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Old 03-02-2012, 09:35 PM   #1
JointTech
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72 C20 Headers

Anybody have a set they like. Entry level. Very streetable.
truck is a 350/350. but had a big block 400 originally if that matters.
I dont want anything to expensive right now because I'm not sure which way im going to go with the motor.
It needs an exhaust job though or my wife wont ride in it. So I figure if Im going to have to take the rams horns off the replace the gaskets I may as well put some headers on before taking it to the muffler shop to weld on the new mufflers and pipes.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:03 AM   #2
Red72c20
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

i am litterally in the same position, 72 c20 350 needs new exaughst system so i want to get some headers to replace the stock ones then do a dual exaughst, if you could tell me what you did and what kind of headers you went with it would be very helpfull thanks
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:40 AM   #3
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

It sounds as though you both have good factory cast iron exhaust and just need new pipes. I completely understand the urge for headers, however, it's worth hearing before you plink down your money that there are downsides/considerations to having them. Keep in mind they will heat up the engine compartment a bit if not wrapped. They can melt plug wires, but at the very least, you'll have to take some care in routing the wires. They may add a bit more noise (in the engine compartment) to a comparably muffled engine, not much, but since you mentioned your wife won't ride until it gets an exhaust, that's something to consider. They can make your starter hot and cause starting troubles, they can even make your floorboards hotter in the front. And, lastly, they tend to leak at the gasket to the cylinder head (unless you get quality thick flange headers). Oh, and they rust if quickly if they are the uncoated type (since you mentioned the less expensive ones). It's easy to not see the good side to the cast iron manifolds - and headers have a cool factor about them that tends to fade soon after the install. Sometimes you HAVE to get headers - cracked exh manifold and can't find a replacement, etc.

I forgot to mention, they cost money. There are workarounds to many of the side effects, but those also cost money, and time.

Any exhaust shop can install a set of duals from the cast iron manifolds on back and it will sound great. All up to the muffler at that point. Just a thought - and please don't get me wrong, I'm not poo-pooing headers - I've installed them several times, but since the first set, I've grown to prefer the cast iron for the above reasons. Something to consider before taking the plunge.
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:14 PM   #4
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

listen to jocko!. if you have rams horns stay with them. headers are nothing but a pain. if anything maybe some sandersons.... headers like burning wires, shorter plugs, notching frame. smashing in a tube or two, always coming loose.
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:15 PM   #5
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

https://www.summitracing.com/search/...48820%2B401877
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Old 09-24-2018, 06:23 AM   #6
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

Some like manifolds, some like headers. The ones that like manifolds will tell you headers are full of problems as if you'll never have problems with manifolds. The ones who like headers will tell you they've had no more trouble than with manifolds and that's how my experience has gone. I run either/or and my decision has nothing to do with one being better than the other. More about keeping an original look under the hood or having a classic performance look or level of performance requiring more flow.

I haven't had headers on a 2wd for years so don't know the options for best clearance. If your truck is a manual shift you'll need ones that will clear the clutch linkage. I run Headman Torque-Steps on my 4wd. But I don't know if those are still made, since I got mine 14 years ago.
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:57 PM   #7
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

To Tim's point, Heddman the only source I found that reliably cleared clutch linkage. Most of the 2x4 headers hang WAY low since exhaust runs below the crossmember on the two wheel drive but through it on the four wheel drive.

I ran Heddmans on my Jimmy for 10 years or so and ditched them for the straight dump manifolds with the 2 1/2" outlet as were found on the Corvettes of the mid 60's. At $59 each, they seem like the best way to go but they are more difficult to plumb on a 2x4. Not impossible but more difficult for sure. If I was going for a max effort build making power well north of 5000 rpm I'd run headers, otherwise the manifols.

For a truck with a truck size cam, I like manifolds and the best flowing exhaust you can attach to them. I have screwed together a couple of 427's in the last year. One is an L36 from a 69 Corvette that has 10:1 compression and a Comp Nitrous grind cam hydraulic roller. 224/236 @ .050 that I bought a set of Sandersons iron manifolds that were painfully expensive that I'm putting in my short step. The other is a cobbled together 454 block, GM steel crank and some thumb rods that has a Comp Marine 230/236 hydraulic roller that I bought a set of Heddman Elites for that is going in my Corvette as I am a little more concerned with max power on the car.
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:25 PM   #8
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

all so i used the hooker down pipes. and the hooker exhaust kit for our trucks. it is a 2 1/2 inch system with 2 1/4 inch adapters welded on them to bolt to stock manifolds. nice fit. everything at summit racing
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Old 11-19-2018, 09:52 AM   #9
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

Looking for options on exhaust as well for K20 4wd small block, auto.

Plastercracker, what kit (part # if you have it) was it you used and did you have any issues with what they sent. Are you in Conneuat i.e. PA?

Also, drivers side is straight dump, and passenger side is slant back like 2wd models? Thanks.

Thanks for any info.
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:01 AM   #10
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/h...del/c10-pickup
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:03 AM   #11
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/f...del/c10-pickup
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:11 AM   #12
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

i used the complete kit for 72 c10 automatic. i used just the down pipes on my 71 2500 GMC and got a couple straight pipes to go to behind cab and used summit brand mufflers. on c10 i used hooker mufflers. both trucks 2wd. i am in ConneuatTownship Pa 16401. down pipes have 2 1/4 inlet adapter to 2 1/2 exhaust. both trucks are coil spring rear all so. think that makes a difference.
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:23 AM   #13
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

Got a 71 GMC swb, sbc with 465 trans. Bought a JCWhitney(LOL) exhaust kit, years ago. 2 1/4" pipes. Have replaced mufflers twice, front pipes still great. Tailpipes now perforated.

At some point I bought another kit, but it was different than the first and is not as simple.

May get a local to make tailpipes.

Also have a 71 K20 sbc auto, thinking of what to put on it for exhaust. It has no manifolds, but as I understand it the drivers side is straight dump, the passenger is a slant back.

I also have a set of large ram horns (2 1/2") from a 64 327/365 HP but they are straight drops. Just looking for ideas and a plan with few headaches. I will look at your suggested parts at summit. Also like the chrome new manifolds from Jegs.

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Old 11-19-2018, 10:43 AM   #14
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

Unless you enjoy changing exhaust gaskets or the sound of header leaks(can sound like a loose rocker arm/bled down lifter) do not buy cheap headers.If you have to have headers buy a set that has 3/8 flanges that bolt to your cylinder head.Cheap headers have thin head flanges and after a few heat cycles will bend where the bolt goes into the head leaving a gap at your exhaust ports.This small gap is will leak hot exhaust gases and burn through your gasket in no time flat.

Headers sound great when you have a nice tightly sealed exhaust system, but the cool factor goes right out the window when all you can hear is tic tic tic tic tic tic tic.That constantly annoying sound that only gets louder as you drive, reminding you at all times that you need to buy ANOTHER set of header gaskets.

The amount of money you will spend on gaskets over the next year will outweigh the cost of buying quality set of headers.Do yourself a huge favor and buy good headers.With all that said, like mentioned above there are rams horn manifolds that have a 2 1/2 free flowing outlet and seal like they were welded to your engine.

Unless your up over the 500 hp range I would stick with the rams horns and save yourself time,money and allkinds of unnecessary headaches.L have been there,done that withh everything I have mentioned.I even ignored the advice of others who tried tell me the same thing
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Old 11-19-2018, 11:07 AM   #15
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

2 1/2 inch rams ,No problem with wires and be able to change plugs in 20 minutes .

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Old 11-19-2018, 12:22 PM   #16
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

Save your money for a good, quality set of headers and stick with manifolds in the meantime. You don't want cheap, entry level headers or you WILL have all the problems people complain about. Plain and simple
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Old 11-19-2018, 01:29 PM   #17
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

Good headers are expensive for a reason.
Have Doug's tri Y on my 68 C20 454 and haven't touched them.
Have Doug's 4-1 on my 73 c10 sbc again zero maintenance headers.
All 3/8 flanged top and and bottom.

If your on a budget use manifolds.
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Old 11-19-2018, 03:40 PM   #18
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

plastercracker, I have some questions about the Hooker system. I've heard the right down pipe doesn't clear the starter very well. I've also heard the down pipes are too long and the pipes hang way down below the frame. Did you have either of these issues when you installed yours?
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Old 11-19-2018, 04:53 PM   #19
plastercracker
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

your right i forgot about that. i did put mini starter in c10. there not that much any more. got it at summit for like 150 bucks i think. made by power master. and it can be clocked for extra room on Solenoid. 71 gmc is working but i wrapped the heck out of it with heat insulation tape. will put mini in that one later. but the exhaust kit did fit c10 nice.
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Old 11-19-2018, 04:58 PM   #20
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Re: 72 C20 Headers

the pipes hang low but are level to back and tight against the bottom of trailing arm cross member. easy to cut down pipes and shorten up. but then you have to cut holes in cross member to go thru instead of under. or buy after market cross member
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