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Old 10-19-2021, 08:56 PM   #1
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8.1L exhaust manifold bolt advice

Guys,
Paid a ton of $$ a few years back to have the passenger side exhaust manifold worked on... broken bolts/slight warp/etc.
Now the driver's side exhaust manifold has at least 1 broken bolt (#1 at the front) and probably need to be pulled and the exhaust gasket replaced. My local 'regular' garage guys helped me find this the other day, but can't fit my coach in their bays. I have a call into a shop they referred me to, just waiting for their response.

I believe that I overpaid for the work that was done earlier, so wanted to check with others who may have had this done.

What I believe will need to happen is pull the manifold (hoping #1 bolt is the only real issue)...then have they get the broken stud out...maybe go replace all the other studs... check the manifold for any warping...put in a new gasket and donut and reinstall...

(again, this is probably the best case scenario and I hope they don't have to pull the head to do any additional work...

Thanks for constructive input....
Larry
2002 Bounder 33-R
Workhorse 8.1L V-8... 53K miles...
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:10 PM   #2
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Regardless of what needs to be done I would try and get SS studs/bolts and a solid copper gasket if you can. The SS fasteners won't rust and the copper gasket is reusable if you anneal it. I have no idea if either one is available but it would be worth checking out in my opinion. Good luck.
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:23 PM   #3
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Watching this topic. I know I have at least one broken exhaust manifold bolt. Guessing their is more after I get a closer look. After reading on this problem, it appears to be a slow and tedious job trying to get the old broken stud out without messing things up. My body doesn't contort well these days, Darn It. I'll be watching.
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:53 PM   #4
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Go to a muffler shop in your area and inquire as to cost removal. Stay away from national chain stores and you might get lucky and find a independent with experience. The job is not a tough one if one has the tools and experience. Many are lacking real experience.
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:00 PM   #5
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they used the rappiest bolts.most of em i have seen they just pop the heads off the bolt,once the manifold is off there is a little bolt left to get a visegrip on to work out.
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Old 10-20-2021, 07:46 AM   #6
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8.1L exhaust manifold bolt advice

I posted a few years back that I replaced my studs with ARP stainless exhaust studs, washers and nuts. ARP makes racing fasteners and I have used their products for many years. They are installed with their lubricant to ensure correct stud preloading. They arenít cheap, but they really arenít more than the GM parts. No problems since and they still looked new when I traded the coach last year. Assuming they are correctly installed, they would be easily removed for installation of headers later if you wanted.

This thread has all the information including photos:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f22/crac...ld-281847.html
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Old 10-20-2021, 08:45 AM   #7
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i agree,arp makes great stuff.used the head studs on a 6.5 diesel i had.also used em on a 5.7 diesel and if i remember right they were actually cheaper then the gm bolts.
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Old 10-20-2021, 09:31 AM   #8
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Vette. Thanks for the link you posted. I read it all. Good information. Much appreciated.
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Old 10-20-2021, 10:42 AM   #9
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Replaced both exhaust manifold gaskets

Here is another data point for you. I have replaced three sets of plug wires in three years. Thatís another story but finally a workhorse experienced tech found the main problem to be leaking exhaust manifold gaskets. I had the work done and it involved replacing all the studs with new ones. Three were broken. New wires were installed with jackets on the back side two wires. Work was done at a mega big Chevrolet truck center who does a lot of work on RVs including DPs. They have a Workhorse guy who worked on Workhorse chassis trucks and knows workhorse well. The total bill was $1800 and their hourly rate was $140. Labor was $1200. So this is probably the top end of what it can cost from an expensive place. Hope this helps. Check your plug wires when you do the job. These beasts eat plug wires for breakfast. ( I am going with Ultra Extreme wires soon. ).
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Old 10-20-2021, 12:19 PM   #10
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I just went through the exhaust leak saga.

The only broken bolts I experienced were for the heat shield. After manifold removal, I drilled out the bolt and re-tapped the hole.

As for the manifold bolts, before any attempt to remove any of them, I soaked them all, multiple times, with penetrating oil. Allowing at least a 30 minute soak between applications.
Then, using two jam nuts, I was able to remove all but two studs.
On the two stubborn studs, I attached vice grips and slowly rotated in each direction until they broke loose and came out. Applying penetrating oil the whole time.
Manifolds were machined flat again. At the machine shop, I inquired as to the best gasket to use and was told to stick with the OEM gasket as a typical thicker header gasket doesnít work well with the cast manifolds.
I ended up using a set of Mahle gaskets.

I used Dorman studs and nuts for installation.
Make sure to follow the torque specs for your application.

Just a side note: My rig is a California rig and was not exposed to severe road salts and weather as others have. Thatís why I assume mine came apart easier than what others have experienced. For that reason, I didnít see a need for any special fasteners.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 10-20-2021, 06:59 PM   #11
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Just a quick thank you to everyone who has posted so far.... It is good to hear from people who want to offer helpful information and reference, instead of complaints and condemnation....

I am in the Austin Tx area. I called 3 diesel repair places (for BIG Rigs), 4 muffler exhaust places, and two large automotive companies over the past 2 days...of these only 1 was even willing to indicate that they might be willing to consider the work needed, but they wanted to add in a caveat that if the stud (or studs) can't be reasonably extracted, they won't pull the head to have work done on it to and won't be held accountable for any issues, since the RV would be unusable until that work got done....which did not instill ANY real confidence in their ability to actually complete this successfully.... I realize that stuff happens, but I think they were hedging their bets a little too soon for my tastes.

I did also contact a non-chain RV service center nearby that one of the diesel shops said was close to them. Their phone message said that they were REALLY backed up on the schedule, but go ahead and send an email and they would get back when they could. I received a response later this afternoon from the owner saying yes, they do that work and that there's really no way to estimate how long as it varies from vehicle to vehicle. It could be easy and short or it could take hours (which in my opinion is probably the most honest answer anyone could give)... he added that his rate is $200/hr... which seems a little high, but at least he is willing to try....additionally, he mentioned that he should be able to get it on the schedule for the first of November...which was better than I expected....

As for the ARP studs, I agree I have used them before and they are great. Once I actually talk to the RV repair center, I will inquire about using them...

Larry Swofford
2002 Bounder 33R 8.1L
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Old 10-21-2021, 09:28 PM   #12
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$200 an hour? Now is that not special.
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Old 10-22-2021, 08:29 AM   #13
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EyezOpen, (Hopefully this is taken as a comment and not a complaint/condemnation).

On the hourly rate, while I stated that I think the rate is a high (as compared to other shops in the area) the shop owner is allowed to charge whatever he decides to and it is up to the consumer to decide on whether they want to accept that and have the work done. Is the owner taking advantage of the current situation that is occurring in the RV industry concerning maintenance and repair? Maybe, but it is his business to run... not mine.

In this case, I see that the shop owner is at least willing to accept the potential risk/complaints/PO'd RV owner/etc./etc... for some work that could end up being a real pain in the backside. As I mentioned in one of the earlier update replies, other shops weren't willing to consider doing what I need, even though they said they have/could do it...they don't anymore...so I am accepting the rate to at least have him take a shot at repairing my RV.

Since my Bounder is now almost 20 years old, it is getting harder and harder to find people to work on the things that I am not able/unwilling to do. Parts are becoming harder to find, as Workhorse/Brazell's/etc are not making/selling some of the parts that they used to sell.

While my wife and I really love our RV, we have had discussions on whether it makes more sense to sell 'Bertha' and go find something new/newer, maybe moving to a pull behind/5th wheel instead of the Class A, in an effort to keep things updated....

Now, to finish off this post on a hopefully more positive note.... I was able to get a really good light and go look at the exhaust manifold yesterday... and I saw what appeared to be a good number of threads showing on the head, as I looked through the #1 manifold stud hole....so I stuck a small screwdriver tip up into the hole...and I think it went about 1".... so MAYBE, just maybe, the issue is that I had the #1 stud get loose and back out of the hole....and only a new stud is needed, instead of having to get a broken one out. I am still planning to have the repair shop pull the manifold and check everything else, including the gasket...just in case.

Thanks.
Larry Swofford
2002 Bounder 33R 8.1L
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