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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I wanted to find out who has installed their own headers and the degree of difficulty.

My other question is if you had a a shop do the install how much did it cost to have it done?

Any and all info welcome.

:M5thumbs:
 
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I wanted to find out who has installed their own headers and the degree of difficulty.

My other question is if you had a a shop do the install how much did it cost to have it done?

Any and all info welcome.

:M5thumbs:
My shop did it for me (years ago). Got charged between 6-8 hours to install headers and swap diff (don't remember exact number). Exhaust completely dropped, and 1st time doing headers on an M5. Other than getting the springs on (mech said second person helpful, but not required), very straightforward. Oh, and that included time to make the SS pipe to mate to the stock cats actually work (he spent some time on that).

Only other wrinkle is I believe driver side motor mounts have to be loosened to remove stock exhaust manifold as the motor has to be raised a little bit. I did not get charged any time for the test drive after the install, which my mech enjoyed very much!!!!

Regards.
Jerry
 

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ha trust me man you do not want to do these yourself unless you have your own shop with all the right equipment hiha

For my 4-1 evolve headers the shop took 10 hours labor as the full exhaust needs to be dropped, the subframe dropped, headers press-fitted together with exhaust paste, removed old gasket, rusted bolts and rusted OEM headers, add new gaskets and bolts, and sew it all back up with the new headers with a bit of welding.

Budget at least a grand's worth of labor cost...on top of close to $3k for the headers. :deal:

I wouldn't try this unless you are a). bored and crazy with a lot of free time on the weekends b). have at least a competent buddy mechanic with you c). floor lift, engine crane, and all the right power tools c). masochistic when it comes to rusted parts impeding your progress d). all of the above

This goes without saying that getting headers is $$$ and for me was more expensive than I was expecting but with that said, I'm glad the saga is over and I have it! :7:
 
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I had a shop do the job. Pre-negotiated a $500 install (they got robbed)

Took them 10 hours to get it done. Getting the factory headers off seems to be the most work, and depending on what manufacturer you go with, getting the downpipes fully seated in the collector can be difficult as well.


You'll find a wide range of stories on here about header installs, so don't go into it assuming it will be a plug and play job. It's a tight fit up there and you'll be under the car for a while.
 

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I paid $400 for install, but then I had to drive it with headers only to my exhaust shop about 1/2 mile away to get the connecting pipe from the evolve collectors to stock cats made because evolve failed to tell me that they no longer make headers for stock cats despite my specific request so I had to pay an additional $275 for that job (which was a waste because I went with race cats a few months later). With all that said, the first shop I took it to wanted $900 for the job and also didn't include the welding. Like others above me have said, this is a cost intensive purchase. Headers + tune will put you pretty close to stage 1 supercharger money.

HOWEVER, best modification ever, if for nothing else, the biblical sound!

:wroom:
 

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$512.30 installed by my Indie.
 

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Has any non pro mechanic attempted this at home? If so would you recommend for or against it?
 

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I installed my evolve headers. It wasn't a difficult job, just time-consuming. Getting the primary pipes lined up and on the collector pipes was a pain... big block of wood and BFH!

I loosened the front motor mounts and jacked up the engine to do the LH side. Installed new lock nuts and manifold gaskets.

Should mention that I did this with the car on a 4 post lift and had a friend help when needed.
 

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I installed my SS headers in my driveway, car up on ramps.

The hardest part is getting the header nuts off and back on again. You'll have to get creative to get to some of them. The nuts are an odd size, something like 11mm or 12mm, so if you attempt to do this from home, I recommend the following:
Shorty wrench
Shorty ratchet
Swivel Head ratchet
Swivel Sockets (sockets with the universal built in)
Extensions of various lengths

I installed the header springs by myself, I found the best way to do it was with a big flathead screwdriver that I put a V notch in the side (with my bench grinder) so the spring wouldn't slip off the end as I pulled it into position.

Also, if you're installing the SS headers, make absolutely sure the collectors are pushed all the way up on each tube. Make a mark on each tube to give you an idea when you're close.
 

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A decently competent mechanic should be able to do this job on their own. It may take all day, it will go much quicker with a friend (or maybe slower depending how much beer they bring over) but it can be done in a day. I would say make a weekend job out of it and you can tackle it.

Air tools help but it can be done with your average tool set.
 

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It's not that bad of a job if you have decent mechanical skills, a good assortment of tools, and a weekend. Many will argue on whether or not dropping the subframe makes it easier. I dropped the subframe, so it was a breeze. Once you drop the subframe, everything is out in the open and easy as hell to get to.
 

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I did this in my garage on jack stands in the middle of winter in Wisconsin. No subframe removal. Passenger side is a breeze. On the driverside dont be afraid to raise and lower the motor from a jack and wood. I also removed the driver side motor mount. The drivers front bolts with the motor jacked up and the drivers rear bolts with it lowered slightly. First time took me about 5 hours, second time under 4 hours.
 

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I've done the Dinan header install on my garage floor twice. It's sucks!

Also recently done it on a lift, such a breeze, still 10 or so hours no matter what equipment you use. It's just a ton of work, plus it's a good time to do the other stuff while the subframe is out.

I have a DIY thread here I posted a few years back.


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I installed the evolve headers at home... twice. The first time I tried to do it without dropping the front subframe. It took forever and I didn't get them all tight enough.

Going back in again, I supported the engine from above and dropped the front subframe. Job wasn't bad at all that way (took less time total), and access was easy.

If I were to do it again, I'd absolutely drop the front subframe to start with. Fitment on them is awesome, so the only hold up is access to the bolts. With the front subframe dropped, it's not an issue anymore.
 

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I have done this job a bunch of times its not fun take a good 8 hrs min
 

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Just came across this for SS install:

As has been shared; rather straight forward.

The OEM exhaust is one piece as such it requires two in order to comfortably remove it.

Once out if using the OEM cats you will need to cut them at the "PROPER" place for the connecting pipes to fit well; and they fit very well if cut properly. Once cut “DO NOT” bench weld the pieces but rather install the headers; then the back half of the exhaust and then fit the connecting pipes into place last and then weld then with the assembly in place. The connecting pipe needs to be welded first around the inside tube at the cat after which the collar is slid into place and it too is welded creating the final seal. Once completed (if Tig welded) it will appear as OEM. Furthermore once the welding as described above is completed you will be done except for reinstalling the O2 sensors and misc. soft items under the gal.

Now as for removing the OEM exhaust manifolds;

The right side is NBD

However; removing the left side exhaust manifold requires removing the solo 16mm motor mount nut and then raise the left side of the motor about an inch; it is not rocket science here when up enough the manifold will slid right out. A word of caution; if you have a strut brace remove it in advance, disconnect the battery, and leave the hood open

Now once everything is out the installing of the 8 tubes can be awkward but not terrible. Once all 4 tubes on a given side are in place with the nuts snug but not tight we always slide the collector spring plate into place prior to final tightening so as to verify alignment of the tubes. Then prior to installing the collector we put some anti-seize on the tubes and within the collected and then with a piece of hardwood and a hammer simply tap it into place. Once in place the springs (likely because we have done so many are not a big deal). We have a couple bent tipped punches that fit into the slots and wholla…..

Hopefully this has helped a bit

The greatest thing I would say is “RELAX”, enjoy the process and even if you get to a point that you want to pull your hair out …don’t…..simply walk away for a few minutes and then re-approach the project knowing full well that “MANY” before you have completed it and that once completed she will breath so much better; to the tune of approximately 35 HP which you will feel from day one.

Takes care

Shadowman
Thread is seven years old (do not think that SS design has changed since then, however) and can be found here:

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39-m5-e52-z8-discussion/90344-diy-header-install-guide.html

Also, some interesting posts about SS jet coating (re: fitment and warranty).
 
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