Driver Side Header


I have a cracked header for sure on the driver side and have been contemplating removing it myself. How challenging of a job is this for a newb? Is there a write up on this somewhere?

Not hard at all...

Simply lay under the drivers side of the car and remove the bolts that attach the crossover to the DR header.

Then go to the header and remove the header bolts and weasle it out of there.

You can have a local shop weld it up for you or you can send it to us and we will weld it up for you and it will be the last time it will need welding! We have welded up a Bunch over the years for members..

Scot W.

I have a cracked header for sure on the driver side and have been contemplating removing it myself. How challenging of a job is this for a newb? Is there a write up on this somewhere?


I wouldn't take the header off to fix it.You might break a couple of bolts in the head and have a whole new problem.If you do want to take the header off you have the heat the bolts up till there red and turn them out.Works for me all the time.If its cracked where it usually cracks on cylinder # 5 port,just sand it till its bare and weld it.When i had my old 86 Gn it had a crack.I welded it in the car and it took 5 minutes.I mig welded it.You could try JB weld and see if it works.
Certainly, you could cause yourself problems if the bolts are rusted in and break one off, but I see you're in Arizona. Just make sure you wet all the bolts down liberally with some sort of lubricant for a few hours before you start the job. You may have the most problems with the crossover pipe bolts. If they are fused by rust, it might be better to get with someone with torches if the need arises. :D
just took my d/s header off yesterday. jack the car up and take the front tire off. you can see all the bolts thru the fenderwell. makes it a breeze to get to. Don't try to weld that **** on the car. take it off and have it doen right.
mine was cracked all the way around to the engine side of the header anyway. also still had the heatshield on it so it would be impossible to get a good weld on the car.
Don, like everyone said it is not that hard. Just hit those bolts good with PB Blaster for a couple days before attempting to do it. Your car has some good rust on it and you want to be careful. Personally, I would take my chances and take it out to have it welded. That way you know the crack has been completely sealed.
So looking at the worse case scenario, I snap off a rusted bolt and it is stuck in the head. At that point, I would have to take it to a shop and have them pull off the head and drill out the bolt(s)? We are looking at about $1000ish to have that done?

I called a shop earlier, they will take it out and weld it for about $250 but the same thing could happen but would they be responsible for breaking the bolt and own up to it or would they say your screwed and charge me the extra money to fix it?

I think I might spray them down with PBblaster and let them sit for a few days like suggested and try the crossover bolts first, if they are really stubborn then I may take it to the shop.
How bad does the cracked header hurt performance?

I believe it will cause some spooling issues for one but another side effect is high BLMs from what I have been told. When I called that shop today, the guy said the crack will cause my BLMs to go up. I was pegged at 150 until I replaced my FPR vac line, now it reads 142. I have replaced all other vac lines that I can tell with the exception of the HVAC line, not sure if that would cause an issue or not. So I initially called to get a price on a smoke test but we got into the cracked header issue.
I just did my 87GN with 92,000 miles and I did sprayed all bolts with PB Blaster for about a week, remove the driver side tire for easy access of header bolts. I also use a 6 pt socket and a breaker bar and all bolts came off easy; don't use a 12 pt socket or you will strip or round the header's bolt. Don't forget to use never-seize before installing the bolts back onto the heads.
My DS header was cracked BAD and my BLM's were not bad...around 132. You may still have a vaccum leak. Hose down those bolts and you'll be fine.
Soaked the bolts with PB blaster, the first 2 bolts broke loose easily, the #5 bolt I cannot get a socket with ratchet on there, I need a deep socket to reach the bolt but the steering column is in the way. :confused: I was able to break the one bolt loose on the crosspipe, the other bolt I couldn't tell if it was spinning or stripping the head.

Do these bolt sizes sound correct?

#1 bolt = 13mm (broke loose)
#3 bolt = 13mm (broke loose)
#5 bolt = 14mm ?? (can't get socket w/ratchet assembly on the bolt)

crosspipe bolt 1 = 17mm?? (not sure if this is the right size)
crosspipe bolt 2 = 13mm (broke loose)

Also, do I need to completely remove the crosspipe or just remove the bolts on the driver side? Once I do get the header unbolted, do you remove it from the top of the engine or the bottom (looks like a tight fit either way)?

Thanks for the advice,
uugghhhhh, looks like I will have to remove the driver front wheel to access the bottom 3 bolts on the header. Just when I thought I was gettin' somewhere... :frown:
The header will come out either way, top or bottom.... I took mine out the top... it was easy.... just took a few creative curse words and a couple tries to get it oriented correctly...
Just corious, if the heat shield has to be removed for the welding how is it reattatched afterwords, or is it reattatched at all? Seems to be the Buick engineers wouldn't have put it there if it wasn't needed.