How To Fix An Exhaust Leak Without Welding

There's a smart way of fixing your exhaust without changing the tubes, exhaust, and mufflers. It's the size of the damaged area that determines your display of skill. But if you need welding machine to repair your exhaust pipe than don miss our article on that.

Most times, the leak from the exhaust tubes cause poor fuel economy and maintenance costs. However, you can fix exhaust leaks without using any welding process or inexpensive exhaust sealer. Instead of paying a welder, DIYers can use some tips from this article to save costs.

How To Fix An Exhaust Leak Without Welding

The Tail Pipe (With Silencer)

It's the larger pot of the system and a secondary unit after the catalytic converter's pot. The tailpipe sends hot high-velocity gases through the end of its pipe. Also, the fumes come with high sounds. This activity gives an idea of what occurs inside internal combustion engines. Exposure to environmental effects can compromise the integrity of metals.

Since the tailpipe and mufflers run over road debris and snow ice, there will be rusts, cracks, and leaks. Exhaust tubes with aluminum steel materials are resistant to corrosion. However, there could be rusts around mounting brackets with weak steel welds.

Before You Fix That Exhaust Leak

Since you understand the effects of exhaust leaks, it is important to learn how to discover this condition early. I would recommend the option of hiring an expert mechanic if you are inexperienced. However, you shouldn't have any problems fixing it after learning these useful tips.

Checking For Leaks

One of the common ways of detecting an exhaust leak is by listening to the sound. When the vehicle's engine is idling, inspect the level of sound. To self-diagnose the leak, you might need to inspect for about 20 minutes. During this inspection, ask someone to rev the engine intermittently so and check for any change in the exhaust sound. Be patient because finding the leak might take more time.

Usually, exhaust tubes discharge air from their holes. By moving your palm around the exhaust, a close contact can help you to detect the hole. Don't place your palm or body parts on a hot exhaust surface. Also, ensure that your emergency brakes are on before going under the vehicle. When leakages come from small holes, the expansion of exhaust metals often seal these leaks with heat.

Plug The Tail

Get a pair of hand gloves, and a wet rag to plug the tail of your exhaust tubes. Then, start your car (with emergency brakes on 'Park' mode) and raise the acceleration. This action creates an increase in pressure inside the exhaust system.

Since the tail is blocked, the pressure will force fumes through any hole (leak). Alternatively, you can attach a leaf blower in the exhaust and blow it in the opposite direction. The vehicle's engine doesn't need to be on during this process.

Get Exhaust Kits

Get exhaust repair kits from local auto parts stores. They contain exhaust epoxy bonds, muffler clamps, rust converter, spacer pipes, and adapters. Other parts include tapes, U-bolts, sandpaper, and pipe expander tool. Before picking a kit, ensure that adapters have the right dimensions. Regular adapters are between 4 to 6 inches.

Fix Exhaust Pipe Without Welding (VIDEO)

Options of how to connect exhaust pipes 

Fix By Sealing The Leak (With Epoxy Bond And Tapes)

You can close a hole in the exhaust surfaces with special sealants. The aluminum patch in repair kits has great adhesive strength. However, you must choose high-quality repair products. Before applying them, the affected surface should be clean and smooth.

Use a wire brush to scrape rough spots with rust, mud, and dirt. Then, pour some Isopropyl Alcohol (Acetone) on these spots, and scrub with sandpaper. Seal the cracks with epoxy bond, and place a patch on the putty. The best way of placing an aluminum patch is to ensure the epoxy squeezes from its sides.

Don't forget to mix thoroughly before applying the epoxy bond to the leak. To apply the seal, dab the epoxy bond over the leak with a flexible plastic material or special applicators. The applicator's flexibility can help to achieve an even spread around the leak area. With a new layer of the epoxy bond, there will be enough thickness and resistance to high-pressure fumes from the tailpipe.

Wrap the area around the tube with the exhaust tape sufficiently. The application methods may vary with the type of exhaust tape. Many types need the exhaust tube to be warm before applying the seal. However, other types of tapes need to be wet before they can stick perfectly.

Change The Gasket

Replacing the gaskets of exhaust systems is important if they have leakages. Usually, gaskets degrade and rusty parts of the exhaust manifold's joint can cause a replacement. The difficult part of this process is changing the bolt and screws.

Before changing the exhaust gasket, don't expect to loosen them easily. If these bolts and screws are too rusty, you'll need to oil them. Alternatively, grease and allow sufficient penetration to make them turn smoothly.

Change Exhaust Clamps

Some leaks might be coming from broken sections of exhaust clamps. To ensure a smooth replacement process, drop the exhaust system from the vehicle. Inspect the condition of this broken section and remove the band-style clamp. 

You'll need special tools to clamp the resonator and a tubing cutter that takes out the defective portion. Ensure the exhaust pipe adapter joins both ends of the tube should an exact fit. It's more convenient to measure the damaged area with a Vernier caliper. 

This tool is designed to get the dimensions of both internal and external pipe diameters.  After taking measurements, use an expander tool to align the diameters of both tubes.

Then, slide the exhaust pipe adapter into the tubes and fill the gap. Clamp both ends of the old pipes with exhaust pipe adapter and secure properly. The best way of securing an adapter in use hose clamps. Since hose clamps ensure a tight seal, you'll need a socket wrench or screwdriver to make them fit very well. 

While tightening the adapter, don't apply too much force on the exhaust clamps. The final process after a replacement is the leak inspection.

What Happens When Exhaust Systems Corrode

The exposure of metals to environmental threats could cause corrosion. Normally, internal combustion engines need water to reduce their temperature. During cold weather, it's a common thing to see vapor from tailpipes.

The water in the exhaust tube can damage your vehicle's muffler and metallic components. When rust particles in the exhaust systems increase, they may lead to an internal blockage and poor performance.

This blockage might put some strain on the engine, and reduce its performance.  Also, the sound is another pollutant that comes with exhaust leaks. These leaks often start by making small hisses, and then big sounds like a torn speaker.

Discharging toxic fumes from multiple parts of the exhaust system increases the risk of environmental pollution. Also, these exhaust gases cause a health risk to both passengers and road users.

Final Note

Exhaust leaks can bring many problems for car owners. Especially when the elements of exhaust systems are rusty. They will have weak integrity and might affect the whole system. It's essential to conduct regular inspections and maintenance. However, what's very important is using the right tools and techniques.

Last Updated on 2 years by Richard Boyer

  • June 8, 2022
Richard Boyer

Richard Boyer has been a professional welder for over 27 years of his life, and now he is a trainer and blogger providing critical information to anyone interested in welding. He is helping out both hobbyists, novice and professional welders to learn newer and better techniques. Read more about me

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