HomeSite IndexSearch Logo



About the Hotshot header...

Fred Miceli (

I finally got my HotShot Headers! I can't believe it! FINALLY! They look good and they are ceramic coated. I couldn't install them this weekend, because the nuts that hold the stock collector pipe to the cat are corroded and welded to the cat and studs due to heat and rust!! Looks like I'll have to take it to a shop and have them loosen the nuts for me.

Anyway, Clint Fong (yeah, he's still around) installed his headers on Saturday and we raced on Sunday. We'd start at 70 MPH in 3rd and race till we came up on traffic. By the time I shifted into 4th, he gained 1/2-3/4 of a car length on me and he really started to walk me in 4th gear. By the time we got to 120-125, his rear bumber was about 2 car lengths in front of my front bumper (ie he gained 3 car lengths since starting even at 70 mph)!! The gap became more apparent when we raced uphill!!! REALLY!!! Its too bad we could really get up to 135MPH - 140MPH to really see what would happen. We both have identical go faster mods except for the headers and the clutch (he still has the stock clutch at 114K mi!!!).

On a side note, the exhaust note sounds like there is a little metallic rattling coming from somewhere within the entire exhaust system. Clint claims this is the case with other Hotshot header owners (Steve Ting and Gordon).

Installing the Stillen header

Shell (

I had to do the install over two evenings after work. Took me about 2 1/2 hours to get the old exhaust manifold and downpipe off and about 2 1/2 hours and another evening to get the $tillen equipment on. The $tillen piece is very well done, all the emmisions/O2 sensor stuff is there. I used ample liquid wrench and a lot of time but no busted bolts! The exhaust comes with only the gasket from the header to the down pipe. The $tillen instuctions refers to a separate gasket kit that you must request (thanks Adam for not mentioning this!) for the manifold gasket and the gasket were the down pipe conects to the cat. From the local Dealer the cat gasket cost me $6.96 (#20692-65J00) and the manifold $13.33 (#14036-53J00). the dealer did not have the metallic asbestos downpipe gasket, but the newer all metal - yuck. Also I would recommend picking up a new O2 sensor, your gonna tear up the old one getting it off, $58 bucks.

Tools: It helps to have numerous length extensions on your socket set to get to all the manifold bolts, you'll need short and deep if you got them10mm, 12, 14, a 17 for something I can't remember, a large cresent wrench, and possible vise grips for O2, gasket scraper, phillips medium screwdriver, liquid wrench and lots of patience, jack & stands (or ramps, until you do the suspension - and then you can't clear the air damn :( ).

Install: you have to take off the brass colored A.I.V. from the front of the engine completely off, and I let the black resonator sorta hang by the thick black hose below. You have to take off the heat shield off obviously to get to the bolts that hold the manifold to the block (apply liquid wrench!). Jack the car to get to the three down pipe bolts (right were it tucks under the block) and the two bolts were it connects in front of the cat. You can unbolt/ unscrew the black splash guard panel thats under the front right / passenger bumper to give great access to the bolts on the down pipe. Three bolts: one in front, two in back.

The old cast iron manifold I took off last (dropped the down pipe first). It is a tight fit to get it out. I would recommend loosening the EGR tube on the back side of the block near the throttle (two bolts) to give you more play. Taking the radiator/fans out may have been better, but with some wiggle here and there you can get it off past the head bolts.

Everything bolts on pretty well. The O2 sensor is much lower on the down pipe so the clip won't reach to the resonator box, just stretches, I use a zip tie to the brass emissiond tube that also connects down on the down pipe so it wouldn't swing out into the radiator fan. I did not even look at trying to put back on the heat sheilds, anyone do this?

Leaks? Well I have driven the vehicle twice (trying not to, dropping off the car tommorrow to get a clutch job - yes with the JWT pressure plate). About 4,500 rpm I'm starting to hear a "tingle" I think at the cat. I have yet to re-torque everything. Otherwise very solid.

Impressions? With the very little drive time I would say throttle response is better, car is louder but the $tillen exhaust is still tolerable at highway and at idle, the car is scooting better (like if you hold it in second at 4K rpm and then hammer it WOT - jumps with a good roar), but could not trash it b/c the clutch is slipping so bad between gears. Back pressure is even more reduced, so you'll get some backdraft "pops" now and then.

Sure does look good in the engine bay! It is not the same as pictured in the $tillen catalog. Basically in the catalog the tri-Y set up has separate secondaries as it hits the downpipe and two separate pipes till the flex joint. The one that ships has the four pipes blending to two at the down pipe gasket, and as it bends below the car you are down to one big pipe as it runs back towards the flex joint. Which is better? Who knows, I'm just glad to get it.

I was wondering if anybody on the list has tried running the headers on a stock SE-R? As some other people on the list have found out recently, the aftermarket mufflers are a little loud for my taste. Since very little of my driving is spent at high RPM's, the little gain up top was not worth the added noise.

Wayne Cox (

I think you'd see a nice benefit from them. Most all the other mods help top-end breathing, with lots of noise increase. The headers help all around; I liked the bottom end improvement from my HS set a lot. From what you said, headers, bumped ignition timing, maybe a JWT ECU would be your best bet.

As for sound change, my loud exhaust lets everything through. The headers changed it to a more buzzy, raspy (annoying) tone. But with a stock muffler I don't think you'd hear much difference.

Zak Nilsson (

It will help. From what I've gathered, either the Stillen or the Hotshot header will get you around 12 hp at the wheels...which is like 17 or so at the crank. Of course it will work better with intake and exhaust, but it will certainly do something even without them. I'm not sure what a header sounds like with no other mods; mine sounds a bit louder and growlier, but it's hard to tell over the roar of the K&N. ;)

About the KBD header...

Corey Slovick (s...@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu)

Mine is ceramic coated, 4-2-1, and beautiful! There is no flex pipe, just a mandrel bent stainless steel pipe going from the last collector to the cat. I installed it myself (with the aid of a hydraulic lift) in about an hour and a half.

Here are the two things that you ARE GOING TO run into. First, there are 3 holes in the header and only 2 things to fill them. I'm referring to the pulse-air/EGR tube at the top right and the O2 Sensor. The third hole took a little bit of ingenuity, I ended up just kinda happening across a bolt tha fit at the hardware store. I plugged it up and good to go.

Three months later, the 4-2 gasket burnt out (little piece of asbestos shit). I went to the dealer and bought two of the metal ring gaskets made for the same joint in the stock manifold. I got 'em good and sticky with some Disc Brake Quiet and tightened it up, and that was the end of that.

This you may or may not run into. After first install, the entire exhaust system was moved back an inch or so, causing the HKS muffler to rattle against the tow-hitch (yeah, it's got a tow hitch, too). Local welder took a small piece out of the midpipe and that went away. Now the rear section moves side to side and "buzzes" against the rear sway bar (ST). I'm going to fix that with a lot of heater hose tape, hopefully (like that alliteration??? :-) Your after-market noises will surely vary with your other assortments of after-market parts.

Header installation tips...

Kurt Sussman (

Make sure you have the following before you start:

  • 10, 12, 14mm sockets. You may want deep sockets too, but I didn't need them. A swivel, medium and long extensions are useful too.
  • a torque wrench is essential. Don't use the cheapo pointer type.
  • anti-seize compound (to keep everything from being 'welded' from the heat)
  • some kind of breaker bar; I used a 14" 1/2 drive bar (not ratchet) and a 4' pipe for the motor mount bracket (more on this later).
  • all gaskets (cat, steel secondary, manifold to head), bolts, etc, and some spare exhaust studs (at least one always pulls out, and if you snap one you want to be prepared)
  • some 3/8" washers; I used 2 flat and 2 lock washers (for the front motor mount)

Since I'll probably forget to mention all the safety stuff, I'll just say be careful. Your car is big, sharp, and heavy. You are soft and squishy. Block your tires, use jack stands, stay awake, etc.

Jack up the front of the car. You need to get to the front of the cat, as well as a few screws and nuts under the front.

I removed the passenger-side splash shield so I could reach the secondary and front motor mount. Unbolt the cat end first, being careful not to rip the ground strap (the cat has to be grounded so the second O2 sensor reads accurately). Then remove the bolt on the top side of the secondary (to the front motor mount) and the nuts holding the secondary to the manifold.

Bolt your new secondary/flex pipe on, using enough anti-seize. Don't get any on your clothes. Let it hang in the front.

Put your jack under the oil pan, and find a small block of wood to protect the pan. Support (don't lift!) the engine, and remove the front motor mount. You have to get rid of the bracket between the mount and the engine, and since the bolts will bottom out without it, you'll have to use washers when you put the motor mount back on.

Unscrew the O2 sensor (and AIV, if you have one).

Remove the manifold, loosening the bolts in a spiral from the outside toward the center (2-4-6-8-7-5-3-1). To get the EGR tube out of the driver's side of the manifold, loosen the manifold end, then loosen the two bolts on the smaller manifold at the other end of the tube. 12mm, swivel, medium extension.

Scrape the gasket surface on the head until it is shiny and smooth. You don't want to do this again.

Put the new gasket on and maneuver the header into place. Put all the nuts and washers back on, but don't tighten them until they're all snug. Torque them to 27 ft-lbs in a spiral from the center bolts to the outside (8-6-4-2-1-3-5-7). Put everything together, using anti-seize on everything that might get hot.

Double check your work. Did you remember to tighten the little manifold at the back end of the EGR tube?

Warm the car up. Listen for exhaust leaks and rattles. The header will smoke a little. Don't panic. Drive around a little. Park the car.

In the morning (when it's cold), torque the manifold nuts again in the same pattern. This time, set your wrench to 35 ft-lbs.

What's the difference between 4-2-1 vs. 4-1 headers?

Frank Viloria (

From what I have picked up thru messin with cars, 4-1 headers provide better flow since the outgoing gasses don't have to go thru the transition of flowing out of 4 pipes, to 2 pipes, to 1 pipe. However, in most states 4-1 headers are illegal for street so thatz why many header manufacturers usually only make 4-2-1 headers. My buddy has the Gude 4-1 headers on his God-forbidden Civic and it made a big difference in not only performnace, but noise as well!

Maintained by Ronald S. Chong (