Applicable to: '99-'05 1.8 liter
This is a stainless steel exhaust header which utilizes a 4 into 2 into 1 configuration. I suppose it would be classified as a "short tube" primary. It has a female EGR fitting on the #4 primary at the cylinder head mounting flange which attaches directly to the OE EGR pipe. There is a bung for the front 02 sensor, just ahead of the flange at the midpipe. Mine was received with the head gasket, but no midpipe flange gasket. The welds are of good quality, smooth fillets with no spatter or inclusions. The primaries are made from several individual pieces using slip joints instead of butt joints. There are a couple of butt-jointed welds at the secondary pipes to collector pipe.
Fitment was tight on my car, I had to loosen the driver side engine mount and jack the engine slightly to position the header from the top. Once in place, , it bolted in without problems and the fit at the head was perfect, and it mated to the midpipe without problems. However, during the test drive, it was apparent that there was a clearance issue along the transmission tunnel. Close inspection showed an area near the tunnel/firewall where there was insufficient clearance to allow engine movement without the header contacting the chassis. This was correctable by unbolting the header from the engine and midpipe, and using a small sledge hammer and flat nosed chisel to beat a relief area at the weld seam between the trans tunnel and firewall where the header contacted it. This relief was about two inches long and moved the seam in about 1/4 inch. Once the header was reinstalled, there was no further contact between the pipe and chassis. One other issue involved the attachment of the EGR pipe to the header fitting. The alignment was not perfect, but I got past this by loosening the EGR where it attached at the intake manifold, and then attaching the header end to the header before tightening the header to the cylinder head. This allowed manipulation enough to get the fittings started. The misalignment is minimal, and like the clearance issue, may vary from one vehicle to the next.
I have now had this header in place for over a year, and have about 25,000 miles on it. The finish has dulled somewhat, with bluing at the head end of the header, but this is to be expected of stainless steel. I have NO rust issues at all, and have had no exhaust leak issues. Since installing the header, I have also added a centrifugal supercharger (Rotrex). There are no clearance issues between the header and supercharger components. I also have a 2.5" midpipe and high flow cat, and low restriction muffler. The combination of all the exhaust components markedly improved throttle response and "revvability", with noticable improvements in midrange and high rpm, and has also improved the function of the supercharger since its installation by lowering exhaust backpressure and improving scavenging. I paid $125 for this header, direct from Raceland and including shipping, and received it within two weeks of ordering it. I would happily replace this pipe with another one from Raceland; I feel it is an excellent value.
Over 30 minutes to remove completely
Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter
The product looks well made. It's a 4-2-1 design, made of stainless steel with nice-looking welds. It came with the head-to-header gasket, but no downstream gasket. I posted a bit of a write-up and some pictures here: http://sentimentalmechanic.blogspot.com/2009/11/var-gajshost-https-document.html
This was one of the few things I've done that have gone off without a hitch. The old header came off, no problem. The new one likewise went in easily and I had no clearance issues. There's a bit more power in the mid range and up top. It's also quieter, thanks to the fact that the new one isn't cracked like my OEM header was.
It looks like this is a European company trying to break into the US market; their catalog features a lot of products for Renaults and Citroens. I'm pretty impressed with it, especially considering the sub-$100 price. Unless you really need the extra 1.5 horsepower (that's a snarky guess) you might get from the Racing Beat or Jackson Racing header, it's not worth plunking down the $400+ on those name-brand units. The Raceland header fits and works.
Not an installed item
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13 August, 2012