Thread: Calling All Header Experts!

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  1. #1 Calling All Header Experts! 
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    OK, ready a billion posts on headers. I have a 2002 GP GTP 40th and ready to go down the header path. Who makes the best headers from a fitment and durability perspective. Stainless or Ceramic coated? I have looked at SLP, ZZP, and Speed Daddy. Heard a lot of fitment issues with Speed Daddy. What say you? What else is out there?
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  3. #2 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    SE Level Member dezldave961's Avatar
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    I've had the prototype version of the stainless Speed Daddy headers (SLP clone... previously called SSAC, DPP, etc.) since 2006, and couldn't be happier for spending under $200. Dyno tested with my XP/GenV/L36 block setup with a 25whp gain and ran down to 12.7 @ 111mph in street trim that year.

    Speed Daddy Pro-Tips:
    - Use the Torca-style clamps, and leave the flanges loose while you connect the crossover, starting with the rear header first.
    - Replace the flex pipe with a ZZP one right away, and have a good welder use stainless TIG method to swap it, if you can. I actually moved the v-band clamp up to the collector, and the flex on the downpipe side of the v-band.
    - wipe down before start so grime doesn't make them ugly, and re-wipe when cold occasionally to keep shiny (same for any bare Stainless header)

    ZZP's are beautiful, but you'll pay 2-3x the price to have them, and they're inventory is a bit slower to restock lately. The diameter is a bit bigger, but only a big cam, 11sec/400+whp car is going to notice a tangible benefit (If I was putting my MP112 setup back in a GP/Regal/etc., I might go for them as I chased 11's/10's with it... otherwise I'd get SpeedDaddy's again in a heartbeat.)

    I'd avoid mild steel ones, even coated, if possible. Coating is a nice bonus on stainless, as SLP, TOG, and some others may have offered years ago

    All headers will require some tweaking of the trans dipstick, and all but ZZP's may require giving some firewall/swaybar clearance for the O2 sensor.
    '04 Black Regal GSX - IC'd T66 Z7, IS3T cam, GMR 1" & Torsen... 11.46 run
    '06 Dk Cherry GP GXP - stock-ish DD, K&N intake, mufflers
    '12 F-150 EcoBoost 4WD 4dr Lariat - bone stock tailgating/roadtrip/hauling DD
    '98 Daytona GTP #838 - Rust in Peace... XP, Gen V, L36 - in '06: 12.7 @ 111
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  4. #3 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    Solving problems BrandonHall10's Avatar
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    I had a set of SD's on a GTP in the past. No major complaints. My only knock against them would be the toilet drain looking section in the downpipe. It would occasionally hit things on a stock ride height car. Took some finagling to make them fit and not leak, but it can be done. Lot's of good tips in the previous post. One thing not mentioned is that you will either have to dent the tunnel to make clearance for the O2 sensor or some guys move it to the crossover pipe. Can be had for under $100 now.

    FOR GRAND PRIX/GTP/REGAL/IMPALA 3.8L V6 STAINLESS RACING MANIFOLD HEADER/EXHAUST | eBay

    I just ordered a set of OBX/Pacesetter knockoffs from eBay for $140. I've heard these also have fitment issues but no worse than the SD's. I have a cutoff wheel and TIG welder so I'm not too concerned. I wanted to give these a try just to know and for the better downpipe profile. They look to be mild steel so they'll probably rust. I'm going to wrap them and see what happens. I live in the desert so again, not to concerned about that. They are cheap enough, if they only last a year I'll scrap them and get some SD's.

    Performance Exhaust Header 97-08 Grand Prix GTP Monte Carlo SS/Regal GS 3.8L V6 | eBay
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  5. #4 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    SE Level Member dezldave961's Avatar
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    Good notes. Ya, I buried the firewall note in my last sentence with the dipstick and swaybar note (may need to flip it with most brands), oops.

    Thanks for posting those ads, BTW.

    The SD downpipe was copied directly from the original SLP design, which does scrape as you're about to scrape the other low points on the car. Mine ran ~75k over 10yrs before my GTP chassis rusted out from all the winters back home, so the headers sit ready in a tote for future projects.

    I've only dealt with 1 set of PaceSetters. The design was promising, but non-coated mild steel was a little scary. I know the eBay stainless knock-offs had bad crossover fit issues, dunno about the black mild steel version. Good luck.

    Here's some old pics of those 2 styles, including the mock-up of PaceSetters on a spare engine to weld the downpipe and avoid rear clamp issues.
    (sorry for Photobucket, I need to get my stuff off there before that site gets even worse)

    Torca clamps & ZZP flex (suggested for any type): LINK
    SD custom downpipe "fix" (don't know source): LINK
    SD (mine) w/ new flex after 5 NY/MI/MN winters: LINK
    SD front after warm-up: LINK
    PS mock-up: LINK
    PS welded: LINK
    Calling All Header Experts! Attached Images
    '04 Black Regal GSX - IC'd T66 Z7, IS3T cam, GMR 1" & Torsen... 11.46 run
    '06 Dk Cherry GP GXP - stock-ish DD, K&N intake, mufflers
    '12 F-150 EcoBoost 4WD 4dr Lariat - bone stock tailgating/roadtrip/hauling DD
    '98 Daytona GTP #838 - Rust in Peace... XP, Gen V, L36 - in '06: 12.7 @ 111
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  6. #5 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    Turbo is the way to go. BillBoost37's Avatar
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    I've put on all of the above for many folks. Overall I liked the install on SLP's the best. Straight forward, no mods or changes to be made. Costly though

    Costwise you could do the knock offs, fix a few things and still save quite a few bucks.

    ZZP's interesting to install the first time out, nice fitting overall. I'm not a fan of moving the O2 to only read the front bank of cylinders. I'd rather see it down in the pipe so you do read all 6 instead of only the front 3. However it's so darn easy to replace that O2 in the crossover piece.
    I drink..so consider that when reading my posts.

    2010 Audi A6 Dual IC's
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  7. #6 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
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    @BillBoost37
    I noticed ZZP is running out of stock on lots of items and they never have a good idea on restock. Also, ZPP headers are more expensive than SLP. I was leaning SLP, and I am glad to hear of no issues installing. I think I will go down the SLP path.

    Thanks for the feedback everyone.
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  8. #7 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    Turbo is the way to go. BillBoost37's Avatar
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    I had SLP's on my own personal car and loved them. ZZP is likely starting to move out of the 3800 platform and letting stock dwindle because they don't sell as much. It makes sense, but for those guys looking at hopping into the platform now, it sucks.
    I drink..so consider that when reading my posts.

    2010 Audi A6 Dual IC's
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  9. #8 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    Solving problems BrandonHall10's Avatar
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    The used parts market seems to have gone away also. That's especially depressing when you have a low mile rust free w-body you're looking to build for cheap.
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  10. #9 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    GrandPrix Junkie SgtMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrandonHall10 View Post
    The used parts market seems to have gone away also. That's especially depressing when you have a low mile rust free w-body you're looking to build for cheap.

    have you looked on facebook?

    3800 MARKETPLACE Public Group | Facebook
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  11. #10 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    SE Level Member dezldave961's Avatar
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    Ugh, I've been avoiding FB, but it might be worth dipping a toe for the sole purpose of the marketplace. Currently refreshing and upgrading the Regal, and it's 100x harder to source some items, or resort to paying ZZP/etc. retail. I couldn't imagine (or recommend) someone starting from scratch with one of these cars, both parts and experience are too scarce to comfortably mod in the dark like that. I'll hang onto mine simply because the build is already done, and I'm just tinkering.
    '04 Black Regal GSX - IC'd T66 Z7, IS3T cam, GMR 1" & Torsen... 11.46 run
    '06 Dk Cherry GP GXP - stock-ish DD, K&N intake, mufflers
    '12 F-150 EcoBoost 4WD 4dr Lariat - bone stock tailgating/roadtrip/hauling DD
    '98 Daytona GTP #838 - Rust in Peace... XP, Gen V, L36 - in '06: 12.7 @ 111
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  12. #11 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
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    I have noticed that Milzy Motorsports has a good selection of 3800 stuff too.
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  13. #12 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    GrandPrix Junkie SgtMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlynnZero View Post
    I have noticed that Milzy Motorsports has a good selection of 3800 stuff too.

    lots of reports of dishonesty about milzy
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  14. #13 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    SE Level Member dezldave961's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SgtMarshal View Post
    lots of reports of dishonesty about milzy
    I've only had a few exchanges with him 10+ years ago, but I saw his site yesterday and it seems like he's working hard to offer various GM V6 products. He's at least showing transparency, it seems, with his Schedule page listing what is going on as projects are in his shop.

    My hope is that Milzy is doing a decent job, because I may try getting some of the things he's listing.
    '04 Black Regal GSX - IC'd T66 Z7, IS3T cam, GMR 1" & Torsen... 11.46 run
    '06 Dk Cherry GP GXP - stock-ish DD, K&N intake, mufflers
    '12 F-150 EcoBoost 4WD 4dr Lariat - bone stock tailgating/roadtrip/hauling DD
    '98 Daytona GTP #838 - Rust in Peace... XP, Gen V, L36 - in '06: 12.7 @ 111
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  15. #14 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    GXP Level Member GTPpower's Avatar
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    Don't buy anything from Milzy. Search his name. He has about $40k of lawsuits against him right now for not completing work that he charged for up front.


    As far as headers go, I didn't know slp still made them. Like others said though, that gooseneck in the downpipe sucks. The flex also has a bad reputation for leaking.

    SD's are hit and miss anymore. They used to all fit decent, but quality has really fallen off in the last year or two. On the Dyno, they also show basically no gain in power.

    Zzp's are probably the best available now. Tog also makes a very good set, but I'm not sure if you can still buy those new.
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  16. #15 Re: Calling All Header Experts! 
    SE Level Member dezldave961's Avatar
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    Sad to hear that he's dropping the ball.

    SLP has been out of our market for a while now, like TOG, so anything out there is legacy parts from 10+ years ago.

    I can tell there's slight changes in the SD's from my original SLO clones from 15yrs back, but there's definitely a gain to be had. I was tasked with dynoing the difference between manifolds and the headers.
    LINK to chart
    They better me the same ~25whp as SLP used to claim possible. (XP, 105", Gen3, 3.3") That made sense when the pipe diameters and layout were identical, and SD's are essentially the same, barring minor fit issues due to quality control.

    ZZP has really the only new option outside eBay offerings, but it's up to what someone wants to pay, when they're in stock.
    '04 Black Regal GSX - IC'd T66 Z7, IS3T cam, GMR 1" & Torsen... 11.46 run
    '06 Dk Cherry GP GXP - stock-ish DD, K&N intake, mufflers
    '12 F-150 EcoBoost 4WD 4dr Lariat - bone stock tailgating/roadtrip/hauling DD
    '98 Daytona GTP #838 - Rust in Peace... XP, Gen V, L36 - in '06: 12.7 @ 111
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