The exhaust system is an essential part of your car because it determines the engine’s service life and performance. It also helps to reduce the automobile body’s noise and vibration. The exhaust system is designed with a lot of care and contains components that prevent leakage.
Therefore, fixing the exhaust system is not a walk in the park. You have to ensure that all parts are well fitted and no area is leaking. Fitting some parts may require welding, while others need exhaust clamps.
The article will provide you with a better understanding of the two types of exhaust and the most suitable for your exhaust system.
What are Exhaust Clamps?
These are metals that are used to seal and hold various parts of the exhaust system. Exhaust clamps are available in multiple sizes and shapes to fix multiple exhaust pipes‘ types. You can adjust the clamp according to your needs, either loosen or tighten it.
Clamps are also used to install catalytic converters and mufflers. While doing so, ensure you use the correct seals to prevent fumes or air from getting in or out of the exhaust system. The following are symptoms of failing exhaust clamps:
- Noisy exhaust – this is primarily due to exhaust leaks. When your car’s exhaust clamps have an issue, it starts to produce a loud noise significantly if you accelerate your vehicle.
- Failed emission tests – loose or exhaust clamps usually form an exhaust leak that influences your car’s emissions output. It can affect the vehicle’s exhaust stream content and fuel-air ratio, leading to failed emission tests.
- Loose exhaust parts – the exhaust clamps’ primary function is to seal and hold the exhaust system’s pipes. In case they fail, this can loosen the exhaust pipes, making them hang under the vehicle.
Therefore, it is essential to regularly inspect the exhaust clamp’s condition to determine its loss. If the exhaust pipe is loose, look for a mechanic to check if it requires replacement or repair. If your exhaust has been loud, it means that the exhaust clamp has broken and needs replacement.
Types of Exhaust Clamps
Exhausts clamps fall into these categories:
- Band clamp – this is one of the essential types of exhaust clamp. It is usually in the form of a ring-shaped or flat metal strap. The band clamp is versatile when it comes to sizes and usability. You can choose either stainless steel or aluminum versions.
- U-bolt clamp – this is the mainly used type of exhaust clamp. Many users prefer to use a U-bolt clamp because it is easy to adjust it differently depending on the pipe. U-bolt clamps are used in many aftermarket exhaust systems and factory exhaust systems. The main disadvantage of using this type of exhaust clamp is that it is more challenging to separate the exhaust components.
- V-band clamp – the exhaust clamp type is a bit costly compared to other types of exhaust clamps. Prestigious car owners mostly use V-band clamps to fix their turbo exhaust systems. It has two interlocking rings that you will set to the exhaust pipe.
Advantages of Using Exhaust Clamps
- Exhaust clamps are reusable and removable. If you want to replace the exhaust clamp, you will only loosen it and remove it. The removed exhaust clamp can be used again later if it is still in good condition.
- You don’t need special tools to install exhaust clamps. It would help if you had a wrench or screwdriver.
- It is easy to operate a clamp as no special training is required. Even an amateur can work on an exhaust clamp.
Disadvantages of Using Exhaust Clamps
- Exhaust clamps need regular tightening. Therefore, you need to check on the exhaust pipe frequently. If it is loose, you tighten it.
- They come in various sizes and types; hence selecting the most ideal for your car’s exhaust system is hectic.
What is Welding?
Welding involves sticking two metal pieces together, making them one part. Different techniques are used to join the metals and ensure your car’s exhaust system is well sealed. Here we will look at some of these techniques for you to have a better grasp of what they entail. The most significant thing while carrying out exhaust welding is the material type being welded. Most exhaust pipes comprise stainless steel, carbon steel, and titanium alloy materials. If your vehicle’s exhaust pipe has a stainless steel or carbon steel, the ideal type of welding is argon arc.
Types of Exhaust Welding
There are various types of exhaust welding, as discussed below:
- TIG Welding – this is the most commonly used type of exhaust welding. It is also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). The technique utilizes the non-consumable electrodes formed from tungsten, DC power supply, and the workpiece. After switching on the power supply, the tungsten electrode transmits a negative charge, and eventually, the workpiece gets a positive charge. Therefore, an arc is formed when the electrode meets the workpiece. TIG welding is used to weld non-ferrous metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, magnesium, titanium alloys, active refractory metals, and magnesium alloys.
- MIG Welding – MIG represents Metal Inert Gas. It is also referred to as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). The technique is similar to TIG welding; only that MIG welding uses a consumable metal electrode. In MIG welding, you need to join the DC power’s positive side with the welding torch and attach the workpiece’s positive end to function as a cathode. It is good to know that MIG welding should not fix thin tubing sections for exhaust racing.
- Stick welding – this type of welding is also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding. It uses a consumable electrode, and you do not require an inert gas supply. You will also need two electric cables and a DC generator. The workpiece will get a positive charge, while the coated electrode receives a negative charge. An electric arc will be created when the electrode meets the workpiece.
- Flux-cored Arc Welding – in this type of welding, the electrode is the tabular wire. An arc is formed once the workpiece meets the wire electrode. Then the wire electrode’s metal dissolves to create a joint.
Advantages of Using Exhaust Welding
- Welding produces high-quality work.
- It helps to prevent seams’ leakages.
- Welding makes exhaust system joints stronger.
- To weld the exhaust system, pieces form a long-lasting bond.
Disadvantages of Using Exhaust Welding
- Welding needs special tools and equipment.
- It is not easy to apart the components once you weld them together.
- Welding needs experienced and qualified professionals. Inexperienced people cannot do the job correctly.
Difference Between Exhaust Clamps vs Welding
Several people prefer to weld the exhaust components, while others prefer to clamp them. Each has its own advantages. It might seem like welding makes a joint stronger than clamping, but the truth is that clamps make it stronger as well.
In my opinion, clamps are better than welding. Using an exhaust clamp instead of welding greatly simplifies the process of changing the part as needed. For a new exhaust system or repairing one that is damaged, you should use clamps to connect it.
When installing an exhaust system on a high-performance vehicle, you may want to permanently weld the pipes since you will need to weld clamps anyway. If you are an experienced welder with the tools, you might consider doing it that way. If you are welding around the exhaust pipe, clamps will be much more effective than welding, even in the absence of exhaust pipes. In most cases, exhaust systems do not require complete replacement. In terms of replacing portions of pipes, it is very uncommon and much less expensive, so it is typically done while the pipe is still attached to the exhaust system.
I can install the clamp myself, but welding must be done by a professional. In any case, your car will not benefit from it.
It is recommended to use a U-bolt clamp when choosing your clamp. In addition to being easy to apply, they’re the type we recommend. This clamp has one downside: The nooks and crannies in its design cause it to rust badly. Thus, these clamps may be difficult to remove and may even need to be replaced.
Hence, I vote for an exhaust clamp over exhaust welding since using a clamp provides better results, and less money is spent.
If you notice any issue with your exhaust system, check on it and find a better solution. In case you cannot do it yourself, seek assistance from a professional. It is essential to know the best technique to apply to your exhaust system. When you weld your vehicle’s exhaust system, it will have a sturdy bond that cannot break easily. It will help to prevent the exhaust system from leakages. However, welding needs to be done by skilled professionals. If a non-professional welds your car’s exhaust system, he/she can do permanent damages, which may lead to leaks.