Monday, March 25, 2013

Installing Exhaust Headers in the Spring

Image copyright: Hector Landeata, stock.xchng
Modifying a car can be a lot of fun even if it does involve some knuckle-splitting work. When you are young and dumb you make some mistakes when it comes to modifications, but hopefully those mistakes teach you a lesson. This post is all about one such mistake I made.

I had a cat-back exhaust system installed on a car of mine. After that installation job, which was done by a professional because of the weld joints that needed to be done right, I ordered and decided to install some exhaust headers. The only problem was that it was springtime and I didn't have a garage to work inside.

I live in Utah where spring really is just an extension of winter. We don't get a real spring where it is nice, moderate weather. Normally it goes from snowing one day to almost hot the next and so forth. The day I had set aside to install the headers turned out to be frigid, and it started to rain when I was partway through the project.

Laying on a cold cement driveway is a good way to chill yourself to the bone. Luckily I had a friend with me, so we took turns laying under the car and freezing our backsides. Installing an exhaust header isn't difficult work, unless you are freezing cold and it's hard to even hold a wrench steady. That and the catalytic converter on the car hooked up directly to the header, and it used springs in its connection which were difficult to work with in the cold.

So what's the point of this story? First of all, it's best to work on your car in good weather, or at least to have a garage you can sit inside out of the elements. I would have killed to have had an electric space heater and a dry garage. Since then I don't even change my oil outside when the weather isn't nice. Trust me, a frozen back is not worth it.