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William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
#1034037 Sat Jun 07 2014 11:28 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 11,766
D
'Bolter
Can’t recall the exact conversation or when I saw it,
but there was some reports having to do with the need
to rework the Fenton headers being pushed at us today.
I’ve been helping a friend get his truck back on its
feet and yesterday we tackled the manifolds on the ’56
235 that’s in it.
He purchased a complete exhaust kit from National
Chevy Assn., which supplies William’s headers with the
kit. The bottom line read, “Complete with all
necessary hardware and installation instructions.”
Now sitting on the bench and hanging on the side of
the engine, these, like the Fenton headers look real
sharp, however........looks cam be deceiving.

Number one, there were no instructions. Number two the
kit did had hangers and muffler clamps but to install
the Williams headers without special manifold clamps turns
into a real pain in the ars.
We made a call to them and the guys were nice enough
to talk to but really didn’t have much to offer as far
as installation advice. The gentleman that we talked
to did say that the headers were made in Ohio and that
they used the Fenton headers as a master for the
casting. So according to that information the trouble
we have with the William’s headers should also apply
to the Fenton headers.
The trouble: First off, the flanges are cast nearly 1/8”
thicker than the stock intake, which sounds easy
enough to fix by grinding a little step in the
manifold clamps.
The way the flange is cast, the front center clamp
just barely catch the header by a about 1/32” and
only on the top of the clamp. The rear center needs to
be ground away right up to the hole and the flange
casting actually slightly over-laps the threaded hole
in the head. I won’t go into the rest of the
individual clamps, but just to say that large amounts
of the clamps have to be ground away to get them to
fit and the clamping surfaces are then off balanced
since the clamp strength comes for the compound curve
that is used in its manufacture. The strain bumps in
the center gasket have to be flattened in order for
the Williams headers to fit flush, this makes the
gasket longer and it overlaps the exhaust port by
about a 1/16” on both ports, this also destroys the
ability of the gasket to act independently on the two
exhaust ports and single intake port.

I seem to recall posting something on this subject in
the past about the fit of the ‘new’ Fenton castings.
Back in the day I’d installed the original Fenton
headers and they were a well-made direct bolt on part
that required no rework to the castings or clamps.
If they have made ‘upgrades’ to the ‘new’ version of
cast headers then they should also supply a proper
center gasket replacement and newly designed manifold
clamps with the header. I hate to have to say this but
I’ve had to do less rework from parts that came from
across the Pacific than I did to these parts that came
for Ohio, USA.

Denny Graham
Sandwich, IL

Last edited by Denny Graham; Sat Jun 07 2014 11:32 AM.
Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
Denny Graham #1034042 Sat Jun 07 2014 11:57 AM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 31,520
Bubba - Curmudgeon

I do not know if the difference in flange thicknesses is a new thing, because I did not use Fenton headers on 216/235/261 engines "back in the day".

The Fentons that I bought in 1997 had a flange thickness that did not match the dual-carb Offenhauser intake. I had to grind the flanges on the Fentons to match the Offenhauser flanges.

The Fenton headers' flanges do match the thickness of the Fenton dual-carb intake manifold (as it should). And, the Fenton headers' flanges almost match the thickness of the original 235/261 intake manifolds (I am using original clamps but they are at a slight angle).


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com [1954advance-design.com]
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [stovebolt.com] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [1954advance-design.com] - part of the family for 15 years
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engines are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. [chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com]
Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
Denny Graham #1034066 Sat Jun 07 2014 01:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,851
B
Shop Shark
I know I have had to do extensive rework of many items I have bought for the truck so far. I am just going to consider it part of the fun, rather than going crazy. I had the same problem with the fenton set, I was aghast when I received the intake in a box that had "made in china" on the side. I don't recall where the headers were made, I believe they had been repackaged. I did see a post on this forum, or maybe chevy talk, from some fella that did the importing (at least claimed he did) of these parts. And he was saying the quality was getting so poor that the people that held the license was having the patterns redone. And after the existing stock was depleted. The new revised editions will be coming out. He may have been blowing smoke as far as I know, but that was his story. (or something along those lines)

Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
Denny Graham #1034087 Sat Jun 07 2014 03:39 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,086
5
'Bolter
Wanderer1955 1st (Cecil) ordered a William's complete set up. He's supposed to get back with me when the time comes with his opinion on these. Maybe he will post something on here. I'm starting to lean against getting a set of these.

Brian


Brian
1955.2 3100 Truck


The older I get the more dangerous I am!!!!!
Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
Denny Graham #1034107 Sat Jun 07 2014 05:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 257
E
Shop Shark
I'll check my Repro Fentons from Patricks that I recieved a while back. They're not mounted yet. Check them against the Military 302 intake and the "H" head intake flanges that I have. The Patricks Fentons that I got from Patricks have been machined on already, so maybe they prepped the raw Casting to match the old intakes or maybe it was just to fit a GMC engine. Will post pics tonight. Jim

Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
eagleuh1 #1034117 Sat Jun 07 2014 07:15 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 192
1
'Bolter
Originally Posted by eagleuh1
I'll check my Repro Fentons from Patricks that I recieved a while back. They're not mounted yet. Check them against the Military 302 intake and the "H" head intake flanges that I have. The Patricks Fentons that I got from Patricks have been machined on already, so maybe they prepped the raw Casting to match the old intakes or maybe it was just to fit a GMC engine. Will post pics tonight. Jim

The Fenton's will only bolt onto the Stovebolt cylinder heads out of the box, and they require extensive port welding and grinding to adapt to fit a GMC port arrangement. Also keep in mind that Patrick's has been the only one to ever have permission and a trademark agreement to us the Fenton name, and everyone else is basically stealing that right away from him in selling knockoff parts under the Fenton name.


We cannot solve our problems today using the same thinking we used when we created them!

Albert Einstein
Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
Denny Graham #1034118 Sat Jun 07 2014 07:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,503
Red dot, center of chest ...
I have original Fenton headers that came off a 55 235 and an Offy dual 1bbl intake. The flanges matched up fine. So the originals work fine with a "modern" manifold. Maybe the repro guys aren't paying close attention to the specs or have sloppy production practices.


Paul Schmehl CI 6
geek@stovebolt.com
Stovebolt Staff: Geek
Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
Denny Graham #1034158 Sat Jun 07 2014 10:20 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 568
T
Shop Shark
I will say i do not know how the originals were made back in the day so i can only tell you about my experiences about todays knock offs. I expect That when I order reproduction products I'm going to have to do some refitting because they just don't fit right. My experience with the Fenton headers and intake I had to do some modifications to them also. I thought they would match right up to my 235 head However At the ends of the heads I had to build a bracket Because the Fenton headers Mounting tab was a lot higher than the one on the intake. Now in all fairness Don't know who is really at fault. I bought the intake from Patrick's And the headers of ebay. Wasn't a big deal I figured I'd do some work on it anyway. Now the thing that really shock to me The intake from Patrick's that I bought I did not notice it until after I had it power coated When I set it down on the table and I noticed that the ports were not at the same height I looked online and looked at other intakes already installed in the motors and they all seem to the lean to the front of the motor maybe it's designed that way but I would think that it would level. As far as mounting the two Fentons to the head i just made it work. And if it's wrong I will go back and find out what's wrong and make it work.

But you guys are right it doesn't matter what body panel or what engine part and knock off it should be right.

Secondly one of the stoveboulders who lives in Germany bought his Fenton intake from Patrick's and when he got it home. He noticed that there was a hole in one of the intake ports he sent me the picture of it and it looked like you could have dropped a dime into it luckily he was able to to weld it and repair it. http://i1291.photobucket.com/albums/b554/stovebolt56/20140204_2042261_zpsnxd7it7d.jpg

I guess it is what it is and you gotta do what you gotta do. I still love working on this old iron. I am still a happy bolter doing one piece at a time.

Last edited by Tiny_Jaime; Sat Jun 07 2014 10:25 PM.

"As I lay rubber down the street, I pray for traction I can keep, but if I spin and begin to slide, please dear God protect my sweet ride." -Amen

56 Chevy 3100
Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
Tiny_Jaime #1034204 Sun Jun 08 2014 01:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 89
D
Wrench Fetcher
FWIW I've got a set of Williams I ordered last year, bolted to an 838 head on a 55 block on a stand in my shop for a future project. Using an Offenhauser 216 dual carb intake it bolted right up using a set of stock clamps. I did do a little hand filing on the center exaust extensions back sides to remove a little angularity in the clamp, but it was just a few minutes work. The faces were lovely, machined flat and parallel. I liked 'em.

I vaguely remember hearing somewhere that the Offy was their intended set up, but cannot confirm.


1945 1.5-Ton Chevy Big Bolt
Maynard
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix of the old truck
Re: William's, a Fenton knockoff and a poor product.
Denny Graham #1034225 Sun Jun 08 2014 03:32 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 8,386
Extreme Gabster
My Fentons were supposed to be machined for a GMC too. All I could see is they machined a flat spot and stamped GMC into it. It took extensive work to get them to fit.

A better deal for GMCs, though more expensive, is the Nicson headers Buffalo sells.


"It's just a phase. He'll grow out of it." Mama, 1964

1956 Chevy 1/2-ton 3100
1953 Chevy 6100 "The Yard dog"
1954 GMC Suburban Now with a new proud owner.
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