A while ago, I purchased an ebay exhaust manifold/UP combo (one piece, Megan Racing knockoff) off a SOIC friend. He owns a turboed 2.5RS, and the WRX manifold/UP doesn't fit his car. He got it off someone else, or something, and the manifold/UP never was run before I put it on my car, so the gaskets and such were all unused. Anyway, I put the thing on, and it had several problems:
The EGT bung didn't have a shoulder in it, so I coudln't run an EGT sensor...
The collector area wasn't welded right (sloppy welds), and it leaked. I started getting boost around 3,000 rpm, full boost at 3,250ish rpm.
So, I decided to throw it in the scrap bin and get a brand new setup for my car.
Irony of ironies, I decided to purchase a Megan Racing UP Pipe, I went through a reputable website, and the UP came direct from Megan Racing, FTW.
I decided to use the stock manifold, the cast iron tends to last longer in the extreme heat next to the exhaust ports compared to the steel that aftermarket manifolds use, from what I've seen. However, I decided to upgrade it a little bit... So, I started by pulling off the heatshields (all of them), and inspected the flex in the crossover pipe.
Then, I purchased this, at Schmucks:
I dropped the heat wrap in a bucket of water, let it soak for a minute, then wrapped the manifold:
And next, the UP itself:
I wrapped the flex very loose, so it will still be able to flex without crushing the weave.
Meanwhile, the manifold has been sitting for a long time outside, and had some rust build up on the flanges.
I purchased a wire wheel while at schmucks for $2, and wire wheeled it.
Next, I wire wheeled the cast iron end pieces of the manifold: