Article 39 Exhaust System Install
It was time to install the exhaust system on the 1967 E-Type 2+2 that I am restoring. I thought this might be a ½ day job. Boy, was I wrong. What a pain it was! Here are the highlights (and lowlights).
Quite a while back I had purchased a stainless steel exhaust system from SNG Barrett. The salesman recommended the Bell system out of England and a quick search of Jag-Lovers archives found numerous positive postings regarding the Bell system. Many folks mentioned that the parts all fit together well and mated up to the car well.
The first thing I did was lay the various pieces out on the shop floor. At some point in this process I came upon my first problem. It is a fact that exhaust system tubing fits together only if one piece can be slipped inside the next. If the system starts with all the same size pipe, the fabricator must enlarge the end where the connection is made a small amount such that inside diameter is slightly bigger than the outside diameter of the standard pipe. This enlarged end goes by various names. I call it a socket end. For some reason, the sockets had not been formed on several of my pipes. Fortunately, with the
proper equipment, a socket can be formed readily. Any exhaust shop has a machine that bends pipe and adds the sockets. So for me it was off to R & J Custom Exhaust in Apex where Robert made short work of adding the necessary sockets. He also made a pipe end that had been flattened during shipping round again.
My next chore was to figure out how the bag of hardware and exhaust hanger parts was supposed to work. I came to find out that the 2+2 is different from a normal coupe. The XKs Unlimited catalog came in very handy at this point, as they had pictorials of the various systems, including my 2+2. The system only hangs
at two points (actually 3 if you count the 2 hangers on the center mufflers. All of the hangers have a rubber component for vibration isolation. The rear hanger above the resonators also is designed to allow the system to grow longer to the rear of the car as it heats up. A trial fit of the rear hanger revealed no problems. The middle hanger on the mufflers was another story. When I first assembled it and trial fit it under the car, everything seemed about an inch too wide. This was an important inch, since the floor sheetmetal has a pocket that is a defined width that everything must fit in. Too wide and it just won’t go. I finally found that the way you tighten the clamps around the mufflers makes a difference in how wide the assembly becomes. The trick is to tighten the outer bolts a lot and then tighten the one bolt in the middle until the clamp bends to the correct width.
Did I mention that you need to have the driveshaft, parking brake, and heat shield installed prior to installing the exhaust system? By the way, my heat shield was so trashed from violent contact between it and the exhaust system that I had to fabricate a new one. I did salvage the insulative material, which I expect is asbestos so I handled it with care.
At this point, most issues seemed to be dealt with and I begin final installation. Whoa there, another problem. The round gaskets supplied to go between the exhaust manifold and the first sections of piping were too small. Another search of the Jag-Lovers archives revealed that others had experienced this problem. The solution was to go from the all metal gasket supplied to a fibrous type made for various American cars that can be opened up if necessary. Car Quest had the necessary part.
By the way, as I mentioned in a previous article, I had my manifolds coated by Jet Hot Coatings, which if you know where you are looking can be seen from I-40/85 near Burlington. I think they turned out to be very handsome. Unfortunately, all Jet Hot does is apply the coatings. They don’t repair the 40 year old rusted studs that attach to the piping. As I tried to extract my studs to replace them most of them just broke off. In this case, I carefully drilled out the remaining stud material and installed Heli-Coils. I think by this point the job has extended into a third glorious weekend!! But I was close now. The piping
was successfully bolted to the manifolds and the system was sitting on a blocks of wood under the car. That would be diagonally across the car! I had to coax each and every connection to get the path of the system aligned with the axis of the car. Oh, did I mention that I had to drill new holes in the floor to accept the muffler hangers? The holes supplied by Martin Robey did not line up for me.
But you know what? After this job is complete and that glorious shiny stainless exhaust system is hung, it really looked great. Like, let’s start this baby up! Well, not quite yet but we’re getting close.