Picked up a new project vehicle from Craigslist the other day. Got it for cheap because among (many) other issues, the exhaust had rusted and fallen off. Check out this article for how I fixed it.
This thing was LOUD on the first drive home.
So I got my trusty Sawzall out and cut off the rusted part so I could splice in a piece to repair it.
The Sawzall is probably an exhaust repair man’s favorite tool. It makes easy cuts through the thin exhaust piping without throwing a bunch of sparks everywhere. This is the one I just got for Christmas and so far it works awesome.
I went ahead and cut out the factory flange. I didn’t feel like messing with the rusted factory bolts, and my repair should last the remainder of the life of this vehicle anyways.
A tip for getting the hanger out of it’s rubber mount. Grab a pair of pliers and squeeze on the rubber mount and the end of the steel hanger. It will push the lip of the steel hanger through the rubber mount.
As a side note, the pliers I am using in the picture above are my favorite pliers in the world. I accidentally left them under the hood of my car for a month and was devastated when I couldn’t find them. They are kind of pricey but are totally worth it. Unlike normal adjustable pliers, these ones actually get tighter as you twist on them harder. These things have taken a beating and just keep on going. Check out the reviews on these at the link below:
In full honesty the stupid rubber mount in the picture above was the most frustrating part of this whole project. I bet it took me 10 minutes to get the hanger out of the rubber mount. The above plier
trick and some WD-40 was what finally got it out.
I also took the piece that I had cut off and cut the hanger from the tubing so I could re-use it.
I then measured and cut a new piece of 2.5″ exhaust tubing. It is slightly smaller than the trailblazer exhaust so it could slide into both sides a couple of inches.
Another view of the repair splice. You can see on the right side where I also made a cut on the muffler to get rid of the jagged rusty end of the tubing.
Next, I put a jack under the rear muffler and maneuvered it around until the pieces of the exhaust were straight and the exhaust hangers were hanging neutral (not twisted or out of shape).
Once everything was lined up, I rolled out my MIG Welder and welded up the seams and the hanger.
The top side was kind of a bugger to get to. There was only ~4″ between the exhaust and the bottom of the vehicle. Since I couldn’t get in there to see where I was welding, I actually used a telescoping mirror to see where I had missed.
A tip while welding exhaust. Once you ‘think’ you have it all welded. start the car and hold your hand ~1″ away from the tubing moving around your welds (while making sure not to burn yourself). If there are any other rust holes or spots that you missed while welding, you will be able to feel the air from the exhaust on your hand.
The finished repair after checking for leaks.
So, my total cost on this repair was ~2 hours, some sweat, and a ~12″ long piece of 2.5″ exhaust tubing. Not too shabby for something that could have cost $100 or more at an exhaust shop.
If you have a MIG Welder, Sawzall and some patience, this is very likely something that you can do at your house on a Saturday. Don’t forget to wear all of your safety equipment though!
Don’t have any tools? No fear, check out my How to get started welding for under $250 guide!