Case Studies – How to wrap your headers

Header wrap kicks ass….. when it’s already installed. Yep, nothing worse than wrapping headers or exhaust manifolds, especially when you are wrapping an elaborate one as we will be doing today.

One look at the Talon’s exhaust manifold and it’s quite clear to see that this task isn’t going to be an easy one. Wrapping headers isn’t exactly rocket science, but doing it right is important for aesthetic purposes.

What you will need for this job.

x1 Header wrap – we chose part number DEI-010101 – as this is for a 4 cylinder application. We also elected to use the 1 inch thick version as this wrap is easier for a manifold of this type and usually more pleasing to the eye.

x1 Safety Wire – You can purchase a Moroso can for around 20 dollars.

optional – Safety Wire wrench – you can also use a monkey wrench in a bind, but you wire twists will not look as nice.

Start by cutting off a section that you intend to wrap with, take care when handling the wrap as the fiberglass can come off easily and is a skin and eye irritant.

Dunk your wrap in a container filled with water, this will make the wrapping easier, as well as minimize the dust and fiberglass particles.

When taking your pre-cut strips out of the water, make sure to squeeze any excess water from the bundle. When applying the strips, make sure to pull the wrap taut and wick away any excess moisture when pulling the wrap around the piping.

2 Hours into the job.

Take care when securing the wrap with your safety wire, you want to make sure to get the wire as tight as possible for maximum viewing pleasure.

Almost there......

When wrapping a turbo manifold like this, it’s easier to plot out the path in which you will wrap the header. In this case, I had to wrap runner 4 and leave it hanging to allow for enough tuck room on runner 3.

All done

With the exhaust manifold wrapped, we re-install onto the Talon with a complete set of new washers, gaskets, and seals all the way around.

The Talon had a slight leak from runner #2, and we elected for a Remflex gasket to address our leaking issue.

We are using Remflex part number PN-54-001, and this gasket is every bit as badass as Remflex says it is.

After re-installing the entire turbo setup, the Talon is now ready to hit the dyno after a few gauges are installed.

Next up : Installing a full gauge set, pouring in some 116 and heading to dyno day!


A Blast from the Past – One of the original Pro Street DSM’s

When Jesse spoke to me about purchasing my Talon, one sentence made me pause and think about exactly what this car was. The conversation went something kinda like this :

Jesse : “What’s up with your Talon, I want to buy it.”

Me : “Oh yeah? lets work it out”

Jesse : “I want the car you built a decade ago”

Me : “………you’re an asshole”

After the purchase, it struck me how old the Talon really was. Here is a complete mod list.

  • Fully Built Stage III Pro Street Shortblock
  • Eagle H beam Rods
  • ACL Bearings
  • Extreme Motorsports Stage 2 head
  • Ferrera 1m oversize valves
  • Ferrera dual springs and titanium retainers
  • Web Cams 562/565 intake and exhaust cams
  • Wiseco 8.8:1 compression pistons
  • Mitsubishi Ralliart 4 layer MLS HG
  • ARP head studs
  • ORIGINAL 1g Pro Street Street Intercooler kit
  • ORIGINAL Pro Street Race Intake Manifold
  • Pro Street 8 point  Race Cage
  • 62-1 stage III T3/T4 turbo
  • 720cc injectors
  • Aeromotive AE1000 Fuel pump
  • Fidanza flywheel
  • ACT 2600 clutch
  • Aeromotive Drag FPR
  • JLB Fuel rail
  • Haltech E6X Standalone engine management
  • 3 inch downpipe
  • Apexi N1 exhaust system
  • 12 gallon JAZ fuel cell

I’m sure I’m missing quite a few other mods, but at this stage I think you get the hint.

With a bevy of old school original Pro Street parts, it’s safe to say that waves of nostalgia and memories wash over me as we begin to clean the car up.

On to the eye candy :

Before :

Surface rust abound

After a few hours of the wire wheel and 2 cans of appliance paint in flat gray, we had a much cleaner interior.

Ahhh.. so much nicer

We also took the liberty of addressing the rear sump and mount for the fuel cell.

A shot before of the tank and the AE1000 before taking everything out and flushing, cleaning and polishing.

This pump is a tad...... um.... noisy.

After the interior was addressed, we moved on to the engine bay and turbo. A shot of the beast before :

yes, I didn't take care of it... sue me

After taking the turbo, manifold, valve cover and downpipe off, Jesse cleans up and polishes the intake manifold and valve cover along with the original Pro Street 1g Street Intercooler kit.  

A shot of the original Pro Street Intercooler kit for the 1g DSM, circa 2001.

And of course, the after shot of Jesse’s polishing and detail work.

so fresh and so clean clean

Next up for the Talon, cleaning up the Haltech wiring, wrapping the headers and taking it to the dyno and chasing 500 whp.

Case Studies – Outside John’s comfort range

It isn’t everyday that I pause when someone asks me to tune their vehicle, but this particular Chevelle had me reconsidering.

Gary Avant’s Chevelle is a 383 powered, supercharged Chevelle using Edelbrock’s EFI Pro Flo XT Engine management unit.

Needless to say, a little bit out of my comfort range…..

Big, Bright and Shiny but not enough

Gary has had some problems with tuners in the Bay Area not being able to figure out the Edelbrock Pro Flo XT unit. The absolute best his motor had hit was 333, and with less than stellar torque numbers. Understandably, Gary was upset as his motor build cost him reportedly over $22,000 and 300hp wasn’t going to cut it.

After an hour or two messing around with the rather cludgy controller, I had the 383 humming at 422 hp / 441 ft lbs.

Sadly because of the Procharger’s linear power delivery, peak power could not be realized due to the limitations of the Pro Flo XT unit.

Gary’s unit had tuning increments from 1000, 1500, 2000, 2200 but after the 2200 rpm point, the Pro Flo XT inexplicably jumped to 5000 rpm.

In a rpm range as limited as this 383 provided, the tuning points lacked the proper resolution and from 3000 rpm until 5000, Gary’s A/F ratio plummeted to 10:1. Due to the rigid rpm tables in the Pro Flo XT, I had to send Gary on his way at just 422 rwhp.

He’s more than happy and has since sent the unit in for some customization, he’s very happy with the peak numbers and plans on having me retune while aiming for 500s.

Next up for Gary’s Chevelle, a bigger pulley, a better rpm table and 500 wheel horsepower or bust!

Jesse’s RB25 S13 – Installing Top Feed Injectors

When we last left the RB25 S13, the injector duty cycles kept us from bumping up the boost and making some real power. The solution? some 760cc top feed Precision Injectors to help our S13 crack the 450whp mark.

Parts you will need for this conversion

First we begin by opening the fuel cap and disconnecting the fuel feed lines, engine harness and fuel filter setup.

Next unbolt the 3 12 mm bolts to the rail and lift the entire rail along with side feed injectors, take care when doing this because you don’t want to lose your fuel rail isolators ( the plastic pieces that space out your rail from your head.

Jesse was using a Z32 fuel filter, which we will be ditching for a Aeroquip -6 1000 micron inline filter.

Someone light a match and throw it at John! QUICK!

Next, install your injectors into your aftermarket rail, take care when pushing the injectors in so to not damage your o-rings. Without any damage to our o-rings, we test fit the aftermarket rail onto our RB25.

The particular rail setup we are using is the JGY unit, and although the fitment is rather questionable, the low cost of this piece makes it manageable.

Ahh... so much nicer

If you own a JGY rail, now is NOT the time to tighten it down to the head unless you feel like removing the rail to plug your injectors in.


After installing the injectors into your rail, install your liquid filled fuel pressure gauge into the 90 degree 1/8th inch NPT fitting, and then screw the entire assembly into the regulator. Depending on your setup, you may need to install the fitting before the gauge.
Next, take the rubber fuel lines off of the hard lines located on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Take a pipe cutter and pick a spot on the hardline that has a fair amount of straight section to it.

Make sure to use caution as to not kink or bend the hard lines, this setup is meant to terminate at the firewall, so if you intend on running full stainless line back to the tank you’ll need more than 4 feet of the hose.

Next take your -6 AN to hard line compression fittings and slip the cone end over the hardline you just cut.

The S13 uses 1/4inch size hardlines, make sure the brass fitting slides snugly over the line and compress the two ends together to create your seal.

After both compression fittings are installed, it’s time to move onward to the injector wiring.

Most companies sell their injector setups complete with pigtails to convert from the old clips to the new ones. If not MSD sells them seperately for around 2 dollars apiece at most retail stores or websites.

Wiring of these injectors is straightforward, make sure to have the injector clip orientation consistent for all six new clips.

Use your -6 male to 3/8th pipe fittings now on either end of your rail,depending on where or how you want to run the lines, the other 4 swivels will comprise the rest of the fuel setup.

Once all the lines and hardware is installed, then tighten the rail brackets onto your head.

We had to use 2 of the brackets as JGY did not properly machine their rail to take 3 mounting brackets. Further we had to use the factory isolators on the opposite side of the bolt to make things tight and secure.

Once bolted down, turn the key to the on position to pressurize the lines so that you can check for leaks. Once we found no leaks we started the car and adjusted the fuel pressure accordingly. Make sure to double check for leaks after the car is started, as pressure will be significantly higher than it was with the key at the “ON” position.

With no leaks and the fuel pressure adjusted, we are now ready to tune the car. With time running late, i use Jesse’s hand held Power FC Commander to make some small adjustments to the part throttle map and the cold start map along with the idle map.

The Power Commander is quite useful if you are in a bind, or need to clear up a rough spot in your tune.

But with a viewable map grid of 9×9 cells, it makes tuning a vehicle such as this rather cumbersome.

Come get some... RB25 Power

Next we will hit the dyno with a full laptop and FC Edit to squeeze as much power out of the S13 as possible.

Stay tuned………..

Case Studies – Jesse’s RB25 S13 – The Beginning

Jesse’s S13 first came to me as a 700 dollar shell with an auto tranny and a completely shot KA24. Within a week, Jesse had sourced a RB25 and tranny and had 2 wiring harnesses ready to be wired up.

When it came to the mounts, Jesse had sourced a shop that was closing in San Jose off of Bird Avenue. After review, the mounts looked to be a Ruckus Racing knockoff, and the shop had left us with doubt, but they worked like a charm

Ruckus Rep Mounts

Within 3 hours, we had the stock KA out and the RB25 mounted and ready to rock and roll.

After dropping the motor in, next was getting the car to run as it was missing the turbos, exhausts, maf and intake pipes.

Deciding to go the budget route, Jesse had me weld a wastegate opening into his manifold, and we opted to use a Ebay adapter flange to go from Garrett flange to the T3 flange. After test mounting the turbo, a Pro Street AN oil return line was installed.

Running a T3 62-1 with a .84 a/r and Stage V hotside, along with a Pro Street downpipe and Pro Street Stage III Intercooler Kit using a Spearco 2-216 core, Jesse’s RB25 put down 325 SAE corrected wheel horsepower at 14 psi on my Dynojet.

Resonators? inline mufflers? who needs that crap?

My time tuning Jesse’s car was limited as his stock side feed injectors just couldn’t keep up with the turbo. After 6000 rpm, the injector duty cycles began to creep above 85% which was well above the Apexi Power FC warning threshold.

Up next : Installing top feed injectors into the S13.


Aligning at Treds

A good friend of mine just opened his doors at Treds Alignment in Hayward, which presented me with the perfect opportunity to hash out any lingering stance issues.

Jesse, Butch and Chris are as cool as they come, and provide top-notch support and service. Butch is probably one of the most experienced and knowledgeable alignment guys in the Bay Area.

The runway....








After swapping / replacing all the arms and my rear subframe, Butch tells me the only thing left is my front passenger side lower control arm. I probably will not be opting for the replacement arms here, but instead going with stock arms and Energy Suspension bushings.

What do you mean the car doesnt drive straight???








A shot of my rear arms, and now straight subframe.

It's really....... blue








Dialing it in








After Butch dials the car in, the difference is as drastic as night and day. The car no longer pulls to the right and feedback on turn-in as well as exit is much more consistent. I also take the time to upgrade my inner and outer tie rod ends, and as a result bumpsteer is significantly reduced.

Next up : 2JZ wiring and other nightmares.


Setting the Stance – Aligning the 240 and Megan Racing

After my ordeal with C&J Automotive, I finally got my Megan subframe bushings pressed in and locked in. My last shipment of parts from Megan Racing finally arrives with my upper rear control arms and tie rod ends.

I remove my old subframe, and find that the subframe itself had been cracked and rewelded.

Performance Options in Oakland, go there if you want shady half-ass work.

This vehicle was worked on by Performance Options in Oakland and sold to me by them, who apparently has no problem selling bent subframe cars without disclosing what is wrong with the vehicle…. with this kind of honesty, no wonder guys in the Bay Area don’t trust shops…. but I digress.

After yanking my old subframe, I mount the Megan Rear Upper Control arms and rear toe arms, along with my subframe collars.

putting it all together

The subframe takes just an hour to drop and after prepping, is ready to go back in.

Jesse installing the toe arms

All put together

Its so.... Blue

Next up, aligning the 240 and sorting out the bumpsteer issues.

Project 240SX – Installing Megan Subframe Bushings

Nelson and the boys at Megan Racing come through again, sending me a full set of their S14 Hardened Subframe Bushings.

Getting Hard

I get the dumb idea in my head that swapping my subframe at home is something that I actually want to try.

Unfortunately, having just moved to Tracy, CA I’m not exactly close to the shops I would normally go to have these hardened bushings pressed into my subframe.

New subframe ready to go in

I am still getting used to working on the floor, but since I need to have the bushings pressed, I decide to rip apart the car and get to work.

clean up time

Using a wire wheel i knock off all the surface rust and lay down a fresh coat of paint, and I’m ready to rock and roll.

Fresh and Clean

I take off the wheels and disconnect my exhaust, driveshaft and brakes.

After calling and speaking to Gene @ C&J Automotive in Tracy, I take my subframe there and he proceeds to mess up a job that a small chimp could have completed. I’d rather not rehash the embarrassing turn of events with this supposed “ASE Certified Mechanic”, but for a full breakdown, read my Yelp review here :

Yelp Review of C&J Automotive – the Corner of Mo and Ron

To make a long story short I end up having to get another set of bushings on the way from Megan to make up for this guy’s incompetence. Needless to say, I won’t be recommending this asshat to any of my friends, but I’ll keep his info handy for people I dislike in Tracy.

Moving on….