ACtion Magazine - September/October 2011 - (Page 10)

Technically RELAY-ted Like riding a bicycle Paul DeGuiseppi hadn’t hung an exhaust system in almost 20 years. That is, until last Saturday, when the opportunity arose from its Rip Van Winkle-like hiatus. I’m pleased to report that the old man’s still got it (me, not Rip). Here’s the full story. Last fall, while driving my 2003 Suzuki, I mean Chevy Tracker, home from work one day, an amazingly loud and annoying rattle and vibration started emanating from underneath. I pulled into a parking lot and took a gander underneath. The lower heat shield on the cat broke free from its front welds, was semi-dangling/semi-attached, and being quite harmonically dissonant. “Why I’ll fix you,” I spoke in my head. The next day, I put the car up on the lift here at MACS HQ, and using my air hammer and a sharp chisel, hacked off the remains of the lower heat shield, leaving the upper heat shield intact and in place. However, this occurrence was a telltale that other exhaust system issues were probably on the way. Sure enough, about four months later I’m driving along, and all of a sudden, when I would hit a bump, use the brakes or accelerate, a banging noise was coming from the rear of the beast. I pulled over to find that the rear section of the I tailpipe containing the resonator decided to divorce itself from the front section of the tailpipe. It was hanging from its rubber mount, banging into the frame and underbody. I yanked it off, and that was that for a while. But then came July, the month the Tracker’s Pa. safety inspection sticker was expiring. The vehicle would not pass inspection minus a section of the tailpipe. So I took it to one of the chain shops who used to have the word muffler in their name, and who are still widely thought of as an exhaust specialty shop. I figured that they could clean cut the tailpipe in an appropriate spot, then bend and weld on a new piece. I also told them to perform the state inspection while they had it. Boy, did I figure wrong. They called to let me know that for the vehicle to pass inspection, it needed to have its entire exhaust system replaced, from the manifold back, to the tune of over $1300. They said that both converters’ flange gaskets were leaking where they bolted to each other, and that the flanges and attaching bolts and springs were almost completely rotted away. The full job would include the installation of the pup cat, the main cat, the muffler, and all associated pipes, gaskets and hardware. 10 Reader Reply No. 159 ACTION • September/October 2011 I told them thanks but no thanks, please put it back together and I’ll come and pick it up. The following week, I put it up in the air to perform my own inspection. They were right, the converters were barely held together, and while minor, there was an exhaust leak at the remains of their juncture. Hmmm, what now? I decided to do the job myself. I just knew that I could do it a lot cheaper. I started poking around online for parts prices. I found many sources where I could order the parts, but I got the best price ordering directly from one of the two 800-pound gorilla parts chains whose names begin with the letter “A.” Free shipping directly to my house, and an online 20%-off coupon code. Plus, if something was wrong with the order, it could be dealt with through a local store, no return shipping necessary. I placed the order, and the parts were at my house less than a week later. Total cost for everything: a little over $500. So off it was to the MACS Training Center shop and its twin-post lift to perform the install. As soon as I got underneath the vehicle and got rolling, all the little tricks we use to properly, quickly and efficiently remove old and install new exhaust system components immediately came back to me, nearly 20 years after the last time I employed any of them. Just like riding a bicycle. I’ll not detail any of those tricks here. Words can’t suitably describe most of them, and you either know them or you don’t. Practically everything we do has a similar slew of applicable tricks and such. We learned them by doing, maybe had someone show us few. That’s why we’re the professionals, and others are not. By the way, was it worth an afternoon of my can’t-even-describe-how-precious free time to save over $800? You bet’cha! Maybe I’ll buy a bicycle. ❆

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - September/October 2011

ACtion Magazine - September/October 2011
Table of Contents
Expansion Valve
Techncally RELAY-ted
Under The Southern Cross
Leonard’s Law
News & Updates
Virtual View
Cooling Corner
Performance Always Needs More Cooling
ACDelco’s Guidelines for Replacing Engine Coolant
Worldwide Training
New Member Profile: Alex Original, Ltd
Association News
Quick Check
New Products & Services
Last Watch

ACtion Magazine - September/October 2011