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DIY tips for installing extractors yourself??

Discussion in 'VE Holden Commodore (2006 - 2013)' started by RoaringSky, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. RoaringSky

    RoaringSky New Member

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    Hi all,

    I am about to install a set of 1 3/4" extractors with high flow cats myself next weekend. Just wondering if anyone who has done it before himself would like to share his tips and experiences with me.

    So far the plan of attack is:
    - I will soak the header bolts in CRC for 1 hour or 2 before undoing.
    - Undo all leads and flip them back so they are out of the way.
    - Undo all header bolts but leave 2 in loosely.
    - Jack up the car on 1 side, undo the cat back bolts and disconnect the O2 sesor plugs.
    - Leave the jack under the cat to take the weight.
    - Back to the top and take off the 2 last header bolts.
    - Carefully drop the whole thing down and then remove them from under the car.
    - Take out the o2 sensors and put in the new extractors.
    - Reverse order to install the extractors.
    - Connect the o2 sensor plugs with extensions and bolt on the high flow cats then the cat back.
    - Put leads back on and finish!

    I have also bought a set of leads and plugs, just in case...




    I had a quick look just then and was wondering:

    1. If I jack up the car as much as I can on the side I am working on, (~400mm) I should have enough ground clearance to remove the headers together with the factory cats as 1 piece from underneath yeah? I just want to save the headaches of separating them.

    2. The rear bolt on the passenger side header, it seems very close to the strut tower body work and firewall. I have angled and dished ring spanners and sockets too, will they be enough to remove the bolt? The room for movement seems limited, as well as getting onto the bolt.

    3. The driver side header is close to the steering column and chassis rail. Can it be removed from underneath?

    4. The dipstick tube, it needs to be removed before the driver side header yeah? I can see a 14mm bolt holding it on top, once I remove it, can the tube be pulled out of the sump as is?

    5. Pre Cat oxy sensor wiring, I have to access the connection plug from underneath yeah? I can only see the sensor and wire on driver side. I bought 2 extensions for them.

    6. Once it is all done, I know the Check Engine light will be on. I have been told by APS that is not harmful and the car will drive as normal. How long can I drive the car for though?


    Any other tips and advices that you guys may wanna share from your own DIY experiences are more than welcome!
     
  2. mikey-

    mikey- Member

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    Mate have a look through my past threads..

    I've done a full HOW TO on installing an exhaust at home on a VE SS
     
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  3. mikey-

    mikey- Member

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    1. Leave them together, no point separating. It's a pain in the ass and gains nothing.

    2. It's a prick to do basically, I just used a small open ender but it took ages and was a pain.

    3. Yep, theres a bolt on the bottom of the shaft, undo it and push the shaft out the way.

    4. I undid the bolt in (I think the head??) and just moved the tube out the way, but left it in the block/sump.

    5. You only need to use 1 extension, check my thread for more info.

    6. Don't expect it to be on straight away, mine took a few weeks to come on. You can drive the car forever, but it will annoy the **** out of you.
     
  4. mikey-

    mikey- Member

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    Infact I went and got it for you, enjoy...

    Appologies I don't have any photo's to go with the thread, but I've tried my best to explain it all.

    When I refer to the front or back, or LHS and RHS, it is as viewed from the driver seat.

    Basically my technique was to start at the back removing everything and work forwards, then start installing at the front and work backwards.

    Parts Installed:

    Hurricane 1 7/8" Extractors
    Manta 2.5" Cats
    Manta 2.5" Cat back (center hot dogs, rear mufflers)

    All supplied by Not_an_Abba_Fan (or Southwest Performance Exhaust Supplies)

    Time Needed:

    I don't do a great deal of work on cars, and my old man hasn't done a great deal in the last 20 years either, but we are both handy enough on the tools.

    It took us approx 3 hours to do it all.

    If we were to do a second set, I'd say <2 hour is achievable now we know what we are doing, and some of the tricks and problem areas.

    What I used:

    4x Axle stands
    1x Crappy little trolly jack
    Basic hand tools

    Prep:

    1. Put the car on stands, or ramps. The higher you get it, the easier your life becomes.
    2. Be careful doing this, I never feel safe putting a car completely up on stands, but it's gotta be done for this really.
    3. I unplugged the battery at this point as well, not sure if you need to, but I did it.

    Removal Cat Back

    1. Undo the 2 bolts on each side that hold the rear mufflers to the middle section of the cat back.
    2. Pull both rear mufflers out of the rubber hangers. Mufflers now removed.
    3. Remove the tunnel brace (4 more bolts)
    4. Unplug the 2 O2 sensors (just unplug them for now, they will be way to tight to bother trying to undo them while underneath the car)
    5. Undo the 4 bolts that hold the cat back to the factory cats.
    6. Slide the rear of the cat back out of the rubbers and lower it to the ground (2 people made this easier, one at each end).

    This took me approx 30minutes. Now I've done it once before, I'd say the next time would only be a 15minute job.

    Removal Exhaust Manifold and Cats

    This took me I'd say over an hour and a half. Realistically, now I've done it once, I could do it in 30 minutes.

    I made a decent mistake here that now you guys wont have to as I'm telling you not to. Leave the cats attached to the exhaust manifold. There is no need to remove them, it's a pain in the ass to do, and it gains nothing.

    1. Unplug the 2 O2 sensors in the cats. These are abit harder to reach the plugs, but it's do-able.
    2. Remove the leads, they just pull off at the top and bottom, nothing fancy, but they might be tight.
    3. Undo the bolt holding the dipstick bracket to the head, no need to remove the dipstick, just push it out the way a little.
    4. Go along and crack all the bolts on the exhaust manifold, I think they were 1/2" (bloody yanky engine, everything else was metric).
    NOTE: The rear LHS bolt is such a pain to access, it took me ages to remove, doing on tiny tiny increments of a turn.
    5. Now remove all of the bolts, except I left the front and rear bolts still in the manifold, but quite loose.
    6. Get someone under the car to support the manifold and cats, while someone removes the last 2 bolts.
    7. Both sides will drop through to the bottom without any issues. Nothing needs to be moved, this is straight forward.
    8. Throw horrible stock cats and headers in bin (I kept mine, just incase of defect)

    Installing Extractors:

    1. On the RHS you will see a steering shaft that goes from the firewall down to the steering rack. On the steering rack end there is a bolt that clamps this shaft to a uni-joint type thing. Undo this bolt. I had to open the clamp up a little with a screw driver and the shaft came off the uni-joint pretty easily. I then cable-tied the shaft to something on the RHS of the engine bay to keep it out of the way.
    2. Place the O2 sensor extension harness on the LHS, this is hard once the extractors in (RHS does not need an extension).
    3. Place the exhaust manifold gasket against the head and screw the front and rear bolt into the head a just enough so you can sit the extractors on these bolts. Do this to each side.
    4. Pass the extractors up from the bottom and sit them on the 2 bolts you just prepared. Now begin to add the other 4 bolts into the head. I had someone support the weight of the extractors while I put the bolts in. Snug them all down gently.
    5. Torque the bolts to 15Nm first pass, then to 20Nm for a final pass.
    NOTE: This is what I did, it might be wrong, but it was the info I found on the net.
    6. Attach the steering shaft again, I found this was easiest from underneath the car.
    7. Put leads back on.
    8. Screw back down dipstick.


    Installing Cats:

    1. Push the cat onto the rubber exhaust hanger.
    2. Place a gasket between extractors and cats and do up the 4 bolts.
    3. Repeat for other side.
    4. Install 2 O2 sensors and plug them in.

    Installing Cat back:

    1. Put the rear of the center section on the rubber hangers.
    2. Place a gasket between cats and cat back and do up the 4 bolts.
    3. Place the rear muffler in the rubber hanger, do up the 2 bolts (repeat for other side).
    4. Install 2 O2 sensors and plug them in.
     
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  5. one_and_only2004

    one_and_only2004 Turbo L98 FTW

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    I always take the spark plugs out - if I don't I always end up snapping one off with a manifold.
     
  6. RoaringSky

    RoaringSky New Member

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    Thanks so much for the input guys! How hard was to crack the header bolts initially? I would guess they are all ceased and rusted.

    Mikey I wont be as lucky as u were, as I will be working on the car by myself. The only helping hand I can get is my car jack to support the weight of the cats and headers. Hence I would say I will take longer than u did.
     
  7. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    I had to take the steering rack out on mine.
    You only need 1 o2 extension loom, left hand side iirc
     
  8. jeep pit

    jeep pit New Member

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    u definitely don't want to work under the car with a jack holding up your car buy some axle stands 1 pair will do
     
  9. jbray1984

    jbray1984 New Member

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    Quick question, when you say you need to unplug the O2 sensor plugs, where do you unplug them from? Is it at the bolt on the exhaust end? I'm just having troubles getting mine unplugged.
     
  10. RoaringSky

    RoaringSky New Member

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    Jbray, I think the o2 sensors have a connector in the wiring loom, I know as a fact for the post cat ones as I did my cat back myself. Pre cat sensors will be the same I guess....They look like a 4 wire water proof deutz flat plug. You disconnect them first, then undo the o2 sensors as if they are normal bolts.

    Oh well, I paid for 2 oxy sensor extensions already on ebay. Doesn't matter.

    Yeah I do have 2 jack stands, what I meant was using the jack holding up the weight of the cat and headers as I undo the last 2 header bolts from top.
     
  11. Not_An_Abba_Fan

    Not_An_Abba_Fan Exhaust Guru

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    If you are fitting X Force extractors, the LHS is a bitch. The plastic plemum against the firewall has to be undone and pulled up a bit to get them in.
     
  12. jbray1984

    jbray1984 New Member

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    Thanks, yeah I found it right after I posted...
    I was trying to disconnect it somewhere around the bolt, not realizing that the plug was further up. Didn't look far enough lol.
     
  13. RoaringSky

    RoaringSky New Member

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    OK. Cheers. Mine is xforce. How to undo and remove the plastic covers on the fire wall?
     
  14. mikey-

    mikey- Member

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    Pull the clips up, then it should just pull off.

    Either way, that's if your dropping your extractors from the top I think NAAF was saying?

    I put my extractors up from the bottom.
     
  15. Not_An_Abba_Fan

    Not_An_Abba_Fan Exhaust Guru

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    I don't think X force fit from the bottom from memory. I replaced a set of X Force with Hurricanes and they wouldn't come out the bottom. The Hurricanes went in from there, but the X Force has to come out through the top I think.
     
  16. RoaringSky

    RoaringSky New Member

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    OK. Where are those clips u r talking about? I'll try to fit them from underneath but if I can't then I have to do it from the top.
     
  17. mikey-

    mikey- Member

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    Trust me, I looked at doing it from above, there is no room, its stupidly tight.

    Where as they slot in piss easy from the bottom, not sure why you'd try doing it from the top first?
     
  18. RoaringSky

    RoaringSky New Member

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    I installed the extractors and cats myself today. From the bottom, I never intended to put them in from the top. Bit of a misunderstanding there I guess.

    Few tips for ppl who are looking into this in the future:

    1. The stock header bolts are 1/2", soak them in CRC for few hours before trying to loosen them. I soaked them for 5 hours before I went out then came back.
    2. You don't have to remove the plastic covers on the firewall on the passenger side, there's plenty of room as long as you jack up the car as much as possible.
    3. Driver side is much harder, the steering column needs to be removed and zipped tied up and aside, but there is a big black rectangular wiring loom plug in the way above it, next to the booster. Pull its locking tab out, then disconnect it, swing it aside, and then the column can swing up enough.
    4. The dipstick. It was the BIGGEST bitch of a thing for the whole job. It goes down between no. 3 and 5 port, and tucks JUST behind the engine mount to reach the hole in the sump. So with the new extractors, put it in position, hook up the cat back loosely, then feed the tube down between no. 3 and 5, then between no.1 and the block, then JUST behind the engine mount bracket to reach the sump. I wasted at least 2 hrs just to figure it out, as I was taking it off and put it on, putting in and take out, look on top and go under the car etc to figure out where I was at. Almost decided to remove the starter and bend the tube to custom fit it... Lucky I didn't after some careful observation and a helpful desk lamp!
    5. An extra pair of hands and eyes will go a long long long way for this job, refer to last point. It will half your effort and work time, trust me on this! I was working by myself completely, without a hoist, had no idea what I was doing, and I spent 9-10 hours working on it. Thank god its all over!
    6. Wear mechanic gloves!!
    7. Get a new set of leads and plugs before hand like I did for back up. As I presumed, I got a miss after completed the job. I think a lead is gone during removal. They have done 85,000km so they are getting fragile. Will change them tomorrow.

    After all, it is well worth the effort. Good experience for myself and now I got a car that sounds like a real V8. Time for a tune in 3 weeks!!
     
  19. mikey-

    mikey- Member

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    Glad you got it done.

    Don't stress about the miss, just make sure your leads and clipped right onto the plug. You can even ditch the metal surround if it makes it easier. I had the same thing happen, just can be a pain getting the leads to clip on correctly sometimes.

    No idea about why people removed plastic covers? I never did.

    I also never undid any tabs near the steering column, I just undid it at the base of the shaft and held it aside?

    Haha and leave the dipstick in, I justed undid it then pushed it aside, put the extractors in place, pushed it back in place the did it back up?
     
  20. RoaringSky

    RoaringSky New Member

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    I think the miss is from the massive exhaust leak that it has. They didn't supply me any baskets for the cats...I thought it will be OK. But hell no! Massive leak even at idle. When under load I think the pre cat and post cat Oxy sensors don't agree with each other as the cat is leak I g badly from the mating faces. I changed the leads to new ones today. No difference. It only happens when car is warmed up. So in Closed loop using oxy sensor data it will chuck the piss when I put the foot down even just a little bit more.

    My dipstick was fed in between 3 and 5, I had no choice but to remove it otherwise I can't take the factory headers out unless separate the cat and remove from top...

    Any way its all done thank god.
     

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