Although installing an exhaust system on your car or truck at home may seem like a task far too difficult to take on, the truth is that as long as your old exhaust system hasn’t rusted together with your catalytic converter, you can install one of the new aftermarket exhaust systems on your car, in your driveway, with only minimal tools, and little or no automotive experience.
Begin by Jacking up the car and supporting the entire thing on jack stands. Make sure you have plenty of clearance between the garage floor and the rear axle of the car, because you’re going to have to do some wiggling of the exhaust to get it out from where it bends up over the rear axle. Now, remove the old exhaust from the car. Most cars use a compression fitting on the catalytic converter side, and little more than a rubber hanger or strap on the tailpipe side. If the system is stainless steel, you shouldn’t have to contend with rusty bolts at all. Simply unbolt the tailpipe and pull it out from under the car. If the exhaust is an older one, though, and rusty bolts have seized together, you really don’t have much choice but to heat it up. Heat will loosen the bolts enough that they should break loose without stripping or damaging the head. If the head ends up damaged, you’ll have to drill the sucker out. That’ll be an all day job either way you look at it.As you see how important car detailing for you, so you should try to invest your time and money on your vehicle smartly.
If you picked your exhaust system wisely, you will have picked one which won’t require any welding to install. Generally speaking, a kit should fit together with compression fittings, and that makes driveway installation much easier. If the manufacturer suggests welding the exhaust, however, particularly if the aftermarket exhaust you’ve chosen is stainless steel, it would really be in your best interest to have someone else do the install. You’ll save yourself a headache.
That said, after you remove the exhaust, you can begin fitting up the new exhaust system. Use the compression fittings to hold the exhaust tubes in place as you use the old exhaust as a guide, making the new pipes match the old as closely as possible. Don’t tighten the compression fittings too much just yet, though. You’re going to want to be able to fine-tune the position of the pipes when the exhaust is mounted anyway.
Next, fit the exhaust system in place using the bolts from the pipe leading off of the converter and the rubber mount near the muffler. Make sure that there is no metal on metal contact anywhere except at the catalytic converter, and then when you are satisfied with the fit, go ahead and tighten everything down. Keep in mind that you’ll need extra clearance, however, if you don’t have the car supported by the axles. It’s generally best to follow the curvature of the underside of the car, anyway.
When it’s all said and done, let the car down off the jack stands, and start her up. You should be listening for the sound of leaks throughout the system, but chances are you’ll be revving up your engine and listening to the beautiful roar of a well-tuned exhaust.