Disassembling the exhaust is a must when replacing system components such as
the catalytic converter or muffler and when repairing other
parts of the car such as removing the transmission, transfer case or fuel tank.
All exhaust systems are generally set up the same and are not that difficult to
What goes wrong?
Heat and moisture play a big part in the life of an
exhaust system and neither is
good for nuts, bolts and gaskets. This repetition of cycles can cause threads of
the nut to seize and bolts to break when removing. This is why it's a good idea to
treat metal parts with an anti-rust well before work begins. Allow the system to
cool sufficiently to avoid burns.
Unless you are working on a lifted 4x4 you will need to
raise the car and support
it on jack stands which should be done on level ground. Have something you
can put underneath such as a creeper or old blanket to lay on. Use eye protection
because rust particles will become airborne when working with the system,
gloves are a good idea as well.
Apply WD40 or equivalent to nuts and bolts
Remove rear hangers
Unbolt muffler clamp and remove muffler
Disconnect secondary transfer tubes
Undo oxygen sensor electrical connectors
Remove catalytic converter
Disconnect head pipe
Remove exhaust manifold
Start by removing the battery negative cable to avoid a short circuit.
Cutting power the car and namely the starter motor which most exhaust system
run close to is a good idea.
Apply antirust like WD40 to all nuts and bolts of the system and allow
it to sit for at least an hour. The system may have either at the secondary
tubes or muffler slip joints the antirust should be applied to as well.
Identify the system hangers which aids in the support of the system
under the car frame or body. When removing parts it's good to know what
parts with remain at particular points of the disassembly.
Use good tools to break the exhaust fasteners loose this will help you
see if you have any problem child's such a seized nut or bolt.
Grasp tubes firmly and twist back and forth while pulling
outward to disconnect secondary exhaust or mufflers. A mallet can be used to help jar the tube loose.
Disconnect the oxygen sensors and then remove the catalytic converter
head pipe bolts, be ready to hang onto it. If the converter falls and
strikes to ground it can break apart internally which can lead to
The final item of the system is the exhaust manifolds which if the spark
plugs interfere with the removal need to be removed prier. Loosen the
manifold bolts evenly to remove the manifolds, these can be heavy.
Tighten exhaust components evenly and at an equal position, do not pull
down or push up when tightening. This will cause the system to misalign
creating exhaust leaks due to irregular mating surfaces. Always use a
torque wrench and follow
manufacturers tighten recommendations.
Have new gaskets ready for reassembly, old gaskets have a tendency to
fall apart when the system is disassembled.
Inspect mounting bolts and nuts and replace if stripped or broken
Apply WD40 to all mounting and manifold flange bolts to ease removal.
Remove tube connector nuts to start to disassemble.
Remove rear exhaust system hanger bolts to allow more room.
Twist and pull simultaneously to remove secondary tubes.
Locate and disconnect all oxygen sensors
Locate and remove flange mounting nuts or bolts, the primary section of the
system will become loose. The primary
system will need to be pulled back away from the exhaust manifolds before complete
Remove primary exhaust hangers.
Firmly grasp the primary system and pull outward to remove.
Inspect the exhaust manifold
flange for damage. (Note: Some systems use a gasket to seal the head pipe to the