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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I've started this thread so that Chris from Stainless Headers can see what the discussion is all about and hopefully answer any questions people have about the manifold and it's failures.

Let's PLEASE keep this civil and keep it about the manifold only. I will cut and paste what I posted about the only failure I have personal knowledge of, the Ziegler/GMG Solstice. That way Chris can give his input on what I've posted also. People will clearly know if he agrees or disagrees with my comments on the subject. I will also find the pictures I took of the heat shielding and post them here.

This is not to attack or slam any particular member or vendor, this is to set the record straight on the subject of failures. I have ABSOLUTELY nothing to lose or gain here, no personal agendas or vendettas. (I'm a lover not a hater. lol.) I don't get anything from the sale of those manifolds, I never did. I don't get any "kickbacks" or favors from ANY vendors, and I don't owe any vendors favors. If it's determined that what I've said is false, I will apologize to all involved. If it turns out that a vendor hasn't been truthful and has underlying motives for comments on the manifold, then you all can take that and do whatever you want with the information. One of the claims is that "Every single one of those manifolds cracked". It would seem to me that statement can be clearly determined to be true or false by Chris. If 6 or 7 of his manifolds failed, he'd know about it. If you bought 6 or 7 of anything from a vendor and they failed, don't you think you'd be making a phone call to the guy that made them?

Let's clear up this issue and put it to bed. Unfortunately, Chris from Stainless Headers is out of the office and won't even be able to read this until Wednesday. His assistant has assured me via email that he will read the email I sent him and respond. If he responds to me and doesn't feel comfortable posting on this forum, then I will pass that along and I guess the subject will remain unclear. It's his obviously his choice if he wants to get involved with this or stay away. I will respect his decision either way. Chris is a good, honest and smart guy. His company is thriving because they all take pride in the products they make. If the failure rate is what it's been rumored to be, he's gonna want to know. For those that don't know, Chris is the one that actually MADE the manifold, so he will be the one that can answer any questions about it. Again, he doesn't owe me anything and I don't owe him any favors either. I have total faith that he will answer any questions honestly.

Thanks guys!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Here's what I posted about the Ziegler Solstice manifold failure...

[quote author=LatinVenom link=topic=9911.msg169641#msg169641 date=1382972884]
I think and invitation to the manufacturer of the manifold should be done, this way he can post what has happened.

[/quote]

VERY good comment Alvaro. I emailed Chris at Stainless Headers on Sunday morning, I haven't heard back yet. His business is going like gangbusters and it was the weekend so I didn't expect to hear from him right away anyway. I could give him a call but this isn't really worth bothering him on a phone call. I gave him a link to this thread so hopefully he'll read it and give his input.

Since it looks like there's a few guys that really want to know what happened with the manifold instead of just attacking me, I'll elaborate on the ONLY failure that I have personal knowledge and FACTUAL information on.

I was the one that was personally working on the Ziegler/GMG Racing Solstice when they went from the DDM turbo to the EFR. When Jeremy, the Crew Chief on the Ziegler car, was putting the EFR on he had Inconel blankets made for the turbo, exhaust manifold and downpipe. They were beautiful. (I'll post pictures of the blankets on the turbo and manifold tonight when I get home.) I was STRONGLY APPOSED to putting the blankets on. I pretty much begged Jeremy to not wrap the manifold and turbo. Over 40 years of working with many different types of engines, I've NEVER seen any type of header or turbo wraps that didn't cause some sort of damage. It's just not a good idea. Sure it might give you a hp or two, but the risks are not worth it. THERE ISN'T A TURBO EXHAUST MANIFOLD MADE THAT CAN WITHSTAND RACE CONDITIONS WHEN WRAPPED. Are there race engines out there with wrapped headers and turbos? Absolutely. Do they replace the manifolds every race? Most do.

So that's exactly what happened, on our first TWO DAYS on the dyno, the manifold cracked. That was after dozens and dozens of back to back runs over literally 16 hours of dyno time. We were seriously pushing that engine to it's absolute limits. Not so much because we couldn't get it tuned, but because I was also teaching Jeremy everything I knew about HPTuners and tuning an LNF so he could eventually tune it himself. (Which is what happened, Jeremy took over the tuning with a little help from me once in awhile. That was my goal with them, not just to tune the car but to get Jeremy up to speed on LNF tuning and using HPTuners since most of what he'd done to that point was Motec.) The manifold did break pretty much in half, right at the flange. It broke across welds, so weld quality was NOT an issue. Interestingly, one of the other differences in the setup Jeremy did and what I had was he DID put a support under the turbo. I actually had my doubts about that. I believe it might actually be BETTER for the turbo to be able to move around under heat cycles instead of having a hard point to push against and possibly CAUSE fractures from the force. My turbo was only supported at the bottom of the downpipe. His was supported under the turbo. Mine's still going fine with ABSOLUTELY NO SIGNS OF CRACKING OR FATIGUE.

So their next step was to try better materials. They STILL wrapped it. It still cracked. Again, this was after a full day of track testing and abuse by a Pro driver that was turning lap times that would have put him in the top ten of the GT class, not the lower GTS class that Ziegler drives in. Again, not info from FaceBook, I was there at the track. I was doing the tuning. I know what the EGT's were. I saw the manifold with my own eyes.

In the end the only way they got a manifold to last was to finally leave the Inconel wrapping off. Gee, isn't that amazing? So the TRUTH of the ONLY MANIFOLD FAILURE I CAN PROVE is that it was in SEVERE (sorry to yell, just trying to make sure people actually read and understand what I'm typing.) race and dyno conditions, while wrapped up tightly with a full Inconel heat blanket. BTW, Chris at Stainless Headers has also had plenty of experience with wrapping headers. He was also strongly against the Ziegler manifold being wrapped.

The cause of that manifold failure was extreme abuse and overheating of the metals caused directly by wrapping the entire manifold, turbo and downpipe, keeping excessive heat in the parts.


Here's the pics of the Ziegler exhaust manifold before it cracked.





 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hang in there guys, Chris from Stainless Headers is back in the office and has read through what's been going on here and at the other forums. He most definitely will respond with his views on the subject. He takes his company and this kind of thing VERY seriously and needs to take a little time to be sure what he's going to post is the right thing and the right way to say it.

I will give him this link and the link to my thread on the Sky forum also. I'm not sure which one he will register and reply on. I'll copy and past what he posts on the other forum to make sure it's seen. He will not be posting or registering on the Kappa forum.
 

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Hey Everyone,
I would like to start off with taking a moment to say that the manner of the dialog on this subject isn’t as productive as it could be. Forgive me if I don’t adhere to typical forum protocol. I post about 3 times a year on any forum, so my experience is very limited.
Most of the subject matter is black and white and leaves very little room for opinion amongst experienced header builders. I will start off with material types. There were some questions in regards to the use of 304 and 321 stainless for turbo installations. For most applications, 304 works very well, especially if the material is a domestic product. Does 321 work better? Sure is does and Inconel would work even better. Are they required, absolutely not. The header design and fabrication technique play a more important role. We have hundreds of turbo headers out there built in 304 with a fantastic success rate. There are certain applications where we build in 321. I have been building aircraft exhaust for close to 30 years. The preferred material for that application is 321 simply because the systems are made from a much thinner material and the physical abuse is so great. Quite honestly, for the majority of aircraft installations, 304 would work every bit as well as 321.
I would like to address the issue of wrapping the exhaust as a thermal barrier. As I previously stated, we use only 321 for aircraft exhaust. I tell our aviation customers there is one guarantee I can make them if they wrap their 321 exhaust “Your system will fail in very short order”. I don’t care what you build with, if the header can’t dissipate heat effectively, you can expect greatly reduced part longevity.
Finally, in regards to the rumors of these particular headers having a high rate of failure, the only ones I am aware of are the two that Dave Gilbert with Performance Autowerks had previously mentioned to me in an email. The first one being the above note header sent to GMG Racing and one they said was installed at their location. How this turned into everyone failing, I don’t know. The only one we have firsthand knowledge of is the GMC part. Now wouldn’t you think if we had, from what I understand, 7 failures of headers sold to Performance Autowerks, our phones would be ringing with upset customers and failed units coming back through our doors. To add to the real mystery of things, Performance Autowerks had issued a PO dated 8-27-13 followed by an order cancellation on 9-9-13 with a request we retire the design. Why request a failing design unless all remaining six headers failed during that 2 week period. Something just doesn’t add up.
Well, I hope this helps clarify things. This entire issue is so completely off course from our day to day business. We don’t just build a few headers here and there; we kick thousands of headers and components out the door. This is the first time in 30 years of business such an issue has come up. I am more than happy to take calls on the subject if anyone would like to discuss it further.
Chris Stepp
President
Stainless Headers Mfg., Inc.
1-800-290-3920
 

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I, for one, really appreciate your post Chris. What you said, and didn't say, shows a lot of class on your behalf. Thank you for elaborating on the manifold and especially for your insight on the material used. I am a strong supporter of your manifold. Absolutely LOVE mine and have not had a single issue with it. IF it ever were to fail on me for any reason I wouldn't hesitate to buy from you again. I hope this clears the air on the matter and another vendor picks up your manifold to sell to the kappa community!
 

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I agree, we really appreciate you taking the time to reply

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I believe you can buy it from Chris (Stainless Headers) directly.
Thank you for posting Chris.
 

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Yea, it's on his website, I actually have an email out to him about getting one

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So a couple of questions.

If one purchases this header directly, what is the warranty?

Also
Wrapping headers is very common and there are a bunch of companies that sell the wraps.
We all know that just because a product is sold, does not guarantee it works.
Soooooo [This question is directed at Chris]
If wrapping a header made with 321 is a No No.
Are there other materials, such as 304 or a cast manifold, where wrapping them is beneficial and won't lend to a failure.

[This statement is directed at Werks]
I would be interested in seeing Werks respond.
 

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ChrisS, please clarify a few things for me.

You mention 321 steel is thinner for aircraft applications. Does that also mean that all 321 stock used to make exhaust headers for cars is thinner as well? Or are there different 321 steel thickness options.

And if 321 steel is thinner for car exhaust manifold applications than 304, is that a drawback in any way over 304? Or are the 321 steel properties so good that even thinner material use still produces a better manifold than 304.

Can you get this manifold coated? And if so do you recommend it? Just inside, or both inside and outside?


As a complete aside, I found this header/coating info.

Exhaust Header Heat Wraps - Do Not Use
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So a couple of questions.

If one purchases this header directly, what is the warranty?

Also
Wrapping headers is very common and there are a bunch of companies that sell the wraps.
We all know that just because a product is sold, does not guarantee it works.
Soooooo [This question is directed at Chris]
If wrapping a header made with 321 is a No No.
Are there other materials, such as 304 or a cast manifold, where wrapping them is beneficial and won't lend to a failure.

[This statement is directed at Werks]
I would be interested in seeing Werks respond.
Thanks for the constructive post with some really good questions elff, I REALLY appreciate it.

I got this email from Chris yesterday, I don't think he'd mind if I copied and pasted what he said here...

I am leaving for SEMA in a few hours, so I won’t have time to keep up with this while I am out of town. We start setting up our display tomorrow morning. It should be a great show. The whole crew is pretty pumped about it.

If something comes up on these threads, let everyone know that we are all at SEMA this week.


Thanks,

Chris

So I guess we have to hang in there a little bit before he can answer any questions. Hopefully he'll have a few minutes back at the hotel to log on and post up a couple comments.

I do have another personal experience story on the header wrapping, kinda oranges to apples, but I do think it's relevant. I've been pretty heavily into dirt bikes all my life. I actually used to make exhausts for my and other guys bikes. There was a point when 4 stroke race bikes first came back into popularity that people were wrapping their headpipes. Most did it because they thought it made more power, but some actually did it to keep the bare headpipe from burning a hole in their riding pants! (Aftermarket headpipes rarely had any kind of shields, stock pipes usually had a metal heatshield.)
Anyway, I'm not going to say "every one", but most all of the headpipes that were wrapped failed in one way or another. Most cracked. Some actually swelled up and split open almost like a balloon. If they didn't crack or split, the water, mud and rocks would get in-between the wrap and the pipe and cause all kinds of damage. These headpipes were made from mild steel, stainless steel and actually most of the later ones were titanium. It seemed to happen on all of them. Leave the pipe exposed so that it can shed it's heat, and they rarely failed. Wrap them and they usually failed.

The thing I always thought was interesting is the idea of extreme temperature changes causing failures. I would agree with that, I would think having ANY metal go from red hot to cold quickly and frequently would be damaging. The reason I think the dirtbike situation is relevant is it shines a little light on the theory of wrapping helping with temp variations. I agree that it would help keep the temps more consistent, but I don't think that factor is anywhere near as important than letting the temps dissipate as quickly and as easily as they can. Here's why... Dirt bike headpipes get red hot, almost white hot on the titanium ones. They also are put into conditions that turn those temps back down to ambient temperature almost instantly, over and over many times. Dirt bikes go through water, mud and snow. The headpipe is usually directly behind the front wheel. You can be going full throttle, have that headpipe glowing red hot, then go through a puddle and have it cooled back down to close to the temperature of that water. Or spend spend 60 seconds at full throttle, full load going up a hill climb and then charge through 2 feet of snow for another 60 seconds. The worst abuse I've seen for those headpipes is snow. It's common to go through 2 or 3 foot snow for 50 yards, then have clear trail for another 100 yards, then another patch of snow, over and over again for hours. Those super thin walled stainless or titanium headpipes have no problem doing that uncovered. I personally never had a stock, uncovered headpipe fail on a dirt bike. Cover them and they most likely cracked or split open.

I hope that helped and wasn't too far off from what we're actually talking about with turbo manifolds. And yes elff, there were a bunch of companies selling header wrap for dirt bikes, saying it will do all kinds of wonderful things. That was a very good point, just because a product is sold, doesn't mean it works. It did work well for keeping you from melting holes in your riding pants though, I will admit that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ChrisS, please clarify a few things for me.

You mention 321 steel is thinner for aircraft applications. Does that also mean that all 321 stock used to make exhaust headers for cars is thinner as well? Or are there different 321 steel thickness options.

And if 321 steel is thinner for car exhaust manifold applications than 304, is that a drawback in any way over 304? Or are the 321 steel properties so good that even thinner material use still produces a better manifold than 304.

Can you get these headers coated? And if so do you recommend it? Just inside, or both inside and outside?


As a complete aside, I found this header/coating info.

Exhaust Header Heat Wraps - Do Not Use
That wasn't a "complete aside", that was an EXCELLENT link! Thanks kwtoxman, those were also some REALLY good questions. It might be after SEMA until we can get Chris back in here, but I have faith that he will come back in and answer these good questions.

Thanks guys!!!
 

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I will answer one question.
On Turbo cars you do not want to coat the inside of the manifold.
The reason should be obvious, but here is why.
If the coating comes loose guess where is going into?.
 

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I sent Chris at Stainless Headers an e-mail this morning with my response to this and will wait for him to respond after or during SEMA before I post anything here.
 
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