LS swap F-body Hooker Black­Heart header and bolt-in ex­haust sys­tem

Chevy High Performance - - Con­tents - TEXT & PHO­TOS: Nick Li­cata

LS swap F-body Hooker Black­Heart header and bolt-in ex­haust sys­tem

Typ­i­cally,when start­ing work on a project car with the idea to do a grad­ual build-up, one of the first things us mus­cle car guys do is toss the stock ex­haust sys­tem onto the scrap pile in fa­vor of some­thing much bet­ter. A vin­tage mus­cle car equipped with a stock ex­haust tends to sound wimpy and lack an ag­gres­sive tone, and more im­por­tantly, it’s likely sti­fling the car’s abil­ity to move spent fuel freely to the tailpipe. So not only does the car sound docile, it’s be­ing robbed of pre­cious per­for­mance. On a pre­vi­ous project armed with an LS3, we gained ap­prox­i­mately 40 horse­power by re­plac­ing the stock ex­haust man­i­folds with long-tube head­ers. That’s just too much horse­power to leave on the ta­ble for such a sim­ple mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

Let’s face it, we all want our cars to sound cool, and the end goal is to get the most horse­power and torque out of our en­gines. There’s re­ally no rea­son to set­tle on a stock or un­der­per­form­ing ex­haust sys­tem un­less you are build­ing a con­cours restora­tion. In that event, then a stock ex­haust

sys­tem makes sense.

We got our hands on a 1968 Ca­maro that had re­cently gone through an LS engine swap, but had yet to be fit­ted with an ex­haust sys­tem. This was a sit­u­a­tion where we didn’t want to spend a ton of time work­ing on a cus­tom ex­haust, so we got in touch with the guys at Hol­ley Per­for­mance and they rec­om­mended us­ing their Hooker Black­Heart 1967-’69 GM F-Body LS Swap Ful­l­Length header and their stain­less steel 1967-’69 GM F-Body ex­haust sys­tem.

This is a fully bolt-on ex­haust sys­tem for those run­ning a stock F-body sus­pen­sion sys­tem. For us, 90 per­cent of the ex­haust sys­tem bolted right in, but since this car

had an af­ter­mar­ket rear sus­pen­sion sys­tem and had been mini-tubbed, we came across a few chal­lenges that re­quired just a lit­tle bit of cut­ting and weld­ing to en­able us to run the ex­haust over the rearend and lo­cate the ex­haust hang­ers. Had this been a stock rear sus­pen­sion, the Hooker Black­Heart ex­haust sys­tem would have bolted right in with all the parts of­fered in the kit.

Fol­low along as we show how sim­ple it is to in­stall long-tube head­ers and a full ex­haust sys­tem on a first-gen Ca­maro in just a few hours. CHP

02 | Chevy High Per­for­mance Tech Cen­ter Man­ager Ja­son Scud­el­lari got started by dis­con­nect­ing the neg­a­tive ca­ble from the bat­tery, dis­con­nect­ing the spark plug wires, and re­mov­ing the dip­stick tube. He then swung in the 1 3/4-inch first-gen F-body Hooker Black­Heart LS Swap long­tube head­ers from un­der the car. This lit­tle trick re­quired rest­ing the head­ers on the spark plugs then slowly low­er­ing the lift enough so Ja­son could con­tinue the in­stal­la­tion from up top.

01 | The Hooker Black­Heart 1967-’69 F-Body LS Swap 1 3/4-inch Ce­ramic Coated Full-Length Head­ers (PN 70101507-1HKR) and 1967-’69 F-Body LS Swap Header-Back 2.5-inch Ex­haust Sys­tem (PN 70501318-RHKR) is just what we need to wake up our LS-swapped ’68 Ca­maro. This sys­tem of­fers ex­cel­lent per­for­mance and it will sound killer.

04 | Ja­son then tight­ened up the sup­plied header bolts with a 13mm socket. It’s a good idea to tighten them by start­ing with one of the in­side bolts then work your way out to the ends.

06 | Be­ing that our LS-swapped Ca­maro was pre­vi­ously out­fit­ted with long-tube head­ers, we just sim­ply bolted the ex­ist­ing O2 sen­sor to the bung on new Hooker Black­Heart head­ers.

05 | With the head­ers tightly bolted up and look­ing good, we re­in­stalled the dip­stick tube and are ready to get crack­ing on the 1967-’69 Ca­maro Hooker Black­Heart 2.5-inch ex­haust.

03 | Ja­son then slid in the sup­plied header gas­ket for a tight, no-leak seal. No one likes the tick­ing sound of a leaky ex­haust header. Es­pe­cially us.

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