Failed Inspection- Exhaust Leak? [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: Failed Inspection- Exhaust Leak?


nilsh32
30th November 2010, 05:28 PM
Hey everyone,

I seem to post a lot of problems/ questions here lately, sorry if i seem like a whiner! :o

I just failed my Massachusetts inspection today, because of an "Exhaust Leak" Worst of all, for some RIDICULOUS reason, an exhaust leak is considered a "safety violation" and the car isn't allowed to be driven until fixed. I replaced my resonator pipe assembly over the summer (the car was previously as loud as a train.) I haven't noticed any abnormal sounds since then, but I guess they did.

The inspector said the leak sounded like it came from the "flex pipe" near the front of the car. When i got home, to pinpoint the leak I had a friend hold a book over the tailpipe to build up some back pressure, and listen to where a leak was. I saw sort of mesh-looking section of the exhaust pipe near the front, which I can only assume to be the flex pipe (because it flexed when i applied the backpressure. :cheesy: ) I heard noise coming from this, and i actually saw a few wisps of exhaust coming from the edges... So I assume this is it.

By sight, i've deducted this as the "intermediate pipe" on eeuroparts.com, listed as $119. Is this a rarely eroded pipe that I should just buy used, or should I fork it out and buy a new one? Also, how difficult is this to replace? I have very little DIY know-how (yet) and I cringe at the thought of forking over extra money if I could just do it myself.

Thanks for any help, guys. This forum is excellent.

-Nils

IanT54
30th November 2010, 05:33 PM
Yes - that is the intermediate pipe and it's easy to DIY. Hardest part will likely be getting the old one off - you might have to cut the old clamps.

If you're planning to keep the car I'd get a new pipe. Not too expensive and they last a long time.

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 05:42 PM
Alright, so I should just order the new pipe and try to tackle it myself? Any body have a more, in-depth description on how to replace/ remove the thing? If I have to cut clamps, I assume i'll need new ones. And I assume i need some way to get my car off the ground..

Thanks for the help so far! :)

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 05:44 PM
Also, is this necessary to really replace? I had to sound like a cheap jack***, but I spent a lot of money on this car in the summer months and I really don't want to start waddling away my savings again.

I mean, could I jerry-rig it somehow to sound like a fixed leak to the inspectors? If that's not blasphemy... :cheesy:

redrum
30th November 2010, 05:50 PM
If you let it get too bad, the whole thing may separate leaving you with a very loud, open exhaust.

The old clamps will almost certainly have to get cut off. Installing new ones can be a tad tricky laying under the car since they dont like to make a good seal unless the pipes are securely pressed together, which is hard to do in that position. When I did mine, I got it as good as I could, and then paid the local exhaust shop $20 to put it on the lift and redo/retighten everything.

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 05:56 PM
So just buy two of these?

http://www.eeuroparts.com/Main/PartDetail.aspx?id=5465950

I think my neighbor has a couple car lifts that he'd lend me. Hopefully that'll be enough space to work on it. How/ what do I use to cut the clamps off? And i assume once the clamps are off, the intermediate pipe just comes out... it's not welded on or anything, right?

redrum
30th November 2010, 06:10 PM
Yep, two of those. You'll need to use an angle grinder, or a large cutoff wheel tool, like the air compressor kind. I suppose a Dremel would work if you had infinite patience and a large supply of replacement cutoff discs.

You'll want to cut the bolts or the bolt flanges on the clamps, or else you're very likely to cut all the way through and cut the exhaust pipe flange. Some exhaust cement on the joints isnt a bad idea either.

If you're looking at having to buy any of the tools, any exhaust shop should charge $50 or less to put it on for you...

'97 Saab SE Turbo
30th November 2010, 06:37 PM
Gloucester, they're always from Gloucester. Sorry, but I really liked that line from the movie Perfect Storm.

What you might try is to use some 2" header wrap and wrap the leaking area twice. Then, secure the header wrap with a worm-drive clamp on each end. It's just a suggestion to be a cheap repair. The best fix is to replace the pipe. Saab uses "bell end" pipes which are fairly easy to replace, as long as you have the Saab exhaust pipe clamps... Ron

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 06:37 PM
Yeah, you're probably right, but i want the experience of doing it. My neighbor could probably lend me an angle grinder. If its just a matter of cutting the bolts, taking the pipe out, and securing the new pipe with the new clamps, it doesn't sound too hard.

Is there a generic good way to hoist my car up in my garage somehow? Could I just jack up one wheel at a time, slip a few two-by-fours underneath, and move on to the next wheel?

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 06:40 PM
Yes! There are people ALL the time, especially in the summer, who come in asking where the "Crow's Nest" bar is. It's a surprisingly popular tourist attraction!

I think I'm just going to just replace the pipe... less trouble down the road.

widuck1
30th November 2010, 06:52 PM
my experience is that the bolts give up easy, they break right in half if you use a 1/2 drive socket and a small amount of muscle, problem solved.

Here's a link; he cut his too but I don't know why, you are throwing all that stuff away anyway,

http://pages.infinit.net/mlbriand/saab/exhaust/page1.html

Good luck,

John

'97 Saab SE Turbo
30th November 2010, 07:12 PM
Hey, I still have a couple Cape Pond Ice tee shirts and hats. I always pictured myself as Bugsey (John Hawkes)... Ron

http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w119/mrcdma/Saab%20Pictures/JohnHawkes.jpg

busaboy
30th November 2010, 07:19 PM
Gloucester, they're always from Gloucester. Sorry, but I really liked that line from the movie Perfect Storm.

What you might try is to use some 2" header wrap and wrap the leaking area twice. Then, secure the header wrap with a worm-drive clamp on each end. It's just a suggestion to be a cheap repair. The best fix is to replace the pipe. Saab uses "bell end" pipes which are fairly easy to replace, as long as you have the Saab exhaust pipe clamps... Ron
Will simply wrapping the damaged pipe pass inspection? It shouldn't....

IanT54
30th November 2010, 07:24 PM
...especially if you're wrapping the flex section. That'll crack off in no time at all.

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 07:34 PM
Well, they never actually go underneath and check. They just rev the engine and listen for the sounds. Doesn't matter anyway, im ordering the pipe as we speak.

I also failed because i took my front license plate off. The bracket rusted away... new brackets are 80 bucks on eeuroparts! outrageous.

Haha, Ron. The Perfect Storm sure is a classic. Cape Pond Ice has a monopoly over the ice of the whole cape up here :roll:

'97 Saab SE Turbo
30th November 2010, 07:42 PM
...especially if you're wrapping the flex section. That'll crack off in no time at all.

That's odd, because mine hasn't cracked off the flex pipe on the downpipe in nearly three years. When the downpipe was off for the trans swap, I wrapped it when I had it in a vise, so all the wraps are nice and tight... Ron

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 08:27 PM
Is there a trick to verify where the leak is coming from? I can't specifically hear a noise coming from the flex, and when i open my hood it's fairly loud. I want to make sure before I buy parts.

busaboy
30th November 2010, 08:36 PM
I didn't even bother commenting on the fact that they apparently don't even determine from where the noise is coming - they just "hear" it!!

LOL!! Mass "inspections" sound like a real hoot....!!!!

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 09:22 PM
Yeah they really are. They "hear" an exhaust leak and there goes my 29$ inspection fee...

busaboy
30th November 2010, 09:24 PM
Do you at least get one "free" reinspection, like in VA?

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 09:27 PM
Yes, I do as long as it's at the same inspection place, Which is fair.

I need to find out for sure where my leak is coming from so I can buy the right parts and not fail again. And soon too- with a "safety" hazard, im technically not allowed to drive the car :roll:

busaboy
30th November 2010, 10:22 PM
LOL!! It sure seems to me that THEY should be required to show you just where that problem is.

I bet that's just what the law says......

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 10:23 PM
That would make sense. I mean, it's hardly fair to claim an exhaust leak and then send me on a wild goose chase. Do you know how to pinpoint the leak location?

busaboy
30th November 2010, 10:28 PM
I have no way of knowing without seeing your car.

All I would do is feel around the exhaust to feel where the leak is. But, as mentioned, I am sure they are supposed to show you where it is.....

nilsh32
30th November 2010, 10:34 PM
She said she thinks its around the flex pipe, but i specifically remember her saying she never actually got down there to look at anything.

busaboy
30th November 2010, 10:41 PM
Good for her!

LOL!!

Saab Max
30th November 2010, 11:14 PM
LMAO I 2nd thatttt.......... any how have someone cover the tail pipe while the car is on and check for listen for leaks from front to back..... ( don't cover it for long period of time) ( cover check cover check) etc good luck

Nova
1st December 2010, 12:31 PM
I just failed my Massachusetts inspection today, because of an "Exhaust Leak" Worst of all, for some RIDICULOUS reason, an exhaust leak is considered a "safety violation" and the car isn't allowed to be driven until fixed.

It's actually not ridiculous at all. An exhaust leak can cause carbon monoxide to enter the passenger campartment. That is most definitely a safety concern.


The inspector said the leak sounded like it came from the "flex pipe" near the front of the car. When i got home, to pinpoint the leak I had a friend hold a book over the tailpipe to build up some back pressure, and listen to where a leak was. I saw sort of mesh-looking section of the exhaust pipe near the front, which I can only assume to be the flex pipe (because it flexed when i applied the backpressure. :cheesy: ) I heard noise coming from this, and i actually saw a few wisps of exhaust coming from the edges... So I assume this is it.


Is there a trick to verify where the leak is coming from? I can't specifically hear a noise coming from the flex, and when i open my hood it's fairly loud. I want to make sure before I buy parts.

It seems you've already found the leak. Blocking the tailpipe and looking for exhaust gas is exactly how it should be done. That flex pipe is a pretty common location for a leak. Most likely, you will see a very obvious hole in the top of it, once you remove the pipe. It is a pretty easy job. I did not need to cut anything. I just tried to remove the old clamps, and the bolts broke right off as soon as I started turning them. I did the whole job with just the front of my car lifted (on ramps). The whole job only took about half an hour.

nilsh32
1st December 2010, 05:42 PM
Oh, I was under the impression that it was really only blockages that would affect the cabin. If that's the case, then I suppose it really is a legitimate concern.

In all reality, it probably is the flex pipe, but im just paranoid of buying the wrong thing. I did see a few wisps of exhaust, but I can't really tell if there's noise coming from the flex or if it's just from the noise under the hood. There's a significant amount of noise under the hood, so I started to wonder if it was the downpipe/ exhaust manifold instead of the flex.

Nova
2nd December 2010, 01:38 PM
If you're not sure, then lift up the front end (on ramps or stands) and inspect the pipe. The flex pipe is likely rusted through on the top (where water can hang around longer). You will probably have to feel for any holes. If it's anything like mine was, you'll feel a good amount of frayed metal strands around the edges of the hole. The woven layer that you can see is not the actual pipe. there is a flexable pipe inside it that looks something like a small drier duct. In my case, the actuall flex pipe had broken way from the riigid section at the front of the intermediate pipe. I was able to hear the leak loudest from just beside the driver's door.

busaboy
2nd December 2010, 01:45 PM
Mine had rusted through at some of the corrugations, and the wire covering had also frayed.

nilsh32
7th December 2010, 04:59 PM
Hey everyone... kind of been avoiding this for a while.

I've been out in the morning, looking underneath and revving the engine, and there's a lot of exhaust that comes out when the car's cold at the flex pipe. However, it seems to be mostly coming out at the clamp. There are a lot of rusty parts on the intermediate pipe, but the cat. converter seems free of rust. I am just worried that since the leak is at the connection, the cat. also is rusted and needs replacing?

Anyhow, I am ordering the flex. Eeuroparts says that this is the pipe:
http://www.eeuroparts.com/Main/PartDetail.aspx?id=4750741

However, on my car it seems like the pipe looks something like this:
http://s.ecrater.com/stores/36412/487d1ca8bd600_36412n.jpg

The clamp is a few inches away from the actual flex portion on my car, unlike the eeuroparts picture. Am I missing something?

'97 Saab SE Turbo
7th December 2010, 05:15 PM
The stock pipes on the Saab use a special kind of joint - it's almost like a bone & socket joint, which allows each pipe to move during assembly, while the clamp forces the two together.

If the pipes are leaking around the clamp at the joint, why don't you get a new clamp, remove the old clamp (it will probably break), seperate the two pipes and clean them? Then put on the new clamp. The new clamp might cost $6.00... Ron

nilsh32
7th December 2010, 05:27 PM
Exhaust is also leaking through the flex part of the intermediate pipe, I'm just saying that there's a lot coming from the rusty connection between the cat and the pipe. I was just worried that maybe the cat. converter pipe was harmed due to the rust of the intermediate pipe

nilsh32
7th December 2010, 06:06 PM
Is the eeuroparts part the right one? Will it still fit, even though mine seems different? Or do they just have a bad picture? :o

Also, I hear a lot of noise coming from the engine compartment too. Is it possible that the noise from the flex is echoing up so it sounds like the manifold, or do i have two leaks? :roll:

gnode
7th December 2010, 09:57 PM
Yeah they really are. They "hear" an exhaust leak and there goes my 29$ inspection fee...

What a scam! I'd go elsewhere for my inspection. I get mine done in Lowell. Lots of competition. So basically if the check engine light is out it passes! Collect $29, on to the next customer.

nilsh32
7th December 2010, 10:09 PM
Jeez, and you wonder why some clunkers are still on the road! :roll: I sort-of appreciated the rejection, I didnt know about the leak and it's gotten worse to a point where i can hear it. I just know if I had passed ignorant of the leak, i would be stressing out over the mystery sound.

Thanks for the advice, though!

nilsh32
19th December 2010, 06:15 PM
So I replaced my flex pipe today and there is more noise than there was before :roll:

widuck1
19th December 2010, 08:38 PM
Mine actually broke in half when I removed it a few weeks ago. Did you clean both sockets carefully before reassembly? Did you use permatex exhaust seal goo?

Best,

John

nilsh32
19th December 2010, 10:18 PM
No, I didn't use any sort of exhaust seal. I suppose it was sort of ill-prepared for.. but my capabilities of lifting up the car were slim to none, some parts i couldn't even fit underneath... Very cramped.

Maybe I'll just take it to the shop and have them clean up my install...

leebizz
20th December 2010, 09:35 AM
Yeah they really are. They "hear" an exhaust leak and there goes my 29$ inspection fee...

Haha sounds like a nice scam they have running overthere.

Tricks? If you have away of using a lift id say get your buddy and that book again and get under your car listen and use your hand to feel for the leak (try not to touch it it might be a little warm haha)

'97 Saab SE Turbo
20th December 2010, 10:38 AM
Since you're in Maine and it should be pretty cold this time of year, start the car outside and while it's idling, look under the car at the exhaust. Any leak is going to show up as steam. At least it would be a fairly easy way to locate the leak(s); fixing them might be a little harder. Hopefully, it's not the flex joint on the downpipe, as those can get really expensive... Ron

nilsh32
20th December 2010, 10:43 AM
Yeah, I'll check. Hopefully it's not...

PS; Gloucester is in Massachusetts, not Maine :cheesy:

Nova
20th December 2010, 11:30 AM
How did the old pipe look?

Do you still see a leak?

nilsh32
20th December 2010, 12:04 PM
The Exhuast manifold looks fairly rusty and the downpipe flex metal weave is frayed at the top. I hear exhaust noise coming from the manifold, but I can't be sure if it's a leak, or if it's just backpressure or something from a leak elsewhere.

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc383/nilsh32/IMG_20101220_105714.jpg

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc383/nilsh32/IMG_20101220_105725.jpg

Nova
20th December 2010, 12:40 PM
Honestly, your manifold doesn't look bad. That kind of rust on an exhaust manifold is nothing to worry about. The flex pipe doesn't look bad either. It should be easy to check it right after a cold morning startup. Were there any holes in the old intermediate pipe? Do you still see a leak from the joint after putting the new pipe on?

nilsh32
20th December 2010, 01:00 PM
Okay, thanks... that calms my worries about the manifold for the time being. Yeah, the inside of the flex pipe looks fine, even though the outer mesh is frayed off. When I started the car this morning, I looked at the new intermediary pipe while revving the engine, and I couldn't see any exhaust. I mean, it was mid 30's degree Fahrenheit when I did it, so really not that cold. It's definitely not like my old pipe, which emitted giant plumes of exhaust in the morning :roll:

I might have just put the clamps on wrong. I called up my local mechanic, and he's gonna have a look at it in about a week. I'm going to have him do a few little things for me, like replace the oil sensor, unfreeze the tie rod adjustments, and tighten the handbrake cable. He'll hopefully either identify my leak, or just tell me I have a loud car.
The thing that confuses me is that It seems to have gotten louder after putting on the new intermediary pipe! Pff.

widuck1
21st December 2010, 06:13 PM
with you, a small red tube is four or five bucks. With the intermediate pipe off clean with a wire brush the sealing surface, fore and aft to get a good seal. Wet with water, apply the goo and refit pipe. Orientation is very important to align the sealing surfaces, easy to screw up laying on your back in the cold, it doesn't hurt to have someone push exhaust forward to engage the soon to-be clamped sufaces more better while the second person tightens the clamps up,



Good luck,

John

nilsh32
21st December 2010, 11:46 PM
Yeah, come to think I'm sure I screwed it up crawled under there on in the cold... i'm taking it to my mechanic next tuesday for a quick reinstall, hopefully it'll sort out the issue and there's no more leakage. And thanks for the permatex tip

salemgreg
22nd December 2010, 09:12 AM
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176141

nilsh32
29th December 2010, 01:56 AM
Well, i'd like to conclude this thread.

I brought it to my mechanic, gave him a few little things to do and asked him to check on the exhaust and find the leak, but not to work on it if it was expensive (like the manifold).

He found that my work on the flex was perfectly fine (and he found a wrench I left up in the heat shield, still there after a few hundred miles :roll:) He found that the rubber gaskets between the cat and the manifold were worn. Replaced em', and now the car purrs along gracefully.

Thank you to everyone who helped me figure this one out, you guys are the best.

widuck1
29th December 2010, 04:45 AM
I can't seem to find reference to the rubber gaskets your guy replaced anywhere,

Curious,

John

busaboy
29th December 2010, 07:20 AM
They wouldn't be rubber if they're among those pieces!

nilsh32
29th December 2010, 10:22 AM
I am actually not sure if they said rubber, I guess I just assumed rubber. But they replaced the gaskets.


I guess this is what they were talking about:
http://www.eeuroparts.com/Main/PartDetail.aspx?id=4624383


Sorry for the confusion!