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Old 09-06-2012, 07:12 AM   #1
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Is a crack like this..

I have a pretty good size crack in my header/exhaust manifold. Could this be large enough to be hurting my fuel economy and making my jeep feel sluggish? I notice in 1st and 2nd gear my jeep will surge throughout the rpms. It's like I have more power, less power, more power...etc. maybe this is the reason for some of my problems?
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:20 AM   #2
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It certainly is not helping your o2 sensor get the correct information. If that is the only crack, I would stop drill the end and weld it back up.

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Old 09-06-2012, 09:32 AM   #3
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Welding that crack will be a very short-lived fix, the next crack will form right next to the weld. Engine torque continually flexes the header pipes which inevitably causes a crack like yours developed. The long-term fix shown below is not expensive and can be found on eBay... newer headers like the below have had steel flex-joints added that stop the cracking problem which was a huge issue for early TJ headers.

And yes, it can cause the 02 sensor to report back that the engine is running too lean which will cause the computer to richen the air/fuel ratio too much which will ruin economy and power.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:38 AM   #4
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It's easier and better to just replace it. I got mine off of AM auto parts for $80 and it came with a new gasket. All bolted up totally straight and it also has the flex points
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:45 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Welding that crack will be a very short-lived fix, the next crack will form right next to the weld. Engine torque continually flexes the header pipes which inevitably causes a crack like yours developed. The long-term fix shown below is not expensive and can be found on eBay... newer headers like the below have had steel flex-joints added that stop the cracking problem which was a huge issue for early TJ headers.

And yes, it can cause the 02 sensor to report back that the engine is running too lean which will cause the computer to richen the air/fuel ratio too much which will ruin economy and power.
I am curious Jerry. I know everyone suggests the flex tube headers (I probably would have bought these as well if I had found the forum before I replaced them), but what is different about the flex tubes that you refer to and the ones that come on the jeep? If you look in the OP's picture, you can see that his headers contain the flex tube...however the manifold still cracked. I had this same issue. My headers had the flex tubes and cracked as well. Are the flex tubes just a longer term fix than a fixed header but bound to crack eventually? Just kind of confused
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:57 AM   #6
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Where did you get yours from if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:59 AM   #7
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Where did you get yours from if you don't mind me asking?
Before I found the forum, I bought into all of the hype of aftermarket exhaust. I have a Banks header on mine. After about 3 years it finally cracked like everyone said. So I contacted Banks for my lifetime warranty and got a new design that according to their adds, claims wont crack. I guess only time will tell.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:48 AM   #8
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Yes it appears mine has the flex joints but it still cracked. You'd think there would be a solution for all of these cracked headers. Did jeep ever come out with a recall or anything? I'm gonna try out the 80 dollar replacement. Actual installation seems to be pretty straight forward.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:55 AM   #9
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I didn't notice the OP's headers had the flex joints, that's the first time I've heard of a header cracking that had the flex joints. I can only assume they were flawed from the get-go because installing headers with the flex joints is typically a permanent fix.

The '97 TJ I bought brand-new had three OE headers in a row crack within its 36K mile warranty... the original and two replacements. Then in early '99 Jeep released the redesigned header with flex joints and my dealer installed it under warranty. That last header with flex joints was still good the last time I saw it when that Jeep was stolen 2 years ago with 192K miles on it.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:44 PM   #10
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I didn't notice the OP's headers had the flex joints, that's the first time I've heard of a header cracking that had the flex joints. I can only assume they were flawed from the get-go because installing headers with the flex joints is typically a permanent fix.

The '97 TJ I bought brand-new had three OE headers in a row crack within its 36K mile warranty... the original and two replacements. Then in early '99 Jeep released the redesigned header with flex joints and my dealer installed it under warranty. That last header with flex joints was still good the last time I saw it when that Jeep was stolen 2 years ago with 192K miles on it.
Very interesting. Mine was a 99 with the flex joints as well...and I also experienced a crack about 6 months to a year after I bought it (granted it had about 85k on it). Maybe Jeep put out a bad batch.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:55 PM   #11
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Sounds like the flex joints are usually a very good but not quite perfect fix.
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Welding that crack will be a very short-lived fix, the next crack will form right next to the weld. Engine torque continually flexes the header pipes which inevitably causes a crack like yours developed. The long-term fix shown below is not expensive and can be found on eBay... newer headers like the below have had steel flex-joints added that stop the cracking problem which was a huge issue for early TJ headers.

And yes, it can cause the 02 sensor to report back that the engine is running too lean which will cause the computer to richen the air/fuel ratio too much which will ruin economy and power.
Mine has held, with no leaks, for over a year. Most weld repairs do not include a stop drill before the weld.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:54 AM   #13
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Our engines run at a nice hot 210 and also are tuned very lean for cruising because of emissions. This combined with the exhaust mid pipe not having much support or worn motor mounts can put a lot of stress on the exhaust. I plan to get my cheap aftermarket header ceramic coated and install some type of hanger on the mid pipe to try to avoid replacing my exhaust again. Honestly with where most of the cracks occur I don't see how the 2 flex spots would change anything. If all 6 runners had flex that could maybe allow enough movement to help avoid the cracks.

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