Q. I am a longtime reader of your magazine. I recently completed building a Brodix Track 1 headed 383-inch small-block Chevy for my '67 Chevelle. Here lies the problem:
I now need headers. I called several companies and none of them could assure me that their out-of-the-box products would fit. They all claimed that the raised exhaust port and angle plug were the issue. I am looking to find a reasonably priced set of headers for street use in a 1 5/8- or 1 3/4-inch primary tube.
Do you have any suggestions on a potential solution? I'm hoping that you have experience with these heads, and can send me to a manufacturer who offers a set of headers in the $500 or less range.
A. Thanks for reading David! I haven't used Brodix heads specifically, but it's really common for these aftermarket performance cylinder heads to feature raised ports and an angle-plug placement. That primary tube diameter is very common for small-blocks as well, so you would think finding a header for this combination would be easy.
After calling all the major header manufacturers, I found that there is no part number for this combination. Some of the reasons I was given were that the spark plug doesn't move up with the port where the header can't easily avoid it. With the angled-plug design, you'd think this wouldn't be much of a problem, but I didn't get a straight answer from anyone.
There are two ways you can go about this: you can have a header fabricated from mandrel-bent steel tubing starting at $1,000, or you can try your luck with a production header. I was told the same thing when I got headers for my Camaro, since it had raised-port, angle-plug heads, but didn't encounter a problem. They said most likely the problem would be tight starter clearance and collector-to-floor clearance.
My advice would be to buy Hooker part No. 2116-HKS, sold for $384.95 at SummitRacing.com. It covers Chevelles and other GM A-bodies from '64-77. Each year and model has its own footnotes, and for a '67 Chevelle, it works with angle-plug heads, but may require a mini-starter. This is the closest thing to what you're looking for. Purchase the header uncoated, so you can install it and check for clearance issues, then adjust it if necessary. Even if you have to modify the routing of a tube, the cost of that change is far less than having headers custom made for your car. I'd love to give you a part number that is guaranteed to work, but no one has one. Since I've talked to everyone about this, hopefully they'll see this as an opportunity to get into this wide-open market and have a header for you!
Dag Blast It!
Q. In the May '09 issue of PHR, "The Last Word" column was about powdercoating. Liz had some taillight bezels coated. So this question is for Liz: Does the chrome have to be removed from the parts before coating them? I have a '65 Olds 442 that has a lot of pot metal trim that would cost me a small fortune to restore. I was thinking of stripping the chrome off the parts (if possible!) and having them coated with a satin silver or stainless steel to look powdercoated. Some of the parts have pits on them that would still show if coated. Do you know if you can blast off chrome, or does it have to be stripped some other way?
Via the Internet
A. The taillight bezels that were on my Mustang were in really good condition, so they didn't need to be stripped. They use a phosphate-based cleaner that etches the chrome plating to allow the powder finish to stick. If the chrome plating isn't smooth enough to coat over, you can usually sandblast the chrome off with an aggressive media like editor Johnny Hunkins did on his pot metal '68 Chevelle trim, or grind the plating off with a sanding disc. This works best for parts that have a relatively hard underlying metal like that of a bumper or cowl panel, which are made of mild steel. The tail light bezels and other pot metal can be brittle and are easily deformed. Sandblasting, grinding, or chemically stripping these parts can ruin them, so be careful. I called four local powdercoating shops and none of them would take liability if the part was damaged in the stripping process. They all recommended that I find a reproduction piece that was in good shape, so they wouldn't need to remove the plating. We know some parts are very difficult to source, but that's what you need to do.
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