See, when you obsess about things they never turn out as badly as you expect. Ms. Jenavieve’s old exhaust manifold is lying on the garage floor in 4 pieces, and the whole removal process took less than 4 hours.
I experimentally took a box end wrench to the bottom left nut on cylinder #1, and was shocked to find out that it easily turned. No extra help required, no PB Blaster, nothing. I kept turning it and the stud backed right out of the block (with the nut attached). Easy as pie.
Encouraged, I tried the rest. Some interesting contortion involved, but I was able to remove all 12 studs with nothing more than a combination wrench and a socket with a long extension. And I didn’t even jack up the engine, did most of it either through the wheel opening or from underneath (other than two of the top nuts which were just plain easier to get at from above). All nuts came out with the studs attached. None broken (which was my greatest fear). Some were a little slow, having to continually flip the wrench and go about 1/16 of a turn at a time, but they all came out just fine.
Then, after a dinner break, I went back under with a Sawzall. Started by cutting both of the pipes right at the Y-pipe (which is still attached to the exhaust system, but since that was just clamped last year when I had the rest of the exhaust system replaced with the Delta performance exhaust) I don’t anticipate much trouble there. After cutting those two, I went back through the wheel well and cut #1 and #4 up as close to the bends as I could, pulled those off, and then cut #2 the same way. Then, I cut #3 very close to the mounting plate (found my leak, it was breaking off of the mounting plate). I was almost able to break it off by hand… ended up shifting what was left of the manifold around so that I could cut #3 off right at the mounting plate.
After all that, jiggered the mounting plate around (which had a few inches left of #1, #2, and #4 attached) until I was able to pull it out from underneath.
Didn’t even remove the steering shaft (though it probably would have made that last part easier). I figured since the header was going to be coming out in pieces, I’d wait to remove the shaft until after the header wasn’t in the way any more. Tomorrow, I’ll remove the shaft, unclamp and remove what’s left of the Y-pipe, jack up the engine and remove the mounts, and with any luck I may get the new motor mounts and 4 into 1 header installed tomorrow night.
I’m sure something will come up to complicate things, but at this point I have to say that this is going MUCH better than I anticipated.