Sunday, October 19, 2014

Making Headers

I have been slack at updating this blog lately, just not had time, but not much has been happening anyway, again lack of time! With an hour here or there I have been making the headers. They are a shorty block-hugger 4-into-1 design, to allow me to put the CATs under the bonnet, nice and close to the engine. The shorty block huggers that are available off the shelf are not short enough and come to close to the chassis, hence I am making my own!

I bought a bunch of mandrel bends and started cutting. The cuts are made mostly with a chop saw, also a couple by hand with a hacksaw. On each side I have one pipe which is one piece, the other three pipes are two or three pieces each. The driver's side front port needs a fair kink in it to clear the steering column, I will add more pics as the headers continue to come together.

I have welded up the pipes with a scratch start TIG setup. The welder is a 140amp DC inverter stick welder, it is tiny! Plugged in a TIG torch to the negative, hooked up a bottle of argon and got TIGging! I have never TIG welded before, so spent a good couple of hours practicing on scrap. It took a couple of hours to get the muscle memory going that you need to remember to turn the gas on at the torch! The hardest part was the scratch start without the electrode sticking, but once you have the knack it is quite easy to start. With this scratch start TIG setup I can weld steel and stainless steel, but no aluminium as that needs AC. I decided to go the scratch start setup as I can't justify $1,000 for a decent hi-frequency AC/DC welder and I have no aluminium welding to do as of now. As you will see from the welds I am no weldmaster, but a flap disc will do wonders!

Below you can see the length of the single piece pipe. I am using 1 & 3/4" pipe. I'm more interested in low and mid-range torque than high-end HP, so from what I have read on these engines this is better suited than 1 & 7/8".

The trolley, big-old MIG on the top, AC stick on the bottom, and the DC stick that I'm using for TIG is hiding in the middle!

This thing is tiny! I have been welding up most of the joins at about 40amps.

The TIG torch cost more than the welder! It's a 17V with the valve for the gas. Also I  added a gas lens kit from I have been using 2.4mm (3/32") ceriated tungsten electrodes and they seem to be working well.

Read for a tack

Not too bad, will clean them up with a flap disc. Once complete the headers will get HPC ceramic coated. If you can get the mating surfaces nicely matched then almost no filler metal is needed.

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