5.3L headers

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by jrose7, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. jrose7

    jrose7 Member

    I need some help on which headers actually are best for my 5.3L 2WD Silverado. Pretty sure I will use Shorty headers, so I don't have to deal with new exhaust system also. Too many brands out there. Thanks
  2. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    5.3 Headers

    I have 05 Silverado 4x4 with JBA shorties with titiuim coating. They have over 68,000 miles and no problems. I did use Stage 8 header bolts with them. These will work on 4x2 also. Had 96 Suburban with JBAs and over 150,000 miles and no problems. On my Silverado, installed Stage 8 bolts only until after I put 1,000 miles on the headers (several heat cycles) and then retorqued bolts and put the locking clips on the bolts.
  3. mjalstad

    mjalstad Rockstar 100 Posts

    From what I hear, you might as well do long tubes or nothing. And it becomes obvious when you see a picture of our exhaust manifold, they are already pretty much a shorty header. If you go to Rockauto.com you can look up the part and see a picture of the exhaust manifold. The old body style trucks are a different story as their manifold looks like a manifold. I have been looking into this for a few weeks now and I decided to go with Pacesetter long tubes with off-road Y-pipe which bolts right up to the factory catback. I got the headers and the Y-pipe for $415 and just received them today in the mail. I am hoping to get them put on tomorrow and/or Friday.
  4. jrose7

    jrose7 Member

    I looked at the stock manifold @ rockauto.com and you are right; they look similar to shorties. Thanks for the info. Let me know how the install goes.
  5. Land Shark

    Land Shark Rockstar 100 Posts

    I have a 5.3 in my 03' tahoe. I went with the Edelbrock shorty headers with the ceramic coating. I think they look sharp and I also put the same thing on my 06' Silverado. I am very pleased with the looks and the performance from both vehicles. I have pics of them on my Silverado in my page. Hope this helps.
  6. mjalstad

    mjalstad Rockstar 100 Posts

    Well the install was going absolutely great. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be (I did need a big cheater pipe quite a few times though). I got the O2 sensors and stock Y-Pipe off with a cheater pipe and some elbow grease and it was not too bad, then I moved to the drivers side manifold, that came off easy and the new header bolted on real easy. Apparently that manifold has been taken off before because the rear bolt was broken inside the head (I just bought the truck a couple months ago) I had about 2 hours into it at this point. Then I moved to the passenger side. The EGR bolts were really stuck on there and I broke one of them but the headers came with new bolts so I wasn't really trying that hard to save the old stuff.

    Then I met my match - the dipstick tube. I removed the bolt holding it on up near the manifold and tried wiggling it but I could not get it free. I wiggled and wiggle and twisted for about 20 minutes trying everything I had when it finally came off. I pulled it up expecting it to be dripping with oil but there was none on the bottom, so I inspected closer and found that the tube actually broke, flush with the engine block. So after about an hour of trying to somehow get that little piece out by removing the starter so I had more room then trying to hook it on the inside then prying it, then trying to hammer a punch on the side to bend it and grab it with a vise grip, it fell inside the oil pan. So I bolted the header on and cleaned up so I could go to work. Hopefully tomorrow I can drop the oil pan down far enough to grab the piece out without having to mess around with the front axle.

    Everything else went great, I haven't put the Y-pipe on yet cause I think it may inhibit trying to take the oil pan off. If not for the dipstick tube I would have had the whole system on in about 4 hours by myself in my garage.
  7. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    5.3 headers

    Please tell us you drove a different vehicle to work.
  8. mjalstad

    mjalstad Rockstar 100 Posts

    Haha, Yes I drove my trusty Buick. The truck is still missing 4 spark plugs and exhaust after the header so it would be an interesting drive, not to mention the clunk in the lower end of the motor.
  9. mjalstad

    mjalstad Rockstar 100 Posts

    I was looking online and saw that replacing the oil pan gasket is a 5.7 hour job because you have to remove the front differential to drop the pan. Does anybody know if I can get the pan down far enough to get this piece out without having to remove the differential?
  10. mjalstad

    mjalstad Rockstar 100 Posts

    Well I finished off the exhaust today. Got the passenger header torqued down and plugs reinstalled and connected the Y-pipe. The Y-pipe wasn't too bad but it did need some tough love to get the pieces to fit together and to push them all the way onto the header collectors. Also I had to bend part of the transmission heat shield for clearance. So all in all the headers were pretty simple to install, probably would take about 4 hours to do them.

    I tried today to remove the oil level sensor, since the hole for that is fairly large, and fish around in the pan with a magnet to get my broken tube off but could not come up with any paydirt. I looked at taking off the oil pan but I think that may be left to the professionals so I think my header install is going to come with about a $400 tow/oil pan gasket bill. I wish I could fire it up so bad! It sucks to install headers and then just have your truck sit in the garage.

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