Treasure Coast Miata
Jackson Racing Header

Jackson Racing 4:2:1 Header

Jackson Racing 4:2:1 header

[9/5/2011] Reviewed by: Evan Bedford -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Nice looking header

It took me about 5 hours to install. Lots of grief with the old bolts at the catalytic converter. Even with lots of liquid wrench days before, the bolts just snapped. Then I had to drill out the hardened metal in a confined space. But the other bolts weren't too bad to remove. I had to bend the oil dipstick pipe out of the way (quite a bit; not good). When I first drove the car, I didn't notice a big difference. But the smoother power delivery and the bit of extra oomph at the lower rpm's was discernible (I'm hardly ever above 4,000 rpm, so I can't comment on that). Perhaps the biggest difference was the reduced noise when decelerating down past 3,800 to 3,600 rpm. I've got a small dynomax muffler, which had an annoying audible issue in that area. Now it's gone, I assume due to the smoothing out of the power delivery. I also like the sound of the unit with the top down.

Aside from the issue with the dipstick, I'm quite disappointed that there is no bracket on the pipe to attach to the bell housing (like on the stock unit). As someone else has noted above, this creates a lot of stress on the rest of the pipe up near the block. So, I wound a few loops of galvanized wire around the pipe and a bolt on the tranny, and then I twisted the wires together like a farmer twists the bracing wires on a barbed wire fence (not too tightly, though, since I didn't want to create a torque moment in the opposite direction; just enough to hold things steady over the bumps in the road). Hopefully JR will come up with a retro-fit to deal with this issue. I'd buy one right away.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[1/22/2005] Reviewed by: Jorge Barrera -

Applicable to: '99 + 1.8 liter

Jackson Racing 4:2:1 Header bought through MOSS Motors Catalog.

Good fit, prompt delivery, and clear instructions. Combined with a MonsterFlow air intake, there's a significant improvement in performance and sound.

The installation instructions were clear and detailed. I could've used a few pictures, but I acquired other references/sources as information supplements. Recommend a thorough study of the instructions - and other references - prior to commencing the installation. The soaking of all required nuts/bolts with penetrating oil/WD-40 is absolutely essential. I did it twice a day for a couple of days prior to installation and they all un-bolted fairly easily. All except (2) of the (3) 14mm bolts that attach the exhaust manifold to the downpipe. However, this was a result of the geometry of the compartment and lack of space to turn wrenches. It took me hours of effort and multiple tries with different combinations of wrenches, ratchets, extensions, and sockets to remove those (2) bolts. A deep well 14mm socket is key. Thus, I recommend that loosening these bolts be the step #2 vice step #10 on the instructions. Once, these bolts are removed the rest is straigh! t-forward. By the way, do not attempt to remove the manifold (up the engine compartment) without separating the downpipe; it looks doable, but it's not - it simply won't work. Those bolts have to be removed! The (2) 17mm that attach a bracket to the transmission bellhousing are also difficult, but there's a lot more room that enables use of a large wrench/ratchet. I'm completely satisfied with the overall results: improved performance and response - plus additional space in the engine compartment! I definitely recommend this header.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[3/25/2004] Reviewed by: michael adcock -

Applicable to: 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Ceramic coated header system. Carb legal.

They cracked all the way through all of the pipes, right where they go from 4 into 1. I would not buy these headers, for they tend to fall break. I have had them for some time, had them welded once, but I think I may go back to stock header for reliability. I am not happy with the way they are constructed, and believe that there are other header systems out there that are a better bang for the buck. Good luck, and stay away from these, for $449 is a lot to pay for something that is going to break, don't ya think??????

Don't buy this peice of crap, they suck hard, and will leave your wallet a little lighter, and you will eat up your time, by either trying to fix them, or by replacing them.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[2/12/2003] Reviewed by: fsarris -

Applicable to: '99 + 1.8 liter

Ceramic Coated 4:2:1 Exhaust Header

I would say this is the best performance mod I have made to my 1999 Miata. The throttle response is so much better and the car seems to run much smoother. I am currently running a Monsterflow Intake, Jackson Racing Header and Enthuza M2 Speeder Exhaust system. I think this setup is a terrific way to get the most out of a noramlly aspirated Miata.

The factory exhaust manifold (cast iron manifold) on the 1999 and 2000 cars is very restrictive and heavy. The install went well with the exception of the collector gasket. The gasket that came with the kit was not thick enough to seal of the system. I had to use two o-ring gaskets, which worked perfect. I contact Jackson Racing's Tech Line and they were very helpful and expedited another gasket to me to resolve the problem. I highly suggest installing a header, where as it will increase your horsepower.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Jackson Exhaust Header (1.8)

Jackson Racing Header

[7/26/2004] Reviewed by: Andre Surles -

Applicable to: '90 - '97

Jackson Racing Header

I purchased this header used for 250.00, this is about what I think the header is worth considering the factory header is such a nice piece to begin with. Header looks great, and really adds a nice touch to the engine bay. The installation literally took about 5mins; Ramps air tools and a little penetrating spray. Car runs smoother, with slight change in exhaust note for the better. Above 4k car pulls harder to redline, not a ton better, but better. Exhaust note at full throttle sounds meaner, no more cat wine under the hood, replaced by rapid 'thrumping' of exhaust pulses hitting the header walls. With RB elbow intake & flywheel, and Borla exhaust car now pulls harder, smoother and sounds better. Don't expect a ton of power, just expect a smoother engine.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

[5/24/2003] Reviewed by: Mike Mooney -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.8 liter

I used my Jackson header for 4 years (40K miles) until the ERG tube broke off, leaving a hole in the header the size of a quarter and generating loads of noise and resultng in a loss of power and causing a premature end to the track day in which I was participating. I have replaced it with a Racing Beat stainless steel 4 into 1 header. The only real difference between the two is noise. The RB is MUCH quieter than the Jackson was. Any power differences appear to be negligible. Of course, the RB is prettier as it is stainless steel and is taking on a nice patina with the heat. I'm hoping it lasts much longer than the Jackson did. I never weighed the Jackson but the RB is 17 lbs, just like the stock header/down pipe.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[11/5/2001] Reviewed by: Bernie Johnson -

Applicable to: '99 +

Ceramic Coated 4-2-1 exhaust header

Quality construction. The 2 bolts for the original header mount (these are the two large bolts that go into the transmission to engine flange) were VERY difficult to break loose. The only problem that I had with the kit was the egr pipe. I had to make some adjustments in the bends of the pipe so that it would mate properly on both ends. This wasn't a major issue though. The vehicle runs smoother and there is a noticeable increase in power. I changed the header & exhaust at he same time, so I don't know how much the header contributed to this result.

There is a bolt that goes through the center of the original header. This bolt can be easily missed when removing the header. If you think that you have removed all of the mounting bolts and the header seems stuck in place, make sure that you removed all of the bolts! It should shake loose easily from the engine.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[1/24/2001] Reviewed by: John Wanamaker -

Applicable to: '99 + 1.8 liter

Very nice 4 into 1 header.

Installing the new header took all of 15 minutes once we got the stock exhaust manifold and pipe out. Even with only 7,000 miles on the car the bolts by the transmission were particularly difficult. Very little room to work and very award angles to turn the wrench. We ended up cutting off one of the nuts to remove the pipe.

Great improvement. The engine is much smoother as is the entire power band. One of the better changes I have done to improve the performance of the car

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[2/22/2000] Reviewed by Jac Cottrell -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Price $450 from Moss Motors

Installation Time 2 - 3 Hours

Installation tools Basic handtools, Metric sockets/wrenches, Impact wrench, sockets & extentions.


The tubular creramic coated headers from Jackson Racing really help the motor breath, especially in the high RPMs. I wouldn't do this until you have already modified the intake & exhaust.


Order your JR Headers.

Hang up the phone.

Spray all of your exhaust connections/nuts/bolts with WD-40.

Repeat step 3 until header arrives.

This is another area of the car where there is not a lot of room to work in. More than likely, the nuts & bolts are rusty & corroded...basicly a real pain to get off. It's probably best that you wrestle the heat sheild off a few days before you do the header install so you can really soak all the nuts.

Be careful removing the Oxygen sensor. They are a bit fragile and expensive, and there is a potential to break the sensor. IIRC, we removed the sensor while the stock header was still in the car, but i could be wrong on that one. Once the sensor is taken care of, it is a basic remove & replace. It's just going to be a bit difficult to get to all the bolts on the intermediate pipe to get the stock header out. The new piece bolts in easily.

 Tips & Tricks

Soak, Soak, Soak. Becareful with the cat bolts. If you strip or shear one, you will have to drill it out...this is not a fun task.


This is a nice piece that comes with a ceramic coating. This coating slows down how long it takes for the header to rust out. I have had the header installed for over six months and I am starting to get a little discoloration around the exhaust ports. No rust, just not as shiny as when I first got the header. However, if you are strongly considering going with Forced Induction anytime soon, save your money. This is $300-$450 dollars closer to FI that you could have been.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Eric Rowland - Eric_Rowland@BayNetworks.COM 

Just finished installing a JR header on Lightning and thought I'd drop a few tips/warnings, since I haven't seen them before.  The header is beautiful and slid right in to my '91 without having to loosen the motor mounts as the instructions warned might be needed. When removing the pinch bolt on the manifold (where it attaches to the bell housing) beware that the nut is welded on, though you can't really see it - therefore unscrewing the bolt is the wise choice. It is most easily accessed from below through the wheel well. The O2 sensor is very accessible on the stock manifold - not so on the header. I'd recommend installing the O2 sensor BEFORE bolting the header in. Mine interfered with my oil dipstick and could only be tightened by crawling under the car and getting the 22mm wrench up into a crevasse, after choice words and unbolting the dipstick supporting bolt. Finally, if you have a Sebring, as I - the PS pivot bolt will NOT come out with the header bolted on - so have the support bracket on the bolt before installing the header. Or you have to unbolt the header - ugh. Also, the second nut from the front on the bottom of the manifold flange is blocked by the front tube. No chance torquing it - had to use a combo wrench - one flat at a time... Things lined up pretty well, though the Walker gasket for the cat didn't fit very well - too wide at the bolt holes. Might be wise to compare to the original and cut to fit if necessary.  Note that the the top bolt at the cat cannot be accessed with a socket, as the header tube is in the way, and must be tighted with a combo wrench. Finally, the manifold flange has two extra bolt holes than stock. There are taps in the head for two more studs, but the stock manifold just covers them up. It is not necessary to get additional studs for these, though it might make you feel better. The whole job took about three hours, and I work very slowly.

Reviewed by: Michael T. Koone -

A very well constructed 4-2-1 exhaust header. The ceramic coating gives the header a brushed aluminum look and does not change in color even after a couple of months driving. When you pop the hood the headers really jump out at you. I have the Racing Beat CAI installed so the headers are exposed more than in a stock application.

The header was installed in about an hour and a half. I had the cars front wheels up on ramps which was sufficient to manuever around under the vehicle while removing the stock header and installing the Jackson header. Fortunately, I had installed aftermarket headers on my wife's Miata last year so I knew what to expect. The evening before the install I sprayed a commercial brand of lubricant on all the nuts and bolts which needed to be broken loose. This did the trick. Even after 60,000 miles the hardware spun off with very little effort. The header slipped into place without any abnormal gyrations or lifting of the engine. After a couple of weeks with the headers in place and hooked up to an aftermarket freeflowing catback exhaust system I am totally satisfied with this product. The acceleration and exhaust flow above 4500 rpm is smooth and rapid.

Reviewed by: Robert Perry -

Jackson Racing Headers, High Flow Cat, all Cat back.

Installed the whole system about 2 month ago.

I'd already installed a cold air box and did the timing advance to 14 degrees...still wanted that little bit of advantage you get without going the whole supercharger route. The Headers, Cat, and cat back were easy to install taking two mechanics with the proper tools only about and hour to remove the old maifold and install the new headers. Everything fit as advertised. Perfomance gains were noticeable with the engine breathing much better at the 4000-7000 rpm range...accelleration was better, and now it sings like Pavaroti in 4th gear and 110 mph...WOW!

Reviewed by: Harry Sue -

A ceramic coated aftermarket exhaust header made of some sort of magnetic steel. Provides improved exhaust flow. Price is around $445. Yow!

Instructions were very good. The installation had no showstoppers. I let the penetrating oil soak into the bolts all night and found most of the bolts easy to loosen the next day. The exceptions were the two bolts on the transmission housing that hold the OEM header clamp. I had to "stand" on the wrench with my foot to break those suckers loose. I was also lucky that the factory left the EGR fitting loose. It was only finger tight, and there is no room to swing a normal size 22 mm wrench under the OEM header to reach that fitting. Other than that, the OEM header was easy to fish out of the car after all the fittings were removed. The new header slipped right in. Everything, including the EGR plumbing lined up very nicely. Even though all went well, I wouldn't want to do another one. You do need to put the car up securely on jackstands to reach the transmission bolts. It's a bit or work. Whew.

Overall, I was very pleased with the fit and the finish on this product.

By the way, I bought it from Dealer Alternative, and I see that their website says these will not fit with a stock airbox. I don't have a stock air box. Most people who install headers have gone away from the stock air cleaner anyway.

In theory, the lower back pressure with the header will give less low end torque. However, the normally aspirated miatas spend their lives spinning above 4K anyway. I already had a catback and a CAI which allow easy RPM spinup. The header makes it even better. There's more high end power. When I eventually get my engine supercharged, the header will certainly help.

I can't argue though with people who are concerned with the price/HP ratio. Headers only add incremental gains to non-boosted miatas. JR hardware has always been expensive too, even by miata aftermarket pricing standards where everything seems to be priced about 2x what it would cost if it were produced for a Chevy or Ford. Nonetheless, I could have bought a lower cost unit from another vendor, but I'm happy with JR. It is a lot of work to pull off the OEM header. You want to be sure the new one will go in, and the JR unit for the 1.8 engine had a reputation for a good fit.

Jackson Racing 1.6 Ceramic header

[11/26/2003] Reviewed by: Keith Gray -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Jackson Racing header and low-restriction catalytic convertor.

The ceramic element in the cat failed after about 2 years. JR replaced it at no charge. About 2 years after that the header cracked just below where the four pipes converge. By then it was out of warranty so I had it welded. I think this would not have happened if the header had included some sort of brace between the header and the engine to minimize vibration.

I am very happy with the performance gained, but disappointed with the quality.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[4/24/2002] Reviewed by: Dennis Palmer -

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Jackson Racing Tuned Header

Good overall power gains, great looks.

I purchased the JR header and a Borla cat back exhaust at the same time. I had the Borla cat back installed first, and this gave a bit more power, with a slight growl, but barely noticable over stock. With the addition of the header a week later, barely noticeable increase in noise at normal driving speeds, but great power increase from about 3K up. Raced SOLO II for the first time with it, am definitely getting more power.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[10/22/2000] Reviewed by JIM ESCAJA - ESCAJA@MSN.COM

Applicable to '90 - '97

Jackson Racing Ceramic Header for 1.6 liter Miata

Very difficult installation...

Considering headers for the M1 Miata, my advice purchase the best quality header possible. As an experienced motorhead, the header R&R is a %#*&ER %#&*ing gut grinding job. USE "Liquid Wrench" squirt it on heat shield bolts, use 10mm 6 pt. socket to remove bolts. Drench header, oxygen scensor, cat bolts and bolt connected to transmission. Use 14mm 6 point deep well socket for header bolt R&R. Remove, set aside and do not break oxygen scenser. Next, the son of a #%@& bolt attaching header to transmission, this bugger is VERY difficult to remove and located in a spot with little room. You'll have to wrestle the old header out and spend a about a half hour trying to stuff that big header into the little Miata. Headers are made for Miata's, the car idles better, runs stronger, pulls at 4,000 and performs at 7,000 r.p.m. It compliments the JR C.A.I., 14 BTDC timing and Borla Catback. Exhaust is quieter and runs effortlessly. A very frustrating installation but the results are rewarding.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Jackson Racing Racing Headers and exhaust/catalytic converter

[10/2/2000] Reviewed by Bradley Ackerson -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Jackson Racing Headers (not stainless)and

Complete Exhaust system (pipe, catalytic converter, muffler)

Excellent workmanship perfect fit. Car was definitely a lot zippier with the installation of just the JR "high flow" catlytic converter and a new O2 sensor(OEM failed California inspection at 150k miles), so I installed the whole JR system.

While the car is zippier with the JR system, the change was quite noticable with only the "high-flow" catalytic converter installed. I suspect the headers add a little extra, also, but the muffler was a bit louder and raspier than I was ready for. While I prefer the original sound, I would make the change again since the enhanced perromance is impressive. Of note, JR's headers were the only ones which were smog legal in California when I purchased it, but Racing Beat told me they were in the process of qualifying their headers also. This is important in California unless you want to take the header out, re-install the OEM header, then reinstall the aftermarket header every two years for the smog inspection.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

Jackson Headers, Free Flow Catalytic Converter, S/S Exhaust System Cat-Back

[12/30/99] Reviewed by Keith Mock -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter

High performance exhaust system including headers, free flow catalytic converter and stainless steel cat-back exhaust system with tip.

This had to be the easiest installing product ever produced. It took nearly 3 hours to get the old system out (due to going to hardware to get Saw blades) as the old system had to be cut out. The new system truly bolts up and only took a few minutes. The system not only looks great but the sound and the additional horsepower are immediately obvious.

Great looking exhaust system, easy to install and worth every cent!

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Keith Gray -

Header and catalytic convertor for 1.6 Liter Miata

Great....first headers I have ever bought, and I love'em. Easy installation. Super quality. Great mid-range boost. Clearly more torque above 300 rpm. A few pointers:

1. Do soak the bolts with WD-40 or equivalent the night before. They'll come right off.

2. If your car's got more than about 75K miles on it, replace the oxygen sensor.

3. Install the oxygen sensor BEFROE you put the header into the car. It's just so much easier.

4. If you put in a new oxygen sensor like i did, and it's the Bosch unit, you'll have to relocate the dipstick ever so slightly. I just unbolted the bracket that's on the front of the sheet metal plane between the bellhousing and block, and slipped it on the back side. Perfect.

5. Use a torque wrench! Just because the otherwise pretty decent instructions DON'T have the torque values for the header-to-block nuts, get them and use them. Torque the cat on also.

Great system. Buy one.

Reviewed by: Scott Pressley -

This is the first shipment of the new Ceramic header from Jackson Racing. The header looks like something you would see on a professional race car. It has a brushed chorme look to it and it has not turned colors like the one they used to sell. The quality of the header is first rate compared to others I have seen. The tubes are huge, much larger than stock.

The installation was much more involved than I thought, I did the install solo. The directions are good and well thoughtout, I only wish they had put some graphical descriptions in them, it would help when your tried and wishing you had ask someone to help you. The install went pretty much like they said, with the major task being to jack the motor up. The only step they left out was the removal of a bracket that held the old header in place to the bellhousing. The header would not go through the place between the bellhousing and the fire wall. Once the bracket was gone every thing was fine and fit was great.

I have had the header on my car for two weeks and can tell a big difference in excelleration. I also have the CAI on my car and the two really compliment each other in a big way. I would reccomend the purchase to anyone who does not have the money for a sc or turbo. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about the installation or purchase. I purchased the header from a great new vendor in Fla called Rogue Speed; some great people to do business with and to get to know. Give them a call and ask for Joseph.

Reviewed by: Dave Okamoto -

This product is beautiful, fully heavy gauge stainless steel with a ceramic coating which retains more heat inside the tubing reducing the heat radiation into the engine bay. The design is 4 into 2 into 1 tube and the tubes are gracefully and smoothly mandrel bent.

I had the headers installed by Jackson Racing as I was having other work done. Also, since the engine ocassionally has to be lifted clear of the motor mounts (and I don't have a floor jack), I didn't want to deal with it. As it turns out, the installation went without a hitch, the removal of the stock exhaust manifold being done from within the engine bay. The install of the headers is also done from the top, the only work under the car is the connection of the tubing to the cat converter.

I also have the JR cat-back exhaust system installed. The addition of the headers "smooths out" the exhaust note. Describing the difference in exhaust note(before and after headers) is difficult at best, but the headers seems to take the "edge" off the exhaust note. There is also the unmistakable sound of exhaust through headers which I happen to like...sounds sort of like the exhaust pulses hitting the tubing, some describe it as "tinny" although I don't. The breathing is considerably improved and running the engine up the rpm scale is effortless. The car seems to "pull" better and seems to be more responsive to throttle imput above 3,000 rpm. This is a very subjective "seat of the pants" feeling, however. Just as I recommended the JR cat-back exhaust system in a previous posting, I also recommend their headers, especially if one is considering modifying/improving the induction system. In my case, I plan to install the Sebring Supercharger and wanted to improve the exhaust flow first in preparation. an afterthought, the ceramic coating is beautiful, sort of a platinum/pewter colored finish. There is no indication of any heat discoloration after several hundred miles.

Reviewed by: Jim Thill -

There are three negative items that have made this product somewhat unattractive to the buyer. Let me try to clear them up.

1. Difficulty in removing manifold studs/nuts. My Miata is a 1.6L 1991 with 60,000 miles. When I first tried to remove the manifold nuts the STUDS turned out with relative ease. Since I wanted the nuts off and not the studs out I soaked the studs with penetrating oil overnight. (You may want to do this for several nights) In the morning the NUTS turned off with no problem.

2. Lifting the motor off the mounts to install the header. With the redesigned header that is now being sold it is not necessary to jack up the motor or mess with motor mounts. The header is installed from the engine compartment and you'll only need to go under the car the attach the header to the cat. It is however necessary to remove the airbox (or whatever intake system you have) and remove the bracket that held the old manifold to the bell housing. (Two bolts which came out fairly easy. The clamp which attaches to this bracket had the nut welded in place and therefore the bolt had to be turned out. You won't have much success backing off the nut. I can't guarantee any of this on a 1.8L since I have no experience.

3. Cost. Yes it is more expensive, but the ceramic coating is expensive and does keep heat out of the engine compartment. Remember that Jackson will discount to MCA members. My opinion is that it IS worth the extra expense.

Back to Product Reviews 2 October, 2011

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