Newbie with cracked eshaust manifold(s)


'87 GN (for sale)
Picked up a totally stock '87 GN last week for cheap...didn't run, put a new coil pack, module, spark plugs and wires and it's running pretty well now. The car has 115K miles, doesn't smoke or have any other engine problems that I've found (yet).
The problem is the driver's side exhaust manifold is cracked between cylinders 3 and 5, which I have read is typical. This seems to be causing the turbo to spool up a little slow, and I would guess that it reduces the total boost as well.
What is the best option for fixing this problem? Should I have the factory header welded (probably short-term solution, may not work at all)
If I buy new headers, which brand/model is best for a mostly stock car? I don't plan to do many mods, maybe a K&N and chip and a little tweaking here and there.
Thanks in advance,
'87 GN
'74 Corvette
'76 454 Suburban
Hey Jeff,

I'm in the same boat with my 55K mile 87GN....cracked driver's side header. If the stock header is repaired it will be more than you will ever want performance wise. There are some good replacements, Poston's makes some really nice headers. They are carbon steel with ceramic coating....mucho bucks though.

I would recommend sending the stock header out for repair. I'm not sure where you are located but there are several vendors who would do a good job. The stock headers are 409 stainless and the repair need to be done carefully if it is to last.

East Coast...try Ron's Custom Auto or Mike McCoy at M&M Motorsports (I think Mike is going to set me up with a repaired stocker)
Central...Conley's Performance Plus in Houston (talked to them yesterday about mine. They won't do a core exchange, but will repair the one you send in)

Jack Cotton could probably set you up too. Red Armstrong always has an opinion.

I'm sure others will pipe in with their recommendations.

Good Luck,
Just about everybody still running stock exhaust manifolds has had them welded. The tricks are to find someone who TIG welds stainless and its a good idea to mount the header to a head when being welded to reduce distortion. Buying a junk head from the junkyard and finding someone who tig welds in the yellow pages and you will be hundreds of dollars ahead than spending money on aftermarket headers (which are no guarantee against cracking).
Would any 3.8 head work? Like one out of the newer FWD GM cars...

The junkyard may actually want money for a head....your best bet might be call a local machine shop. They probably have a pile of old cracked 3800 heads....might get one for nothing.
These are all great ideas...I just happen to have a buddy who specializes in welding aluminum and stainless steel, he owns a company here in Houston, I know he'd fix me up.
Keep the suggestions rolling in!
You have to use a 3.8L head. There's a set on E-bay for $15 (and they are 87 turbo heads)

If you are in houston and your buddy doesn't work out, give conley a call.