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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a week ago, I started the install on JBA shorty headers and an Autometer wide-band AFR guage. Finally finished it up tonight, and went for a test ride...

JBA Headers: Pain in the ass install. Refer to my previous thread, "Harder Install: Headers or Gears" to read about the headaches the headers have caused me. It was like a nightmare that you can't wake up from. Installing headers on an SN95 Mustang is on my list of Things I'll Never Do Again. Having said that, after you've done 'em once, the next time will be a lot easier after you figure out a few tricks. For the most part, it was a pain in the butt.
Why JBAs? I researched many brands of headers, and couldn't find any single brand that someone didn't complain about. They're headers, they're all gonna suck to install...but there was always someone who had problems, such as fitment issues, rusting, breakage, customer service, etc...with every brand I looked at. For me it came down to price. The JBA's weren't the cheapest, nor were they stupid expensive. Though I read about problems with JBA headers, I did not find any complaints about customer service with JBA. The stupid thing is, the headers were fairly easy compared to the other things you have to do to install them...

Removing the starter sucks ass, I don't care who you are. Some members claim it's easy as anything. Bullsh*t. It sucks, Period. I hate it. It's annoying as hell.

I did not use the supplied bolts for the headers. I reused my OEM manifold studs and nuts because they're still in good shape, and anti-seized all of them. IMO, and from my research, bolts do not do as good a job of securing the headers as studs do.

Removing the oil dipstick without destroying it. Good luck. Buy a Lokar flexible aftermarket one before you try this. The Lokar looks cooler. It's braided steel. Install is easy. Apply motor oil to the O-ring before you try to force it into the block, and it'll pop right in. The problem is that it doesn't mount in the same place as the stock unit. Remove the mount from the Lokar, and throw it in the garbage. Use the bracket that held your AC line in place (the AC line must be re-routed so the headers don't cook it) and bolt it to the block where the original dipstick mount was, to route the Lokar oil dipstick. Easy fix.

The next most difficult thing after that is jacking up the motor. Which isn't that hard at all. 21mm wrench to undo the motor mount, a floor jack, and a block of wood. Even a 1/4" up can make a huge difference on how much your life sucks doing this install.

I used Hi-Temp silicone sealant on my gaskets. Some people think this is heresy. Others think it's the cat's ass. I say if it doesn't leak, then who gives a sh*t. My headers didn't leak on the first fire-up and test run. They initially smoked alot, and smelled funny, but they aren't shooting exhaust all over the place.

I'm S/C'ed, so it's possible I could see more gains than N/A. I noticed some power increase on the bottom end. The exhaust note sounds the same as it did before. I have stock midpipe and no mufflers.

I parked the car in the garage, and I'll retorque the header studs when I have time.

AFR guage: I used an Autometer Phantom AFR gauge, because my boost guage is an Autometer Phantom guage.

The install is easy, and even easier if you have your own welder. The driver's side of the midpipe has plenty of room above the stock O2 sensor location to weld in a bung for your AFR guage. I advise mounting it offset from the O2 bung so you can easily get a wrench on it.

I used a step-up drill bit, because the hole you'll need to make is considerably large. Welding the bung in is...well...welding. Weld it. Or have someone else weld it if you don't have a welder.
Wiring the AFR guage was kinda ******. Only because the plug for the actual guage is pretty big. It won't fit through any of the holes in your firewall that already exist. You'll have to drill another hole in the firewall with a step-up bit. I mounted mine in a guage pod on the A-pillar.

(sigh) The AFR guage is cool. The digital readout is pretty sweet, but the other readout that goes around the top half of the guage shows amber LEDs for rich, green LEDs for the happy place, and red LEDs for lean. It's like having a fuckin disco ball in your car. The guage has an auto-dim feature that I haven't played with yet. I hope this can eliminate some of the obnoxiousness from it. My girlfriend, who sometimes astounds me with her car-knowledge, told me to wire it to the dimmer switch for my stock guage cluster. I don't think this will work though, because this guage needs constant power. It wont' work if it's only on when the guage lights are powered on. It needs a constant power source.

Cool. Well...I've had a few beers and should probably stop typing. Hope someone finds this informative, useful, or interesting.

Keep in mind this is only my initial impression on these mods. The headers could still set my car on fire or sh*t the bed. More info will follow...:bigthumbsup
 

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About the note your girlfriend made with the dimmer; if the AFR gauge has two separate power sources ( one for the lighting and one to power the gauge ( that being your constant 12v source)) then you should be able to rig it up to dim. My electrical fuel pressure gauge is set up like that and it works flawlessly and dims with my dash accordingly. My boost pressure gauge on the other hand is mechanica so the only power source to it is the lighting.

And what do you think all the smoke came from? The silicone sealant? Was it coming out of the tailpipes or around the engine bay. l
 

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my comment is "why shorties?" For all that pain in the ass work they provide almost no performance gains...almost all agree it's long tubes or stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
About the note your girlfriend made with the dimmer; if the AFR gauge has two separate power sources ( one for the lighting and one to power the gauge ( that being your constant 12v source)) then you should be able to rig it up to dim. My electrical fuel pressure gauge is set up like that and it works flawlessly and dims with my dash accordingly. My boost pressure gauge on the other hand is mechanica so the only power source to it is the lighting.

And what do you think all the smoke came from? The silicone sealant? Was it coming out of the tailpipes or around the engine bay. l
There wasn't smoke rolling off the engine or anything, but it did smoke a bit. Perhaps some of it was the sealant. I've had new pipes smoke a bit on some of my quads and bikes too. The finish on the new pipes heating up probably. The guage has one power wire.

my comment is "why shorties?" For all that pain in the ass work they provide almost no performance gains...almost all agree it's long tubes or stock.
Because I'm sticking with the stock midpipe. I'm a stubborn ass, and I refuse to swap the midpipe.
 

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yeah now that i think of it LEDs don't really dim too consistently/well compared to incandescent bulbs. and for them to be working they have to be lit, whereas with my gauges they dont have to be lit to still read them. (the needle still works with the lights off)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yeah now that i think of it LEDs don't really dim too consistently/well compared to incandescent bulbs. and for them to be working they have to be lit, whereas with my gauges they dont have to be lit to still read them. (the needle still works with the lights off)
My boost guage IS rigged up to my dimmer switch. That's the only way to go with backlit guages as far as I'm concerned. That way they only light up when you turn the lights on instead of annoy you all day long. The LEDs need to be powered all the time in this guage. It's not annoying at all during the day. At night it's a bit much, but I still haven't tried the dimmer feature. I rarely drive the 'Stang at night. It's got smoked headlights and they only sit a foot and a half off the ground. They don't light up the road worth a sh*t. My truck on the other hand, has a ProComp light bar on the front with 3 big ass driving lights. I see a deer a mile and a half away, and give it a sunburn. :bigthumbsup But the lightbar would look funny on my Mustang. I could go with a Mad Max theme on the Stang I guess. Light bar, and big spikes coming off the wheel hubs, so I can sideswipe ricers and people talkin on cell phones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Awsome write up man. When you jacked up the Eng, did you disconnect the tranny mount as well?
I did not. I only had to jack the motor up for the passenger side header install, and I only jacked it up just enough to get the manifold out. The driver side manifold came out easily, and the headers are easier to fit in than it is to take out the manifolds. Thank God.
 
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