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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 11-01-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
azzy989
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AA headers review

lol i'll be waiting for all the "cool story bro" posts after this...

i had a set of ebay cars that finally failed on me two weeks ago. they lasted a good two years... now as i understand it, there are ebay headers out there right now that are comparable to the 'higher end' options, but i did not want to leave anything up to chance which is why i went with AA. once i had the ebay headers and AA headers side by side, the differences were clear between them. the ebay headers had a crack in the collector, AND the source of the huge leak was the bank 1 o2 sensor stripping out of the bung. luckily, only the threads on the headers stripped... the o2 sensor was fine.

i posted this the night i got the old headers off..

Quote:
some key differences between the AA headers vs the ebay headers that i had previously..

1) the AA header ports are HUGE. they are as large as the ports on the header gaskets... in comparison the ebay headers have a much smaller diameter that is more in line with the actual port of the head. we will see whether i feel a boost in power or a loss of power as a result of the larger diameter ports...either that or the torque curve will be shifted farther to the right for a bit more midrange and top end (i think this is the most likely scenario).

2) the pipes are both advertised as t-304 stainless but the AA ones are significantly thicker than the ebay ones. i would almost be bold enough to say that the pipes on the AA headers are double the thickness of the pipes on the ebay headers that i had.

3) the welds on the ebay headers looked decent, however the welds on the AA headers weren't even in the same league. they looked thick, strong and very precise.


with that being said, i do think the AA headers are worth it in that they almost completely guarantee that the headers will be a 1 time job... vs the possible failure of ebay headers.. **runs to knock on wood** lol
install took some time as usual due to the cramped nature of the engine but it all went in well... the header to exhaust flange was SPOT on. no fighting or prying to make things fit. all i had to do to hook the exhaust up was thread the studs into the headers and then tighten the nut up. also, the AA headers do clear the passenger side engine mount so there is no possibility of rattling against the heat shield. finally, the car started up with ZERO leaks...

driving impressions...
the sound of the car is very different. with the ebay headers, there was just a lot of rasp... now the car is much throatier down low... maybe a little bit of rasp at the top end... call me crazy but it feels like the car has picked up power. i think the ebay headers had a leak that i did not know about prior to this incident.... but the car definitely feels like it is pulling harder than it did before.

it's good to have my car back... and i am glad that i went the route that i did
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Last edited by azzy989; 11-01-2010 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:32 AM   #2
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hey man just kinda posted a thread on this... if you wanted 100% fittment with great welds and tons better than any ebay headers you shoulda took a look at bimmerbrakes headers. just got mine and they look great everything looks like it fill fit in nice. they were only 200 buks to. Anywho props on gettting the AA headers and glad you like them.

Did you get any pics of the aa headers before install and your ebay headers any pics by any chance?
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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i did see the bimmer brakes headers but the group buy was definitely closed when i needed the headers.. no pics... as soon as i got them i went to install them so that i could get my car running again.
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Old 11-01-2010, 04:55 PM   #4
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Dyno graph please!
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:28 PM   #5
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very cool congrats and so the ebay headers are gone?
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Dyno graph please!
i will definitely try to get the car on a dyno... i know the butt dyno is mostly useless

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Originally Posted by steven747 View Post
very cool congrats and so the ebay headers are gone?
thanks

yeap no more ebay headers....i don't even want to look at them again
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Last edited by azzy989; 11-01-2010 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:53 AM   #7
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Would fap again.
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:14 AM   #8
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:59 AM   #9
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haha same here ebay headers disgust me but i guess some people like them. did you put the AA's on or a shop?
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:39 PM   #10
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So the AA headers bolt up directly to the stock exhaust?

What size is the flange of the header collector? What about where that bolts to the exhaust? I'm asking because I'm wondering if the size isn't the same, is that a bottleneck?
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Drewfus2101 View Post
So the AA headers bolt up directly to the stock exhaust?

What size is the flange of the header collector? What about where that bolts to the exhaust? I'm asking because I'm wondering if the size isn't the same, is that a bottleneck?
bottleneck usually happens with the stock cats being right up against the stock headers which is a pretty nasty sight. aftermarket headers with no cats take away the bottleneck effect. it should all connect correctly 95% of the time when using brand headers. eBay headers its a straight hit or miss and almost guaranteed cutting
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:02 PM   #12
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Would fap again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceman00 View Post
How much? I need a set.
shoot a PM to viral... he'll take care of you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven747 View Post
haha same here ebay headers disgust me but i guess some people like them. did you put the AA's on or a shop?
i put them on. this is the second time i've done this install with the headers on the car... it definitely took around 8 hours total but it was much less frustrating... mostly due to a larger tool set and a bit more patience than the first time, 2 years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewfus2101 View Post
So the AA headers bolt up directly to the stock exhaust?

What size is the flange of the header collector? What about where that bolts to the exhaust? I'm asking because I'm wondering if the size isn't the same, is that a bottleneck?
yes, the flanges were perfectly in line with the exhaust... i remember when doing the ebay headers, we actually had to loosen the main studs at the head to get some play in the header. that was the only way to get the exhaust to line up right... looking back on it, that was a very bad idea lol.

As I understand it, AA actually differentiates it's headers between the 3.0L motor and the 2.5L motor, so the information/dimesnsions i post may not be accurate for people that have a b25 motor. (i have a swapped b30 motor in my car)

iirc, there was a 4-5 mm difference in the size of the ports between the ebay headers and the AA headers.. so the 6 main pipes to the collector are all larger than the ebay headers.... it seems like after the collector, the pipes are close to the same internal diameter...

this is the best set of pictures i could find to compare the two headers...borrowed from 330i ZHP's build thread:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...&postcount=337

my ebay headers looked exactly like his ebay headers... and the AA headers look very close to the supersprint ones he has, in terms of the dimensions of everything.

i wasn't sure if the ebay headers being smaller was a bottle neck on it's own... only way to test that would be to dyno each set of headers on the same car, same dyno.... or try each header on a flow bench with the head... like i said, i thought i would lose a bit of low end because of how much larger the ports were on the AA headers.... however i feel like there was a gain in power all throughout the rev range... obviously that could be down to a number of things... denser air (i live in the rockies so some days are better than others)... or maybe that the ebay headers i had had a leak in them to begin with that i wasn't hearing.

something to note... if there is any bottle neck on the ebay headers, i think it would almost be negligible compared to the huge bottle neck created by the stock cats.
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Last edited by azzy989; 11-02-2010 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:20 PM   #13
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Congrats Captain glad to hear you are enjoying our Active Autowerke Performance Headers on your beast. Great to hear your impressed with the quality and performance gains. Awesome review
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:39 PM   #14
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Sounds like I need to pick these up. Was there a huge increase in sound with either headers? I don't want droning
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:44 PM   #15
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not on stock exhaust, no...

at autox, the most i've ever run dBwise was 82 dB's at 50 feet away... that's usually at WOT. in comparison, my friend with a TSE3 exhaust and stock headers ran around 85 dBs

the car sounds almost stock at low revs... probably a bit more throaty... then as the revs climb there is a tiiiny bit of rasp.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:11 PM   #16
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bottleneck usually happens with the stock cats being right up against the stock headers which is a pretty nasty sight. aftermarket headers with no cats take away the bottleneck effect. it should all connect correctly 95% of the time when using brand headers. eBay headers its a straight hit or miss and almost guaranteed cutting
Bullshit. Mine slipped on with no issues.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:19 PM   #17
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Bullshit. Mine slipped on with no issues.
QFT.

I have done this twice with ebay headers. They fit great. While the AA product is probably excellent (I have no doubt on this count). The price for what you get, puts it out of reach for many of us. I am not sure how you managed to do that much damage to your ebay set. Mine were on for a year and aside from some discoloration (heat) were just fine.....
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Bullshit. Mine slipped on with no issues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post
QFT.

I have done this twice with ebay headers. They fit great. While the AA product is probably excellent (I have no doubt on this count). The price for what you get, puts it out of reach for many of us. I am not sure how you managed to do that much damage to your ebay set. Mine were on for a year and aside from some discoloration (heat) were just fine.....
i will not argue that the ebay headers don't work... believe me i had that set on my car for 2 years... but there is no doubting that they can be hit or miss. so both of yours lined up well with the exhaust.. that's good, i am glad they worked for you.

mine went on with a fight, and mine looked exactly like the pictures that 330i ZHP posted in his thread. that alone shows that there is some uncertainty with them for you guys to have ones that line up fine vs, mine that had a huge gap and required prying and loosening of the header studs to get them to work. not to mention, the pipe for cylinder 1 was either very close to touching if not actually touching the engine mount and the pipes for cylinders 5 and 6 were also touching on the ebay set.

would i recommend ebay headers to someone now? sure... they do exactly as they advertise and they are definitely a power adder... i just wanted to post my experience with the old headers and with the new ones.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:20 PM   #19
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If it out of reach of your budget and dont want a headahce why not pay 70% less and check out bimmer brakes headers... guranteed fitment for 200 bucks with the same exact results.. Just to inform...
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:15 PM   #20
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Yes, you can find cheaper solutions for Headers such as E-Bay ones as the OP mentioned. Our Performance Headers are Guaranteed Fitment and are backed with a 2 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty and we also a have Technical Support Department to Contact Directly for easier DIY Install help. Please take this into consideration when comparing Performance Headers.
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