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Header Bolt Guides

Dos and Don'ts of Buying a Header Bolt

Just imagine a day in the life of a header bolt-stuck under the vehicle, exposed to extreme heat, dust, and dirt. Anyone or anything that gets to experience that kind of life is sure to breakdown and die. Yes, header bolts die once they become rusty and old because they can no longer perform their function, hence they must be taken out and be replaced. Looking for replacement header bolts is very easy. Just read the following dos and don'ts and be guided accordingly.

Dos

  • Make it a habit to read your car's manual before buying replacement parts or starting any repair procedure. This is to ensure that any car component you put or add in your vehicle is compatible. Using parts that don't match your vehicle's requirements may damage other components. When that happens, you may lose product warranties.
  • Always buy header bolts that are made from high-grade materials. Stainless steel and carbon alloy steel are the most commonly used metals for bolts because they are hard and sturdy, but carbon alloy is superior when it comes to rigidity and durability. Among carbonized bolts, grade 8 is on top of the bolt-rating chart; it means that it is the hardest.
  • Enhance the binding strength of the header bolts by using the right gaskets and thread-locking sealants. Try to look for header bolt kits that include such components so you can save a few cash. If you're sure about the size of header bolts that fits in your car, better to buy bolt sets. They'll come in handy when you need spares.

Don'ts

  • Don't buy poor quality header bolts for they easily get wobbly. As much as possible, do not buy second-hand header bolts from junkyards. These used parts are there for a reason.
  • Don't grab the first bolts you see. Header bolts in a race car is a bit different from the usual bolts in a standard car. If you own a race car, and you're not quite sure of what bolts to put in it, seek help from a certified mechanic. The installation procedure may be more difficult too, so it's better to let a mechanic do it.
  • Don't forget to verify the warranty details when buying online. Read the catalogue thoroughly to know what you should do in case you the bolts you bought are damaged or if the bolts don't fit in your car.

Header Bolt: How to Replace Old Stubborn Bolts with New Ones

This is the irony of using header bolts: Upon installation, you do everything to keep the bolts tight to make sure that the exhaust manifold or header won't fall. You put sealants, adhesives, and gaskets to make sure that they are stuck firmly in place. Then the time comes when you have to replace the entire exhaust system and you need to remove these bolts. You realize that it's so hard to do because of all the adhesives you put. Good thing, there are some tried and tested ways to remove stubborn header bolts. Here are some of them that you might want to try.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Tools:

  • Penetrating catalyst or lubricant
  • Pencil torch
  • Wire brush
  • Candle
  • Locking pliers
  • Drill
  • Wrench or vise grip
  • Bolt extractor kit

Using a penetrating catalyst:

Step 1: First, remove rust deposits on the bolts. These bolts have been there for a long time and corrosion build up only makes it more difficult to unbolt them. Get your wire brush and scrape it around the crevices of the bolts. Work your way up and down then side by side until you see the original silvery color of the bolts.

Step 2: Get the penetrating oil and apply it to the threads of the bolts. Let it soak for a few hours. The oil must really seep through.

Step 3: When you're ready, get your locking pliers and twist the bolts carefully. Try adjusting the amount of force you give to prevent bolts from breaking in half. Try to remove the bolts.

Step 4: If it still hard to remove the bolts, use the pencil torch. Expose the bolts to fire for up to 30 seconds. Try to loosen the bolts while they are still hot. Use the pliers again.

Using a candle:

Step 1: Heat the studs using a pencil torch then stick the candle to the studs and let the wax melts. The melted wax acts like lubricant; it helps you loosen the bolts easily.

Step 2: Use a vise grip or a wrench to loosen the bolts one by one.

Using a drill bit:

Step 1: Wear safety goggles to keep your eyes safe. Get the drill bit and start drilling the center of the bolt head. Stop once you reach the bolt's middle. Drilling helps in breaking down the bolt, which makes it easier for you to take it out.

Step 2: Put the drill's motion in reverse. This will grab the bolt threads and pull it outward of the slot.

These are some of the ways to take stuck old bolts out of the exhaust header. Once, they're gone, you can now put the new header bolts. You can apply several adhesives to keep the bolts firm and secure. You can use Loctite to keep the bolts from wobbling. You can also try using washers. You put a washer at the bolt's base before tightening it. All these additional components are available in hardware and auto parts store.

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