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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-05-2012, 08:53 AM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is online now
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Let's talk about long tube headers, I need some help brainstorming this.

Ok, as most of you know I put headers on my car last weekend. I've been dealing with some teething problems this past week, namely with the craptacular clamps that are supposed to connect the headers to the midpipe.

This is the trainwreck currently under my car. Because this is my daily, I had no choice but to goop the crap out of these clamps and hope to get a good seal while I drive it this week. The sealant helped keep it from rattling a little, but its still there and will only get worse.



Here is a little diagram of what I think is going on in there (view from the top)



Obviously, the angle isn't nearly as dramatic as illustrated but you get the idea. The clamp is a straight tube trying to connect two tubes that aren't quite straight. I believe this is the core cause of the rattle. It doesn't seem as sensitive when the car is cold, but when it gets hot, hitting bumps and decelerating cause the clamps to wiggle around, causing a fairly unpleasant metal on metal rattle.

Last week I took the car to a shop, who's suggested solution was to drop the headers back out of the car, weld them to the mid-pipe and reinstall them. After some thought and discussion it was determined that welding it into one piece would only guarantee that the exhaust never went back in the car, thanks to the incredibly tight space around the headers.

After that finding I ordered these, including 2 day shipping, for $37 from Summit Racing. My thought was the open style clamp and the considerably thinner metal it was made from, would allow the clamp to bend/stretch a little as it was tightened to fully seal each pipe.



However, when I opened the box (after meeting the UPS guy at the door of his truck with the old clamps already off) two things were wrong...

1.) The ebay listing for the headers said the pipes were 2 1/4in diamater. They're 2". I should have checked for myself so I consider it my fault.

2.) On the phone the guy said "Are you connecting two pipes of the same size?" "Yes I am." "Ok, this is the right one." When I opened the box I was looking at a 2 1/4 to 2 1/2in adapter clamp. WTF.

So I was left with no choice than to go with the goop method shown above.

Frank suggested something like this:



But this poses a whole list of concerns in my particular situation.

1.) A good friend (who has been teching race cars for NASA for 10 years) told me they still tend to leak.
2.) There is about 1/2-3/4in gap between my midpipe and header, the v-bands would probably bridge the gap but there is no way to know for sure.
3.) In order to work they need to be welded all the way around each side. This would almost certainly involve removing the headers which I can't justify paying labor for and REALLY dont want to deal with lying under there for another 6 hours and having my car out of commission.
4.) There is still the issue of the slightly off angle, which would probably have to be corrected to make it seal properly.
5.) Expensive, at best it'd be $200 after buying them for $60 or 70 and having everything welded up.

So here is where I really need you guys' help. I'm coming up on the end of a 6 week, ~$3700 (uke sprint of projects and improvements on the M3. I'm getting ready to move in the next 60 days, busting my ass at work, and at the end of my budget leash. I have two more parts to install, an alignment to get, and this issue to deal with so I can put this all behind me, enjoy my car and sanity, focus on work, moving, and saving up some money.

I need to get these clamps to stop rattling, I do not care how, I don't care if it's pretty, all I care about is that it works and meets these requirements:

1.) Costs less than $200. I will happily drop it off at a muffler shop and write them a check. I just can't pay everyone's salary for the week because they want to drop my whole exhaust and fab the thing up.

2.) Doesn't require me to remove the headers. I don't have time available to do this project a second time and have my car down and stuck in the garage for a few days.

3.) Can be removed. At some point I need to get in there and rip everything out for the Giubo and CSB. So nothing that would require a hack saw to get in there with.

Here's what I've got so far:

Option 1: Call Summit, give them a bit of a tongue lashing over sending me the wrong clamps, and make sure I get 2" to 2" connectors. Basically attempt what I wanted to try last Friday.

Option 1.5: I could try to assess how the angle needs to be adjusted, and do some seriously ghetto angle modifications using the handle for my jack. This would probably turn into a weekend long mess of trial and error because I think the only way to bend it without seriously damaging the head studs would be to do it when it's red hot. Which would involve driving around with an open header, HARD.

If you knew where I lived you'd know how absolutely miserable of a prospect that is. Way too dense of a population and not nearly enough space to do it quickly and accurately.

Option 2: My friend has an S52 mid pipe (supposedly better cats) that has already been cut for the headers. Maybe I could buy that, throw it up in there and they would line up better. (This seems doubtful because the bad angle is probably in the header.)

I'm open to any and all suggestions. Obviously I'm not coming up with much. Anyone that can help me out will have my eternal gratitude for helping me deal with this crap.

Last edited by SlimKlim; 03-05-2012 at 09:04 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2012, 09:41 AM
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FenderBender FenderBender is offline
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Take the mid pipe off, have a shop cut the ends off, and weld the same pipes or same size pipes back on but at the correct angle.

Reinstall clamps, enjoy.

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Old 03-05-2012, 10:15 AM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FenderBender View Post
Take the mid pipe off, have a shop cut the ends off, and weld the same pipes or same size pipes back on but at the correct angle.

Reinstall clamps, enjoy.

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That's a a pretty good idea. Honestly I'd just pay them the labor to take it out and make sure it fit right. I think what I need to do is figure out a really good shop, willing to do a little backyard engineering to help me out.
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2012, 11:42 AM
keeslinger31 keeslinger31 is offline
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Well heres how i did it.

Install headers ( what a pain right?)
Cut the midpipe to length.
I had two slip fit pieces that were in the pipe (double wall)
Peal back the outer layer by cutting slits to flare it out
I had to remove the rear section and leave it hanging
The slip fitting pieces i found in the pipe fit well enough to slide into one side
Then i had to mess around with the other one as it was bigger and crimp down the ends
Then both the slip fittings slide into the midpipe
Now guide the rear section over the headers ( may require a crowbar to spread the headers out as they tend to point together.
Now drive it to the muffler shop and have them weld the joints should be 4 total
I pealed away the outside wall tubing to get to the part that the slip fit tube goes in
Then welded the slipfit to longtube part and beat the part i pealed away smooth and welded it
back up. welded it myself but it doesn't leak and i used no clamps.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:43 AM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Good opportunity to practice welding.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2012, 07:08 AM
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r33p04s r33p04s is offline
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This has confirmed my thoughts of not touching the exhaust on my...
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:26 AM
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Mr Gusta Mr Gusta is offline
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you need a pipe reducer and with the reducer you might have enough wiggle room to clamp it together at an angle and be fine.

also there is this to handle the bend

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Old 03-06-2012, 07:39 AM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is online now
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Ordered these from NAPA:



My friend put them on his track Honda and said the metal is thin enough to conform, so it might take care of the issue.

A flex pipe had crossed my mind, but I'd probably have to cut the mid pipe back further right?

At any rate, I'm going to wait until those clamps get here from NAPA and see if those will do the trick. If not I'll come back to the drawing board.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:01 AM
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Gooby Gooby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlimKlim View Post
Ordered these from NAPA:



My friend put them on his track Honda and said the metal is thin enough to conform, so it might take care of the issue.

A flex pipe had crossed my mind, but I'd probably have to cut the mid pipe back further right?

At any rate, I'm going to wait until those clamps get here from NAPA and see if those will do the trick. If not I'll come back to the drawing board.
I have those right now...

They suck ass if the two pipes aren't perfectly straight...

Just save yourself a lot of time and take it to an exhaust shop and have them weld flanges...
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:40 AM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaptinKP View Post
I have those right now...

They suck ass if the two pipes aren't perfectly straight...

Just save yourself a lot of time and take it to an exhaust shop and have them weld flanges...
I'm already into this for so much time what's 2 or 3 more hours? Someone just told me they had success using a bar to bend the header on the car, doing that to fix the angle, combined with these clamps, will hopefully fix it.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:00 AM
RhymeGrime RhymeGrime is offline
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Just use HVAC tape on the end of the pipes to increase the diameter to make the clamps seal tight. Then put HVAC tape over the clamp and the pipe itself, then bolt it together. I've used HVAC tape on several parts of my exhaust, it's a little pricey at like 13 bucks a roll at Home Depot, but it's been under my car for nearly 2 years and it's doing pretty damn well. Plus it holds heat up to like 420 degrees. Let's not make this more complicated then you have to...The clamps are working, you're just not getting a seal and getting a rattle. HVAC tape will fix that.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:35 AM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhymeGrime View Post
Just use HVAC tape on the end of the pipes to increase the diameter to make the clamps seal tight. Then put HVAC tape over the clamp and the pipe itself, then bolt it together. I've used HVAC tape on several parts of my exhaust, it's a little pricey at like 13 bucks a roll at Home Depot, but it's been under my car for nearly 2 years and it's doing pretty damn well. Plus it holds heat up to like 420 degrees. Let's not make this more complicated then you have to...The clamps are working, you're just not getting a seal and getting a rattle. HVAC tape will fix that.
Thats a good tip, and an option for the clamps I just ordered. The ebay clamps aren't split all the way open so you'd never get it around the tape, it would just tear it up as you tried to push it over it.
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