I don't know what your skill level is or what you have for tools but I can offer some observations. I worked for seven years in a Sears Auto Center doing mostly exhaust work and suspension and alignment repairs, so the mechanical part of exhaust work doesn't scare me. Being attached to a shopping mall, we weren't allowed to have a torch or a welder so we had to cut everything apart with air tools, and clamp all the new parts together. Some shops only weld new pipes together which takes a lot longer, but if you're good at it, there won't be any leaks. The big drawback is when a curved pipe hits something and you have to turn it a little. You can do that by loosening a clamp, but you can't once it's welded.
That was in the '80s when oxygen sensors were fairly new yet and not real complicated. Relatively few places outside of California had emissions testing at that time. There were no O2 sensors after the catalytic converters until 1996.
After 2000, I attended a lot of high-level training classes covering engine performance and emissions diagnosis. One of the things I remember about Hondas is they started using seven-wire oxygen sensors that were real expensive. They're doing a lot more with them than other manufacturers need to do, and replacement sensors from aftermarket suppliers were not working as well as they needed to. To insure the system would work properly, you needed to use only original parts, and they are expensive. For that reason, if you still have the original catalytic converter on the car, don't replace it if it is not needed. What you need is the O2 sensor in front of the converter, and another one right after it. What comes after that doesn't matter. Hondas also typically use a braided steel flex hose under or near the engine. That is another piece you definitely do not want to replace unless it is absolutely needed. Those cost over $400.00 in the early '80s.
Most cars now come with stainless steel exhaust pipes which are expensive. Most replacement pipes from auto parts stores are much less expensive but will rust out every few years. I have all the original stainless steel pipes on my '88 Grand Caravan daily driver, up here in road salt country, but the muffler finally broke apart seven years ago. It lasted 18 years, but the cheap hardware store replacements lasted two years each. Not sure if I was better off with three $40.00 replacements, and crawling on a granite driveway to replace them, or if I should have bought the $100.00 stainless steel replacement from the dealer, with the right hanger brackets welded on, and saved a lot of aggravation.
Another advantage to using original pipes is the hanger brackets will be welded on already and will match the rubber isolators on the car. That will insure the system can rock and wiggle around without hitting anything or transmitting vibrations into the body. Always start at the front, one pipe at a time, and just clamp it lightly at first to hold it in position. Once all the parts are installed, tweak them as necessary, then start tightening them from the front and work your way to the rear. Don't over-tighten the clamps. That will crush the pipes and cause leaks.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 AT 10:24 PM