Vanagon – home made muffler installed

Finally got the muffler installed. Some pics of components are in this post. Since then I made some rough mounting brackets, copy of the stock brackets, but made from aluminum (3/8″ plate) with some 1/2″ studs welded onto the sides (for T-bolt clamps). I didn’t take any pics of the brackets, perhaps I forgot on purpose as my TIG welds were overheated and sloppy (I’m learning, slowly).

Here are the brackets before final shaping, mounted to a spare engine mount.



I copied the stock mounting brackets bolt holes and approximately the curves but adjusted to fit the 6″ diameter muffler. I also copied the relief curve on the bottom side of the brackets, allowance for the transverse connector exhaust pipe. A 90 degree SS elbow and a home made tail pipe was TIG welded on.


Install was pretty easy, brackets bolted right up to the engine carrier, ok, I admit, I didn’t get the muffler quite level. Once installed I realized I could have made thing a little differently to tuck the muffler up a bit higher. But all in all I’m pleased with how it hangs.



You can make out how the T-bolt clamps hang around the welded studs on the bracket. You might also make out the section of SS flex on the transverse exhaust pipe – a quick and dirty repair after cracking that pipe on a logging road trip.


And I made a little video to give you an idea of the sound. It is not as quiet as a stock muffler, but neither is it loud. Does have a throaty note.

I’ve always wanted (for some obscure reason) to make a muffler. And now I have, and by gum it worked. It’s the little things that get me through the day πŸ™‚


  1. #1 by famillysyncro on February 4, 2013 - 6:54 pm

    Looks really good, nice welding job.
    I wasn’t able to hear correctly on the video. So, how doesn’t sound?
    Nice job.

    • #2 by albell on February 4, 2013 - 7:04 pm

      At idle it is not as quiet as stock, but not far off. On hard acceleration there is a throaty note and a little burble on deceleration. Overall it is very good, I don’t think in any way you could call it loud.

      I can’t believe that I’m so pleased with the result. Small things amuse small minds I guess πŸ™‚


  2. #3 by Courtney on February 4, 2013 - 8:38 pm

    Excellent job! I think your welds are MUCH better than you think, when I compare them to mine. πŸ™‚ Better start making these soon. πŸ™‚

    • #4 by albell on February 4, 2013 - 10:43 pm

      The nice welds are not mine, the poor welds are mine, but not shown πŸ™‚


  3. #5 by Phil on February 4, 2013 - 8:55 pm

    Nice work Alistair. Very good looking welds…
    Sounds near stock… less throaty than my old Stebro muffler… IMHO…

    Notice, you scared the crap out of the Hens feeding in the field during the recording of the video?

    • #6 by albell on February 4, 2013 - 10:43 pm

      Couldn’t have been me, must have been a raven or eagle or summit πŸ™‚

      I’ve always been impressed by how quiet the stock muffler can be. This one is not as quiet, but also I have one or two little exhaust leaks in other places. Unweldable leaks.


  4. #7 by peterpilz on February 4, 2013 - 10:57 pm

    great job !

    we in europe, envy you (plural) in north america. if they (you know who i mean) caught you on plublic roads with a homemade muffler here in europe, theyΒ΄d ask you to remove your licence plates on the spot and to order a tow truck. after you have re-installed your stock muffler, with all the correct numbers on it, you may pick up your plates again and resume driving on public roads. like i said, lucky you …

    • #8 by alistair on February 5, 2013 - 7:41 am

      Yup Peter, it’s the wild west out here πŸ™‚
      Mind you, back in the ’70’s here in BC there was mandatory vehicle inspection (can’t recall if it was annual or biannual). I do recall having the lights, brakes, horn tested for function. I don’t recall what exhaust inspection was done (maybe a checking on pollution control devices?), but I don’t think any sound measurement was done. That said, I’m sure car would be failed if it was noisy.
      Anyhow, a subsequent government did away with the testing, so we have vehicle testing at all here – except for those in Vancouver where an annual “Aircare” test is done (exhaust sniffing).

      As I said, the wild west.



  5. #9 by Angus on February 5, 2013 - 6:38 pm

    Looks nice! For your next assignment how about hammering out a set of valve covers? πŸ™‚

    • #10 by albell on February 5, 2013 - 6:42 pm

      Yeah, I do need new ones.

      But no, next small project is making outer front CV protectors. Next big one is making rear bumper. That’s right, I’ve been procrastinating on that one for a while now, only got as far as a plywood mock up. It is a hard thing to get the lines right, don’t want it to be clunky looking. Perhaps I should stick the mock up on, with some variations, take pics and have a vote?


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