As the engine, transmission, and suspension system work, vibration is produced. If not minimized, this shaking can damage some valuable components of the vehicle. This is the reason the vehicle's exhaust system is outfitted with a flex pipe. This component dispels the stress caused by vibration to protect other components from cracking and being ruptured. It is found in the mid-section of the exhaust, right where the system needs to bend and be flexible. This part also works to prevent the chassis' structural flexing from being transferred into the exhaust pipe.
Because of its tough job, this pipe often requires replacement. But even if it's a cinch to install, flex pipe replacement cost can be skyrocketing if you'll let a qualified mechanic do the job for you. If you can't afford spending an arm and a leg for a flex pipe repair or replacement, you'd better do the task by yourself. The installation procedures are quite simple and can be done even by rookies in the do-it-yourself arena.
What you'll need:
- New flex pipe
- New clamp
- Exhaust sealant
- Wire brush
Step 1: Get underneath the vehicle. You can use an auto lift or car jack and jack stands to lift your ride. But if you think the vehicle is high enough to allow you to comfortably work underneath, don't bother raising it. Just slide underneath it on your back.
Step 2: Locate the flex pipe. It is usually connected on one end to a flange on the muffler and on the other end to the exhaust pipe. A pipe elbow does the job of connecting exhaust flex pipes to both the muffler and the exhaust pipe.
Step 3: Remove the pipe elbow. With the wrench, carefully loosen and remove the bolts that secure the pipe elbow to the muffler.
Step 4: Take out the flex pipe. You first need to loosen the clamp that holds the exhaust and pipe together. Detach the pipe from the clamp and remove both of them from the vehicle.
Step 5: Detach the pipe from the flanges. To do this, you have to first take out the gaskets that connect the flex pipe's other end to the vehicle's muffler. Once the pipe has been detached from the muffler, get the wire brush and clean the flanges.
Step 6: Fix any damage on the exhaust downpipe. With a hammer, even out any dent you'll find in the downpipe. The pipe needs to have a round shape so it can effectively seal the new flex exhaust pipe.
Step 7: Prepare the muffler and exhaust pipe for the new pipe installation. Using a wrench, loosen the bolts that hold the muffler and exhaust pipe in place. By so doing, you are allowing these components to be moved a bit when fitting the flex pipe in place.
Step 8: Apply exhaust sealant. The end of the exhaust pipe as well as the muffler gasket must be coated with exhaust sealant before attaching the new pipe.
Step 9: Install the new flex pipe. Slide one end of the replacement pipe on the exhaust pipe area where you've applied the sealant and right into the muffler gasket. In case of twisted or tensioned pipe, make it straight by doing adjustments on the muffler and the pipe itself.
Step 10: Place and tighten the clamp and bolts. With a screwdriver, install the new clamp and secure it in place. Then, proceed to the bolts that hold the pipe and the muffler flange together. With a wrench, secure the nuts to the bolts.
Step 11: Reinstall the pipe elbow and secure all of the flex pipe's mounting points. Also, don't forget to remove the plastic ties that came with the new pipe.
Step 12: Lower the vehicle or get out from the underneath. Once you're sure that the pipe is properly installed, get out from underneath the vehicle. If you've raised it to gain access to the exhaust, you can now bring it down.