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Discussion Starter #1
...or to be accurate, I suppose a whole exhaust system is in order. My car is an '84, still has the original 305/AIR manifolds/single cat, so I'd be looking for something that will fit now and be transferrable to the 350 that's going in when the 305 gives up. This will always be a street car. And I'm in a state without smog nazis.

What's the recommendation and experience of the guys who have been down this path?

TIA -- and a happy and prosperous new year to you all.
 

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Whatever brand headers you buy that fit the 305 will fit the 350. The questions here are do you plan on retaining the emission controls, and do you plan on converting to dual exhaust now, later, or not at all. Keep in mind you may not be required to pass an emissions test now, but what about 2 or 3 years from now (the smog nazis will eventually come). Whatever headers you decide on, your either going to have to have a crossover pipe made to retain your current single pipe exhaust system, or else change to dual exhaust now. If you decide to retain the emission controls, headers are available to retain the AIR tubes, but you will undoubtably ruin the AIR tubes that are currently on your exhaust manifolds if you plan on removing them to use on the headers you purchase, they are probably rusted and will twist when you try to remove them. New tubes can be purchased, and installed on headers that have the provision for AIR tubes if you decide to keep your emissions controls. If you decide to go with no emissions and convert to dual exhaust, my choice would be Hooker Super Comp, strictly for performance reasons. These are available with ceramic coating which will allow them to last longer, but also increases cost. There are other brands that are just as good as Hooker and maybe even better when it comes to cost and ease of installation. "Shorty" headers are the easiest to install, full length are the hardest. Check the Summit and Jegs catalogs to see the different brands and styles and price variations.

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My choice was DynoMax ceramic coated Full length headers for the El Camino. They have a good solid flange that is pretty thick so you don't have to blow out header gaskets all the time. I'd also, no matter the choice, go with those Mr. Gasket Sure Seal header gaskets or Dead Soft Aluminum header gaskets. Both will give you a better lifetime on the gaskets and the Dead Soft Aluminum gaskets say that they will not blow out or burn off.

The Mr. Gasket Sure seal (Or perfect seal can't remember the exact name) can be purchased at the local auto parts store and are cheaper than the Dead Soft gaskets but more than the standard paper gaskets.

I would also suggest that you purchase a good set of Header Bolts with Allen Heads, locking if you can find them. The allen head bolts are easier to get to with a wrench and you will be re-tightening the header bolts a lot so might as well make them something that you can get to moderatly easy.

Just my advise/opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info. Also found the links about notching the trans support--thanks again.
Visited local Chevelle club last week and the advice was that Hookers give you better access to the plugs, Heddman worse. And they were adamant about headers with thick mount flanges. Also to use header lock bolts.

So I'm planning full-length headers, going into dual exhaust.
But domestic priorities will keep me out from under the car for a few months, so I have plenty of time to figure out the project. Long range plan is still a TPI 350, so oxygen sensor will bo into the header/collector too.
 
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