Besides a few common tools, what is really required is the patience to do it right. Sanderson Headers are built by hand in the USA with the finest materials. Properly installed, our products will give you years of trouble-free performance.
- Be sure your engine is properly tuned. Timing and fuel/air mixture must be accurate to avoid heat-related gasket problems or damaged to the header coating (if you have coated headers). If your engine is new or rebuilt and never fired, see additional instructions below.
- Disconnect the ground lead from the battery.
- If you raise the vehicle to gain better access, support it on suitable heavy jackstands. Anything else is just plain dangerous.
- The cylinder heads must be perfectly clean. Remove all traces of carbon, old gasket material and other debris, starting with a scraper and single edge razor blade. Finish with a wire brush and a final polish with Scotch-Brite® or similar abrasive pad. lastly, wipe all mounting surfaces with acetone (WARNING ~ Flammable!)
- Install two studs, one in each end of the cylinder head to align the flange.
- Apply a ~1/8" wide "smear" of Permatex® #82180 Ultra Black® Silicone (or compatible) that isn't too thick around each exhaust port on the header. Allow the silicone to set overnight. or until completely dry.
- Use the same process (slightly thicker silicone application) or install a quality collector gasket at the header collector. Always use Grade 5 or better bolts. Grade 5 bolts with locking nuts are available for those interested.
- Permatex® Ultra Black® cures fully in 24 hours at room temperature.
Special Instructions for New or Rebuilt Engines
Chrome, stainless and ceramic coated headers can be permanently damaged by installing them on improperly tuned motors! Exhaust gas temperatures in fresh engines can easily exceed the limits of these materials, causing damage to the finish. For first time start-up, follow these recommended steps:
- Install an old pair of headers or your stock exhaust manifolds without gaskets. Start the motor and adjust the timing, carburetor settings, and valves. Check for any vacuum leaks. Run the engine 10-20 minutes to burn out all traces of assembly lube.
- Check for soot at the end of the tailpipe, caused by a too-rich fuel mixture. Correct this before you bolt on your new headers.
- Let the motor cool completely, then unbolt the old exhaust manifolds and follow the procedure above to install your new Sanderson Headers.
A Few More Professional Tips
Whenever you change an engine component; camshaft, distributor, carburetor, etc., follow the procedure as if you were firing the motor for the first time. It's more work, but it saves you the risk of ruining your headers.
What is a BEAD of silicone?
The term "bead" is somewhat confusing, in part because we naturally initially believe that this means a cylindrical, concentric, almost tube-like image in our minds. For this reason we have started using the term "smear" of silicone around each port. We also describe a comparison to intake manifold gaskets that use embedded silicone around the ports. Therefore, consider an "1/8" wide smear of silicone around each port". Let the silicone dry and then install the Sanderson header. The images below offer an example of how the silicone application could look. Please note that these are not the best images and the silicone was intentionally not applied all the way around each port for visual perspective in these images.