Car exhaust pipes are an important exhaust system component that helps transmit exhaust gasses from the engine to other components of the exhaust system. They are usually made of steel or any metal strong enough to withstand extreme temperatures and corrosive fumes. These tubes, over time, can leak or break apart, leading to the escape of toxic fumes into the atmosphere.
It’s therefore expedient to fix them immediately. Due to its long and curvy structure, damaged exhaust pipes are usually welded. However, in this article, I will walk you through how to connect exhaust pipes without welding in four ways. But first, let’s see the benefits of connecting exhaust pipes without welding.
The benefits of connecting exhaust pipes without welding
Here are some of the benefits of joining exhaust pipes without welding.
Welding an exhaust pipe together usually requires expertise, which many don’t have. Hence, it can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Therefore, connecting exhaust pipes without welding prevents inconveniences that can arise from not doing it correctly. This may include shocks, ruining your exhaust pipes, injuries, etc.
Simple steps and tools
Joining exhaust pipes without welding only requires using simple tools, which you can get from auto shops near you. Moreover, the process is usually simple that even an inexperienced person can explore.
It’s cost-effective and saves time since it doesn’t involve complex steps or powerful tools.
The tools and materials you will need
Broken exhaust pipe repair cost involving welding can run into hundreds of dollars depending on several factors. However, using alternative methods to fix exhaust pipes reduces repair costs to its minimum. All you need is to follow the steps highlighted in the next session with some simple tools and materials.
Some tools are likely what you have at home or in the garage. But for the exhaust pipe repair kit and other tools needed, you can get them from auto shops or car spare shops near you. Alternatively, you can shop from online shops like Amazon, eBay, etc.
There are different ways to connect your exhaust without welding, depending on the severity of the damage. So, which tool you need will depend on the method chosen. But here are the tools and materials needed to connect exhaust pipes without welding.
- Jack stands or ramps
- Flat head screwdrivers
- Mixed pliers and scanner
- Exhaust tape (muffler bandage)
- U bolt exhaust clamps
- Clamp sleeve
- Epoxy bond ( or any exhaust repair paste of your choice)
- Exhaust pipe expander
- Suitable-sized exhaust pipes
- copper RTV (or its equivalent)
- Metal wire brush
- Wooden dowel
- Isopropyl alcohol (or its equivalent)
- Soapy water
- Protective gear (hand gloves, google, nose mask etc.)
The step-by-step guide
There are different methods to connect exhaust pipes without welding. But here, I will walk you through four methods —use of clamps, sleeves, flanges and epoxy bond.
Method 1: Use of U-bolt clamps
- Get correct-sized pipes
- With your car parked on a leveled, solid ground, raise with a jack and support with stands or ramps
- Disassemble the clamp. To do this, first loosen the clamp and, afterward, remove the hex nut from the bolts.
- One of the pipes should have a flare to fit the other. Attach both pipes, clamp with the U bolt clamp and tighten the bolts
- If you bought the correct sized pipe, they should fit immediately. However, in case they don’t fit in, take the smaller pipe and clean the edge with a grinder at about 45°
- Next is to expand the larger pipe using a suitable exhaust pipe expander. To do this, insert the expander about ⅔ into the larger pipe. Bring out the impact and expand. Loosen the expander, turn it over half a tooth and expand
- They should be able to fit in now. Install the pipes and place the clamp in place. Tighten until the pipe starts to crimp.
- Start the car and check for leaks
Method 2: Use of exhaust repair sleeves
This method is best utilized when the exhaust pipe is connected straight but not too great on a bend.
- Park your car and lift with Jack, supporting with stands
- Join both exhaust pipes and clamp using the exhaust pipe repair sleeve. Tighten until both pipes are connected.
- Afterward, apply a copper RTV to help the clamp seal properly if you’re using or combining old pipes. For new pipes, they will bolt correctly, so you don’t need a copper RTV
- Turn on the engine and check for leaks
- With the correct sized pipes, both pipes should fit immediately. If, however, they don’t, follow the process explained in method one before using the exhaust pipe connector sleeve joiner.
Method 3: Use of flanges
- Get appropriate size pipes and corresponding flange
- Park your car, lift with Jack and support with Jack stands or ramps
- Join the two pipes together and hold them in place with your flange. Tighten the flange with its bolts until the pipes are properly connected
- Start the car and check for leaks
- With the correct sized pipes, both pipes should fit immediately before clamping. If, however, they don’t, follow the process explained in method one before using your flanges.
Method 4: Use of Epoxy
This method is especially useful when fixing small holes, leaks, cracks, etc. and not necessarily for connecting pipes. This is true because epoxy bonds can’t form a strong bond at connecting joints.
- Park your car, raise with jacks and support with stands.
- Turn on the engine
- Next is to inspect for leaks. To do this, hover your hand around the exhaust; you should feel air hitting your hands in places with leaks. Alternatively, you can spray soapy water on your exhaust; places with leaks will usually produce air bubbles.
- Clean the area to fix, so you get a good bonding surface. To do this, scrape with a sandpaper or wire brush to remove grease and any dirt. Then, use a clean rag to wipe with an Isopropyl alcohol or its alternatives
- Next is to mix the epoxy bond and stir until it is evenly mixed
- Use a wooden dowel to apply the sealant around the hole or affected area
- Allow to dry and start the car to be sure the leaks are properly sealed. Note that different products have different curing times. So read the instructions to know how long you must let it dry before turning on the engine.
Another method that comes in handy in sealing small leaks is using exhaust tape to wrap the leak. Alternatively, you can cover the hole with an aluminum patch. You can also use an exhaust clamp if the hole is not too wide. All you need to do is wrap the clamp around the hole, fix the bolts and tighten till the hole is covered.
The tips and tricks
Whether you are learning how to connect exhaust pipes without welding in a motorcycle or other vehicle, these tips and tricks will make your repair last long.
- Ensure you measure your exhaust dimension before purchasing any components. Measure the outside and inside dimensions. Both are usually regarded the same, but in reality, one is a bit bigger, so it overlaps the other. When correct pipe sizes are used, clamping them together not only becomes easier but also gives a good seal with no leaks.
- When using bonds, clean the surface to get a good bonding surface. This way, the bond seals properly and last long
- Bolts and nuts are enough to hold the exhaust clamps to the exhaust. So avoid doing anything extra so you don’t ruin your hard work
- There are several types of clamps; choose only the ones that are best fit for your exhaust.
- While nuts and bolts on the clamp will help with a good seal, don’t fail to use an epoxy bond or tape to completely seal if there are still leaks
- If your exhaust broke due to excessive rust, avoid trying to connect them; they will separate again in no time. Even if it is taken for welding, the mechanic might not be able to make a good repair.
- Also use the time to check your muffler and other exhaust components and fix them if needed. A muffler repair putty, for example, can be used on both the tailpipe and the muffler.
The safety precautions
While connecting exhaust pipes without welding is less dangerous, it can become a hazard if certain precautions are not observed. These tips will, therefore, help keep you and your car safe from potential hazards when using these methods
- Don’t ever rely on jacks alone when going under a car. Jacks are only meant to lift your car from the ground and not handle your vehicle’s weight. Ensure you support with Jack stands or ramps; many persons have lost their lives or parts of their bodies. If your vehicle fell when you are under it, it’ll cause some casualties, which may lead to death. However, even if you’re not under, and your vehicle fell off from jack, the vehicle will incur some damages.
- Put on protective wear. Hand gloves, google and even a nose mask can protect against cuts on sharp metal edges, burns, as well chemicals that can cause skin irritation.
- When the car is on, it’s okay to hover your hand around the exhaust when inspecting for leaks. But to prevent burns, never place your hand or any body part on a hot exhaust pipe.
- Be sure to engage the emergency brakes before going underneath your car.
The pros and cons of different methods
The process above explains how to connect exhaust pipes without welding in Toyota and any other brand. However, each method comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
The use of clamps, sleeves or flanges follows the same process and will help connect your pipes effortlessly. However, if these clamp sizes don’t tally with the sizes of the exhaust pipes, leaks can occur. More so, leaks can occur if the clamps are too tight or loose. Using the wrong method on your exhaust equals wasting your time because it will get damaged again quickly.
The use of epoxy bonds works to give a strong bond. However, it is only great with small leaks or holes. Epoxy can’t make a strong joint since it can’t withstand heat and vibration. So the pipes will separate in no time.
This article has explained how to connect exhaust pipes without welding in four simple ways. They include the use of clamps, sleeves, flanges and epoxy bond.
These methods not only save time and money but are effective ways to avoid the hazards that come with connecting pipes by welding. However, be careful with the method you choose.
Typically, the extent of the damage and type of your exhaust pipe should narrow down your choice. All materials needed for this job can be gathered from local stores near you, and it only takes an hour or less to complete the job. If, however, you’re not confident in doing it yourself, contact your car mechanic.