Vibrant Stainless Steel Exhaust Header


Oil filters don't clear the new header. The factory mounting plate is too thick!


Side of the 4AGE Red Top engine before and after removing mounting plate


BlueTop mounting plate coming off



Mounting plates,  side by side comparison


Redtop mounting plate installed on the Bluetop



A comparison of the Vibrant header, and the factory exhaust manifold setup side by side


About the Vibrant Header


Believe it or not Vibrant once produced what could be be arguably the highest quality exhaust header for the Corolla GT-S ever made. It was a copy of the TRD unit in terms of piping placement, however featured a full stainless steel build, and a flex pipe near the bottom flange. Essentially, it's a knock-off that's superior to the original it was meant to copy, and made by Vibrant. Neat, eh?


Why aren't these headers available anymore and why haven't you heard of them?  At a retail price of about $600 US when they were actually being sold, for a product meant for a vehicle who's owners are notoriously "thrifty", needless to say they weren't exactly flying off the shelves at the Vibrant warehouse.


I actually knew the guy that owned the car that Vibrant used to test fit and make the first header and subsequent market version. In fact, a friend and I put that engine into that car that would later be used as the guinea pig. Unfortunately for the AE86 community, the owner knew next to nothing about cars and on top of that, his was in terrible condition. I actually tried contacting Vibrant to let them know I'd be interested in helping them develop the header instead and would like to give some insight towards the marketing of the unit...but my request went unanswered, and within less than two years the header came out and was just as quickly discontinued. Go figure. Sometimes I think some companies just have a need to fail with some ventures.


I picked on of these up during a group buy for the last few that were available in the Canadian market. Huge thanks to Don at PDM for recognizing the quality of these units and thinking about us Canadian AE86er's!



(narrow oil filter plate needed)


Needless to say, I've been wanting a header for my Corolla for as long as I can remember. There isn't a part of the car I hate working on more than the factory exhaust manifold setup. It's heavy, rusty, awkward, prone to air leaks, and generally a royal pain in the ass. Then there's that stupid support bracket that bolts to the side of the transmission...aaarrrrrrgh.


I was quick to remove my factory setup, and when I went to put the Vibrant in, there was a problem. It didn't clear the oil filter. Uh oh.


Luckily, I remember the owner of the test-fit car mention this to me during a car meet in Ontario. He pointed out that some AE86's have fairly thick oil filter mounting plates while others are narrower...or something along those lines. In any case, the engine in his AE86, the one that Vibrant used to test fit and eventually make all the subsequent market ready headers, had one of those narrower mounting plates. There's a good chance that the engine in his car wasn't even from an AE86...more likely from an AW11 or an AE92 considering how rare AE86's are in Ontario, which would explain the problem. (Yes, that means that Vibrant may have produced a header based on an engine that wasn't even in it's originally intended chassis.)


Lucky for me, I had a RedTop 4AGE from a 1991 AE92 GT-S sitting in the corner of the garage. Lo and behold, it had the ultra-narrow oil filter mounting plate on it. Have a look at the pics and you'll see what I mean. The hose coming off of it is for the oil cooler.


After removing plates from both the engines, and carefully bending the oil cooler line to clear my engine mount bracket, the narrow plate mounted to the side of my Bluetop block perfectly.


Even with the Vibrant header installed, there's juuuuuust enough room for the longer A1/F1 toyota filter to be removed and changed during an oil change. Thank god.





I'm probably the only AE86 guy you'll ever know that will put a header onto a car that still has it's factory intake and exhaust system. But I don't care, just the ease of install and removal, reduction in weight, and cosmetic appearance make the price of this unit all worth while.


I'm writing this the day after install, and only driving the car for about an hour, but there is a definite improvement in higher RPM air flow.


If you ever get the chance to buy one of these headers....don't hesitate, ok? Just buy it.




July 2, 2007


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