Honda D Series Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here's the OEM manifold for comparison:





Installation:

Since my midpipe was rattling worse than an old Chevy Corsica on a hot summer’s day, I decided to not only replace it, but continue all the way up to the motor (good thing I did, the converter’s front bolts had little to hang on to—a formerly 12mm nut was thin enough to see threads through the sides!). I bought a Pace Setter 4-2-1 header because the price was right - $150 - and it came with installation stuff, warranty, etc. Here it is compared to the old exhaust manifold:





There were some notable difficulties during installation.

-peculiar location of the oxygen sensor—they put it way down after the first flange, so the stock o2 sensor wires are about 6” too short for the ’96 y8. . They say it should fit thru ’00, but the sensors on those are way the heck back by the catalytic converter, so you guys with OBD2-II may have fun wiring it up.

-the old o2 sensor refused to come out, and since the wires were too short anyways, a universal one was spliced in.

-universal o2 sensors have different color wires (why???). This list below is how I hooked it up. The matching color wires (black on OEM, white on universal) is a heater, so I don’t think it matters if current is reversed. Green/grey is ground, and white/black is computer signal, according to the instruction sheet. Don’t ask why ground isn’t black, I didn’t design the darn things.

OEM..... UNIVERSAL

Black..... White

Black..... White

Green..... Grey

White..... Black

-two of the lower cylinder head nuts cannot be properly torqued down because the piping gets in the way of the torque wrench and socket. Only thing to do is use best judgement on a standard wrench.

-the kit came with the wrong size nuts for the middle flange after the primary collectors. Ace the helpful place fixed that for cheap.


Strip the paint off first, folks. This shipping crap STINKS. Literally.





Overall, this header exceeded my initial expectations.



Noise:

At idle and when cruising, it is dramatically reduced, if the stock cat and midpipe are retained. First time out of the garage, it was idling and the only audible sound from the rear of the car was the alternator belt, even with the Flowmaster American Thunder installed. Cruising noise is comparable or, perhaps, even less than the whole OEM exhaust system that came on it. This was likely due to the sound being absorbed by the old manifold and transmitted into the cabin. One can definitely tell it is being diverted to the rear of the vehicle much more so than before.

Under acceleration, noise is dramatically increased over the OEM manifold. In the cabin, it is slightly quieter than before, but behind the car, the noise level is greatly increased. The exhaust sounds much throatier (my opinion: at 2000 rpm, it sounds as loud as 5000 rpm used to, with the Flowmaster in both cases).


Engine Performance:

Ah, finally to the stuff that matters. At low speeds, the motor sometimes stumbles a bit (probably due to the leak) but this becomes smooth by 2000 rpm. The usable torque that formerly began around 1800 rpm is shifted to around 2500 rpm. From this speed to the 7200 rpm redline, the engine pulls hard, period. The old manifold caused it to stumble between 3500 and 4500 rpm, as well as above 6000 rpm. None of this is apparent anymore; it pulls as hard at 7000 as it does at 5500. Needless to say, this makes it a blast to drive. Even fuel economy shifts at 3500ish gives much swifter acceleration, likely comparable to a 4500 shift on the old manifold.

I can’t comment on fuel economy yet, I have to find and seal up the exhaust leak.

Two Week Update
The stumbling has turned out to be the leaks in the gaskets screwing up the o2 sensor readings. The exhaust leak that initally started my searching (and eventually ruining the gaskets that came with it) was the header piping touching the cat before the donut gasket ever had a chance. Final gasket replacement will be installed tomorrow, so I'll post up how much it changes things.

A nice touch - when the old manifold was on there, the engine never quite ran smooth; it always sounded like I had a spark plug way out of spec. The header and o2 sensor change seemed to correct that.



Tips and Tricks!


This is after two weeks of exhaust leak PITA, so hopefully this can help others avoid the troubles I've had.


-BEFORE even thinking about installing the header, get it ready. Strip the shipping paint off with a good stripper - I used Zip Strip, it worked okay - and paint with a hi-temp paint. This is interesting because the paint doesn't just dry, it needs some real curing or it will flake off the secondary header pipes. This means an hour driving down the road like the can says just won't cut it; find someone who has a kiln or oven capable of 650 degrees and bake it in there for an hour.


-Buy your hardware the day before. This means $26 in OEM bolts, nuts, and springs (trust me on this, generic ones have crappy tension), as well as a $7 donut gasket (the old one is guaranteed to be rusted onto the old header) and probably a $50 oxygen sensor (unless you want to spend the 2 hours trying to remove the old one, which would probably be damaged in the process anyways).


-After removing the old header, take the new donut gasket and secondary header section and get under the car. Mine had too much piping where the donut sat on the header, so it would contact the inner pipe of the cat first and the donut wouldn't contact at all. My fix: SAWZALL. I had to cut about 1/4" off the end of that pipe so it wouldn't jam up in there.


-Check all the nuts and bolts in the box. Mine had the wrong nuts for the middle flange and I had to buy more at Ace (that was less than $0.50, so it's not a huge setback).


-Put the thing together right the first time. Try to pull it off after it's been hot and the gaskets are TOAST. Also, don't forget to torque down all the bolts again after a week or two, those fiber gaskets compress quite a bit.


Recommendation and Conclusion
(I forgot this section before. Oops.)

This is a reasonably-priced header that works well...provided you can get it to work right. It complements the engine much better than an OEM manifold. Overall build quality is acceptable, with good welds, thick flanges and pipes, and smooth bends. Design is somewhat lacking, though, with an end pipe that is too long (so the gasket can't work), secondaries that don't quite line up with the rest of the exhaust system (this is more of a visual drawback), and an oxygen sensor location between the secondaries that not only provides a potentially inaccurate reading but also may damage the sensor if the welds aren't quite right.

I would recommend this header if you're not afraid of a little work to do it right. This means stripping, painting, wiring your own oxygen sensor, and possibly cutting a pipe and replacing bolts/nuts with the correct set.


I made this page 56k-friendly, so if you want the bigger pics, go to this webpage.
 

·
No more Honda's :-(
Civic CX
Joined
·
3,223 Posts
nice write up. i am a fan of pacesetter stuff to.
 
T

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
be careful with rust...pacesetter products sometimes have a problem with that
nice write up by the way
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
ryan89crx- I forgot to measure them, but since I can't seem to get rid of that exhaust leak, so the whole thing's coming off for inspection this Saturday (I replaced all the gaskets too :mad: even the cat's donut gasket). I'll check it out then.

I'm planning on replacing the middle flange bolts and nuts with stainless, since the lock part of the nuts was NYLON and melted out in 5 minutes.

This weekend it's gonna be complemented with a new stainless steel cat and midpipe :) so I can finally get rid of that rattling. I'll post up more stuff then.
 

·
Curious George
'99 LX Civic Sedan
Joined
·
3,569 Posts
I got pace setter one, good quality material and design, good performance, very good price, but 2 things: RUST and rust, pace setter like rust. 2nd: primary o2 sensor bung, deep is very thight, may scrap o2 and poor design to flow correctly on o2 sensor to have good reading...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Update: my exhaust leak turned out to be a gasket I had accidentally messed up, the one between the upper and lower parts of the header. That's now corrected, but the donut to the cat is leaking. STILL. Its really making me mad that it won't seal up. Oh well, all will be rechecked on Saturday when the cat is replaced.

I measured the piping coming out of the primary collectors, it's about 1 3/8" ID. From the looks of it, the primaries are close to or the same diameter.
 
9

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
The headers come painted black from pacesetter. You must strip off this paint because it will burn off immediately and your header will start to rust. The paint is only there so it will not rust during shipping.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I'm adding to the write up as I find this thing's quirks. So far, only one major design flaw: that stupid donut gasket pipe was too long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Good grief, this leak is driving me bananas. I think they forgot a weld on the secondary collector!

Current recommendation: :mad: spend the bux and get something better. This exhaust leak is killing my mileage and performance.

I tried ghetto weld, and it helped the leak, but its expansion rate was different than the header's, so it broke off. I plan to try header wrap, that may seal it up a little (that tells how whacky a design it is if header wrap can seal up that area!)
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top