Because of the severity of...
Because of the severity of the bend we needed to build, we ended up chopping the J-bends into lots of little wedges, all in a variety of shapes. Next time we’ll probably use fewer, but it got the job done.
Incredibly, we were able to...
Incredibly, we were able to wrap the pipe around the steering box with plenty of room to spare. As we added segments, we kept changing the shape by rotating and swapping out sections. Normally, we’d be making tack welds and breaking them—dozens of times—and with no promise of the pipes being centered.
Hooker’s alignment weld sleeves...
Hooker’s alignment weld sleeves to the rescue! Our interference problem is a lot more common than you might think, and Hooker has the cure.
Here’s the idea: Once you...
Here’s the idea: Once you place the alignment sleeves between the wedges, you can rotate them into any configuration you want, and they won’t fall apart.
Once we got the right “stack”...
Once we got the right “stack” to all our pipe wedges, Tony Andrade of AE tacked the sections together with a Millermatic 35 MIG welder. While Andrade was working the top end of the primary, he took special care to leave plenty of room for spark plug wrench access.
This view does a great job...
This view does a great job showing off the final solution to our “impossible” problem. When compared to the starting picture, it gives you an appreciation for AE’s work, and Hooker’s alignment weld sleeves.
Another view, this time from...
Another view, this time from below. Note how nicely the Hooker Super Comp headers tuck between the framerails.
It looks kind of weird here,...
It looks kind of weird here, but this turned out to be the perfect shape for our ’68 Nova. Our cylinder heads, headers, and steering box are fairly common, but how many ’68 Novas are likely to have this exact combo? The point: any time a set of headers fits, consider yourself lucky.
With the shape of the primary...
With the shape of the primary tube safely established, Andrade welded up the sections, using the pinches in the Hooker alignment weld sleeves as filler.
Since we wanted a nice flat...
Since we wanted a nice flat surface for the ceramic coating to adhere to, the AE crew ground the welds flat with 3-inch abrasive pads from 3M. Note how the pipe is still in two sections; this made it easier for final assembly.
These before-and-after shots...
These before-and-after shots show how drastically we rerouted the third header primary tube. The resulting exhaust path isn’t ideal for flow, but sometimes you’ve got to compromise.
|Weld alignment sleeves, 1 7/8-inch dia.
||$24.95 (package 20)
|J-bend, 1 7/8-inch dia., 6-inch radius
|J-bend, 1 7/8 -inch dia., 2½-inch radius