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Thread: Headers for the Elky - does this sound good?

  1. #1
    Senior Member eesquared's Avatar
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    Headers for the Elky - does this sound good?

    I called several places regarding installing headers on the Elky. I finally settled on a performance shop.

    I took the car to the shop after a brief phone conversation with the store manager. He brought out his exhaust guy, they looked under the car, inside the car, under the hood. You know - guys do that to show you that they are supposed to know what they are doing with your car. That's ok - let 'em feel superior, boost their egos, and they will love working on your car.

    Right now, the car has a single exhaust - no doubt it was replaced at some point in the past with after-market parts. I told the shop guys I wanted dual headers installed.

    Why? They asked.

    At this point in the conversation, I get to impart my limited knowledge of cars that I have gained from talking with Eric, Dom, Grouch, husbands, fathers, brothers, and next door shade-tree mechanics (and the service manual!).

    I say: Well, several reasons: better performance, better gas mileage, more horsepower, and a little less weight.

    But you will never get real performance out of a 305. Why do you want to do this again?

    I just told you why....

    So, we banter back and forth for a few more minutes and exhaust guy says "Well, yeah, we can do that. How loud do you want it? And we can route them around so that we do not have to cut out a notch to hold it."

    Ok. Great. "Not loud enough to attract undue attention, but I want it to sound like it has a .305 V8 in it." <duh>

    To my delight, exhaust guy says, pointing at bolts in manifold, We'll have to be careful taking these off - they might be stuck." Oh, deja vu, where have I heard that before? Thank you, Eric.

    The next day, the estimate arrives in my inbox. I am pleasantly surprised that it will cost less than feeding a small country for:
    new coated headers (not available in raw steel)
    new Flowmaster style 3 chamber mufflers
    new “special” catalytic converters
    exhaust system exiting at each side of the rear Installation and sales tax included
    Coated means they won't rust as easily....right?
    They will come out behind the rear tires, where the single one comes out now.
    I know what the special catalytic converter is - we discussed that at the shop.

    So, does this sound like a good setup?

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    Coated means it will take a long time for the headers to rust through. ... and in the meantime they'll look nice.

    It sounds like a decent system.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Overall, yes!

    "Coated" is good - hopefully, ceramic or similar. Headers are made of tube steel, usually fairly thin - vs. manifolds, which are made of heavy cast iron. The coating will help prevent rust and (if it's ceramic) also cut down on the noise a bit, too.

    I'm not sure why they say you "won't get power out of a 305." That's ignorant. The 305 is a small block Chevy, no different in its basic layout/design than a 302 or 283 - or a 350. Some versions of the small block Chevy had better cylinder heads than others - or hotter cams (a big factor) and there is an advantage (all else being equal) to having more displacement. But there is nothing "wrong" with the 305.

    In stock form, several versions were pretty hot for their time (L69 "5.0 High Output" for example as used in the early-mid 1980s Z28 and Monte Carlo SS). The reason it seems underpowered by current standards is that everything was underpowered by current standards in the early-mid 1980s! Circa 1986, 190-225 hp was about as hot as it got. The 350 in the Corvette during that period was only making about 15-20 more hp than the 305 HO, by the way.

    Not a huge difference.

    With a performance cam, headers (you've got that covered) and some tuning work (ignition and carb) you should be very happy with the performance you get out of your 305.

    Ask the shop whether they can get/use self-locking bolts for the headers; header bolts have a tendency to shake loose and annoying exhaust leaks and having to periodically check/tighten the often hard-to-get-at bolts are the hassle that sometimes comes with having headers. But self-locking bolts will keep the headers on tight. Well worth the extra money. Safety wiring them tight is another option.

    PS: Be aware that you'll need to re-jet/tune your carburetor after the exhaust is done to get the most out of your headers. I recommend Cliff Ruggles. See here: http://cliffshighperformance.com/
    You can send him your carburetor and he'll rebuild/calibrate the whole thing for you, to match your engine perfectly. Or he can send you the kit - again, matched to your specific situation. Cliff is a great guy and he knows the Rochester Quadrajet probably better than almost anyone.

  4. #4
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    The 305 is just a 350 with a smaller bore and slightly shorter stroke. The old 307 now, that puppy could barely get out of it's own way. It didn't last very many years but the 305 was in production for quite a while. These guys may not know the difference. Consider that there hasn't been a carbureted engine on cars in the last 30+ years.

    Myself, I like to run the exhaust out the tail like the factory did it. Yes, it costs more for materials but if you'll look at a stock restoration of all the muscle cars as well as later performance cars, the exhaust goes the full length of the car. This has the effect of the moving column of gases pulling on itself and causing a slight low pressure at the exhaust valve. This helps scavenge the cylinder of spent fuel.

    It doesn't do much but the factory will do everything for a slight increase. Look at a police Crown Victoria, it has dual exhaust while the regular ones don't. With you running the exhaust out behind the wheels, you're probably going where the factory put it. One thing I would look into is mud flaps so the water and mud thrown up by the wheels doesn't cook onto the pipe.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member eesquared's Avatar
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    Ugh. I did not want to hear that. I looked at the service manual's pages on the carb - it has lots of little bitty parts. Thanks for the tip, though.

  6. #6
    Senior Member eesquared's Avatar
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    "One thing I would look into is mud flaps so the water and mud thrown up by the wheels doesn't cook onto the pipe"


    Thanks - I did not think about that. The single exhaust currently comes out behind the passenger rear tire, so I just stayed with that and asked if both sides could come out behind the rear tires to be consistent. I'm not really planning on driving through mud, but I suppose since it does sit pretty low that road grunge could fly up there. I'll think some more about mud flaps, but my initial thought is that they are ugly and I don't really want them on my car. Maybe I can find another solution. Also, I would be concerned that the flaps themselves would flap into the pipes. Could that cause the flaps to melt onto the pipes, or does their placement prevent them from flying up and back into the pipes?
    Seriously, I don't know.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eesquared View Post
    Ugh. I did not want to hear that. I looked at the service manual's pages on the carb - it has lots of little bitty parts. Thanks for the tip, though.
    Don't sweat it!

    The Quadrajet looks intimidating but it's really not hard to do basic tuning, such as changing the primary jets (and the secondary metering rods are a snap).

    But if you're still leery, all you have to do is unbolt it and send it to Cliff and he'll do the whole deal and send it back, ready to go.

    You might give him a call; he actually answers the phone and you can talk to him - not a flunkie!

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eesquared View Post
    "One thing I would look into is mud flaps so the water and mud thrown up by the wheels doesn't cook onto the pipe"


    Thanks - I did not think about that. The single exhaust currently comes out behind the passenger rear tire, so I just stayed with that and asked if both sides could come out behind the rear tires to be consistent. I'm not really planning on driving through mud, but I suppose since it does sit pretty low that road grunge could fly up there. I'll think some more about mud flaps, but my initial thought is that they are ugly and I don't really want them on my car. Maybe I can find another solution. Also, I would be concerned that the flaps themselves would flap into the pipes. Could that cause the flaps to melt onto the pipes, or does their placement prevent them from flying up and back into the pipes?
    Seriously, I don't know.
    I am pretty sure the Elky's underside is similar (if not virtually identical) to the same-era Monte Carlo SS, which came from the factory with dual exhaust.

    On some cars, installing duals - especially dual mufflers (as opposed to a single transverse unit mounted behind the rear axle) can be a pain - and leave you with clearance problems.

    But I think you'll be fine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member eesquared's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I am pretty sure the Elky's underside is similar (if not virtually identical) to the same-era Monte Carlo SS, which came from the factory with dual exhaust.

    On some cars, installing duals - especially dual mufflers (as opposed to a single transverse unit mounted behind the rear axle) can be a pain - and leave you with clearance problems.

    But I think you'll be fine.
    On the clearance, exhaust guy and I discussed that the other day. He thinks there is plenty of room underneath to keep the pipes at the same level as the current one, so I don't think clearance will be an issue.

  10. #10
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eesquared View Post
    Ugh. I did not want to hear that. I looked at the service manual's pages on the carb - it has lots of little bitty parts. Thanks for the tip, though.


    I always liked to run Edelbrock Performer series carburetors. They are based on the Carter AFB design and pretty simple to install.

    I've been hearing from friends in the automotive industry that Holly's are getting hard to get. Possibly the company is in trouble. Then again, it may just be the store they sell from can't get them.
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