Headers Glowing red? - Team Camaro Tech
Tech 2000 Our previous General Forum
Replies ONLY - no new topics.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
Tech Team
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Overland Park Kansas
Posts: 33

I just got my recently rebuilt 396 started for the first time last night. (finally!!) I was running it at 2000 RPM for 10 minutes to break in the cam, when I noticed the headers were starting to glow red. Is this normal? They are Flow-tech headers that were fairly cheap. I don't think that they are real thick walled. They are 1 7/8" into 3" collector. Also the #5 header pipe was not glowing like the others but was hot. What would you suggest that I check to find out why it was not running like the others. I pulled the sparkplug afterwards and it had a little carbon deposit.

Thanks in advance.
GregSS396 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 05:44 AM
Super Moderator
Bess-68's rule
Everett#2390's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Va Beach VA
Posts: 31,623

Yes, headers glow red at night!! Kindda neat!

Change plug and wire with cylinder 5, and see what happens. May have to go to a step hotter plug on cyl 7.

Could also be poor fuel distribution cause by manifold design. A nice even glow is what one is seeking, right amount of fuel, jets are correct, good fuel distribution, etc.

Everett 68/350/PG/11.90/115mph
Everett#2390 is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 07:04 AM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: IL ,USA
Posts: 256

New motors will run hotter when breaking them in.It may be jetted a bit lean check your plugs after driving it you want a brownish tint on the plugs.If its too lean you can burn a piston.I might catch some flack over this but IMHO I think if the headers are glowing red (after its broke in) its too lean, I would fatten it up a bit
3DUDE is offline  
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 07:13 AM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Rowlett, TX USA
Posts: 538

I noticed the same thing when I got my Z11. It's equipped with Borla stainless steel pipes and headers and they look like hot coals!
ssdanny69 is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 07:18 AM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Maine
Posts: 3,099

I have often heard that on break in they do that. If it keeps up though, then your carb is probably running lean like everyone else said.
boodlefoof is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 11:33 AM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Monroe, WA, USA
Posts: 312

at 2000 RPM with no air flow by the motor any header will glow, at breaking it is normal. after breakin they will still glow just not as hot, if they still are glowing realy bright it could be a lean mix or late timing or both.

if your timing is late you will get glowing header's because the burn is not starting soon enough and is still combusting into the header's causeing a hotter exaust, with a lean mix you get hotter temp's too.

now some of the new cam's with ther long duration on the exaust side will give you a briter glow too. the exaust gases are flowing longer and that causes more heat to flow into the header. normaly it is not noticeable too much.

i like too see a nice deep orange glow at 2000 RPM after breakin, i know my mix is right and timing is right.

a hot almost white ornage glow is too hot IMHO. except at breakin.
ilbl8 is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 650

Look at it this way, you have 8 cigar lighters under the hood, lol.
BreathWeapon is offline  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 01:32 PM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Monroe, WA, USA
Posts: 312


now we all know why you have that handle!!!! you smoke a stogie and fire up your car to lite it!!!!!

you are funny dude!
ilbl8 is offline  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 12th, 01, 01:37 PM
David Pozzi
davidpozzi's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Central California, USA
Posts: 10,074

A rich mixture can do it too, the fuel burns in the headers! If rich enough, it can fry hoses at a foot and a half away!

Hot Rod has this topic in their new issue.
I forget the month, but there is a car with no hood and very tall injectors on the cover.

Check my web page for First Gen Camaro suspension info:
David's Motorsports page
First Gen Suspension Page
67 RS 327
69 Camaro Vintage Racer
65 Lola T-70 Can Am Vintage Racer
davidpozzi is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 13th, 01, 08:03 AM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Glendale, CA
Posts: 185

Check your timing. If you have too much timing your engine (headers) will run too hot. When I first fired my motor I had too much timing. The headers even lit one of my spark plug boots on fire - keep in mind my temp guage said 160. After the timing was retarded and set correctly with a light the headers cooled way down.
Torker is offline  
post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 13th, 01, 05:51 PM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 269

Check your timing and carb mixture, then see what happens with normal driving. Ten minutes of revving an engine in a stationary car will cause an exhaust to run hotter than normal. This is true for a new motor or one with 50,000 miles. Its not that new engines have higher exhaust heat, just that the breakin procedure produces a hotter exhaust. New engines produce extra heat internally from friction, not the combustion heat that causes a header to glow.
my69gofast is offline  
post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 13th, 01, 06:46 PM
Senior Tech
Rarerat's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 2,849

It sounds like you have a bad vacume leek, probably the intake manifold. I would spay some either around the intake ports where it bolts to the heads if the rpm changes yank the intake and reseal it, and I bet that fixes your problem.
I hope this helps,

69 Z/28 X77 D80 81000 original miles,DZ 302, M-21, BU 373 Rear End, ZL-2 Ducted Hood, Daytona Yellow, Black Deluxe, Tilt, Factory AM/FM, Console Gauges.
Rarerat is offline  
post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 01, 04:14 AM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Stuart, Florida
Posts: 567

I second the vac leak. Thats what happened to mine. One of the plugs on the carb was split. During the breakin, you have the rpm's up high enough to almost mask the problem.


1992 Firebird 355/Six Speed (Soon to be LT1)
1991 RS 350 / 700-R4
1987 Toyota Pickup 383 / 500 + HP 10.963 @ 119.95 Slicks / 11.997 @ 114.23 Radials
"Speed KILLS, so drive a FORD and live forever!"

Member of the "unwanted" 3rd Gen group.
Mark W. Winning is offline  
post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 16th, 01, 02:59 AM
Senior Tech
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Houston, TX USA
Posts: 797

I have experienced this for the first time as of last night! Just fired my rebuilt motor, after a previous cam disaster, and lo and behold-the headers are glowing bright red! These are Flowtech shorties. The pipe that bolts to the collector was even glowing red as well. Kind of interesting. Did not seem to cause a problem so I just continued to break in the cam. Will check timing later and tune the Holley to see if the condition goes away or persists. Weird watching all of that paint turn red and just fall right off the pipes in a puff of smoke..

1969 Camaro SS 350-383ci./365HP, T-56, 12 bolt, Power Trax Locker, 3.73 gears, 4 whl disc, Deluxe black houndstooth interior, rear window defogger, tilt steering, floor console w/gauge package, center mntd. clock, tachometer
Go69 is offline  
post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 01, 02:00 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Iceland
Posts: 16

I agree with all the inputs from everyone. I have found every engine that I break-in does the very same thing. I have found that the main cause is because you are running the engine at a higher power setting for an extended period of time without the vehicle moving. There is a lack of airflow around the engine and headers. Headers that are ceramic-coated will also do this upon initial break-in. However, to prevent engine damage, check timing and carb. jetting.
hendo5767 is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Team Camaro Tech forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address.
NOTE we receive a lot of registrations with bad email addresses. IF you do not receive your confirmation email you will not be able to post. contact support and we will try and help.
Be sure you enter a valid email address and check your spam folder as well.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome