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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My catalytic convertor was stolen and the issue I'll be facing is removing the rusty exhaust manifold. I know how something as simple as rusted fasteners can turn into a nightmare, so I'm trying to avoid all that by spraying penetrating oil every few days in hopes when I start working on my car in a couple of weeks, it will come off easily. I still have nightmares from the time when I replaced the Vtec solenoid and the bolts were so badly rusted and rounded off that I had to order nut extractor and a bolt buster to heat up the bolt to get it off. I don't want to go through that again.

Any tips you guys and gals can give me would be very much appreciated My question is, should I remove anything that can give me more access to work, like the (front sway bar/Propeller Shaft) to make my job easier?
 

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Not sure but I would definitely use anti seize on all bolts when you re-assemble everything
 

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You're replacing the entire manifold? When I did head/piston work on my daughter's E, I worked from the top. IIRC, I removed the valve cover to get better access. Be a good idea to go ahead and adjust the valves while you're in there.
 

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Hi,
In my work with rusted bolts, heat is what makes a difference.

People think, heat frees rusted bolts by expanding, but what it really does is dry up the water or moisture in the rust and breaks the bond.

Admittedly metal expands when heated, but more is going on.

Soaking the bolts with penetrant is good, but if they will not break free, heat is next on the list for me.

Might want to buy a Mapp Gas hand torch, hotter than Propane and get them HOT!
 

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FYI - On my New England driven 2007, when the mid pipe section rusted out at a hangar location, I brought it in to have just that section fixed/replaced. However, as they dug into the job and began taking the system apart, the entire exhaust system at the attaching points turned to dust when wrench was applied. End result was brand new OEM system from stem to stern for $2,200.00. On a winter driven E, exhaust system work can be very much like an episode of "This Old House....."
 

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FYI - On my New England driven 2007, when the mid pipe section rusted out at a hangar location, I brought it in to have just that section fixed/replaced. However, as they dug into the job and began taking the system apart, the entire exhaust system at the attaching points turned to dust when wrench was applied. End result was brand new OEM system from stem to stern for $2,200.00. On a winter driven E, exhaust system work can be very much like an episode of "This Old House....."
The tail pipe section and I think part of the mid pipe section on my exhaust was also rusty, the tail pipe was falling off when I got my car. I went to a muffler shop and had them cut off the rusty parts and get stainless piping and expand the ends to fit over the existing piping, I said they can clamp it on or stainless weld it. It worked, easy and cheap fix.
 

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The tail pipe section and I think part of the mid pipe section on my exhaust was also rusty, the tail pipe was falling off when I got my car. I went to a muffler shop and had them cut off the rusty parts and get stainless piping and expand the ends to fit over the existing piping, I said they can clamp it on or stainless weld it. It worked, easy and cheap fix.
Here is a pic of the tailpipe when I got my car, literally hanging on with tape!

208391


it had completed rusted and broke off just after the muffler, not a great picture but you can see it broken off completely circled in red

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muffler shop made a sleeve out of stainless pipe, expanded the pipe to fit over the old pipe, welded on one end and clamped on the other end in case I need to take it apart for whatever reason, this cheaper, easier and faster than welding on some flanges and bolting it altogether

208393
 

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So why r u taking the manifold off. The cat is held on by the 2 spring bolts at the bottom of the manifold. They make a socket that has teeth instead of the typical metric pattern. When u put it on an impact gun set to take the bolts out. It will remove the bolts. Had to use it in my 04 wnter driven in northeast ohio. We use lots of salt. Had to replace cat and rest of exhaust. Did not have to take off manifold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's rusted so bad that the stud doesn't have threads any more. I can also see gaps between the engine and the manifold. So, it needs to be replaced. My fear is snapping off the stud trying to take it off. I'll start working on it this coming Sunday. My hope is the penetrating oil that I've been spraying daily has done it's magic and it comes off easily, but I have my doubts.
 

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The penetrating oil won’t help much in my opinion. Those exhaust bolts are so hot over so many years they just merge into one chunk of metal at the granular level. I think electro-heating is the best way and if they don’t come out before the head spins off you’ll need to remove the whole engine to get it machined out. Do everything you can to avoid removing the manifold. Is it really necessary? Don’t twist that bolt head off!!! I wish the manufacturers would use more anti-seize at the factory.

The Element manifold is not easy to get to. I removed one from a boneyard E that had the whole windshield wiper area and all the surrounding components removed and it was still a pain. I did eventually get it off and it’s sitting in my parts rack for when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree. Once I'm done, I'll update everyone. Hopefully my pain will do some others some good.
 

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I just removed my exhaust manifold for the same reason. The donut gasket at the manifold is leaking and the bolts to the manifold are rusted bad. I had the intention of removing the exhaust manifold so I made sure I could loosen the 3 bolts and 2 nuts. All the heat shields were a pain. I had to used nut extractors on them. Once shields were off I removed the manifold nuts and bolts, this allowed me to shift the manifold around and get a 4" grinder in there to cut the spring and bolt. the manifold without the shield easily came out the top easily with everything else in place (on my 03 I did not have to touch valve cover, wiper or anything).

I grinded off the nuts welded on the manifold, I'm going to add new nuts and see if (new) stock bolts and springs will still fit. Any nuts or bolts will get replaced with new OEM ones not hardware store stuff and anti-seize.
 
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