Review: Cheap eBay Chinese AE86 Tri-Y Header

The header selection for the LHD AE86 is limited to say the least. However, there are a few options…


OBX makes a TRD 4-2-1 copy you can easily find on eBay. It has an EGR bung so you don’t have to eliminate it, which requires a block-off plate and gasket as well as a a bolt and washer for the header itself. The TRD copy by OBX also has a flange for the o2, but the wiring needs to be extended. OBX also recently released a tri-y header which is also on eBay, but it does not have an EGR port. It has a bung for a wideband, but not the appropriate flange for the AE86′ stock o2 sensor. It also is a slip joint design, and appears to be 4-1.

CX Racing makes a “high rise” header. While it does not have an EGR port, it does have a flange for the stock o2 sensor. But, the o2 does need to be extended.It uses a v-band clamp instead of a slip joint. The high rise header puts the manifold close to the brake booster and master cylinder.

DNA Motorsports makes a “tri y” header. It also does not have an EGR port. It does have a flange for the stock o2, but it needs to be extended. This header is also re-branded for other companies.

All of these options are made in China.

My story:

Because my stock manifold was cracked, I wanted to check out these cheap Chinese options and see if they would actually “bolt-on” without hitting the steering rack, distributor, etc. I also wanted to know if they would bolt up to the stock catalytic converter.

I purchased the DNA Motorsports Tri-Y header, as it was the cheapest option available. It was about half the cost of the OBX and CX racing options. When it came in the mail, I was less than impressed. But, I decided to test fit it.

As you can see, the collectors are junk. It clears the steering rack and frame rail just fine. However, the downpipe sits about about an inch lower than the stock cat. But, the major issue is that it hits the distributor and the spark plug wire. And, there is not enough room between the pipes to wrap them. There is also not enough room between the plug wire and the pipe to place a shield. There is enough wiggle room that I could make the downpipe work. But, even if I beat the runner with a hammer, I would still be concerned about heat.

In any case, I bolted everything up, and ran it for a second to see if anything leaked. It did. It leaked at the the slip joint. Big surprise.I then took it off and just JB Welded the cracked stock manifold for now.


Although it was interesting to see one of these dirt cheap poorly made headers up close, it was a amazing waste of time. I cannot suggest buying an eBay AE86 “tri-y” header with this design. That said, I do not know if the new OBX option is superior. You can tell the difference between the two easily. Check out the above photos to compare.

Next time around, I will be purchasing the Martelius “group a” mainfold “for catted cars” which is made in Finland.

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