What should I do about this exhaust leak? - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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What should I do about this exhaust leak?

Hey everybody -

So I got an exhaust leak and it's driving me nuts, so I guess I'd better get to fixing it. I think I have some options here, and I'd love to get some opinions from some of you guys who've wrestled with headers before...

This is a 1968 GTO and the block is a YC code out of a 1968 290HP, 2bbl (out of a full size, probably a Catalina or Executive).

The leak is in the header gasket - I attached a picture. It's right in the center ports. You can hear it, feel the gasses coming out, and see the area that's spent (see pic).

I've read everywhere about what a pain in the a&* it is to change headers - I'll be doing this on my back. So I was thinking - the headers are okay still (hooker long tubes) - might I be better off just unbolting and swapping out the gasket, rather than trying to replace the headers entirely?

If I unbolt them (assuming that goes alright) I'm thinking I can drop them enough to get the spent gasket out of there, get the new one in, and get them bolted back up - think that is doable?

It looks like I just need to get the steering shaft out of the way to get to that one bolt tucked up in there (by #5 ) - sound right?

I'm a little worried about cracking those old bolts...should I be worried?

Or....should I just go for it and replace the headers altogether? The Hookers on there are flattened out on the very bottom from scraping - no holes, but beat up pretty good. But then I'm worried about repositioning the brake proportioning valve - the Hookers are RIGHT up against it. I don't know... I'm thinking dont screw with it since they're still at least okay...

What do you think?

Thanks for any insight or input!

See attached pics....
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-31-2017, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Whoops - here's the pic...
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2017, 02:22 PM
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Been there and done that. I moved my brake valve up on on the fender well. Had to break apart the clutch arm and re-weld it because when I pushed the clutch in, it hit the header pipe. Then there is the starter getting it in/out when necessary. The oil filter cannot be unscrewed and brought straight down, had to turn it sideways, (oil everywhere) and slide it in/out that way. I later just drilled a hole in the bottom of the oil filter, drained it as much as I could, mess was less. :-) The rag joint just touched the header when I turned the wheel, had to take one of the bolts and adjust (grind) it to have clearance. When the time comes to replace them, probably will drop kick em in the lake and try some ramair type.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2017, 02:13 AM
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IF you decide to keep the headers and just try to replace the gaskets ; use the thickest ones you can find and soak them in water overnight before you install them. They also make dead soft copper and aluminum gaskets. I like to slot the holes for the bolts too so I can just slid them down over the bolts without having to completely remove them.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2017, 03:46 PM
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Bred; I use the 1967 HO Exhaust manifolds, they flow great and bolt up like stock. Not sure headers are that much better unless you are a racer needing each and every ounch of extra horsepower.

What 65 said is smart advice, lots of my friends have headers, why, they are cool, but everything you do is complicated. on some cars just to change spark plugs, drop one header. They keep coming up in various repairs and will for you down the road.

Just a suggestion, don't do this tough job over and over. Get a set of HO Exhaust manifolds, Butler has them some bolts and gasket and fix it once and for all, and save you a lot of work down the road on many repairs.

Some guys love headers and are willing to deal with them, me I don't like headers or Heat Riser valves from way back.

The HO flow real good. Good Luck!!!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2017, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the input!

I think I'm going to get a set of gaskets and go that route for now. Save money and do the HO Manifold and the rest of the exhaust next year. (The rest of the exhaust system is put together a little sloppy and I want a change, but not a top priority.)

So now it's choosing the replacement gaskets and of course there are a million choices.

Should be no big deal....8 bolts.....how hard can it be? Famous last words....
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