February 2002
I related in the Frame Paint episode how, after we took the bed off, I noticed how sad the rusty frame looked and decided that it would be a good time to put on a coat of paint.  Well, with the bed off I could also see the sad condition of the exhaust system.  And so, I decided this would also be a good time to put on a new exhaust system.

If your looking for some insight on installing a state-of-the-art dual exhaust system with 3" aluminized pipes, X cross-over, and Turbo mufflers, then you'll be disappointed.   Consistent with my goal to keep Maych as stock as possible, I resisted the temptation to put on a "bad" sounding dual exhaust system and just went with the stock system - standard crossover, 2 1/4" exhaust pipe, standard muffler, and 1 1/2" tailpipe, all mounted in the original hanger locations.

The first step was to remove the old exhaust system.  Luckily, Al (my paint and body guy) let me use his reciprocating saw.   Using the saw, I cut the exhaust pipe on both sides of the muffler and where the exhaust pipe attaches to the cross-over pipe.  The I unbolted the hangers and removed the three pieces with the hangers still attached.  The photo shows the two hangers on the rear frame.  The only other hanger is on the frame about halfway under the cab.

The only thing left to do was remove the cross-over pipe from the ram horns.  The only thing hard about removing the cross-over pipe is that you have to do it will lying on your back.  Luckily, I was able to remove all of the nuts that attach the cross-over to the exhaust manifold without breaking off any of the studs or snapping off a flange corner.  Only one nut would not come off the stud, but fortunately the stud and nut came out together without breaking.   

It occurred to me after I removed the exhaust, that I hadn't bothered to check with the parts store to see if they had a replacement.  I went to the local CarQuest auto parts store and they didn't have the parts in stock, but could get them in a few days.  That was ok with me.  I gave me a good excuse to call it a day and it gave me a chance to clean up the hangers.

The hangers were rusty, but they were sound and the rubber bushings was in pretty good shape, so I decided to clean them up and put on a coat of paint.  The only part of the hangers that was not repairable were the original saddle straps.  But, that was ok because I could use regular u-bolts in their place.  

I cleaned the rust off best I could with the wire wheel on my grinder.  Then I wiped them down with lacquer thinner to remove the residue and any oil or grease.  I decided to paint  the hangers with a brush rather than spray paint because I couldn't spray paint them without getting paint on the rubber bushings.  I painted them with Rustoleum high-temp gloss black paint.    After I painted the hangers, I zinc coated the nuts and washers with my Tin Zinc Electroplating System from Eastwood.  

The next weekend I stopped by CarQuest and picked up the new exhaust system, along with the u-bolts I would need.  I was sort of dreading installing the cross-over pipe it would be near impossible to keep the pipe on both manifold flanges at the same time while trying to get the nuts on the studs on one side.  The new cross-over solved this problem because it was made in two pieces.  After attaching one side loosely, you slip the other side into the first and then attach it to the flange.  I was still a struggle will lying on your back, but much better than it would have been if it had been one piece.   

Before I could attach the passenger side cross-over, I had to replace the one stud that came out when I had removed the old one.  As luck would have it, I couldn't get the threads on the new stud started by finger and I was afraid to use a wrench for fear of cross-threading the stud in the flange.  Luckily, Al had a set of tap I could use to clean up the threads and after that, the stud went in with ease.  I had bought all new brass nuts for the other studs and they all went on with no problem, except the last nut (it's always the last one - go figure).  This one was on the passenger side and the stud was next to the starter which left very little room to maneuver.  My arms finally gave out after about 20 minutes of struggling to get the nut on and I crawled out from under the pickup to ponder what to do next.  About that time, a friend of Al's came over and asked how it was going.  I told him I could get one of the nuts on but I'd tackle it again I rested up and had a can of refreshment.  He must have taken pity on me, because he proceeded to crawl under the pickup.  With him on the bottom and me on the top holding the flange we were able to finally get the nut on.  Out of gratitude, I treated him to a can of my refreshment. 

The rest of the exhaust went on without much trouble.  It did take me a few trial and errors to figure out how the exhaust pipe was routed around the frame.  It had been a week since I removed the old one and I had forgotten exactly how it was routed.  Luckily, it'll only really go on one way, so it's just a matter of playing with it until you find the correct way.  I did hit a little snag when I went to attach the tailpipe to the rear of the muffler.  The pipe on the muffler and the tailpipe were the same diameter.  Nothing to do but go back to CarQuest and see how to fix the problem.  I told the CarQuest guy what the problem was and he said he forgot to give me a union piece that is used to attach the tailpipe to the muffler.  When I got back to the shop it occurred to me that I would need two u-bolts to attach the union and he had forgotten to give me that also.  So, one more trip back to the part store.

I finally got all the parts I needed and I got the rest of the exhaust system installed without further problems.  After everything was connected and all the hangers in place I did a little adjusting here and there and then tightened every thing up.  I'll probably go back and tighten things up again after I've driven a few miles, just to make sure nothing falls apart.

The other mechanical system that needed attention was the cooling system, but I'll save that adventure for the next episode.



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