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TURBO headers SS header studs loosening...ugh

Old 05-15-2018, 11:35 PM
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Default TURBO headers SS header studs loosening...ugh

SS turbo headers, eBay SS header studs and stainless nuts with teeth. Running on a turbo 5.3 with remflex header gaskets. I tightened down the nuts pretty tight and after 6 trips or so I get what sounds like a lifter tick on the pass side on startup, goes away after a few sec, realized the nuts loosening up. I ran the same studs on SS long tubes when the same motor was supercharged and never an issue. I just went out again and 6 or so hot runs and cool downs and the back but was loose again. I feel like Iím going to need flat washers and lock washers or something. They stay in the head fine, just a few of the nuts usually on the ends loosen up. Not sure if itís backpressure and heat loosening up.

I just went out and put blue loctite on them. I canít put stage 8 as I donít have the room to do anything. Thoughts?



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Old 05-16-2018, 06:17 AM
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I've had good luck with these. http://www.nord-lock.com/nord-lock/wedge-locking/
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by svslow View Post
I installed those on the spohn torque arm bolted to the rearend because the standard lock washers were loosening up after a few pulls on my old firebird build. it didn't come loose anymore before I sold it!
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:36 AM
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yeah nordlocks are about it. heat breaks down loctite
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:14 AM
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Interesting... I have those on a supercharger kit that is used between the crank pulley and the balancer bolt to attach a drive hub... never knew why the washer was like that but it makes sense now lol.

So... where does one get those from and which style do i need? I see the washers and the SC washers etc.
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:15 AM
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McMaster-carr.com was where I got mine from. they're based in new jersey
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:33 AM
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Cool. Im also in NJ but they aren't that close and shipping sucks lol.
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:34 AM
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it usually comes in 2 days via usps from what I recall, and i'm over a bit past philly.
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:45 AM
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Just ordered 2 packs of 5, M8 x .63" OD 316 stainless. Lets hope!
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Old 05-16-2018, 10:54 AM
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Stage 8 fasteners man. I have them on both my CTS-V and my SBC race car and have never had one come loose. Also installed them on a friends 2015 Z28. They're a bit pricey, but 100% worth it. Set it and forget it type of thing.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Black89Z51 View Post
Stage 8 fasteners man. I have them on both my CTS-V and my SBC race car and have never had one come loose. Also installed them on a friends 2015 Z28. They're a bit pricey, but 100% worth it. Set it and forget it type of thing.
Did you see the pic of the header? I can't even get my fingers or a socket on the nuts. Its the reason I went with studs... helps me get it all situated and then finger tip graze the nut to the flange and then a open end wrench to tighten down. If I had the room I would possibly give stage 8 a try, but ive also run these same studs on the same engine with a supercharger with LT headers and never had one loosen up. I have a feeling its the extra heat and backpressure loosening it after a few heat cycles.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:51 AM
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You should be running the factory MLS/stainless gaskets, less room for error from heat cycling (I'd don't care what Remflex has to say). Also blue Loctite isn't rated for any heat, even red won't hold the nut during high heat - maybe green on the stud into the head and on the threads for the nut?

Finally, you can try double-nutting the offending fastener.
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mOtOrHeAd MiKe View Post
You should be running the factory MLS/stainless gaskets, less room for error from heat cycling (I'd don't care what Remflex has to say). Also blue Loctite isn't rated for any heat, even red won't hold the nut during high heat - maybe green on the stud into the head and on the threads for the nut?

Finally, you can try double-nutting the offending fastener.
I'm not running the MLS style gasket. Reason is the cheap hotside, I've learned that nothing is flat on the flange ever. The remflex allow warped/non flat flanges to seal perfectly and are turbo friendly to heat/pressure... basically guarantees a leak free seal unless the flange is totally fucked. I figured the heat would kill the blue loctite ... not sure how hot the studs will get/ heads are less than 200*F, flanges are attached as well as studs I'm sure it limits there temp.

Ive ordered the special lock washers above so maybe I can get them to stop, I've also thought about double nutting the stud... just gotta get the correct stupid metric thread extra nuts.

Aren't the MLS gaskets the reason why the GM exhaust bolts snap? Due to the heat expansion of 2 different metals and the gaskets dont allow any extra "give", combine with the heating and cooling and expansion snaps the studs? I would run the MLS if I was sure they wouldn't leak... but boost and a leak pre turbo = incorrect tuning AFR and motor pops.
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:55 PM
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+1 for Nord-Locks. I used them for years on turbo rotary engines that regularly see 1700F EGTs. Switching to Nord-Locks stopped all my loose fastener and exhaust gasket leaks.
I also had great luck with Remflex gaskets, particularly with thin-flanged aftermarket manifolds. They hold up to the heat great, they just aren't really reusable.
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Old 05-16-2018, 03:19 PM
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Those Remflex gaskets are thick and soft. Iím not a fan. We use them here at the shop, you have to continually retighten the bolts until you smash the gasket flat.

maybe just keep retightening them. Personally Iíd try the GM gaskets. Or maybe just a good set of Felpro header gaskets
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:16 PM
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i had the same issue ,went with the Stage 8 fasteners
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:14 PM
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i use the ARP stud kit and its never loosened on me once in 5 years.
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by customblackbird View Post
I'm not running the MLS style gasket. Reason is the cheap hotside, I've learned that nothing is flat on the flange ever. The remflex allow warped/non flat flanges to seal perfectly and are turbo friendly to heat/pressure... basically guarantees a leak free seal unless the flange is totally fucked. I figured the heat would kill the blue loctite ... not sure how hot the studs will get/ heads are less than 200*F, flanges are attached as well as studs I'm sure it limits there temp.

Ive ordered the special lock washers above so maybe I can get them to stop, I've also thought about double nutting the stud... just gotta get the correct stupid metric thread extra nuts.

Aren't the MLS gaskets the reason why the GM exhaust bolts snap? Due to the heat expansion of 2 different metals and the gaskets dont allow any extra "give", combine with the heating and cooling and expansion snaps the studs? I would run the MLS if I was sure they wouldn't leak... but boost and a leak pre turbo = incorrect tuning AFR and motor pops.
You got the concept right. Differing rates of thermal expansion. But it's that difference between the aluminum head and the cast iron manifold. The end bolts get it worst since that's where the greatest growth difference is.

Used MLS gaskets 4 lyfe
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:26 PM
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ive been using and reusing the exhaust manifold MLS gaskets for years now. also take a grinder and hog out your end bolt holes on the manifold about 1/8" horizontally and youll never have a problem again with broken end bolts.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:51 PM
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Wish I could trust the header flanges being flat but I canít lol. I just verified that the holes in the flanges are huge!! Prob could easily fit a 3/8-7/16Ē bolt in there. There is a huge gap around the header studs. I think thatís partially the problem as the nuts donít have a lot of material to grab into.

I got the special washers today! They shipped and arrived today woohoo! Cost me $30 for 10 washers lol in 316 SS .6Ē OD.

Decided to replace 5 nuts on the ones that have loosened and had easier access to. Well see how they hold up!




Header stud nut on the left, nord loc washer on the right.


Hard to see on this one as the flange is resting on the stud but there is easily 1/16Ē gap around the OD of the stud to the ID of the flange hole.

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