based on early '60's Mopar Logo

Custom Headers

1965 Dodge Coronet

'62 to '65 Mopar Mail List Clubhouse Member  Tim Jehu writes:

We have all felt the frustration of the poor selection of affordable headers to fit our early B body Mopars and the lack of performance of stock manifolds on slightly warmed RB engines, except for the Max Wedge designed cast iron headers, but these headers are few and far between and way too pricey to use on a weekend warrior project car.

Faced with this dilemma on my 1965 Dodge Coronet, I decided to try my hand at making a set of headers for my 440, (after driving a year or so with cast iron pieces).

The first piece I did was a modified full length set which needed the removal of the steering column for installation and removal. I never ran these headers, so I don't know if there were any performance gains. This being my first early B body car, I had little knowledge about the early max wedge engines and their cast iron wonders. When I became enlightened to their existence, I knew that I needed these on my engine!

Then reality set in, when I started to look for a set. These manifolds demand that I part with a large pile of gold -- which I nether had nor wanted to part with!

I decided that I would make my own Max style tube headers. So I asked the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List Clubhouse members if any of the members could send me some pictures of their Max Wedge engines, so I could use the pictures as a guide to build a version of my own. (Sorry, I don't remember the name of the person that sent me the picture, but THANKS!)

[Editor's note: For an example of a factory exhaust, see the headers on a 1963 Dodge Polara 500 426 max wedge.]

custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet
custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet
custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet
custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet
custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet
custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet custom headers for a 1965 Dodge Coronet

Side Note: I never claimed to be a welder!

Tools used to make these headers include:
  1. a sturdy work bench with a large jaw vice
  2. saws all with a ton of fine tooth blades( good for cutting strange angles in large pipe)
  3. tape measure
  4. a out of service cylinder head to bolt to when welding flanges
  5. files
  6. a grinder either electric or air powered (to help the fitting of pipes )
  7. oxy\acet cutting torch, (to cut holes where pipes join), and brazing tip for gas welding
  8. 1\16 diameter steel gas welding rods
  9. mig welder (optional this was used to do my first set of header found it tough to weld in tight areas)
  10. and most important a couple of sharpie markers
  11. metal fabricator's handbook by Ron and Sue Fournier (chapter 12 on headers has lots of info on building, planing of routing and welding. This book basically gave me the idea to do this project.)
Material list includes:
  1. one set of header flanges
  2. two sets of collector flanges
  3. U bends and J bent header pipes which can be ordered through JEGS OR SUMMIT catalog. 6 13/4 dia jbends, 4 2inch dia ubends and 3 21/2 inch ubends
  4. attaching hardware header bolts and a used header gasket tube
My 65's headers started out their life as a set of Dynomax headers that I was unable to fit on my car. I cut the tubes off about 3 to 4 inches away from the flange on the center tubes and about 1 inch on the outer tubes. The reason for leaving the centers so long is that the flanges are going to be used upside down with center tubes facing up (2 less bends that had to be welded ).

I bolted the flange to the mock up head and set to work reworking the two outer end tubes, which now point in the wrong direction; this was done with a large deep wall socket and a small hammer. You want to get these to come as straight out as possible.

The second tube in is the first one that meets the two inch pipe that connects to the 2 1/2 main. Once these are in place tack weld and test fit on car; if okay, weld them up.

The next pipe to be welded in is #4 tube (1 3/4 dia tube). This one connects to the bottom of the 2 1/2 pipe with a sharp bend; this is going to be the trickiest tube to do. When planing out this tube, don't forget about clearance for the last header bolt! I missed that when doing mine and ended up modifying a long nut from a hp manifold.

The rest of the pipes are all down hill from here. Next on the to do list is tube #3 (1 3/4 dia) which intersects with the 2/1/2 just below 2 and 2 1/2 junction and finally #1 tube (1 3/dia) which connects to the 2 inch pipe.

By now you probably have a small collection of left over tube pieces of various shapes and sizes. Do not throw these away as they will probably be used for the second header.

I also noted that you will not be able to copy the first one exactly because the way it has to fit in the car.

July 1, 2003

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