Ball and socket flange Header - Chevelle Tech
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  #1  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 4:15 PM
Autoengineer Autoengineer is offline
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Default Ball and socket flange Header

Here's a basic question. Whats the difference and pros/cons of a ball and socket flange header vs a 3 bolt flange? Currently, my headers have the 3 bolt flange and just bolt up to my exhaust with a gasket sandwiched inbetween. I'm looking to replace my headers and I noticed many of them are of the ball and socket flange design. Will this require some work by a muffler shop to connect up a set of new headers if they are ball and socket flange? Thanks,
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  #2  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 4:27 PM
Brettd85 Brettd85 is online now
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

I personally like them, seems to make routing easier and they seal well. Only con I have is the bolts loosen up so you have to double nut.
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  #3  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 5:19 PM
ehjorten ehjorten is offline
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

I think I would say that I would never buy a Ball and Socket Header again! I bought a set of the Hedman Elites for my '77 K20 and the bolts immediately started loosening up and I lost 2 of the 6 bolts in less than 200 miles. I replaced them and re-torqued everything and it happened again in less time. Then I double-nutted them and the same thing happened, but it took a little more time for them to loosen up. Finally I put all new bolts in and torqued them down real tight, then took it to my local weld shop and had them tack all the nuts. This worked for several hundred miles, but now all of the bolts are marginally tight, no leaks, but the exhaust moves around a bit and the only way to fix it is to cut off the bolts and start over! VERY FRUSTRATING!!!

I went the Ball and Socket route because others I know have had or had them and liked them...Brett85 included. I liked the idea of no gasket needed and read into the hype that no gasket means no gasket leaks. Hind-sight I have had several other vehicles with the standard 3-bolt gasketed header flange and have never blown-out that gasket or had a leak there.

The problem I see with the ball and socket connection is that the bolt and nut joint design is inherently flawed!!! You need to have a solid joint for the fasteners to not loosen up. The standard flange is a much better design and you don't save anything in the ball and socket design except for a gasket!
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  #4  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 5:51 PM
BillsCamino BillsCamino is online now
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

I use the ball socket adapter, which can be used with ANY header, on my '67.
The ball simply welds onto the exhaust pipe.
Works perfect!! No leaks ever.
You do need to slide the supplied bolt flange over the pipe before welding.
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  #5  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 7:02 PM
BillK BillK is offline
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

Interesting discussion. I am looking at Edelbrocks LS1 conversion headers and exhaust and it uses the ball and socket type of seal.

It seems that almost all new vehicles have this type of system and the oems dont seem to have a problem with them. Wonder what the aftermarket is doing wrong ? I do know that most of the oem systems have a spring loaded flange and the bolts are a shoulder type and would be almost imporssible for them to come loose. WOnder if you could retrofit the spring loaded setup to the aftermarket ones ?
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  #6  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 7:24 PM
BillsCamino BillsCamino is online now
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

Mine just bolts together using common 3/8" bolts and have NEVER come loose.
We also installed a set on my BIL's '69 Chevelle...no problems.
The ball adapters are available..CHEAP...and in various sizes from any local muffler supply outlet.
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  #7  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 7:36 PM
langss langss is offline
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

I think the OEM not only uses springs,but the nuts and the threads are some sort of self locking setup.When I found the clamp on my Camaro loose,I thought I could just tighten it up, but it was worn and it ran out of threads.So I figured I would just put some washers under the nuts. Mind you, I had soaked the clamp with penetrating oil before I started.Less than the amount of turns till it bottomed and it was bound up solid.I ended up cutting the clamp off with a high speed and a cutoff wheel.I had to order a new clamp and the threads were not like normal rolled threads.The nuts looked like normal nuts, but they had funny looking threads as well.The threads had some sort of antiseize so I figured it was designed to be installed and never removed.Just my .02
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  #8  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 9:18 PM
rkd rkd is online now
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

I have them on one of my 5.0 Foxbody toys, only a couple thousand miles personally, but they have been the standard factory and aftermarket setup for millions of cars since 85. I find them much easier to install and adjust. I would put them on the Chevelle in a second if I was changing exhaust.
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  #9  
Old Feb 10th, 10, 9:22 PM
Derek69SS Derek69SS is online now
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

I like them on mine... I had them loosen up on me at first, but now I check them at every oil-change while I'm under there anyway.
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  #10  
Old Feb 11th, 10, 11:51 AM
ehjorten ehjorten is offline
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

Mine are just regular bolts and nuts. I tried prevailing torque nuts as well as double prevailing torque and they still loosened up on me. Yeah!!!...shoulder bolts and perhaps a spring loaded joint would help. I may have to try putting something together like that. If anyone has a picture of a stock OEM type setup I would appreciate being able to look at it. My truck does see a lot more harsh conditions that our street cars, so I am sure that contributes.

Perhaps I could make up a sheetmetal retainer like a cam lock-plate? That would keep them from loosening...or perhaps safety wire them!
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  #11  
Old Feb 11th, 10, 2:56 PM
novaderrik novaderrik is offline
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoengineer View Post
Here's a basic question. Whats the difference and pros/cons of a ball and socket flange header vs a 3 bolt flange? Currently, my headers have the 3 bolt flange and just bolt up to my exhaust with a gasket sandwiched inbetween. I'm looking to replace my headers and I noticed many of them are of the ball and socket flange design. Will this require some work by a muffler shop to connect up a set of new headers if they are ball and socket flange? Thanks,
any time you switch headers from one brand to another, yo uare going to need to do a little work on the pipes to get them to fit, anyways, so a ball and socket setup really isn't much more work.
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  #12  
Old Feb 11th, 10, 3:32 PM
pdvanocudadave pdvanocudadave is offline
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

I like them and have had no problems.When I was puting them on my 68 Chevelle,I seen that there would be a problem with the bolts coming loose and spiked the nuts with a sharp punch.
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  #13  
Old Feb 15th, 10, 3:22 AM
Chris R Chris R is offline
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

Ball and socket type does seem to seal better. Im thinking a spring type of system like what some imports cars have, especially Honda, would be appropiate here. They have a springs that kind of looks like a valve spring with special shoulder bolts to seat the spring and self locking nuts like previously mentioned.
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  #14  
Old Feb 15th, 10, 9:35 AM
jimlogan jimlogan is offline
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Default Re: Ball and socket flange Header

I thought I was the only one having trouble with the header bolts at the ball and socket flange. I went to locking nuts ( the egg shaped ones)and it seems to help.
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