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Aftermarket AMC V8 header review

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amcramblermarlin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amcramblermarlin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Aftermarket AMC V8 header review
    Posted: Nov/01/2008 at 12:23am
I remember in the eighties for one of my friend's AMXs we were able to find a mismatched set of tube steel headers; one was a "Cyclone" and was obviously an equal length design and fit very well, aligning the collector closer to the trans crossmember passageway, and did not hang down too low - rather  it hugged the underbody very well, so well it did not show too badly when looking low at the front of the car. ...the other header was -I guess it's a generic header jig- just another typical dum-dum header with poorly made flanges (sloppy made dogleg fittings, almost to block the area into a square port opening), -had to dent the one tube for the starter motor, hung down too low (ruins header to negotiate dip in road at higher speeds, crushing tubes) and obviously not equal length header tubes.

The first set of headers I bought were for my Javelin. They were "Hooker Headers". They hung down too low and crushed taking dips in the road. They were not equal length. They did not align to the crossmember, requiring extra bends/ ill fitting exhaust pipes going past the crossmember.

The last set of dum-dum AMC V8 headers I bought was through American Performance Cocoa Beach FL (but I like that vendor/good people) for a 401 Hornet hatchback conversion car (could not find free flow manifolds locally). They were supposedly "Hedman Headers" brand (looked just like "J&R" headers my brother put on his Matador). While I did use a rotary file to clean up the sloppy flanges a bit, the execution of how they did the dog leg exhaust port flanges was poor (there are other words for it...) - hung down too low, misalignment to crossmember passageways, not tuned length, had to make a custom thin wall spark plug socket because the darn flange in the way etc... stupid headers!

We'll remain a bunch of suckers (born every minute?) not to band together and choose the best header maker to patronize. For sure there's hopeful AMC enthusiasts getting gypped on a regular basis for a really crappy made set of headers...

Stepping out of the AMC only tunnel vision syndrome, I've seen inexpensive headers with darn good flanges fit "just right" on Camaros & never had problems with blown gaskets... (that sticker of a little boy peeing on Ford etc. is not really funny...changing the darn gaskets on your AMC V8 headers every month)

I say let's make a list of aftermarket AMC headers; port match quality? equal length? hanging low or tight to underbody? alignment to trans crossmember? Price?
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firecapt321 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote firecapt321 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/01/2008 at 11:12am
My set of Hedmans line up good and are the best I have seen as far as ground clearance goes, however I had fitting issues due to my aluminum heads and external oil line, but on a stock style set up I would have to say they are the best fit for 71 - 74 style javelins anyway, the hookers I had before were terrible, in every way... for the money I am not sure you can beet the hedman's... BTW: ever since I took a tip from a pro and cut the connecting flange pieces on the headers, I have never had another manifold leak...
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firecapt321 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote firecapt321 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/01/2008 at 11:25am
I need to also add that I have never used the hedman's with a stock style starter though, not sure how they would fit without a mini starter. Here is the best pic I could find that you might be able to see the mod I made to the manifold, if you look to the left of my stupid breather cap reflectionLOL, you can see where I made the cuts..
 
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Joe View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/01/2008 at 8:04pm
 I quickly ran into problems with the "over priced" Hooker 1 7/8" Super comps. ('71 - '74 AMX) I ended up making a skid plate for each side as the sparks ground the $308 priced parts (I purchased in '95) down "very thin". 
 I had a lot of time in porting the heads, and when it came time to fit the headers - there was not much to work with on the tubes!
 These things were a big disappointment from the start. I ended up welding a pretty thick bead on the outer side of the flange (never mind the problems with bolt clearance after this process).  Even with the thick flange, I still had to double the gaskets!
 
  Thanks for the heads up on splitting the flange, it makes perfect since!!
 As far as the rest of the makers, it's been "hit and miss".
 If any one knows of a high flowing header with good ground clearance and room to open,  "(match port)" the tube openings, please let us know! 
                                                                           Thanks, Joe


Edited by Joe - Nov/01/2008 at 8:08pm
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matt167 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote matt167 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/02/2008 at 6:41pm
Headman headders usually have Headman Headders stamped on 1 of the tubes.. my dad bought a set for his '72 C10, and they fit just right, with the included collectors, fit right to the stock pipes after trimming them
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 71SC360 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/02/2008 at 7:02pm
Anyone interested in actually making up a complete list that can be made a sticky at the top of the page? I'd like to see a list of the different headers, how they fit and what body (model) they were installed on. In the past I've tried getting info on headers for small bodies (Amreican, Gremlin, Hornet, etc.) but it always leaks onto the forum at different times so it was really hard trying to make and real comparisons. I sure wish that someone would make a set of shortys that would fit the small bodies I was even tempted to make my own mid length headers for my Hornet with bits and pieces of different AMC headers.....
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Goodare 72 SST View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goodare 72 SST Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/09/2008 at 11:45pm
I have Hooker Super Comp 1 7/8" and a mini starter. The headers don't hange lower then my 8 quart oil pan so clearance is great. They took a lot of work to install but well worth it. I did not have to dent or grind any thing to get them to fit. You have to jack up the engine and remove the strut rod and bracket off the sub-frame on the right side thats all. goodare

1968 AMC Ambassador DPL - 1972 AMC Javelin SST - 1983 Honda Civic 1500DX CVCC - 28 Years Dealer Experience
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fast401 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/19/2008 at 9:02pm
I heard edelbrock is making shorty headers, but they have the air tubes on them.
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Alliups View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alliups Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/20/2008 at 9:42am
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Edited by Alliups - Jan/01/2009 at 12:06pm
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kwkslvr73 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kwkslvr73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/20/2008 at 11:00am
I got headmans on my Gremlin. Had to raise motor on pass side, and install the starter with the header in place but not bolted up. I always had header leaks no matter how good the gaskets. Finally had to make my own , matching each port to gasket no leaks! Another benefit on cutting the flange...no need to remove dipstick tube.Thumbs%20Up Unless edelbrock came out with new design, there shortys won't fit Gremlin/Hornets without modification.
360 5-speed orig owner...
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