The header bolt may seem like a small and insignificant part of the vehicle exhaust, but its failure can cause irreparable damage to the entire system. The function of the header bolt in your vehicle is providing a consistent clamp load. This consistent load is what seals the cylinder head, header flange and exhaust gasket together. When there is a problem with the header bolt, its ability to maintain a uniform clamp load is compromised. The result can be a complete exhaust failure, which will cost you a lot of money to repair. Before the damage reaches this level, you should know warning signs of trouble with the header bolt and have it fixed in time. Here are the most common warning signs.
When Your Engine Is Excessively Noisy
One of the early ways to tell that the header bolt is no longer working is a hissing sound coming from the vehicle engine. Most of the time, this noise results from a failed exhaust manifold gasket. The noise might be a little more pronounced when you are trying to start the vehicle after it has been off all night. Other times when you will notice this noise is when trying to increase the speed of the vehicle. When you notice these odd noises, the best way to deal with the exhaust leak is to get a professional to check the state of the header bolt and have it replaced.
When the Vehicle's Fuel Consumption Goes Up
The value of the vehicle lies in, among other things, how well it conserves fuel. When your vehicle starts using more litres per kilometre and the engine power goes down, one of the places to look for issues is the exhaust manifold gasket. This decrease in power and acceleration gets worse with time when it is not addressed. A simple bolt replacement will fix the engine problem altogether.
Burning Smell from the Engine
Another indication of a header bolt problem is a burning smell emanating from the engine bay. Most of the time, when the gasket fails to seal in the fluids, they will turn into plastic parts. The fluids and heat from the exhaust gases will create a small inferno, which creates the black smoke and burning smell.
These are three simple indications that the engine gasket has stopped working as it should. The simple replacement of a faulty one with a new and functional one changes your vehicle's fuel consumption and engine power. Look for header bolts, like ARP header bolts, in a store near you if you need them.