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Old 08-08-2009, 09:34 AM   #1
Nine Ball

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Talking DIY : Install headers on 2010 Camaro SS

We installed a set of American Racing longtube headers on the Planet LSX Magazine project 2010 Camaro SS. Check out the article to learn how to do this, and enjoy the sound clip video which compares OEM vs Catback vs Catback+Headers!

Original Article:

We show you how to install headers on your 5th gen SS.
In a previous article, we showed you how to install an MBRP 3" exhaust system on your 2010 Camaro SS. For this installment, we will install a set of long-tube American Racing headers to the combo. These stainless steel headers have 1-7/8" primaries, and come with a dual 3" midpipe with an X-pipe incorporated to replace the factory H-pipe configuration. Our friends at Late Model Racecraft ( supplied the headers and a few installation tips to get us started.

Experience Level Required
Shadetree Mechanic

Estimated Time
2.5 hours

Tools Required
11mm, 13mm, 15mm and 9/16" deep sockets with ratchet
9/16" open-end wrench
7/8" open-end wrench or 7/8" O2 sensor socket
Small torque wrench (18 ft-lbs range)
large zip-ties or bailing wire, small zip-ties
Anti-seize thread compound
Sawzall reciprocating saw
Auto lift, or approx 2 foot tall jackstands or ramps

We found the installation of headers on the 2010 Camaro to be a relatively straightforward process. Most readers will most likely require a professional installation simply due to the tools required. The car needs to be at least 2 feet off the ground in order to slip the headers in place from the bottom. We did not attempt to put them in from the top, as they do not appear to fit that way. You will also need the Sawzall to make the required cuts at the rear of the midpipe, regardless if you are installing this system on a factory set of mufflers or an aftermarket catback. The installation process shown here is for matching up with an MBRP stainless 3" catback, but the same steps will also be used to install this header system with a factory exhaust system. The only difference is the location of the cuts, and that the cuts will be on the factory 2.5" muffler pipes instead of the American Racing adapter pipes shown in this procedure.

Installation Steps

Safety First: Disconnect battery positive terminal. Battery is located inside the trunk. Due to close proximity of working near the starter, as well as unplugging wiring harness items, this should be mandatory. You don't want that oil dipstick to bump the starter! If using ramps or jackstands, work on a level and concrete surface. Always use wheel chocks with ramps.

1. While car is on the ground, remove all of the spark plug wires. Removing spark plugs is optional, we did not.

2. Remove the oil dipstick from the passenger side cylinder head with a 15mm socket.

3. Remove 6ea exhaust manifold bolts on each side of the engine with a 13mm socket. Save these bolts and the factory metal gaskets, they will be reused.

4. On the backside of each cylinder head, facing the firewall, there is a wiring harness plug for the front pre-catalytic O2 sensors. These plugs are attached to the head by a slide-on plastic tab. Simply slide them downwards and disconnect the plugs, which disconnects the O2 sensors.

5. Elevate car to at least 2 feet off the ground with a lift, jackstands, or ramps.

6. Disconnect the wiring harness plugs for the two rear post-catalytic O2 sensors. Remove the two rear O2 sensors with a 7/8" wrench.

7. Disconnect the steering shaft near the steering rack. The steering U-joint has a single bolt that must be completely removed with an 11mm socket. Once the bolt is removed, the steering shaft simply collapses upwards towards the firewall. Push it up and make it shorter, getting it out of the way.

8a. If installing headers with factory mufflers, follow the instructions on the American Racing headers kit to mark and cut the rear muffler pipes with the Sawzall. Loosen the two front exhaust couplers with a 15mm socket and discard the midpipe.

8b. If installing headers with aftermarket catback, remove the midpipe by loosening any exhaust flanges necessary to do so.

9. The two exhaust manifolds will slip right out of the bottom of the car, with the catalytic assemblies still attached to them. Once they are out, remove the two O2 sensors with a 7/8" wrench.

10. At this time, install the two pre-cat O2 sensor extension harnesses to the wiring harness plugs that were mentioned earlier, found on the rear of each cylinder head. Allow them to hang down.

11. Slip the two headers in place, from underneath the car. Use zip-ties or some bailing wire to temporarily secure them so that they do not fall back out.

12. From above, install the OEM metal gaskets (pay attention to the notes stamped on the gaskets regarding direction) and reuse the OEM manifold bolts. Snug them all down and then torque to factory specs of 18 ft-lbs.

13. Install oil dipstick. This can be tricky, since the opening on the block is hidden from view by the starter. You may have to slip it down there and then crawl back under the car to guide it into the hole. A single bolt with 15mm socket tightens it in place.

14. Install spark plugs if you removed them, install plug wires.

15. Back under the car, install the American Racing midpipe. Do not tighten any exhaust flanges yet, leave them loose.

16. At the rear of the midpipe there is a ball-socket type flange. We need to get this to join with the muffler pipes. If using the OEM mufflers, the ARH provided adapter pipes should slip into place and bolt onto those ball-socket flanges. If using an aftermarket catback system these ARH adapter pipes need to be cut to length in order to join the ball-socket to the muffler pipes. Sawzall required in both cases.

17. After everything is installed, check for appropriate exhaust to body clearances along the entire exhaust system. Figure 1/4 inch is an acceptable minimum clearance. More is better. At this time, also line up your exhaust tips so that they are even and centered. Once you have everything in place, tighten all of the exhaust flanges and ball-socket flanges tightly. Do not over-tighten the flanges enough to distort the pipe shape.

18. Use a dab of anti-seize compound on the threads of each O2 sensor. Reinstall all four O2 sensors with the 7/8 wrench. Pay attention to the harness plugs on the ends, as there are two different types of sensors. The plugs only fit one way in the vehicle harness wires. Use zip-ties to route the wires away from any exhaust pipes.

19. Reinstall the steering knuckle joint back onto the steering shaft. Insert bolt and tighten securely with 11mm socket.

20. Start the engine and listen for any exhaust leaks. Tighten flanges as required.

Video of OEM exhaust vs MBRP catback vs ARH headers and catback:
Exhaust sound video via YouTube

Dyno Results, compared with stock, then with cold air intake added:


Last edited by Nine Ball; 02-16-2010 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 08-22-2009, 01:53 PM   #2
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very cool
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:52 PM   #3
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Awesome, looks like easy stuff!
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:10 AM   #4
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Definitely a lot of room to work, just leaning over it for a while starts to hurt you back at full reach.
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:21 PM   #5

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how did this get buried?

Ordered: 10-13-08
Built: 3-30-09 (#1691)
Recieved: 6-12-09

Blacked out, Cammed (Lunati Voodoo 233/245, .578/.598 @114°, +4°), ARH LTs, VR OTR CAI, Cutouts, and lots of other fun mods.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:55 AM   #6
Drives: '10 Camaro 2SS,04 Colorado,06 ZX6R
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I would like to point out that the ARH kit with the high flows and then a cat back flowmaster exhaust requires absolutely no cutting whatsoever. Just wanted to say it - oh, and it sounds bad ass!
Vararam CAI, ARH Headers, Flowmaster Exhaust, Nitto NT555Rs, Custom CAM and Tune - 11.981 @ 116.27

IOM - 2SS/RS - Auto - IAP - Sunroof - Ordered 10/13 (#7 at dealer)
3000(accepted to production ): 4/19/09
3300 (scheduled for prod ): 5/11/09
3400 (broadcast ): 5/16/09
3800 (produced ): 5/22/09
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:38 PM   #7

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Just did this yesterday... few things to note:

1) get the O2 sensors hot before removing them... they easily come out this way (well not the actual sensor, but the bung that the sensor attaches to. I did one O2 sensor without heating it, and then I heated the other 3 with a propane torch. Trust me... heat them! (not to glowing, but do get them pretty hot)

2) If you can't heat them, go to a local parts store and get the $10 O2 sensor wrench... it was worh it on the one I didn't heat. But, if you heat them... you can just use a regular 7/8" wrench with little effort.

3) The oil dipstick is indeed tricky... that was an understatement. The correct way to do it is to have one person over the engine that unbolts it, and barely loosens it. Another person should be under the car to see where the dipstick comes from. I took this out from the top, and later couldnt find the inlet..... finally found it 15 minutes later.... it was hidden behind the starter and a heat sheild.

4) Grind ~.050" from the bottom side of the dipstick mounting bracket... the new ARH flanges are a little bigger than the stock flanges... and the dipstick mount wont quite fit to its original mounting place.

5) I wouldn't start the car up after just the LT headers are installed.... just to see what open headers will sound like. It sounds so awesome that it will make you dissapointed that you had to put a catback after it ..... but if you plan to do cutouts or diverters!!
Ordered: 10-13-08
Built: 3-30-09 (#1691)
Recieved: 6-12-09

Blacked out, Cammed (Lunati Voodoo 233/245, .578/.598 @114°, +4°), ARH LTs, VR OTR CAI, Cutouts, and lots of other fun mods.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:43 AM   #8
Ivan @ Southwest Speed
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Dammit! Beat me to it Tony. Very nice work. Great pics and great write up.

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Old 03-20-2010, 09:44 PM   #9
My car runs on acorns....
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Need a little help

Thanks for the great write up it was very helpful today. My brother and I ran into a problem, once everything was hooked up the I was about an inch to long to connect the x pipe to the mufflers. I'm sure my cuts were right bu I have to choices, try to re tighten everything for an extra inch or two or cut an extra inch or two, any suggestions? Is it OK to use WD 40 to help connect the system, I think they would slide father together with some lubricant.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:28 PM   #10

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Thanks for the writeup. Its amazing how much easier these engines are to work on than the 4th gens.
Black 2SS ordered 1/4/2010, received 2/19/2010

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Old 03-21-2010, 03:45 PM   #11
Ivan @ Southwest Speed
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Originally Posted by clg_98ta View Post
Thanks for the writeup. Its amazing how much easier these engines are to work on than the 4th gens.

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Old 03-24-2010, 04:24 PM   #12
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By installing these longtube headers, doesn't that cause check engine lights and cause the 02 sensors to throw back bad readings because they are not hot enough due to the proximity from the exhaust manifold?
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:52 PM   #13
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Tip for install

I just finished installing headers through exhaust and it wasn't to difficult. The hardest thing is removing the passenger side header bolts.

When you are reinstalling the dip stick, have someone shine a light from the bottom up, makes it simple to find the hole, and keep the dipstick in the holder when you reinstall.
Installed mods:
Kooks 1 7/8" headers w/ high flow cats, Borla x-pipe, Borla Stinger exhaust, Cold Air Inductions CAI, markers, tail and reverse lights plus parking light blackouts, body colored bowties, body colored SS emblems, Passport 9500 radar detector (a must have), Kenwood DNX9960 radio w/ metra kit. Matte Black Giovanna Dalar 5V: 20x8.5 & 20x10 wheels

Mods in the future:
Relocating guts of "shark fin" and removing it, cam, super charge/turbo?...unsure what after that...

Gotta have MORE power!!
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Old 04-17-2010, 07:48 PM   #14

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Was there no way to fit the existing MBRP x-pipe?
11 IOM 2SS/RS E-Force Supercharged. 616 RWHP/578 RWTQ. Click link for my journal!!!

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