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Aftermarket Exhaust Manifold - Thoughts & Recommendations

1365 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.

Bicycle part Font Tool Auto part Bicycle drivetrain part

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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I also had much trouble with the manifold bolts. At first I just needed to detach the cat from the manifold to work on it away from the car. The right side bolt head spun off. This is of course the one that is more difficult to reach without removing the sub-frame. I attempted to drill it out but broke the drill bit. Then I had to drill out the drill bit and the bolt with a hardened cobalt bit. That was unsuccessful until I torched the bolt and basically annealed it down to a level that could be drilled. It was extremely challenging to drill straight on that bolt and equally challenging to cut it off.

I also thought about removing the manifold, but stopped short of risking what I had read about too many others stripping the manifold bolts and having to basically remove the whole engine to drill out the broken bolt and tap the block with a repair helicoil.

I would be careful with using those flexible shafts (usually meant for drill driving or screwing) as a cutoff wheel shaft. They aren’t really designed to take high speed cutting loads especially when bent tightly. I have a flexible Dremel shaft that I was able to use with some success to get in there, but even still it was challenging.

Eventually I got the cat off, cleaned up, repaired, and I was able to retap the drilled out manifold hole and use a larger screw. I also pulled a manifold off of a junked element and have it on a shelf in case I need it. Given that you can usually find a junked E in a U-pull yard, I would try to go OEM over something new.
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Can you post a picture?

Also…I would, almost never, buy something from Harbor Freight, especially something like a welder or a compressor or anything else with more than 2 or 3 parts. Might as well throw your money away. Most of that cheap Chinese knock off garbage will break on the first or second use.
I think that wire-mesh washer is to allow some float of the sheet metal without clamping it up. I’m not sure if that is a shoulder-bolt that bottoms out while leaving a gap…and that allows the gap to remain without rattling. There would be one of those on both sides of the sheet metal clearance hole. I would be very wary of that bolt head spinning off.
I don’t think I ended up ever removing mine. So I can’t offer any evidence based advice.
The band clamp is an interesting idea. I don’t know how long it will hold up to the heat before it starts to oxidize. That is probably the hottest part of the entire car so it will depend on the quality of the band clamp steel.

Anyone have thoughts on coating that with a high temp primer on the inside and primer/paint on the outside? I’ve welded my aluminized muffler and you must coat the welds or it will rust in a few weeks. I use high temp primer and it lasts a couple years before it rusts through and I have to weld it again.
So you’ve never seen a rusty stainless steel band clamp? And have you ever seen one that spends its life at 500F?

Just because it‘s stainless steel does not mean it will last forever. If…IF…it’s a high quality band clamp, it might last. Most band clamps people will buy from the auto parts stores are not high quality.
…or…try your darndest to NOT use an impact wrench on an old rusty bolt. I think the induction heater and manual action is the best you can do for these bolts, as the heat and time weaken both the head and the stem.
Pretty sure there is two different kits for the manifold-to-cat vs the manifold-to-muffler joints. If you look up the Honda parts list online, or the Walker catalog (or other suppliers), it will list two different donuts and two different sets of bolts for the whole exhaust system. I don’t know the numbers off hand but you should be able to research it.

I would get the OEM bolts if possible, they will last a lot longer. The walker ones might be okay. Anything you get from the retail auto parts stores will probably not last very long. A Grade 8 nut might last a while…but if you’re re-doing everything right, I would spend the extra and get the OEM bolts from a Honda dealer. You can buy them from the online Honda stores.
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