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.
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
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
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
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
Dreams of Drifting
Copyright © 01/2000 Chris Migs