The Project Over Easy Scrambler came equipped with headers and side-pipes from the prior owner’s Small Block Chevy conversion. The headers were in decent shape but were an over-the-frame design, terminating in glass-pack mufflers with turn-outs just ahead of the rear wheel. This set-up was simple and effective for the street but wouldn’t last a minute off-road. The Scrambler was due for an exhaust that could be tucked between the frame rails for added protection when off-road and a full-length dual exhaust system to be a little easier on the ears.
This is where Hedman Hedders comes into the picture. Hedman Hedders, founded in 1954, produce a range of high-performance exhaust components for all sorts of enthusiasts. While well known for their street and drag-racing products they make quite a few off-road ready components too. In particular they produce exhaust headers, or Hedders as Hedman prefers to call them, specifically for Chevrolet Small Block V8 conversions in Jeeps, including CJs and Wranglers.
The Hedman Hedders feature an in between-the-frame design with rear-facing collectors. These are not, one-size-fits-all block hugger headers that dump out of a center-mounted collector. Rather, these are tuned headers with each bend formed to fit within the frame rails of the Jeep and designed to provide smooth flow to a custom, in-frame exhaust system. This design met all of our requirements as the foundation for a custom, full-length, in-frame exhaust system.
|Installation – Hedman Headers
|Wrenches, sockets, ratchet, wire brush for drill and Dremel
|Reviewing the header kit
Hedman Elite Ultra-Duty Hedders, Part# 69678 are designed specifically for the installation of a Chevrolet small block V8 in a Jeep CJ. These headers are made with thick 14-gauge steel tubing, a bulletproof 3/8” machined steel flange and include the Hedman HTC ceramic-metallic finish. The thicker flanges help prevent warping/leaking while the stronger wall tubing and a thermal coating help these Hedman Elite Hedders hold-up to off-road abuse. The kit comes complete with the set of headers, header gaskets and ball-and-socket flange components for easy exhaust hook-ups.
|Prepping Jeep for header installation
To make the removal of the old, over-the-frame headers a bit easier and to better show you the installation of the Hedman Hedders, we elected to remove the full front clip from the Jeep including both fenders and the radiator / grill components. While this is not necessary for the installation of Hedman Hedders, it certainly made the installation much easier. Plus it gave us great access to the engine and front frame rails for some detailing and general clean-up.
|Removing the old headers
With the fenders off, removal of the old headers and simple exhaust system was a breeze. Our efforts were helped by a thorough dowsing of penetrating oil on all of the bolts / fasteners. After letting the penetrant do its thing for an hour or so, we were able to remove the header bolts and had the old exhaust off and out of the way in short order.
|Cylinder head prep
Our next step was to clean off the old gasket material. This is another key step in preventing future exhaust leaks and to help your new Hedman Hedders seal well to the cylinder heads. With the old headers off, we stuffed each exhaust port with a small rag to prevent debris from entering the port, or worse, the cylinder while cleaning the old gasket material off of the cylinder heads. We used a 3” wire brush bit on a corded drill to get the large material off, followed by a ¾” wire brush bit on our Dremel to address the smaller, hard to remove gasket remnants. Once the cylinder heads was free of all old gasket material, we performed a quick clean-up and mask-off of the exhaust port surrounds and shot the engine with high-temp engine paint. This will enhance the under-hood appearance of the engine and protect the outside of the block and heads from corrosion. Plus, it really makes the Hedman Hedders stand-out once they are installed.
|Hedman Hedder installation
Now for the fun part… Installing the new Hedman Hedders. While the Hedman kit came with a set of paper-based gaskets, we chose to install a set of header gaskets from Mr. Gasket. This was done to address any irregularities that may be present either on the surface of the cylinder heads or on the header flange. We reused the existing headers bolts and torqued all fasteners to spec. Our headers were on and looked great.
|Engine placement adjustment
The new Hedman Hedders bolted onto the cylinder heads without a hitch. However, the rear exiting collectors required that we adjust the placement of the engine on the mounts. With the previous, over the frame-rail header installation, the engine was centered in the vehicle. Aesthetically, this was a good thing but it left little-to-no clearance between the 4L60E/700R4 transmission fluid pan and the front drive-shaft (stay tuned for another article covering the installation of a TransDapt Slam-Guard transmission fluid pan).
|Hedman Hedders recommends that the Small Block Chevy engine be positioned 1-2 inches off-center towards the driver’s side of the Jeep. Hedman / Transdapt offer a set of engine mounts made specifically for this set-up but our current Advance Adapters engine mounts also offered adjustment from center to the driver’s side position. With the engine moved to the proper position, we had clearance for each header between the frame rails and the added benefit of increased clearance between the front drive shaft and the transmission fluid pan.
Custom Exhaust Installation
To follow the installation of our great fitting Hedman Hedders, we needed to find a local shop to fit a custom dual exhaust for the Project Over Easy Scrambler. We contacted a number of franchised exhaust shops but no one seemed willing to take on the installation of a custom exhaust system for an old Scrambler. We put our network to work, contacting Lone Star Performance in Addison Texas to determine where they have their exhaust work done. They recommended B&B Muffler in Carrollton, Texas.
We gave Dan a call at B&B Muffler to discuss our thoughts for the exhaust and he was game to take on the challenge. Once we got the Scrambler to B&B to review our requirements, we learned that Dan had been running this shop for more than 20 years. After seeing the work that B&B was performing on a cool ‘66 Mustang fastback in the shop and hearing the feedback from a very complimentary customer in the waiting area, we knew that we’d found a gem of a shop.
Our Custom Exhaust Requirements
Dan was very patient in understanding the requirements for this project vehicle including:
- Routing within frame-rails for better off-road clearance
- Clearance around stock oil-filter and starter locations
- Installation of a bung for the O2 sensor
- Dual mufflers positioned within frame-rails
- Rear axle clearance for maximum articulation
- Rear turn-outs positioned high and tight against rear quarter panels
Hedman Hedders has produced a quality product with their Small Block Chevy to Jeep conversion headers. These components fit without any modifications other than the above detailed engine placement adjustment. The flanges were straight and true, requiring no belt-sanding or any adjustments.
While we were required to go through the extra step of adjusting the placement of the engine, the resulting clearance between the front drive shaft and transmission fluid pan was worth the effort. It was clear in the installation of these components that Hedman had done their homework in the design of the headers. The headers fit well, required no “persuasion” to be fitted and all fasteners were easy to reach with common hand tools (no hammers needed).
It should also be noted that the technical staff at Hedman Hedders is staffed by “car-guys.” We were able to talk shop with this staff and received excellent guidance on the selection of the header that would best suit our requirements. These are real experts in the Hedman project lines that are staffed to help you select the best products for your vehicle and your specific application. Kudos to Hedman and TransDapt for staffing such experts.
Speaking of experts, Dan and the B&B Muffler team fabricated a full-length custom exhaust for the Project Over Easy Scrambler within a matter of days, providing us with an end-result that was even better than we had expected. The 2 ¼” aluminized pipes fit well, with smooth, well-formed bends. The Magnaflow Part# 11225 mufflers provided the mild performance tone that we wanted with the added durability of stainless steel construction. The turn-outs provided a clean appearance with excellent axle clearance.
If you’re in the DFW area and need an excellent exhaust shop, B&B Mufflers has you covered. If you’re not in the area, we recommend the approach that we took in asking for references for exhaust fabricators from performance and street rod shops.
|12438 Putnam st.
Whittier, CA 90602
1520 S. I 35
Carrollton, TX 75006
|4320 Aerotech Center way
Paso Robles, California 93446
|MagnaFlow Perf Exhaust
|22961 Arroyo Vista
Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca 92688
|Mr. Gasket (Prestolite)
|10601 Memphis Ave. #12
Cleveland, OH 44144