I need different BBC 454 headers for my swap. Help?

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454GrandPrix

454GrandPrix

Master Mechanic
Jul 27, 2016
426
93
Lehi, Utah
I thought I had this base covered. This morning, I learned otherwise. :(

Last Thursday, I spent all afternoon grinding my car and denting my (used, unknown brand, 1 3/4") header tubes in order to make them fit onto my engine. The driver's side now clears by a mile; the passenger side is considerably tighter but only makes actual contact in the allowable direction (away from engine rock) so I thought I'd be okay. Today I went to install the gaskets and torque them onto the engine, only to learn the passenger side flat-out refuses to play nice. I have already beat the hell out of one or two down tubes, plus I have cut/ground off all the metal I dare from my control arm mount... and it's still a no-go. I need to find another way.

Back to the drawing board, I began searching in this forum (and elsewhere). Some guys say to get the Hooker 2241s. I don't want those, for two main reasons: (1) they use slip tubes, and (2) they are very pricey. I also don't like that they use 2" primary tubes, which is overkill and a poor choice for my application.

I did also see numerous mentions of Hooker 2455s. I like that so many guys say they fit with little (or no) modification required--and the $199 price is certainly attractive--but I am turned off by the same 2" primary tubes as the 2241s. If I could find these headers with 1 3/4 tubes, I'd be all over it.

Considering all that, does anyone have any recommendations for me?
 
565bbchevy

565bbchevy

Geezer
Aug 8, 2011
7,446
113
Michigan
2" primaries will work fine, my first 454 headers were Hooker 2241's with 3" exhaust and you can always downsize the exhaust system to something smaller if you feel it is too free flowing.
I actually like the 2241's they are easy to install and on mine all I had to do was notch the engine mount on one side, if you are on a budget the 2455's will probably work fine for you after you make the necessary clearances.
 
Bar50

Bar50

Royal Smart Person
Jan 1, 2009
1,150
113
Tulsa, OK
I have 2455's on my car. No dents. Stock mounts. I trimmed the lower A-arm mount and flipped the rear lower A-arm bolt around for more room.

I have ran the 2241s and still have a set, they fit nice. No dents required. Have to pull the motor to get them in. Some guys complain about leaks at the slip tubes, mine never did, but, I had HUGE exhaust.



These are small tube and mine slipped right in. Motor on the mounts. I did pull the driver side motor mount cup/clam shell and trim the back corner for tube clearance. I bought mine used before I found new ones.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5335822911&icep_item=301940302818
 
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Bar50

Bar50

Royal Smart Person
Jan 1, 2009
1,150
113
Tulsa, OK
This is my small tube set in place. They are from a company called "Blackjack" headers that no longer exists. The motor mount cup on the driver side needs a trim to clear the front tube. These slip in with the motor in place. They have 3 inch collectors. Mine is still column shift. I do have a dual exhaust transmission cross-member.

They clear a normal (truck, 168 tooth) starter and oil filter. No trimming required. The also clear the OEM upper A-frames.






Works with stock HEI big block plug wires. A/C box clears if you have short stock height valve covers.

Now, the wiper arm with hit the tops of the HEI plug wires, I trimmed mine where the plastic ring used to snap over the wires.
 
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-83MONTESS-

-83MONTESS-

Moderator
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Nov 4, 2010
4,595
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Bellevue, Ohio
I have used both the 2241s and the 2455s. The 2455 headers dropped in a lot easier but the 2241s leave more space for everything around them. Only reason I swapped my 2455s for 2241s was because I found em on craigslist for $150. I have a buddy with a pair of 2241s for sale. He wants $200 for em I believe.
 
454GrandPrix

454GrandPrix

Master Mechanic
Jul 27, 2016
426
93
Lehi, Utah
From comments that have been made, it seems the 2455s can be installed/removed with the engine and trans in place. True?
 
-83MONTESS-

-83MONTESS-

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Nov 4, 2010
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Bellevue, Ohio
From comments that have been made, it seems the 2455s can be installed/removed with the engine and trans in place. True?
I had to lift the engine a little bit then they slid right in. My 2241s I had to left the engine a lot more. Im sure if you had a lift or a way to lift the front of the car very far off the ground you could finagle them in with engine and trans bolted in. I only had a normal jack and couldn't get the car high enough.
 
Bar50

Bar50

Royal Smart Person
Jan 1, 2009
1,150
113
Tulsa, OK
From comments that have been made, it seems the 2455s can be installed/removed with the engine and trans in place. True?
The passenger side will slip in with the engine in place on a 2455. The lower A-frame mount is close. Some guys cut a tube and move it.

http://maliburacing.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=116879

http://maliburacing.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=52967

The driver side on mine, I had to raise the engine. I also was a little close to the proportioning valve I took it loose and ground off the mounting bosses to make it bolt up flush to the frame for more room. I did some trimming on the A-frame mounts, more so on the the passenger side. I can't recall, but, for the most part, I massage the body seem flush in the bell housing area and out to the edges to clear the headers on all the cars I work on. I mean from steering column to A/C box. Turn the driver side rear lower A-frame bolt around as it protrudes into a header tube.

As mentioned, the car needs to be as high up as you can get it with a jack and some stands to have room to swing the headers around to place them. The 2455s have the 3.5 in collectors and are the same length at the slip fit headers.

The small tube headers in the link above, slip right in. And, work with column shift.

The 2241 headers I had to have the car jacked up almost three feet and the engine up, almost out of the car on a cherry picker.



***The G-Force and the Iceman transmission cross-member will line up with the collectors. None of the rest do, and they big tube headers have the collectors almost to the stock cross-member location.
 
454GrandPrix

454GrandPrix

Master Mechanic
Jul 27, 2016
426
93
Lehi, Utah
Some guys cut a tube and move it.
This gave me an idea, so I swung by my exhaust shop this afternoon and spoke to the owner at length. I explained my dilemma and asked how he felt about helping me cut, fab and weld in a tube to make the passenger header clear. He was kinda open to the idea, and we began planning out how it might work, when he suddenly asked if I would consider trying a different set of headers. "Well, yeah, that was another idea I've been kicking around." Then he mentioned that a while ago he bought out some other exhaust guy's inventory of various Flowtech headers. "Got any 11130s?" I asked, kinda putting him on the spot but not expecting him to have them. He went and grabbed his notes to find out and, sure enough, he's got a set new in the box. He also has a set of 11132s and he thought they might be similar... so he had a shop worker go up into the attic and retrieve both sets. Looking at them side-by-side, I personally don't think the 32s will fit but I feel the 30s might. He is willing to try them both.

Long story short, I'm going to trailer my car there tomorrow. First thing Monday morning, he'll put it in the air and remove my current headers, then he'll begin test-fitting to see what works and what doesn't. Assuming he can make either set work, he'll attach them to the engine and then install my complete Pypes 3" system as well. Here's hoping things work out.

***The G-Force and the Iceman transmission cross-member will line up with the collectors.
I am running the G-Force crossmember, so I'm glad to hear this.
 
454GrandPrix

454GrandPrix

Master Mechanic
Jul 27, 2016
426
93
Lehi, Utah
Here is the rest of the story on my header solution. First, more background technical information. I have a 1999 Vortec 454 block with matching 4L80E transmission. I am running my stock 1980 Pontiac engine crossmember and stock suspension arms. To hold the engine in place, I have stock replacement Monte Carlo SS frame mounts + stock 1999 Chevy Express 3500 engine clamshell mounts. I am using the bolt-on G-Force transmission crossmember. For the driver's header, I made a dimple on tube #1 to clear the engine mount plus a larger dimple in one of the downtubes to clear the lower control arm mount; that header now has lots of clearance everywhere. The passenger header also has a small dimple to clear the engine mount and a larger dimple in one down tube to clear the engine crossmember... plus what you'll see below. My headers can easily be inserted and removed with the engine and trans in the car.


Now, back to the story.

My exhaust guy had two sets of Flowtech headers. The first is part number 11132:


The second is part number 11130:


Just looking at them in person, I was pretty confident the 32s weren't going to work. I thought the 30s might have a chance, given enough massaging. Either way, Rick said he would put the car in the air and test fit both to see which one might be the better choice.

He quickly learned the 32s are totally a no-go; the leading tube (tries to) go right through the motor mount assembly. Okay, no big deal. But then he told me something unexpected: the headers currently on my car are actually identical to the 30s. That exact design has been copied and sold under a few names--including generic names like Summit Racing's own house brand--and it seems I've got one of those. Clearly, it wouldn't make any sense to buy a new set of the same headers and start bashing them, too.

Monday morning, I got another call from Rick. He and his son had discussed my situation at length and they came up with a strategy to make my current headers fit... and now the headers were fully bolted to the car. What did they do? About the only thing they could do, actually: they cut one pipe (the one Mike and I squished in half) off the header and grafted in a replacement that was routed so as to avoid contacting the suspension of the car. It's not exactly pretty, but it is definitely functional. I am completely fine with that--you know, because Roadkill.



With the headers in place and the rest of the exhaust system installed, here is how that new header tube looks from behind:



It does hang down somewhat compared to before, but it is far from the lowest point on the vehicle and therefore doesn't bother me.


I hope someone out there finds this information useful in their quest to install a BBC in their G-body.
 
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