atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7370: Well, that MIGHT just have something to do with it.

A bit of a hole in the muffler. So the exhaust comes out of the catalytic convertor, makes one pass through the muffler, and then right out into the world.


Anyway, that was after a bunch of other stuff.

First up? Took out the remainder of the fence. There was one post, two boards, and the box surrounding the lamppost. So I went out there with a shovel and started on the fencepost first. I dug up two chunks of concrete and tore out a bunch of sumac root balls before I was able to get the post out.

Carefully disassembled the box around the light post. The wood was all rotted at the bottom and it's been standing at a bit of an angle for years; turns out that inside is not a pipe, as I'd expected, but an actual lamp post like you'd find in a normal person's front yard. It even has an outlet on it! I was able to use it when I got the sawzall out and hacked at some of the sumac roots.

It's anodized aluminum but it looked like ass. Well, it's 55 years old.

Turned my attention to the cupola. A couple of weeks ago I glued the loose louvers in place; with that glue long since cured, I painted the louvered section with its first coat of paint in many a year. Then I hit the underside of the roof, where it will show, with flat black Rustoleum; and since I had the can open anyway, I went to the lamp post, cleaned it up, and painted it with Rustoleum flat black.

The yard looks weird with no fence in it.

...once the painting was done I turned my attention to the Jeep's exhaust system. The rear hanger has only been broken since...uh...2017. Yeesh.

First order of business, try to get the nuts off that hold the muffler to the catalytic convertor. Snap! broke one off right away.

"Well, I'm committed," I said, and tried to break off the other one, but I couldn't get a wrench on it right--so I got the cutoff tool and used that. Buzzed right through that bolt. Couldn't wiggle the muffler and tailpipe out with the Jeep on the ground, so I got the sawzall and used it to cut the muffler off the tailpipe. Why not? And that's when I discovered why it was so loud.

Ironically, that's the top of the muffler. Wonder why it rusted through there? Not enough airflow to dry it off?

Anyway, then I turned my attention to getting the flange off the front. I needed that part in order to bolt it to the catalyic convertor. But before doing that, I wanted to see if I could get the studs out of it. These were pressed in at the factory, but I saw replacements available at so I figured I ought to be able to hammer them out.

They did not mind the BFH even though I was pounding them hard enough to mushroom them. Got the die grinder and started trying to grind off the head of one of them, but then I had an idea.

I took the old "blue nail" hammer and placed its chisel end against the back of the flange, then smacked the end of the stud again with the BFH, and after two or three whacks it popped right out. The problem was that when I hit the end of the stud, the whole works was flexing. With the other hammer's chisel end supporting the flange, though, it provided enough extra mass that the thing couldn't flex as much. Repeated that trick with the other side, and it came right out as well.

That done, I needed to get the flange part cut off the muffler. First I tried the cutoff tool but it wouldn't reach, so I tried the sawzall but it was going to cut it at an angle. So I thought, "Cut the pipe out of the end of the muffler, clamp it in the vise, and do it that way!"

Yeah. No. You see, the inlet pipe runs the length of the muffler, so cutting the sheetmetal around it doesn't do anything at all. Once I had a complete cut around it, I realized my mistake, so I got a hacksaw and spent several minutes cutting it off manually. Getting the cut started is the hard and slow part; once you've broken through it's easier and faster. I still had to stop and rest after sawing for a bit, because stainless steel is hard and my hacksawing arm is well out of shape. But I got the flange bit cut off, very neatly--nice and square--and for a wonder it fits exactly into the muffler's inlet. All I need is a muffler clamp!

Encouraged, I then turned my attention to the exhaust hangers. The rubber part of the one for the tailpipe that's ahead of the axle was fine, just had a chunk of the old hanger still in it; I hit it with PB BLaster and levered it off the truck, clamped it in the vise, then cut the barb end of the hanger stub off with the cutoff tool. Tossed it into the box with the hanger I'm going to try using in front of the cat.

The rear hanger--

The rear hanger on the 2000 Jeep is a little odd. There's a plate which is bolted to the frame, between the skid plate and the frame itself; and in my case I've got a Class III hitch on top of all that. That plate has two bolts protruding from it. The hanger is attached to two pieces of rubber not unlike a bit of car tire, and they curve together and overlap, and the bolts go through holes punched in them. Two nuts hold a plate in place and secure the thing. To these rubber bits is attached a kind of hook deal; you put an exhaust clamp on the hook and around the pipe and cinch it down. No idea why Jeep did this since a conventional hanger which sticks through a rubber bit would work equally well.

Anyway, my first thought was to notch the new mounting plate, then loosen the big bolts that hold the skid plate and hitch on, and then swivel it into position--but then I saw that the bolts on the plate were relatively rust-free and thought, "Let's try reusing it!"

Needed to get at the nuts with a serious wrench, so I summoned the good old cutoff tool again, and that thing just screamed through the rubber bits. I had the old rubber out of the way in seconds. A bit of PB Blaster and the nuts unscrewed pretty easily.

Got the new bit in place, nuts started, but could not get at the inner one with any wrench I had on hand. I have a crowfoot wrench set, but these nuts were metric (13mm) and the 1/2" wrench wouldn't fit the 13mm nuts, of course.

Well, the outboard one wasn't really a problem. I grabbed a 13mm box end wrench and was able to tighten it without a problem. The inner one, though, still was not yielding to what I had on hand.

So, I took an old 13mm wrench and modified it:

Clamped it in the vise, heated it with a propane torch until it was barely glowing red, then hammered it over. Hit it with PB Blaster, then dunked it in old oil, and finally ran water on it to get it cool enough to handle.

And it worked a treat! I had to clamp it in the vise grips to get enough leverage to tighten the nut down, but I did it.

Last task of the evening was to try to get the exhaust clamp off the tailpipe, that connected it to the rear hanger. Nut did not budge; heated it with the propane torch and tried again, and actually got it loose; but it was squawking very loudly when I'd turn it. I made the mistake of tightening it again so I could hit it with more PB Blaster. When I tried to loosen it, snap. Meh, no big loss; I'll just get two exhaust clamps rather than one.

By then it was dark. So, here's where I left off: I need to get a couple of bolts for the flange, and a couple of exhaust clamps that'll fit around the new parts. I should then be able to fit, and properly hang, the tailpipe; clamp the muffler to it and then connect the muffler to the cat. Tighten down all my clamps so it's nice and snug and won't go anywhere; and if I'm lucky, the forward hanger that I bought lo these many years ago will actually fit and I'll be able to properly hang the cat as well. But the rear hangers will do if that one doesn't work. (And I still have the propane torch, you know; I could try bending the hanger to fit. Clamp it in the vise, heat it up, hit it with a hammer....)

Hmm--I actually need three clamps, I think. The kit came with one, but I think I misplaced it. Oh well. Not like they're terribly expensive.

So tomorrow I need to hit the hardware store and the auto parts store; and at the same time I'll get oil change supplies for both my truck and my wife's car. I'll change her oil and put in her fender liner once the Jeep has a proper exhaust system again.

Pretty big job, and I knew it was going to be a pretty big job, which is why I put it off for so long. But since I have nearly all the parts--at least, all the major ones--it's probably better to handle the job on what is likely to be the last pleasant weekend of the year.

I'm not kidding: seventies, today and tomorrow. Indian summer!

So I got a good bit of work done today, and that makes me happy.

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