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Old 11-26-2019, 08:54 PM   #1
OVRKLL
 
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Kooks/AWE Cat Back Install

Well today the fun started at 7:00ish!
A one man job..Whew!

Please keep in mind this is NOT a write up on how to do, but more of what I did so far today, and what was the easiest/hardest time!


I did this on my Quick Jack, so set up was about 10min tops.
Next best thing to a lift!

Disconnected the long hoses for more space to use my creeper and started the disassembly of the exhaust system.


First off, I find it strange how all the videos out there make this look so easy, I guess I'm not mechanically literate!


AWE says to disconnect the NPP harness, Phastek made this look so easy...NOT!
On the passenger side I had to remove the small trim screws that hold the bumper by the rear of the rear wheel fender. I could not get my hand in there to release the harness, not even on the driver side where it is much easier do to the orientation of the harness, not sure how people can do this. My hands aren't small, and not overly large (xl glove) but even a small hand would have difficulty...so I bypassed this and removed the easier items...cross brace etc.


Those GM harnesses are a pain in the butt...pulled the gray tab back and pushed down, nothing happens!!

I had this same problem with the O2 sensors, I could not get the harnesses off...so I removed the cats with the exhaust.


A time consuming process was removing the aluminum front skid plate.
So many screws, bolts and nuts...well only 2 nuts.
And then it could only swing down since the car was not high enough to remove, but it worked out fine.


I did all what I could on the bottom first, removing the entire exhaust from the primary cats to the tail pipes in one piece...that's one long exhaust system...and pretty heavy too for this old man!



So under the car the worse items were the GM harness locking clips
I finally got the NPP harnesses out when I dropped the back end of the exhaust system...had my floor jack under the suit case, the front side got hung up on the aluminum skid plate which worked out good.


Once all that was out of the way, I moved to the top engine bay for more frustration and lessons on patience.
The heat shields were a breeze, the passenger side was a little more challenging with the back bolt on the secondary shield.


What ever happened to the old school spark plug wires?!!

These were a pain only because they are so far down and there's not much room to pull/tug on the wire to release them. They are pretty snug!



The plastic valve cover cover with the 2 torx screws were a small pain due to trying to get access to the driver side rear bolt. And the passenger side bucked me with the oil dipstick and the heater hoses...I was temped to remove the heater hoses, but did not.


That dipstick entry to the pan is way way down there, I can see frustration coming when it's time to re-install!!

Another item that looks like will give me some frustrations is the steering column connector, because the bolt heads are facing down...yay!

I'm hoping I'll have more room with an extension when the Kooks are in to reach those bolts from the bottom.



Removing the driver side exhaust manifold was a breeze, the passenger side rear bolt was a challenge...my hands just don't fit back there very easily...this took some time to remove!



I stopped working on it at 6pm when I got all items that needed to be removed, removed other than the steering column connector.

So tomorrow morning I start the install frustrations ...but I'm keeping my eye on the prize!


I'm open to any suggestions on the installation portion...or even on the removal...is there something else I could have done to make life easier for me?


The good thing about this project, is I don't have to rush...I even went to my allergist for 2.5 hours for some shot, ate breakfast, lunch and took a few breaks...to eat again!


I think my neighbors are getting afraid when they see the exhaust system sitting in my drive-way...
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:11 AM   #2
SC88
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Depending on what size headers you went with it might be necessary to loosen the starter to get the passenger side in.

I recommend getting ALL the header bolts started by hand before you start trying to tighten them down.

The steering shaft bolt you should be able to get with a extension. Make sure your wheels and steering wheel is as straight as possible.
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Old 11-27-2019, 08:25 AM   #3
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Why not just turn the wheel until the steering shaft bolt is facing up? As for the passenger side, lots of guys seem to get them in without removing the starter. When I did mine a couple of years ago, I didn't even try, I just pulled the starter and unbolted the motor mounts as the prevailing notion at the time was that these items had to be removed. It did make getting the passenger side in a breeze, but reinstalling the mount and starter with the header in place was a bit of a pain. I'd try it with everything in place first.
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L78toLT1 View Post
Why not just turn the wheel until the steering shaft bolt is facing up? As for the passenger side, lots of guys seem to get them in without removing the starter. When I did mine a couple of years ago, I didn't even try, I just pulled the starter and unbolted the motor mounts as the prevailing notion at the time was that these items had to be removed. It did make getting the passenger side in a breeze, but reinstalling the mount and starter with the header in place was a bit of a pain. I'd try it with everything in place first.
I tried without pulling the starter. Gave it a solid 10-15 mins from a few angles, then just pulled it. Fit right in after that. It's not shimmed or anything, so piece of cake to pull it and reinstall. It also made wrapping it with that DEI heat shield a lot simpler.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:00 PM   #5
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Well today proved to be a day of testing to say the least!



First off, AWE cat back exhaust is made for the OEM exhaust manifold, and the Kook headers are made for the OEM exhaust system and the two shall not meet...unless you do some cutting here and there.



Or I could do one and not the other, but that's not going to happen!


So I decided to install the headers first and work my way to the tips, so I can get a better idea of what/where I need to cut.
I'm pretty sure I'll have to cut the link pipes for the secondary cat delete from AWE.


The problem is the Kooks does not have a 2 bolt flange and the link pipes do...just like OEM.


I tried for a good 30min or so to get the passenger side in without removing the starter...it did not happen.
I removed the starter and I still had problems..the flange on the header kept hitting the firewall area where my brake lines come down and under.
After a good fight...almost gave up, but could not do that, I finally got it in.

Now I'm trying to reinstall the starter, the bad thing is I started to bolt up the header before realizing I need to do the starter first.
Not to mention trying to get the gasket to line up and bolt it up was a pain, I had to remove it all..yay!

I'll need to remember the dipstick too...I bet that will be fun too!


Oh, I also managed to donate 2 bolts to the abyss under the car somewhere! Even my flashlight battery cover fell down there, but I found it on the frame, but no bolts!



The steering connector was a breeze compared to the rest of the head aches. And I should have just turned the wheel, but there's space for an extension. Driver side header goes in like hand and glove.
I did notice the engine mount on the passenger side is larger and a bit more forward than the driver side, hence I kept hitting it.


So tomorrow the challenge is to get the starter back in, I got it in position, but the bolt holes were not lining up...not sure why, I hope one of my bolts didn't fall in there!

Getting it in was a pain, but I knew it would be.


Hopefully I get to the point where I can cut the pipes and start fitting the exhaust together, I just hope there's no exhaust leaks, if so it will be welding time, but I'll need to practice since I haven't done a weld in years.
Come to think about it, I'll need to get a helmet to weld...sheesh, this better be worth it.


I don't think I'll do something like this again by myself...I need at least a third hand to hold the flashlight!
However, I had to see if I could do it, a friend of mine has a lift, but then it would have been easier with the lift and a friend...wheres the challenge in that!
,

Oh, I called both AWE and Kook to speak to their tech service peeps, Kooks was very helpful and answered my questions.

AWE...crickets! Left a message, and nothing...AWE was AWOL, then again maybe they had the day off, but their recording didn't say that!


Thank you for all your suggestions and advice!



And HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:18 AM   #6
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Good luck. It will be worth it and you now know the ins and outs of your camaro. Can’t beat that feeling when it’s done.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:27 AM   #7
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I have the ARH long system with the AWE axleback. I can tell you nothing will match up as there is no standard so each company makes it how they want. The AWE axleback didnt match up to the ARH long system like the instructions detail for the stock NPP muffler, but it works with a very minimal mod.

I am betting you will need to cut and weld on your setup in order to get it to work. I doubt AWE will answer as they are probably off for the holiday, so you are on your own until Monday I would guess.
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Old 11-28-2019, 07:49 PM   #8
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Well I got a few more cuts and nicks today, but the bruises on the back doesn't bother me now. And I had time to eat some Turkey!



Hyperblue, yup I definitely know my car better now...they don't make it any easier to mechanically work on that's for sure.


I'm at the point of so close, but yet so far!
I got everything back in starter, dipstick, steering connector and headers.
I torqued the headers to 18lbft, is that good or should I do 20lbft?
Every thing went pretty smooth.



I figured out how to get those header bolts and gasket to bolt up easier.
I inserted two bolts through the gaskets...one at a time of course, and used some painters paint to hold them in place.
Then I hand tightened a third one, and then moved to tighten the taped one. The tape helps to hold the bolts and gasket in place while I hand tighten a third one. If not, I had difficulty trying to line up the bolt and gasket on a second bolt...the tape made is so much easier.


Oh thanks to Booher, I also found my 2 bolts, they dropped down the headers to the collector on the outside...not inside...whew!


Also, for the starter I loosened the 10mm bolt on the side holding the flex plate, and the holes on the starter lined up perfect.
I didn't tighten the starter until I replaced that 10mm bolt, as the flex plate dropped a little when I took it off, which allowed the starter to go right in.


Kooks included some heat padding which I placed over my brake line and wires running along the frame near the passenger side header.


Now that was all the close part, the far part is...I need 2" to connect the AWE system to the Kook Cats!


I noticed there's a custom fabrication welder near me, so I think I'll stop by there tomorrow with the cats and see if he can weld on 2" on ss pipe.
I was going to tackle that, but I'm not that good on iron let alone SS. And if I did it, it would probably be crooked!


Here's some pics of the taped header bolts and heat shield over my brake lines and wires.
I hope the welder can do his thing!
Attached Images
  
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:02 PM   #9
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Well I called several exhaust shops and auto stores to get some piping to make the connection.
Of course no one had the size I needed and SS was no where to be found. Shops would not sell me anything unless they installed it...yay!
I was planning on MIG welding the connections myself, until I read on my welder, Not for Aluminum or Stainless Steel...What!
Oh well it's an old cheap HF one anyway.

So, I called a performance shop which is close to my place of work and explained what I needed.
He gave me a couple of options which weren't all that good and a long shot as he said.

I then decided to install my OEM exhaust, placed the AWE system into my trunk and back seat, and will have the shop do the install since he has a welder and pipe expanders/reducers to make what I would need.

My reason for taking it to him is I'll need a tune anyway, and he can do the tune for the headers, as well as the exhaust.
Since I had to purchase those darn credits, I figured he just as well do the AWE system too.

Putting one the OEM exhaust was a cake walk, just cut and install so easy.

I now have some AWE links for the secondary cats, which I'll be returning to them, I did get to talk with John at AWE, he had no piping to sell to me either.

I hope I don't have to change spark plugs anytime soon, those things were a pain, my fingers hurt from squeezing between the headers...again it was on the passenger side that was difficult, driver side no problem.
I had to place a rag under the headers just in case I dropped a spark plug, which I did.
At first I could not figure out how to put those darn spark plug heat boots on, until it hit me. I was trying to put them over the OEM aluminum shielding...there was no way that was going to happen...

Well I'll take my car to the shop tomorrow, and pick up on Wednesday or so. I just need to baby it for now!

Thank you for all the suggestions and advice, this was a journey of frustration for sure, but also an educated one too!
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:38 PM   #10
OVRKLL
 
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Finally got my car finished and the Kooks Headers and AWE Exhaust is loud, but not obnoxious!
Haven't experienced any drone yet, but it is one that will wake the neighbors and maybe even the neighborhood!


There is a nice Rasp, which I was hoping for, coming from a 2001 MRoadster with after market exhaust, I'm used to hearing it and like it.
However, minimal burble if anyone is looking for that sound.


Now if straight headers is a 10 and stock is 1, this set up is around an 8!


Glad I did it!!
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:55 PM   #11
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Congrats man, enjoy the fruits if your labor! Mine is decently quiet if you are in stealth and not on it, but in track good God its loud lol. Its such a drastic change from stealth to track now. Almost done getting the tune dialed in so I can really see what she can do.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:30 PM   #12
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Congrats man, enjoy the fruits if your labor! Mine is decently quiet if you are in stealth and not on it, but in track good God its loud lol. Its such a drastic change from stealth to track now. Almost done getting the tune dialed in so I can really see what she can do.
Thanks Booher!
I deleted the NPP, so the exhaust note is now controlled by my right foot!
Of course at start up in the morning...my neighbors are probably hating me now!
The other Pony owners (Mustang & Challenger) now want to do the same.
The three of us have it out at the track every now and then, so I'm hoping to get to COTA soon with them....nice guys, but their cars suck! j/k
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by OVRKLL View Post
Thanks Booher!
I deleted the NPP, so the exhaust note is now controlled by my right foot!
Of course at start up in the morning...my neighbors are probably hating me now!
The other Pony owners (Mustang & Challenger) now want to do the same.
The three of us have it out at the track every now and then, so I'm hoping to get to COTA soon with them....nice guys, but their cars suck! j/k
You can tune that stupid loud cold start out. It's a catalyst warmup. It's still loud on a cold start, but not wake the whole neighborhood loud for 30 seconds.

Check this thread. You want to set it just like the first picture in the thread with the ECT settings.

https://www.camaro6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=523925
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geaux_tigerss View Post
You can tune that stupid loud cold start out. It's a catalyst warmup. It's still loud on a cold start, but not wake the whole neighborhood loud for 30 seconds.

Check this thread. You want to set it just like the first picture in the thread with the ECT settings.

https://www.camaro6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=523925
Thanks Tigerss!
I'll talk to the tuner about this.
I just keep my garage doors closed at start up, so I don't think the neighbors are bothered, but I'll ask them as well.
Our homes are pretty well insulated, so if the windows are closed they MAY not hear it.
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