1971 Chevy Camaro Exhaust Install

By Chuck Vranas   –   Photography by the Author

Taking on an engine swap in your high-performance Chevy doesn’t need to be overly complex if you have the right components to handle the job. Sure, it was far easier back in the day when you wanted to up the ante from a small-block to big-block power, however, in today’s world there are far more options available to bring the punch to your engine bay. With the most common swap being the upgrade to LS power, the gain in horsepower right out of the gate is significant enough before you even start to entertain the thought of turbos or superchargers. Regardless of whether you choose to run an automatic transmission or pull your own gears with three pedals, you’ll need to have a solid plan before getting started to make sure the installation is flawless.

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001 When taking on an LS conversion in a second gen Camaro Doug’s Headers has you covered
When taking on an LS conversion in a second-gen Camaro, Doug’s Headers has you covered with their “engineered-to-fit” silver ceramic-coated mid-length headers (PN D3358) fashioned from mild steel. Also pictured are their header gaskets, installation hardware (both included in the kit), and 3-inch stainless mid-pipe (PN DMP104)

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Recently, we visited Procision Industries in Taunton, Massachusetts, and met with shop owner Pat O’Brien whose ’71 Camaro will be easily recognized by regular readers of All Chevy Performance, having appeared in numerous tech articles through its buildup. Packing a high-performance 5.3L LC9 LS linked to a T-56 manual transmission it was a perfect candidate to showcase specifically designed components engineered to make your LS swap a breeze. Working with Doug’s Headers, their LS engine swap products are engineered to work together with LS-specific components into a number of vehicles, including engine mounts, transmission crossmembers, oil pans, headers, and full exhaust systems.

002 Getting started Pat O’Brien of Procision Industries removed all spark plugs plug wires and dipstick tube from the engine for installation access
Getting started, Pat O’Brien of Procision Industries removed all spark plugs, plug wires, and dipstick tube from the engine for installation access. He then test-fitted each header and followed by loosely installing the rearmost lock washer and header bolt to secure the unit in place. Be sure to always use a dab of antiseize on your bolt threads prior to installation

If you’re making major horsepower increases in your engine bay, one of the most important parts of the formula is moving hot exhaust gases. The team at Doug’s Headers has crafted both long- and mid-length headers for the second-gen Camaro offered in either black coated or silver ceramic finish. Fashioned from mandrel-bent 1 7/8-inch primary tubes merging to 3-inch collectors, they also include 3/8-inch flanges and ports for O2 sensors. Moving rearward, their complete 3-inch stainless exhaust systems are fully compatible with their headers, engineered for a perfect fit and great tone.

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003 In the engine bay he continued by installing the supplied header gaskets and remaining header bolts and lock washers
In the engine bay, he continued by installing the supplied header gaskets and remaining header bolts and lock washers.

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Starting with mandrel-bent 3-inch tubing for maximum airflow and long-lasting durability, the kit includes everything needed to make the installation easy, including their exclusive X-pipe, stainless mufflers, mounting brackets, Accu-Seal, and V-band clamps and hardware. There’s nothing better than the sound of a hopped-up engine roaring through its exhaust as it pulls gears accelerating hard down the street, and we’re here to tell you this system brings the thunder.

004 With perfect fitment secured O’Brien then tightened the header in place evenly starting from the center and working his way out to the farthest points
With perfect fitment secured, O’Brien then tightened the header in place evenly, starting from the center and working his way out to the farthest points.

Doug’s Headers also helped nail the T-56 transmission in place with their CAD-CAM–designed LS swap transmission crossmember. Engineered to accommodate up to a 3-inch exhaust with no loss of ground clearance, it also features the ability to incorporate a number of the most popular manual and automatic transmission combinations through various mounting brackets and spacers included in the kit.

005 Here you can see just how perfectly designed the headers are for the application
Here you can see just how perfectly designed the headers are for the application.
006 Here you can see just how perfectly designed the headers are for the application
The Doug’s 3-inch stainless mid-pipe (PN DMP104) features ports for your O2 sensors already welded in place. The slip-connection to Doug’s exhaust systems makes installation a snap.
007 Using the provided Accu Seal clamps O’Brien set the angle and secured them in place
Using the provided Accu-Seal clamps, O’Brien set the angle and secured them in place.
008 From this angle you can see how perfectly balanced the installation of the headers and mid pipes are as they await the balance of the exhaust system
Using the provided Accu-Seal clamps, O’Brien set the angle and secured them in place.
009 To properly anchor the transmission in your LS swap Doug’s Headers offers a universal crossmember
To properly anchor the transmission in your LS swap, Doug’s Headers offers a universal crossmember that accommodates a multitude of late-model manual and automatic transmission combinations for your project (PN SKC104). As pictured, it arrives complete with all necessary installation hardware and instructions.
010 With the T 56 transmission supported by a jack to ensure proper alignment slip the crossmember
With the T-56 transmission supported by a jack to ensure proper alignment, slip the crossmember over the top of the front subframe pockets with the top side wings toward the rear of the car and then center the crossmember.
011 Since our subframe has factory pre drilled mounting holes a socket with ratchet and wrench combination was used
Since our subframe has factory pre-drilled mounting holes, a 9/16-inch socket with ratchet and wrench combination was used to secure the crossmember in place with the provided hardware.
012 Follow by lowering the weight of the transmission and crossmember onto the subframe
Next, the transmission mount was bolted to the crossmember. Follow by lowering the weight of the transmission and crossmember onto the subframe to ensure transmission is centered in the car and the crossmember is square to the subframe.
013 We determine the angle support brackets best position to the bottom of the crossmember and secure in place
We determine the angle support brackets best position to the bottom of the crossmember and secure in place using the supplied 3/8-inch flange bolts, making sure the brackets fit tight to the side of the subframe.
014 With the brackets in place next mark the subframe to set the drill marking points
With the brackets in place, next mark the subframe to set the drill marking points.
015 With the brackets removed start with a pilot hole and gradually drill the mounting holes
With the brackets removed, start with a pilot hole and gradually drill the mounting holes to the final 7/16-inch hole required.
016 Reinstall brackets to the crossmember and follow with the included 716 inch bolts flat washers lock washers and nuts
Reinstall brackets to the crossmember and follow with the included 7/16-inch bolts, flat washers, lock washers, and nuts. Install the bolts and lock washers from inside the subframe, note that this step can take some time to complete.
017 Here you can see the completed installation of the transmission crossmember with its perfectly engineered design
Here you can see the completed installation of the transmission crossmember with its perfectly engineered design and support for your LS conversion.
018 Doug’s complete exhaust system for the LS swap
Fabricated from 3-inch mandrel-bent 304 stainless, Doug’s complete exhaust system for the LS swapped, second-gen Camaro (PN DES104) comes packed with everything pictured, including stainless mufflers, mounting hardware, and installation instructions.
019 The kit arrives with everything you’ll need to complete the installation
The kit arrives with everything you’ll need to complete the installation including over-axle and tailpipe hanger brackets, 3-inch Accu-Seal clamps, V-band clamps, rubber isolators, and all hardware.
020 Start the exhaust install by laying out the front of the system on the shop floor to prepare it for fitment
Start the exhaust install by laying out the front of the system on the shop floor to prepare it for fitment. With the X-pipe short end facing the front, O’Brien first slipped a pair of 3-inch Accu-Seal clamps onto each inlet side and followed by loosely installing the mid-pipes.
021 Start the exhaust install by laying out the front of the system on the shop floor to prepare it for fitment
Using an auxiliary stand to support the exhaust, the mid-pipes were fastened to the header mid-pipes using a V-band clamp on each side.
022 A pair of 3 inch Accu Seal clamps were then used to loosely fasten the mid pipes to the X pipe
A pair of 3-inch Accu-Seal clamps were then used to loosely fasten the mid-pipes to the X-pipe. It’s easy to see the nice tight fit of the system to the Doug’s transmission crossmember.

 

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023 With a 3 inch Accu Seal clamp on each of the offset ends of the stainless steel mufflers
With a 3-inch Accu-Seal clamp on each of the offset ends of the stainless steel mufflers, the mufflers were then slid onto the outlet side of the X-pipe. Do not fully tighten any clamps at this time.
024 Here you can see the progression of the installation and how nicely its fitment is to the bottom of the car
Here you can see the progression of the installation and how nicely its fitment is to the bottom of the car. The mufflers will receive a final adjustment of 15 degrees higher nearest the driveshaft to allow the over-axle pipes and tailpipes into their final position.
025 The over axle pipes were then moved into position from the front side of the axle assembly
The over-axle pipes were then moved into position from the front side of the axle assembly, slid into the mufflers, and loosely secured in place by a pair of 3-inch Accu-Seal clamps.
026 To properly anchor the over axle pipes the kit includes a pair of over axle brackets to mount and stabilize them in place
To properly anchor the over-axle pipes, the kit includes a pair of over-axle brackets to mount and stabilize them in place. For ease of installation, it’s recommended to use a lubricant such as WD-40 to aid in mounting the rubber isolators in place.
027 To properly anchor the over axle pipes the kit includes a pair of over axle brackets to mount and stabilize them in place
The completed installation of the brackets and isolators are tidy and secure to the system.
028 The final support brackets were then installed for the tailpipes to the factory frame mounting locations
The final support brackets were then installed for the tailpipes to the factory frame mounting locations.
029 The tailpipes were then slipped into place to meet the over axle pipes and loosely held in place with a pair of 3 inch Accu Seal clamps
The tailpipes were then slipped into place to meet the over-axle pipes and loosely held in place with a pair of 3-inch Accu-Seal clamps.
030 Here you can see the completed tailpipe installation along with the support brackets and isolators in place
Here you can see the completed tailpipe installation along with the support brackets and isolators in place.
031 Once the system has been carefully aligned for fitment tighten all clamps moving from the front of the car to the rear
Once the system has been carefully aligned for fitment, tighten all clamps moving from the front of the car to the rear. Note that the V-band clamps need to be hand-tightened while the Accu-Seal clamps need to be tightened to 60 lb-ft. The completed system looks great and will give your LS plenty of performance for years to come.

Sources:

Doug’s Headers
(909) 599-5955
pertronixbrands.com

Procision Industries
(508) 734-6081
procisionindustries.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of 1971 Chevy Camaro Exhaust Install.

acp february 2024

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