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Aftermarket Exhaust Manifold - Thoughts & Recommendations

1498 Views 35 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  ktemkin
Hi all. Due to a recent loss of the catalytic converter, I got under there and found that I needed the entire exhaust system. The Walker system which replaced the original converter and resonator/muffler assembly was a mess and heavily rusted. So, I have the entire system out and ready to be replaced with a stainless steel setup. However, the exhaust manifold stay bracket bolts and the lower exhaust manifold shield bolt are not that healthy. I tried to remove them with my induction heater that I used on the rest of the bolts and it was a no go. They are locked in there. So, before I go any further, I would like any thoughts and comments on an aftermarket exhaust manifold I found on ebay. I am thinking about this if I cause any issues while removing these bolts. It looks like I could drill out the exhaust stay bracket bolts and use bolts and nuts afterwards, but there is limited space to get to the exhaust heat shield lower bolt.

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Here is a link to the listing.

Does anyone have experience with aftermarket exhaust manifolds? Am I asking for trouble even considering this one? Thoughts/comments/advice/guidance/experience would be much appreciated. Thank you.
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Hi ktemkin,

Thanks for the response. My welder was lent to someone who got laid off and disappeared. The induction heater never got the bolts hot enough as I think the heat was transferring to the steel exhaust manifold. I really tried on these. Looks like the exposed threads above the stay bracket are a real mess. I was concerned about getting a straight shot to the exhaust manifold stay bracket bolts with an impact gun. I will look at this next. However, how did you get the exhaust manifold heat shield lower bolt out with the limited space available?

Thank you.
Oh boy, looks like I am in for it. I guess I should have realized, but I did not think about how bad the manifold to engine bolts and studs/nuts would be. I would like to avoid removal of the manifold if possible. I am in upstate NY (near Albany) and will check on the welder. Does Harbor Freight have one you might recommend or like?

pihmpdaddi, what did you drill with? Was it a right angle setup? And how did you remove the lower exhaust manifold to heat shield bolt?

Any other thoughts or guidance would be appreciated since I do not want to make a total mess out of this.

Thank you both.
Guys, thank you very much for your comments and thoughts. I did not feel comfortable getting under there with a live flame or welder. I do have all four wheels up about 5 inches from the ground.

I went back under with the induction heater, the long handle ratchet, the impact sockets, the nut extractors, and more nerve than before. After a hell of a lot of heating, both bolts broke free and are out. Took several days. I rammed my hand into the cross member (forgot the gloves) and am bleeding pretty good from two knuckles right now. Thank you so much for your guidance. I can now replace the rusted exhaust stay bracket. Looking at the removed bolts, I have no earthly idea how I was able to grip them and get them out. They are a mess. What did you guys replace them with? Did you use 10 mm X 25 mm long fine thread flanged bolts and heavy washers?

However, how do I get that lower exhaust manifold heat shield bolt out? It looks like the head has rusted down from 12 mm to 10 mm. Also, what is the mesh washer/gasket under the head of this bolt and between the bolt and heat shield? Should I just leave it alone? My concern is that if it breaks free, it will rattle the shield, and there is no room or access once the exhaust system is installed. I did remove the rectangular heat shield above it to get a little more access. Thoughts/comments/advice/cautions?

Thank you again.
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Okay, here is a picture of what I am up against on the exhaust manifold heat shield lower bolt. This is from a similar thread, specifically Exhaust Manifold leak/removal issue

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However, mine looks just like this one, perhaps a tad worse. Also, I removed the heat shield at the top left (4 bolts) to get slightly more access. Any thoughts? The other thread suggested vise grips, but it is very hard to get in this area. Maybe if I had a much larger pair of vise grips. I am concerned because if this bolt breaks free, the shield will vibrate and rattle. With the exhaust installed, it will be impossible to get access to this area.

Thank you.
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That is why I am concerned. But exactly how did you get the one on your vehicle out?

Okay, great, now I understand the construction. That means the outside of this metal grommet (closest to the bolt head) has rusted away, fused to the bolt, and exposed the wire mesh. So when I am trying to turn it, I am not only fighting the threads but trying to turn this metal grommet. I do not see any way to remove it without causing more problems. So how about leaving this lower exhaust manifold heat shield bolt in place and adding a band clamp (see photo)?

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The band clamp is above the bolt and positioned in a detent/recessed area. I positioned the tension screw towards the driver side. Anyone ever try this? Thoughts/comments/suggestions? I want to be able to prevent vibrating/rattling if this lower bolt should fail.

Also, how tough are the upper exhaust heat shield bolts to remove? I looked at them and they look in decent shape, but I am sure they are locked in place.

Finally, did you have any issues/adverse effects from running without the heat shield?

Thank you.
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Hey, good catch, yes I am missing the heat shield that covers the shaft that drives the driver's side axle. I had to remove it to get to the exhaust stay bracket engine side bolts. My bracket was super rusty, I purchased one off of an ebay seller. Turns out he sent me the one for a 2004 Honda Accord (similar in shape but smaller in size). So last night I had to order one from and will have to wait for it because they have to get it from a distribution center (which I believe is in south New Jersey) and then ship it to me.

Did you wind up purchasing the bolts and heavy washers for the manifold side of the exhaust stay bracket from the dealer as well? Or did you use aftermarket M10-1.25 X 25 mm long bolts (say from Advance Auto or otherwise)? Are these a high temperature alloy bolt?

Thank you for your help and support.
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Also, did you reassemble the fastening hardware using high temperature anti-seize? If so, did you use the nickel based, copper based, or aluminum based version? I am particularly concerned with the converter flange bolts and the exhaust stay bracket bolts.
Hi ktemkin,

Thanks for the information, specifically on the anti-seize. As for the hose clamp, in the fully open position (the band just passed through the tensioner screw, it measured 7 inches in diameter). It is a fully stainless steel clamp. I believe I got it either at Lowes or Home Depot. When I am done with this post, I will go and check my stock and post details. I did put a bend in the clamp (in the left side of the picture as it wraps around the heat shield) so it would keep my tensioning screw in the same position as I tightened the clamp.

Welp, after laying under there all day, I was finally able to get the lower heat shield bolt out with an 11 mm nut extractor socket. Then I cut a M8-1.25 X 25 mm long bolt (strength rating 10.9) and used a 3/16 X 1-1/4 stainless steel washer drilled out to 5/16 inch to recompress what is left of the metal grommet. This is what it looks like now. I had to quit because it started raining plus my neck and back are killing me.

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I want to thank you for posting the details surrounding the heat shield "grommet" construction. This is what helped me break it free. The outer metal side of the grommet had fused to the bolt so when I tried to turn it I was fighting it plus the drag of the threads. I took a long thin screwdriver and ground the end into a flat point. I laid under there and drove it between the outer metal edge of the grommet and the bolt. Then I used the induction heater and then the nut extractor.

I do not remember who suggested using and induction heater, but without one I would have snapped several bolts for sure.

Thanks again.
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I just noticed this but you can see in my previously posted picture the words "ALL STAINLESS" on the clamp tensioner housing.

Yes, I was very worried about using an impact gun on the stay bracket retaining bolts. First of all, the heads were very worn and I was not sure that even a nut extractor socket would hold. Second, I was not able to get a straight, square, even shot on the bolt heads. Third, I do not have a welder on hand to weld nuts to the remaining bolt heads. Fourth, I had visions of laying under there trying to drill out the old bolts.
Hi ktemkin, pihmpdaddi:

I fitted up my exhaust system kit today, ran into a few issues, and sure could use some help/advice from you both. At the converter entrance/manifold exit, I am using new Honda bolts, springs, and donut. At the resonator inlet, I attempted to use the bolts that came with the kit, but had problems with them and do not like them.

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I had issues compressing them enough to get the nuts on and they also are of such a diameter that they do not allow the converter outlet/resonator inlet to float with respect to one another (due to the large diameter as compared to the Honda hardware). Note that the holes are not exactly on center with one another (flanges slightly rotated with respect to one another). So I ended up fitting this joint with an older pair of Honda bolts and springs. I used the cheap nuts from the kit for now, but I want to get some heavy hex flanged nuts from Advance Auto.

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Also, it looks like the gasket donut may be too thick. I have not fully drawn up the bolts, but it looks like the springs will be fully compressed by the time I do. So what did you guys do at this joint for fastening hardware? What brand and part number donut did you use? How did yours look when you were done? I used the aftermarket donut that came with the kit, but I do have Beck/Arnley smaller donut 0396682 which I have not tried yet.

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Thank you.
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Welp. after studying it for a while, I had to conclude that the aftermarket exhaust donut was too big, thus chewing up some of the room for the spring compression at the converter/resonator joint. So I finally got the Honda donut and this was the case (see photo).

The aftermarket donut is on the left and the Honda OEM on the right. The aftermarket was larger in outer diameter and thickness, So, after installing the Honda donut, this is what it now looks like.

Rather than protruding from the joint, the Honda donut was flush with the top of the taper and the spring bolts could be installed without full compression of the springs.
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