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jc06VMAX

Pacesetter Lt Header Install

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bare with me here as this is my first how-to post. i know this isn't a highly complicated task, but just figured i would offer some information for people out there wanting or needing a little info. also, my apologies for the iphone pictures. the camera was having some issues.

 

you will need:

 

- jack/jack stands

- metric socket set

- sawzall

- several sawzall blades

- anti-seize

- wd-40

- spark plug tool

- zip ties

- an accomplice

 

you may want:

 

- paint stripper

- high temp paint

- toothbrush

- paintbrush

- sandpaper

 

as i am in college right now, money is very tight. i decided to do my exhaust on a budget with the goal of having a good sounding and performing exhaust that will last for under $800.

 

for headers, i ordered these Pacesetter LTs from summit racing.

 

newheaders.jpg

 

the factory paint on the pacesetter headers is awful. it even comes with a sticker on it saying that the paint is not intended for high temperatures. that being said, the headers need to be either sent off to be coated or painted with a paint that can hold up to the heat. i decided to paint mine myself. you'll need to pick up some paint stripper from a paint or hardware store. i picked up a spray can of tal-strip II from a local paint store for $7.43.

 

paintstripper.jpg

 

the directions say you'll need a putty knife, but all you really need is an old rag and toothbrush. really simple - spray on, wait a minute or two, wipe off.

 

strippingheader.jpg

 

the paint stripper makes the paint bubble up. it really almost peels itself off. use the toothbrush to get into all the tight areas, making sure to remove all the old paint, as it will flake off later if you don't.

 

strippedheader.jpg

 

after all the paint is removed, spray the header off with water to make sure all the old gummed up paint is out, then dry with a towel. when the headers are completely dry, go ahead and hit them with some 100 grit sandpaper so the paint will take better. as is with paint stripper, there are several high-temp paints out there. i would recommend staying away from rattle can and getting some brush on, as it seems to hold up better over the long run. i picked up some rust-oleum high temp enamel paint from lowe's for around $12.

 

hightemppaint.jpg

 

yet another simple step - brush the paint on, covering the entire header, and give it adequate time to dry before installing.

 

when the time comes to install the headers, before you grab your sawzall and start hacking, disconnect the negative battery terminal. i know this is common sense, but i didn't think about it when i was installing and my battery ran down. this led to confusion when installing the new retuned pcm because we didn't know the battery was dead and thought it was the computer causing things to go crazy.

 

lift the front of the truck high enough so that the front tires are a few inches off the ground and put it on jack stands. make sure you have plenty enough room to slide the headers in from the bottom.

 

the o2 senors are susceptible to stripping when removing from the exhaust pipe, so soak the outside with wd-40 in order for them to come out easier. do not take them out now as you can do this later out from under the truck. spray down the manifold bolts in wd40 also for and easier removal. i drove around to get the truck warm before removing anything and this seemed to help - everything came out easy.

 

gently break loose the manifold bolts to make sure none break off in the block. the driver's side rear bolt is the most difficult to get to. you'll just have to play around with it to find the right angle and extension to use. taking the engine cover off also makes things easier for the hard to reach bolts. next, unhook the plug wires and get them out of the way. after all the bolts are broken loose and plug wires unhooked, unplug the front o2 sensors wiring, but do not remove the actual o2 sensor from the pipe. take a sawzall and cut directly behind the catalytic converter on each side. good blades come in handy here. we had a hard time cutting through the factory pipe and used up probably 6 or 7 blades. the hardest part will be cutting the passenger side because of the tight space you're in. once you get through the pipe, remove the bolts from the manifold and catch the 3 metal gaskets. these will be reused later. remove the manifold, downpipe, and cat all in one piece like so.

 

manifoldsandcats.jpg

all this together is slightly bigger than the header itself, but still comes out very easily. once you have this out with your o2 sensors still in them, place the pipe in a vice or something that will hold it steady. very, very gently turn the o2 sensor and remove it from the pipe. spread some anti seize on the threads and then screw it gently into the bung in the header. make sure the o2 sensor is in the header tight to prevent leaks. take the header from the under the truck and slide it up into place next to the block. slide the stock gm gaskets into place and then bolt up the headers. use anti seize on the bolts as well. tighten from the center out. once you have the headers bolted up, plug in the o2 sensors. the pacesetter kit comes with all sorts of extensions for wiring but i didn't have to change anything at all. when everything is bolted up, you should have about a 3 to 4 inch gap from the header to the midpipe on either side.

 

openheader.jpg

 

reconnect the plug wires, making sure that none of them are touching the headers. all the factory plugs and plug wires clear on the passenger side with ease.

 

headers21.jpg

 

i had to do a little work on the drivers side plug wires. the third plug wire back was rubbing on the header. this obviously is a great way to burn a plug wire, so for the time being i zip tied it to where it had plenty of clearance.

 

headers2.jpg

double check your plug wires and o2 sensors to make sure everything is plugged in correctly and nothing is rubbing. install the new tuned pcm (if needed), reconnect the battery, and crank it up. you will more than likely get some smoke to start off with for a minute or so where the paint is getting hot for the first time. check for leaks off the primaries and makes sure all the bolts are tight. you will want to tighten them again after a heat cycle. as is with anything new, a test run is always good (and fun)...so take it down the road and make everybody's ears bleed to the lovely sound of your lq9 with open headers.

 

Conclusion and Price Totals:

 

as mentioned before, this was a budget exhaust build with a goal of having a good sound and performance while staying under $800.

 

Pacesetter LT Headers - $292 + shipping

Rust-Oleum High Temp Paint - $12

Tal-Strip II Paint Remover - $8

Muffler Shop to connect headers to midpipes - $50

Pre-existing exhaust setup:

- 2 Flowmaster Super 40 Series mufflers - $200

- 3" pipe ran out the back with stainless tips + labor - $175

 

GRAND TOTAL: $737

 

i know this setup won't give me the same horsepower and torque numbers as a dynatech system hooked to a corsa sport exhaust or anything like that, but you cant beat a complete exhaust from the headers back using all new parts for under $800 imo.

 

...just as a side note - i was expecting this to be a much harder task than what it was. i know each truck is it's own animal, but the pacesetters fit perfectly to mine, thankfully. i couldn't have asked for a better fit.

 

big thanks goes out to my friend dave (daves 76 rs on nastyz28.com) for helping with the install. he's in the process of doing an ls1/4l60 swap in an 82 monte right now.

 

here are some before and after videos.

 

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nice write up! i did the same thing on my old 5.3L except i bead blasted the crappy paint off and used spray on high temp engine enamel, seemed to work pretty well. they were on the truck for 3 years with no problems at all. sounds mean as hell too! good easy instructions for anyone doing a header install!

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...i know this setup won't give me the same horsepower and torque numbers as a dynatech system hooked to a corsa sport exhaust or anything like that...

ACTUALLY, it does a lot better than you might think - that same exhaust setup (with dual FM's) + Wheatley tune + Efan + Transgo HD2C shift kit + Vette servo + 3000-rpm converter = 13.80 in a 2003 SSS.

 

Great job - and great write-up :thumbs:

 

Mr. P. :)

Edited by Mr. P.

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thanks for all the compliments guys :chevy:

 

very nice. ill be doing nearly the same thing to my ss. did you have to have your pcm retuned right after?

 

it all depends on what you're tuned for right now. in short, yes you need to have a retune for a cat delete soon after your install, otherwise your truck will start running like absolute butthole.

 

ACTUALLY, it does a lot better than you might think - that same exhaust setup (with dual FM's) + Wheatley tune + Efan + Transgo HD2C shift kit + Vette servo + 3000-rpm converter = 13.80 in a 2003 SSS.

 

Great job - and great write-up :thumbs:

 

Mr. P. :)

 

hmmm...that's interesting (and encouraging). all i ever hear is about how bad flowmasters are and how they kill performance and drone like crazy. to each his own i guess. thanks for the info sir.

Edited by jc06VMAX

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very well done. :cheers: Just wondering how much better is it to have headers coated with ceramic compared to the high temp paint? Is it worth the extra cash?

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Nice write up bro! You would not gain anything performance wise going to a different "brand" header either, so you are good :cheers:

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how well will that type of coating hold up in winters ? my edelbrock shorties are starting to change colors and i'm looking to get pacesetters in the spring.

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ACTUALLY, it does a lot better than you might think - that same exhaust setup (with dual FM's) + Wheatley tune + Efan + Transgo HD2C shift kit + Vette servo + 3000-rpm converter = 13.80 in a 2003 SSS.

 

Great job - and great write-up :thumbs:

 

Mr. P. :)

guess i need to get headers then huh thats all i am missing out of this

 

 

great write up thanks for taking the time to do it and sharing with us

Edited by McMahan

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how well will that type of coating hold up in winters ? my edelbrock shorties are starting to change colors and i'm looking to get pacesetters in the spring.

 

that's a good question. my buddy painted the headers on his 76 camaro with that paint and it's held up well for 3 years...but, we live in tennessee and our winters aren't anything bad like you would see in alaska.......

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if by changing colors you mean theyre turning bluish or so then you probably have stainless headers which i believe is normal for stainless..? if you want something that will definitely last get a set of LPP stainless longtubes or get a set of pacesetters coated inside and out. with stainless theyll probably outlast the truck :P

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they're getting kinda dull, almost brown looking. i may look into LPP headers.

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