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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Discussion Starter #1
Just my rotten luck! : - (

Yesterday when backing into a parking spot, there was this about 16 inch tall wooden post that I didn't see; and wouldn't you know I backed my tailpipe right into it! AHHHH!!!!!!!!!

It looks like I compressed the whole exhaust system some, forward toward the engine, as the tailpipe now looks like it's about 2 inches farther in than it used to be.

At first, I thought I really screwed it up bad. The system would rattle a lot whenever at idle and at low speeds, and possibly a small exhaust leak too. But when I got it home, the worst of the noise was coming from the muffler rubbing against its shield. I bent the shield away from the muffler it bit with a pair of pliers, and now it at least sounds normal again.

But I thought I would ask a few questions to those who are in the know here:

1.) Is there place in the exhaust system where it is most likely to "kink", causing my now shorter tailpipe length? (The rear tailpipe hangers now look like they are maxed out in their travel toward the front.)

2.) Could I possibly have a problem with the exhaust heat melting my rear bumper with the now shorter tailpipe?

3.) Is there a doughnut type gasket somewhere in the exhaust that will fail soon after the shock it received?

Besides the undesired "repositioning", the system still looks basically intact. But this whole thing gets me really steamed, because here in FL, the exhaust system should last through the life of the vehicle without any attention. : - (

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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I would get it up in the air (at least on jack stands or ramps) and check out all the other mounting points to figure out where it is kinked; you don't want it pinched somewhere bad enough to restrict the exhaust flow. Looking at a parts diagram, it is most likely that it increased the bend angle at one or more of the bends in the last pipe (from muffler to the rear). I think the tip is low enough that you shouldn't have a heat problem with the rear bumper (soot maybe). You could look for an exhaust tip that would extend it if it worries you.

I once got an aftermarket B pipe for one of my old Accords that didn't fit well at all. I was able to "adjust" it with a come-along and a cheater pipe supported in the receiver of the trailer hitch on my van. A lot easier to do with the pipe not installed. I can attach some pictures later.
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Discussion Starter #3
I would get it up in the air (at least on jack stands or ramps) and check out all the other mounting points to figure out where it is kinked; you don't want it pinched somewhere bad enough to restrict the exhaust flow. Looking at a parts diagram, it is most likely that it increased the bend angle at one or more of the bends in the last pipe (from muffler to the rear). I think the tip is low enough that you shouldn't have a heat problem with the rear bumper (soot maybe). You could look for an exhaust tip that would extend it if it worries you.

I once got an aftermarket B pipe for one of my old Accords that didn't fit well at all. I was able to "adjust" it with a come-along and a cheater pipe supported in the receiver of the trailer hitch on my van. A lot easier to do with the pipe not installed. I can attach some pictures later.
OK, thanks for the info. fleetw00d. Yesterday I drove it about 20 miles in the heat of the afternoon, and the bumper felt about the same as the normal outside temperature.
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Discussion Starter #4
I would get it up in the air (at least on jack stands or ramps) and check out all the other mounting points to figure out where it is kinked; you don't want it pinched somewhere bad enough to restrict the exhaust flow. Looking at a parts diagram, it is most likely that it increased the bend angle at one or more of the bends in the last pipe (from muffler to the rear). I think the tip is low enough that you shouldn't have a heat problem with the rear bumper (soot maybe). You could look for an exhaust tip that would extend it if it worries you.

I once got an aftermarket B pipe for one of my old Accords that didn't fit well at all. I was able to "adjust" it with a come-along and a cheater pipe supported in the receiver of the trailer hitch on my van. A lot easier to do with the pipe not installed. I can attach some pictures later.
I checked it out more thoroughly this morning. No noticeable kinks in the pipes anywhere which is good.

But, the joint where the exhaust pipe in front of the cat bolts to the manifold seems perhaps a little looser that it ought to be. Is there a doughnut type gasket that goes there? No leak there yet; at least I can't hear one anyway.

The hanger in back of the cat looks OK, like its where is should be. But the hanger behind the muffler looks like the muffler is closer to the center than it should be, and the rear most tailpipe hanger looks like its maxed out in its travel toward the front (see the pictures on the first post).

Again, any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance! :)
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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There is a big doughnut where the cat attaches to the manifold and between the car and the pipe to the resonator; the bolts are spring loaded to allow some flex as the engine moves. If the hanger in back of the cat looks OK, then I wouldn't worry about the front joint until and unless it is leaking. I suspect that you just increased the bends in the rearmost pipe (11). With it on the vehicle, it will probably be difficult to apply enough "pull" to try to straighten it out some.
205445
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input and the diagram fleetw00d! I really appreciate the help!

I think I'll take your advice and leave well enough alone! In spite of their age, those rear hanger still look pretty rugged. They ought to last awhile; even like they are!

And I did need awhile to chill out after that incident too! What are the odds? Maybe I should start playing the lottery! :)
 

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Muffler geometry is challenging. The Previous Owner had his “mechanic friend” work on his when he let the car drift into a tree and hit the tailpipe. The guy cut the tailpipe off of the resonator and and very poorly welded it on at a bad angle (instead of replacing it properly with a flange bolt) so the RR suspension was constantly pinging it. Eventually it broke off. Also the doughnut behind the cat was almost completely destroyed so that was leaking, smelling, and loud. All of the components were still good though and expensive to replace.
So, I got some exhaust elbows, cut off the crappy part of the pipe, and spent hours figuring out the geometry to be as close to the OE as possible. It took a long time to get it in place by itself and tack weld it strong enough to take it all off and then fully weld it. Challenging and all by myself.
It already rusted once, very difficult to weld steel exhaust pipes without aluminizing the coating back on. I put super high temp paint on the weld to help and it definitely protects it but it still goes.
Eventually I will have to replace all of the components.
Replacing the doughnut made an amazing difference! It got much quieter and the smell of the exhaust was not contained to the rear as it should.
At one point I had to remove the manifold end at the engine. This can be a pain in the butt because the manifold bolts will likely twist off and good luck fixing that. Try not to remove that if you don’t have to. On the flip side it’s pretty damn solid so doubtful it bent.
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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Just a couple photos of the OEM system on one of mine for comparison. See if your routing seems to be skewed. 20200919_185050_resized.jpg 20200919_185116.jpg
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks again for the photos fleetw00d. They are very helpful for a comparison.

For sure my tailpipe is higher up than yours. I also heard a new little squeak from the rear this morning; no doubt my now harder working hangers! Oh well. At least I don't seem to have to give it any immediate attention. :)
 
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