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Thread: Not happy with hooker headers

  1. #1
    Fuel Injected! JeepsAndGuns's Avatar
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    Not happy with hooker headers

    So I had been thinking for a good while now about getting some headers for my cherokee. With all the other mods I have done, seems natural. I hear all kinds of bad stuff about the hedman headers, how cheap they are made, thin tubes, thin flanges, poor sealing, poorly shaped ports, and rust out fast. So I was doing some looking around and found the hooker headers for my jeep. I have heard good things about hooker headers, and it just so happened I stumbled across a ebay listing for a set of them listed as "scratch and dent" from holley performance. They said they were returned and they could have either small dents, scratches, missing small parts, or blemishes. They didnt have any pics or specifics on the exact set of headers cause they were at a warehouse, but said they were inspected and it was nothing that would render them un useable.
    I ended up winning them for the opening bid of $89. I got real excited, since these usally sell for around $200.
    I am like a kid at christmas time when they show up. I pull them out, and they are still in the factory wrapping with the banding around the cardboard, strange. I check them over and I could find zero damage what so ever. But hold up, something is not looking right, then it hit me. The ports are not the correct ports! I dont know if anyone here is famillar with AMC engine, but all the 70 and newer ones have what they call "dog leg" exhaust ports. These headers have rectangle ports. WTF!?! The 69 and older amc engine have rectangle exhaust ports. So I thought I got the wrong set, or they were listed wrong. I contact the seller and it takes them 1 week to reply to me. By then I had already done plenty of google work to find out all are made this way. I even called holley customer support and was told by the guy that they are all made this way, and he gets complaints all the time because of it, but management doesnt want to do anything to fix it. So they KNOW they are making them wrong, but do nothing to try and fix it and make them right. But these were sold as non returnable since they are "scratch and dent" so I am stuck with them. The ebay seller confirmed they are supposed to be rectangle port, and the only ones they make that are dog leg port and the supercomp part number 9817, but have not been made in several years. I google the number and I find a listing for them from jegs for over $800. F that.
    These are the 9402HKR headers, listed as fitting 71-79 cherokee,wagoneer, and trucks. All of those are dogleg exhaust port engines, all amc are period after 70. So when you buy something thats listed at fitting your vehicle, you expect them to FIT. Does the term "square peg in a round hole" ring a bell? The ports are shaped wrong, thats all there is to it. If I was to install them as is, a good part of my exhaust port would be blocked off. The way the ports are shaped, the "dog leg" is a important part of it. Plus I have gasket matched and mildy ported these heads before I put them on.

    Heres a pic of a correct shaped gasket setting on these headers. Sorry the pic is dark, I had to turn off the flash as it kept washing it out. Currently trying to figure out how to fix this. The flange is the easy part, nothing a die grinder wont fix fast. But the tube is another story. That part I havent figured out yet.


    79 Jeep Cherokee, AMC 401, T-18 manual trans, hydroboost, 16197427 MPFI system---the toy

    93 Jeep YJ Wrangler, 4.0L, 5 speed, 8.8 rear, homebrew hub conversion and big brakes, hydroboost, 2.5in OME lift, 31x10.50's---the daily driver

    99 Jeep WJ Grand Cherokee limited, 4.0L, auto, 2wd, leather and power everything, 99% stock---the long distance highway ride.

  2. #2
    Fuel Injected! gregs78cam's Avatar
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    Man that sucks. But it is just steel right? If it were me and I was dead set on using them, I would build up the outside with filler metal, probably MIG, and then take an end mill or die grinder to it.
    1978 Camaro Type LT, 383, Dual TBI, '7427, 4L80E
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  3. #3
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    my dad has a 70 AMC Javelin with a 401, he bought it with headers already on it, car ran stupid fast, he eventually took off the headers and found the same situation: dog-leg port on the head, rectange on the headers....

    still ran unbelievably well.
    1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS 3100 + 4T60E


  4. #4
    EFI GearHead ! EagleMark's Avatar
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    Headman Elite headers are the best headers I have ever had.

    Can't beleive Hooker would do that! How Rude!

    But if they are wrong for your car I would push for full refund. His ebay feedback has got to be bad if he contiues to sell these.

    1990 Chevy Suburban 5.7L Auto ECM 1227747 $42!
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  5. #5
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    First off, OTC headers are rarely the best prescription for any vehicle. The bends, lengths, and diameters of the tubing are almost always a compromise made to cost, fit, and packaging. If you really "want it right" you'll spend the $800+ for a set of "real" headers.

    With that said if you are careful you could drill the flange next to the tubing (obviously outside the port) where the dogleg should be. Using a carbide burr you could open the flange to the correct shape without damaging the tube. Then with heat and punches and hammers you could rework the tube until it fit the flange. This would make the tubing thin but it might last for years just the same.

    If you think that mismatch is bad you should see the junk I've had to deal with in the SBC world. Welds that aren't complete, giant round ports that leave less than 1/16" compression surface for the gasket, flanges visibly warped right out of the box. You could be happy to have well built wrong port headers instead of junk that requires 20-40 hrs of additional work to even be used.

    Personally I think you'll find those ports aren't really magic anyway. The "huge" increase in flow that people like to talk about was started by AMC marketing at a time when all the makers exaggerated their claims. I'd bet that installing your headers without the additional port reshaping work will still help the engine more than it hurts.

    http://theamcforum.com/forum/square-...opic14549.html
    Last edited by 1project2many; 10-06-2012 at 10:44 AM.

  6. #6
    Fuel Injected! JeepsAndGuns's Avatar
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    If this was a stock engine, I probably wouldnt worry about it so much, maybe even install them as is. But I have made a few mods to the engine and want to take advantage of them. Now this engine is FAR from a fire breathing beast, but I have put a fair ammount of my time into the heads. I had them shaved a bit, did gasket matching, port/polish work, and a 3 angle valve job. (port polish work done by me). I also gasket matched the stock manifolds I have on there now.
    Like I said, if this was a stock 304 or 360, I probably wouldnt worry about it (probably wouldnt even bother with headers in the first place) but with this being a 401, with the few mods I have done, and the fact that I am anal about things like this, I cant leave them be and install them as is.
    I have a die grinder and a carbide bit, so flange work wont take anything. But the tube I am still on the fence about. I do have a mig welder. I have thought about finding some steel tube as close to the thickness as the header tube is, and close to the diameter of the dog leg, then split that tube in half and shape/weld it in place and match it up with the die grinder.
    Still thinking....
    79 Jeep Cherokee, AMC 401, T-18 manual trans, hydroboost, 16197427 MPFI system---the toy

    93 Jeep YJ Wrangler, 4.0L, 5 speed, 8.8 rear, homebrew hub conversion and big brakes, hydroboost, 2.5in OME lift, 31x10.50's---the daily driver

    99 Jeep WJ Grand Cherokee limited, 4.0L, auto, 2wd, leather and power everything, 99% stock---the long distance highway ride.

  7. #7
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    Mandrel bent exhaust? Near zero restriction mufflers? Header / collector length optimized for desired power range? H or X pipe installed on hottest part of exhaust to balance pressure between banks? If running converter(s) did you increase pipe diameter after the cat? There may be plenty of other areas to invest time in.

    If you don't want to stretch the pipe you can find a small piece of tubing that will fit into the hole drilled in the flange (previously mentioned) and matches roughly the dogleg diameter. Angle that piece of tubing so it can be grafted into the header tube. Weld the merge point and along both pieces of tubing then weld the small tube to the flange.

  8. #8
    Fuel Injected! CamaroDude85's Avatar
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    I've had plenty of problems with stock replacement and performance parts. I agree they should of stated what ports they were for though. What the others are saying would work fine, just be easy on the heat if you weld on them, that's probably only 16ga tubing and be pretty easy to burn a hole through it.
    '88 Camaro 305tbi factory 5 speed car engine all stock except for Thrush(just like a flowmaster) muffler and open element air cleaner. LS1 brakes, wonder bar, Founders LCA/PHB & caster camber plates, Eibach springs, Hurst shifter, Ford 2 speed fan and 17's with 235's in front/275's out back. Running a 7427 $0d. rsmith085 over at TGO

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