection when it comes to headers?

Installation: I already know this is going to be a nightmare to install but I'd like to hear some tips and tricks for it. I will be installing this myself using a QuickJack. What should I consider removing or loosening to make the install easier? I've heard, read and seen so many things regarding install and modification that I'm not sure what to believe anymore, so any advice is highly appreciated. Also, I know the headers/exhaust manifold have a torque spec of 18 foot pounds, which I would really like to torque the bolts but looking under the car, it looks like there's not enough space to fit a torque wrench in there. Has anyone had any issues torquing the header bolts to spec and if not, how can I do it?

I believe that wraps up all my questions and concerns, I will reply to this thread though should I have anymore. I really appreciate any and all help I can get from the community.

Thank you.
 

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I have Titanium Ceramic Coated Magnaflow headers on mine and it is the same amount of heat as the cast iron log manifolds produce. I also have high flow cats that provide same amount of HP as catless miss. I had OEM gaskets used on my instal. They loosened the motor mounts to move the engine around during the install.
 

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I used stage 8 locking bolts and rt OEM gaskets. Rock solid. Other options ( other than mfr gaskets)? Didn’t even consider it.

I took my head off for installing shorties during my build, but there were a couple bolts still that I could not torque to spec due to access. However after having done the rest I had a pretty good feel for what it felt like. You will have to do the same.

I went with ceramic coating bbk shorties.
For install many have done it with out loosening motor mount, many do. I have even seen people take off the heads just for the header install. That’s what I did but I swapped out my heads and cam at the same time.
 

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X3 to all above in OEM gaskets, fasteners, and ceramic. I ditched the factory heat shields. You will need a variety of swivels and extensions for your sockets. Thin wall sockets both short and deep dish. It’s been a while so I might not have this right but I recall using 13mm and 15mm a lot - someone please check me on that. Extensions I used were two 3”, two 6”, one 9”, and one 12”. I used a 3/8” drive.

Also, Loosening up the motor mounts one at a time and rocking the engine slightly with a jack is useful to get to the least accessible bolts. Make sure you brace the block so it doesn’t move on you when you are working on it. And this sounds silly - but don’t forget to re tighten the motor mounts - lol.

you will scrape your knuckles a lot so a loud radio with your favorite tunes is a must. It covers up your loud bitchin and calms you down quicker 😱
 

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I went with long tube JBA ceramic coated headers, stage 8 locking bolts, and OEM gaskets. Although I took mine to a guy I've known since he was 6 and now runs his Dads shop.

I was there for most of the install, and they marked the engine location and took the motor mounts lose so they could rock the engine and get most of the bolts torqued and guessed on a few.

Then they put the motor back on the marks and torqued the mounts. I had to have 02 sensor extensions to reconnect my high flow cats, also JBA. So everyone so far has the same experience as I had, but someone else scrapped their knuckles.

I would add this I really would not have wanted to attempt it with out the hoist. I have had no problems other then a few exhaust codes, which I was warned about before hand.

I also put 3" Magnaflow Competition cat back exhaust behind that and they welded all the connections and hangers. It sounds awesome. Good luck, let us know how it goes for you.
 

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I used the bolts that came with the headers they should be Grade 8 or the equivalent you do not need those locking types of bolts some of the locks you won't be able to even install. I changed mine without unbolting or removing the motor mounts it is more difficult but can be done. I recommend the DEI Titanium Exhaust wrap if you are concerned about heat and you very well should be, especially near the starter on the drivers side, they have the wrap in black now, and DEI has starter shield as well, they did not have the wrap in black when I did mine. On the headers the top center bolts are very tough to reach, I bought a mm brake bleeder wrench from O'reillys and bent it in the shape I needed to reach those top two bolts which you have to guesstimate torquing you cannot use the torque wrench on those.

Search Results for Header Exhaust Wrap (Or go straight to DEIs website)Heat & Sound Insulation Products | Design Engineering, Inc.

Now header gasket wise, if you just want to do the job once and be done with it, go with the Remflex exhaust gaskets that are for your year Challenger, you torque them to 20 Ft Lbs and you're done, they do not require Re-Torquing. Many are stuck on the OEM gasket like it is the best, but that was the gasket that was actually leaking on my 5.7 forcing me to change out the stock exhaust, so if OEM is so great? By the way that OEM gasket is made with 2 parts and one part being a built in metal shield, well the metal shield will end up cutting you trying to get the top 2 center bolts on each side tightened, or even started in the holes for that matter. If you actually do this installation yourself, do not use the OEM gasket, use the Remflex, do it once, and be done with it. You are not OEM any more, any way, going with headers, use a gasket that seals and stays sealed the first time. Been there, done that, all by myself! I bought the OEM gaskets and they are shelved, and so many times when I was struggling to get the bolts in place, I was so glad I was not cutting myself with the sharp metal edge of those gaskets. If you have a shop do it for you, use whatever you want, if they get cut or leak so what, the shop will warranty their work, if you do it yourself, trust me on this one! I did mine myself because the local shop wanted a thousand bucks to do it, that to me, was the price of another 5.7 upgrade, so I did it!

Remflex Exhaust Header Gasket Sets 6022 (If you go this route make sure of the Challenger year)

It is such a great feeling of accomplishment to do it yourself! Ry
252062

Passenger side is the most difficult.
252063

You cannot reuse the heat shields so get them out however you can they are expendable!
252064

Finally light at the end of the tunnel.
252065
252066

The thermal wrap makes a major difference in under hood heat and these headers are Ceramic Coated as well.

Hope this helps you!

I did not post this to start an argument, regarding OEM gaskets, I posted it to help Grimm Vance! :)

@Grimm Vance
FYI: The bolts that come with your new header are properly sized and the correct Grade that you need, however you will be reusing one of your stock manifold bolts with a provided spacer for the securing of the Dip Stick on the passenger side.
 

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I used the bolts that came with the headers they should be Grade 8 or the equivalent you do not need those locking types of bolts some of the locks you won't be able to even install. I changed mine without unbolting or removing the motor mounts it is more difficult but can be done. I recommend the DEI Titanium Exhaust wrap if you are concerned about heat and you very well should be, especially near the starter on the drivers side, they have the wrap in black now, and DEI has starter shield as well, they did not have the wrap in black when I did mine. On the headers the top center bolts are very tough to reach, I bought a mm brake bleeder wrench from O'reillys and bent it in the shape I needed to reach those top two bolts which you have to guesstimate torquing you cannot use the torque wrench on those.

Search Results for Header Exhaust Wrap (Or go straight to DEIs website)Heat & Sound Insulation Products | Design Engineering, Inc.

Now header gasket wise, if you just want to do the job once and be done with it, go with the Remflex exhaust gaskets that are for your year Challenger, you torque them to 20 Ft Lbs and you're done, they do not require Re-Torquing. Many are stuck on the OEM gasket like it is the best, but that was the gasket that was actually leaking on my 5.7 forcing me to change out the stock exhaust, so if OEM is so great? By the way that OEM gasket is made with 2 parts and one part being a built in metal shield, well the metal shield will end up cutting you trying to get the top 2 center bolts on each side tightened, or even started in the holes for that matter. If you actually do this installation yourself, do not use the OEM gasket, use the Remflex, do it once, and be done with it. You are not OEM any more, any way, going with headers, use a gasket that seals and stays sealed the first time. Been there, done that, all by myself! I bought the OEM gaskets and they are shelved, and so many times when I was struggling to get the bolts in place, I was so glad I was not cutting myself with the sharp metal edge of those gaskets. If you have a shop do it for you, use whatever you want, if they get cut or leak so what, the shop will warranty their work, if you do it yourself, trust me on this one! I did mine myself because the local shop wanted a thousand bucks to do it, that to me, was the price of another 5.7 upgrade, so I did it!

Remflex Exhaust Header Gasket Sets 6022 (If you go this route make sure of the Challenger year)

It is such a great feeling of accomplishment to do it yourself! Ry
View attachment 252062
Passenger side is the most difficult.
View attachment 252063
You cannot reuse the heat shields so get them out however you can they are expendable!
View attachment 252064
Finally light at the end of the tunnel.
View attachment 252065 View attachment 252066
The thermal wrap makes a major difference in under hood heat and these headers are Ceramic Coated as well.

Hope this helps you!

I did not post this to start an argument, regarding OEM gaskets, I posted it to help Grimm Vance! :)

@Grimm Vance
FYI: The bolts that come with your new header are properly sized and the correct Grade that you need, however you will be reusing one of your stock manifold bolts with a provided spacer for the securing of the Dip Stick on the passenger side.
Ry, what exactly is this brake bleeder wrench you're talking about? i cannot for the life of me get to the top two bolts on the passenger side, and cant get to the top 3rd bolt from the front passenger side well enough to really get it tight. Right now, those top two passenger side bolts arent even in (since i couldnt get it), but i also didnt lift the engine like you. How the hell can i get to them????
 

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Ry, what exactly is this brake bleeder wrench you're talking about? i cannot for the life of me get to the top two bolts on the passenger side, and cant get to the top 3rd bolt from the front passenger side well enough to really get it tight. Right now, those top two passenger side bolts arent even in (since i couldnt get it), but i also didnt lift the engine like you. How the hell can i get to them????
Hey John Doe, I'm not Ry and I'm sure he will have a better answer maybe when he gets a chance. But I'll add my 2 cents, when we put the long tubes on mine they had to pull the motor mounts loose and rock the engine up one side at a time to get those bolts in. Other wise it was impossible for them to get them tight.
 

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I installed jba shorties,and high flow cats. used oem mopar gaskets for the 5.7 and stage 8 locking bolts. I did wreck a o2 sensor that would not break free so I had to get a new one no issue since the install. and your knuckles will heal over time:cool: good luck !
 
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Ry, what exactly is this brake bleeder wrench you're talking about? i cannot for the life of me get to the top two bolts on the passenger side, and cant get to the top 3rd bolt from the front passenger side well enough to really get it tight. Right now, those top two passenger side bolts arent even in (since i couldnt get it), but i also didnt lift the engine like you. How the hell can i get to them????
O'Reilys has two brake bleeder wrenchs in their specialty tools section, they have it in SAE and Metric, you want the Metric and get more than one of them, the wrench is made by Performance Tools it is 8mm on one end and 10mm on the other you'll be using the 10mm end.

You'll have to bend the end of the wrench so it can reach the top header bolts, once it has the proper bend it can get right on the bolts, with one hand assisting to keep it solidly on the bolt, and the other hand doing the pulling and tightening, it is a slow tedious process but you can do it.

I bought I think 3 of the wrenches because I actually broke one of them, but not bending it, from not keeping the wrench on the bolt proper, the 2nd one did not break and I still have the 3rd unbent, it is important to keep the wrench solid on the bolt or you can damage the wrench head, but on the Passenger side you have to loosen the wire cable bundle and use long nylon wire ties to pull the wire bundle up enough so you can get your hand between the fender inner wall and the engine.

Bending the wrench is tedious and it has to be bent to give you the access you need you can experiment on the drivers side getting the bend in the wrench neck right, which is the easiest side to work on after you remove the air intake box, and unbolt the coolant reservoir and pull it up out of the way.

https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/...=Performance+Tool+Bleeder+Wrench+Metric&pos=0

This is what the brake bleeder wrench looks like it already has a forged neck bend, you will bend about 1 inch above the forged bend to increase the wrenches ability to reach the bolt head, the wrench handle is almost 10 inches long which aids you in applying pressure to tighten the bolt.

Tip: Tighten the top 2 header bolts as tight as you can get them before you actually torque the rest of the header bolts, have all the other header bolts snugged up but not torqued, until the top bolts are tight using the wrench.

I truly hope this helps you, and by the way there are other auto parts stores that carry similar specialty wrenches, but the one from O'Reilys will cold bend without breaking. I used a ball peen hammer probably 20oz weight with the wrench across a sledge hammer head to bend the wrench where I needed it bent. If you have enough common sense to get this far with your header changing, you will get this done, you just have to get creative to tighten those last bolts, you can do it!
 

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I know everybody don't have a lift and access to a transmission jack, but when I put shorties on my 2013 RT, We just got the motor mounts the hell out of the way all together and had the engine rocking around on the trans jack. The header install was super easy rather than wreck our hands. Advice for others is that maybe you could work with a shop and aid them with the install and save a few bucks and not kill yourself in the process. Oh and yes... Remflex Gaskets.
-John
 

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I know everybody don't have a lift and access to a transmission jack, but when I put shorties on my 2013 RT, We just got the motor mounts the hell out of the way all together and had the engine rocking around on the trans jack. The header install was super easy rather than wreck our hands. Advice for others is that maybe you could work with a shop and aid them with the install and save a few bucks and not kill yourself in the process. Oh and yes... Remflex Gaskets.
-John
John, I was going to have a local shop do the job but they wanted close to a grand to do it, 9 times out of 10 from their attitude they would not have allowed me back to help out, but I did not ask about that. Loosing that much money for just labor was not going to happen as that was close to paying for my Limited Slip Differential at the time. I installed mine with the motor mounts still bolted in, it was more time consuming but doable for sure. Ry
 

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John, I was going to have a local shop do the job but they wanted close to a grand to do it, 9 times out of 10 from their attitude they would not have allowed me back to help out, but I did not ask about that. Loosing that much money for just labor was not going to happen as that was close to paying for my Limited Slip Differential at the time. I installed mine with the motor mounts still bolted in, it was more time consuming but doable for sure. Ry
Thanks. BTW... I love your ramps. Great for oil changes and general maintenance.
-John
 

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Thanks. BTW... I love your ramps. Great for oil changes and general maintenance.
-John
Thanks John! I built those ramps to keep from killing myself working on the Challenger so my wife would feel better going to work knowing I would be out there working on the car. Even though they were built just for the Challenger being as heavy as it is, they have been used for so much more, our 2005 Jeep just got some maintenance done using them. Ry
 

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I installed jba shorties,and high flow cats. used oem mopar gaskets for the 5.7 and stage 8 locking bolts. I did wreck a o2 sensor that would not break free so I had to get a new one no issue since the install. and your knuckles will heal over time:cool: good luck !
I am extremely bad about re-purposing wrenches for my needs so I modified and made a wrench work for removing the O2 sensors, then after the fact found a 22mm/7/8" specialty tool for specifically changing the O2 sensor, and used that on my Jeep. Speaking of knuckles healing, I did have some souvenirs from the header installation adventure! Ry
 

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I am extremely bad about re-purposing wrenches for my needs so I modified and made a wrench work for removing the O2 sensors, then after the fact found a 22mm/7/8" specialty tool for specifically changing the O2 sensor, and used that on my Jeep. Speaking of knuckles healing, I did have some souvenirs from the header installation adventure! Ry
I actually have o2 sensor sockets and wrenches, but the o2 sensor I wrecked just wouldn't budge ,so a little heat and more force and it snapped off and left the threads still in the oem manifold. no biggie, just needed to get a new sensor to replace it .
 

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I actually have o2 sensor sockets and wrenches, but the o2 sensor I wrecked just wouldn't budge ,so a little heat and more force and it snapped off and left the threads still in the oem manifold. no biggie, just needed to get a new sensor to replace it .
Must not have been any anti-seize on those threads at all?
 

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Must not have been any anti-seize on those threads at all?
that or the wrench monkey at the factory was having a bad day
 
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7400 , low I know but I work way too much to support the wife's shopping habits ;)
 
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