Car Exhaust: How to Install an Exhaust System in Your Car
Every other component of your vehicle plays an essential role in the smooth functioning of the machine. From the tiniest part to the largest element, everything contributes towards pushing the car forward with minimum resistance and maximum stability. Today, we are discussing one such essential component of the vehicle – the car exhaust system.
The exhaust system plays an essential role in the smooth and efficient functioning of the car. Apart from moving the hot, exhaust gasses from the front of the vehicle to the rear to expel, it also quietens the roaring engine, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful ride. With the help of a resonator and muffler, your car would be as loud as a race car.
With time, most of the car components go through vigorous wear and tear and demand a change. If you find that your exhaust is not doing the job efficiently, or perhaps the performance has gone down, it might be time for an exhaust replacement or an upgrade. Before you declare your exhaust as incompetent, make sure you opt for a car exhaust cleaning services to ensure it is not just dirty.
That being said, it is not rocket science to change the exhaust system, and with the right tools, it can be done in a pretty straight forward manner.
What are the Materials required for the Exhaust Installation Procedure?
- Six Pointed Sockets (10mm-19mm)
- Floor Jack
- Four Safety Jack Stands
- Safety Glasses
- Oil/Spray for the Nuts and Bolts
- Replacement Bolt-in Exhaust System
- Required Number of Gaskets
- New Bolts and Nuts for the Assembly
- Rubber Exhaust Hangers
Usually, when you purchase the entire exhaust system replacement kit, you receive all the new accessories like gaskets, hardware, and hangers. However, if the kit doesn’t include the following, you will have to buy them separately.
How to Install an Exhaust System in Your Car?
Part 1: Lifting the Vehicle
The first step to replacing and installing the exhaust system is to access the area where it is located. This requires lifting the vehicle and identifying the parts before you work to dismantle it.
Breaking the first part into four different steps, let’s work on our installation procedure.
- Understanding the Parts of the Exhaust system
If you cannot identify and understand the different parts of the exhaust system, it would be very difficult to install the new one as you can mess up the placement. I would suggest taking a picture of the parts as you go along so you can remember what goes where.
The exhaust system starts from the manifold which can be identified where 4-8 pipes connect and run underneath the vehicle with the help of a metal downpipe. The entire pipe system moves from the front to the back of the vehicle.
- Cool it Off!
You have just driven your car to the hardware or the spare parts store and have purchased the new exhaust system. Excited to replace, you get to work as soon as you park the car. Seems like a fair thing to do, right?
That’s where you are going wrong. The exhaust system works to remove the hot gas from the engine, which means that the pipes are usually hot enough to cause a burn. You need to allow your car to cool down before you start handling the old car exhaust system. To speed up the process, you can sprinkle water on the pipes.
- Raising the Vehicle
To work comfortably, you will need to raise the vehicle by placing it on a flat surface area to avoid any mishaps. Use the jack to raise the frame of the vehicle at the front or the back of the vehicle. The vehicle should be high enough that you can get underneath it.
Once you have used the jack to push the vehicle upwards, place the jack stands near each tyre to avoid any slip-ups. You can place them either in front of the tyres or at the back.
Once you’re sure of the sturdiness of the vehicle, it is time to get underneath it to remove the old exhaust.
Part 2: Removing the Old Exhaust
- The first step to remove the old exhaust is to detach the oxygen sensors that are connected to the sides of the exhaust pipes. These are small metal pieces that can be disconnected with the help of a wrench and a little strength. Once loosen, pull the sensor from the pipe.
- Every nuts and bolt that you notice in your exhaust system will need to be unscrewed for the change. To make your job easier, spray them all with a penetrating fluid as it would loosen it enough to work around them. Allow it to be soaked for 5 minutes
- Now that you have sprayed with the penetrating fluid and waited for 5 minutes, the bolts are ready to be unlocked. Use the ratchet that matches the size of the nuts and start unscrewing it by rotating counterclockwise. Make sure you apply firm pressure as the years of placement might make it difficult to move easily.
- The next step is to unhook the pipes from the rubber exhaust hangers. Locate the top of the pipe and run along the entire length to find the metal pins that run into the rubber rings on your vehicle. Make sure you are supporting the exhaust pipe with one hand as you unhook with the other one. Keep taking the pins off until the exhaust system comes loose.
- Now that you are done unscrewing all the nuts and bolts, take the exhaust system from the catalytic converter to the tailpipe and bring it to the ground. You can either just discard the old exhaust system or sell the parts if they are in an unusable condition.
Part 3: Installing the New Exhaust System
- The first step to installing the new exhaust system is to find an exhaust system that would work for you. The ideal exhaust system contains the main exhaust pipe, catalytic converter, muffler, and tailpipe. Make sure you get one that resembles the previous make and model.
- It is a good idea to apply anti-seize fluid on the bolt threading to avoid any hassle whenever you need to unscrew the exhaust system in the future.
To start with the installation procedure, following the steps mentioned below:
- The new exhaust system should ideally be equipped with a gasket. In case it is not, you can get it from your local repair shop. A gasket is used between the pipes to check and prevent any leaks in the system. To install, place the gasket over the downpipe, and fix it with one of the bolts.
- Position the end of the exhaust pipe with the port on the downpipe in such a manner that the bolt holes are aligned. Once done, use the nuts to keep the system in place, but not too tightly that would have trouble repositioning it.
- Many car exhaust systems have multiple pieces which makes them prone to leaking if not connected efficiently. To ensure that nothing that is supposed to be inside is going out, use exhaust clamps to hold the pipes together. Use a ratchet to tighten the clamp, until it is securely placed. In some cases, you might need to weld the pieces together rather than using clamps.
- Remember the oxygen sensors that we removed during the initial stages? It is time to install them back. Slide the oxygen sensors into the holes located at the sides of the exhaust pipe near the front axle of the vehicle.
- The next step is to slide the metal pins on the system into the rubber exhaust hanger. This helps to secure the pipe with the vehicle, negating any accidents.
- Once you are done with the above steps, check for all the bolts and nuts, tightening them as you go along. The tight seal is important to nullify any instances of leaking, but at the same time, overtightening might damage the system.
- Your exhaust system is installed, but you can still indulge in a leak test by spraying soapy water on the areas where the pipes are connecting. If you notice bubbles forming around the connection, tighten it further to see if it fixes the issue. In case the issue persists, opt for an exhaust repair.
If all is well, remove the jack stands, lower down the car, and it is ready to be driven!
This brings us to the end of our article on how to install an exhaust system in a car. Hope this was informative and helpful. For more such articles, keep watching this space.