Header Install & Plugs - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

Performance MODS for the R171 Tuning and Performance modifications for your SLK

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#1 Old 05-30-2015
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Header Install & Plugs

Now that my 06 '55 has turned 48 (thousand miles) she's been menopausal, crying all the time (from a water pump whine). So I've been gathering some bits in anticipation of the excuse to get her over to the doctor for some meds.

All things considered, the recently college graduated blonde who was kind enough to help me part with my Benjamins gave me a great deal on this Merc. And she did have a handful of receipts from visits to the stealership. But I wouldn't have minded if she had spent more keeping it up.

I've had to deal mostly with deferred maintenance in my year of ownership, replacing motor mounts, a 40k service, changed all fluid & filters w/ a trans flush, replaced the idler pulley & belt, battery, a window control unit, and the bi-xenon igniter I blew. Oh, and I cant forget the several blown speakers (my better half has a set of keys too...).

Most of the body panels came standard with minor paint blems or dings, and the front bumper had cracks from dragging on parking bumpers. So when I had my Spyder lights installed, I had all that addressed too.

So now that the work is done, it's time to play. Mine is missing the 030 option. So along with the water pump I'm having my '55 lowered with a Bilstein B12 kit, the ECU is being recurved with a Eurocharger tune, the primary cats & resonator are being deleted and replaced with an X-pipe, and of course a new set of 16 NGK's are going in. This and the restoration of the chrome on my 5+ year old Asanti AF120 three piece wheels should hold me over 'till it's time to upgrade the brakes...

That brings me to the install of the Kleeman headers, and a question.

Today, I was all set to change out the plugs thinking it would be a terrific idea to pocket the 4 hours of labor my indy would ding me for. Then I happened to notice the need for a $20 plug boot remover to get the job done. That's no big deal but it got me thinking.

I'm paying fabrication time to delete the cat, install the X-pipe, and the welding needed to hook up the exhaust to the headers. But everything else being done will be billed flat rate, meaning whatever the book says, he is charging.

Replacing the exhaust manifolds pays 4 hours (the time to remove the manifolds and re-install the headers) and changing the plugs pays 4 hours. So I get to pay for 8, even if it takes him only 6 because he has it apart already.

To install the headers, the air box, plug boots and a few bits have to be removed to get to the exhaust manifold bolts. Maybe the plugs have to come out for clearance as well. I could be answering my own question, but should I bother to do the plugs myself?

I'm undecided. anyone care to share some input?
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#2 Old 05-30-2015
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Plugs were easy. Just time consuming as there are so many.

No need for a special tool to pry off the boots - just use an appropriate size open-ended wrench. I believe mine was 17mm. You can use it to assist with pushing the boots back on too. My 3/8" socket driver had an integral universal joint - that proved handy, but probably not necessary. . Beyond that, just the usual tools are needed.

I dunno - I always worry a bit when someone else is wrenching on my 2006 '55. Connectors and hoses/lines/insulated wires all become brittle and don't like being push/pulled/shoved etc as they age. When doing my plugs I noticed some of the clips on my coil packs had broken interlocks, which would have likely happened when my Indy was chasing a valve cover gasket leak.

Ggrrr!

Should have chased that myself too.

tn
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#3 Old 05-31-2015
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Thomas,

I took your advice and did the deed tonight.

I was pretty methodical about it, grouping each task in the removal and installation process. So it only took about 2 1/2 - 3 hours to change all 16 plugs. I installed NGK factory gapped IFR6D10 (.040").

Your right about using a 17mm wrench, that worked for me. But if I had it to do over again I'd prolly buy the plug boot tool. The offset end and the extra length would give better leverage and pop the boots easier.

Pulling the coils off to get them out of the way also helped to make removing the boots and accessing the plugs easier. And my 3/8 plug socket has a universal on it too. I'd say that as well as a short 3" extension is a must.

The plug seats are machined so far down into the head that the plugs are definitely out of the way when it comes to manifold clearance. And I'm sure I saved at least $350 - $400 in labor by changing them myself instead of letting my indy flat rate me.

Tomorrow I'll finish wrapping my headers with that DEI titanium heat wrap and then I'll be ready to drop the car off. All I can say about the wrap is I hope it works as well as it looks! I use to use the stuff back in my two stroke tuning days. It definitely shifted the torque & HP curves up another 300-400 more RPM, which was nice. But then two stroke expansion chambers are super sensitive to exhaust gas temperatures.

I'm not expecting those kind of results on the'55, but at the very least I know it will keep the under hood temp down. Any extra HP will be a bonus.

One thing I did notice was the interior of my air box and intake tubes were pretty dirty. I think I'll do a soap and water wash inside the box before reinstalling.

Thanks for your comment.
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