Search Results for: Muffler

Vanagon – home made muffler update

I made a muffler eight years ago. Here’s a link to all the blog posts about construction then.

Since then I’ve added a working cat, and new exhaust pipes. But I’ve also hit the muffler a few times on rocks and snow banks. Hit it enough that I cracked the weld at the tail pipe end of the muffler.

So when the engine was out recently I cut that end off and re-welded. Gave me a chance to look inside and see how the stainless steel swarf I used as muffler packing was doing. Was a little sooty, not much, a little discoloured by heat, but overall surprisingly good. Don’t know why I was expecting any different.

Gave the muffler a bit of a buff to take off dirt and shine it up a little. Also made new hangers. Same style as before but stainless pins to hold the band clamps instead of aluminum. It’s 3/8” aluminum, 1/2” diameter on the pressed in pins. Oh and new band clamps.

Sounds more or less the same as before. Yes, louder than stock.

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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 🙂



Vanagon – muffler update

I got the final end cap welded on today, not the neatest tig weld due to my poor cutting of that end of the can. No filler was used in the weld, just flowing the parent material. I gave the muffler a quick once over with a cup wire brush on the angle grinder. I think this is as far as I am going with the finish, I don’t see myself holding the thing up to the buffing wheel for a couple of hours.

The pics show the muffler sitting on some aluminum off cuts ( I have access to a lot of interesting shapes in various thicknesses of aluminum, remnants from water jet cutting of work parts). These scrap bits had curves to match the radius of the muffler. The scrap is clamped to a spare engine mount casting so I can see how I need to move things and what metal to remove. I’m leaning towards the aluminum supports (yes David, there will be electrolysis where the ss and Al touch:)) with some T-bolt ss straps holding the muffler tight.





Vanagon – making a muffler

As if I don’t have other things to do, I’m making a muffler for the van. I’ve had the idea for years so why not give it a go eh? Scrounged materials used:

– perforated stainless tubing for the straight through internal pipe, 2.25″ diameter, wall thickness about 3/32″

– a section of 6″ diameter stainless tubing for can, again about 3/32″ wall.

– 2″ diameter stainless tubing for in and out pipes, 3/32″ wall.

– some stainless sheet for end caps, a hair under 3/32″ thick this time.

– stainless swarf from some big ass lathe for internal packing.

I made a start yesterday, got good buddy Dave to do the TIG work, hope to have it finished in the next couple of days.






Vanagon – jury rigged fix for deceased cat

This post might get me some guff, but please have patience, I will get a new cat. The catalytic converter on my van is old, very old. Recently I’ve suspected it really was a converter in name only. I took it off today and it was empty. All the rare earth metals and ceramic had blown out through my stainless muffler. Ok, so now what? I had the shell in my hands and I decided to do a little experiment before i hunted up a new cat.

I had this resonator muffler thingy hanging around the mess I call a workshop. It is a little longer than the cat but I thought I could slap it in place and  see how it effects the sound of the exhaust. Ok, here goes..

The resonator, 2″ outlet/inlet. I scrounged a 3 bolt flange and cleaned it up on the lathe. Bored it out a tad so it would fit on the pipe.


You see? Pipe set into the flange.


And positioned not quite all the way through.



While I was at the lathe I necked down a nut to act as a threaded bung for the O2 sensor. Man, I just can’t recall the size of that nut right now.


Tacked the flange to the pipe.


Then a mostly autogenous weld inside.


If you squint you could imagine that hole was roundish.


Necked down nut pushed in hole.


And a bit of a heavy handed weld.


Two slits on the other end (tubing fits over the tubing inlet of the muffler. The slits will let the muffler clamp squeeze the assembly tight)


During installation my new lover was pestering me. For the last few weeks this goose has decided I am something special. I really don’t know what is going on with her.


I had to slide the muffler over a bit to get the resonator installed. It does look a bit funny, I admit. And did it change the exhaust sound? Yes it did, it is a bit quieter, with a hint of raspy with quick throttle off.




Vanagaon – Q and D head replacement – quick update

I’ve had the engine installed for a little over a week now. I’ve had some niggling problems and I will write about them, but for now here is a crude little video of the engine running. Proof that I actually completed the job 🙂

(dirty lens, sorry. Oh the dipsy-doodle to the exhaust pipe was to try to record a bit of the exhaust note. Since the new exhaust pipes have been installed, my home made muffler does not sound as good as it did with my leaky exhaust. Wait, what? I dunno)


Vanagon – Q and D head replacement – closing in

A few more odds and ends before the engine goes back into the van. In no particular order…

My diff lock light has not been coming on for a while now. I narrowed the cause down to either a broken wire, a faulty switch on transmission, or a bad connection at switch. I had planned on pulling the switch, but as I didn’t pull the tranny with the engine, and as is (ie the vacuum actuator still attached to tranny) I could not get a wrench or a socket on the switch to remove it. See how tight (ie little clearance) it is?


So as I stand there, kicking myself for not pulling tranny, I decide to cut open the bundled wire sheath to see if there is a broken wire where they make some tight bends. No luck, all is good, so I pull back the rubber boot on the connector and one wire comes with it. Did I just pull it off or was it broken already? Of course I am pumping for the latter. I fixed the connection and put it all back in place. Fingers crossed.

I forgot to mention before this that I found a bent pushrod when I took the heads off. If I remember correctly, it was on the side with the (leaking) spring loaded pushrod tubes. How does a bent pushrod affect the engine if the valve adjustment is done correctly?


I’m re-using the clutch drive disk and pressure plate and I measured things to check if that was a good idea. There is still some good life in the disk and the pressure plate has all its finger and is flat. The flywheel is ok too, I de-glazed with fine emery and I replaced the O-ring. The old one was quite stiff.


I did some head scratching when it came to the support bracket on the rear exhaust manifold. Seems that the syncro muffler carrier has extra holes in it to attach the bracket. As I have home made aluminum muffler carriers I had to drill some new holes. Pretty tight, not much wrench clearance. I’ll curse myself if and when I have to get the bracket or carriers off.


Boy am I happy to see the engine finally in this state.


Oh, and when I was in the engine bay I looked into the holes in the frame members on either side of the bay. The frame members that further back house the bumper mounts. A lot of dirt in there.


Next job is to move the engine from the stand to the hoist so that I can get the flywheel and clutch back on.


Vanagon – Q and D* head replacement – engine out

*Quick and Dirty

Took me a while to do it yesterday. I had to clean up some of my mess to make room in the workshop, and I got confused and stalled by what to do with the heat shield that runs across the rear of the engine compartment about the muffler. I didn’t notice right away that the holes in it for the screws holding it to the van were actually slots, not holes. And I had one screw that would not come out (I ended up die grinding the head off). Turns out the shield comes off with the engine – so there is no need to spend time trying to take off the oil filler tube (plastic part does pull off with a little help from heat gun), or to take off the metal coolant pipe that runs from water pump to T-stat. I thought I had to do all that to gain some space rear ward so I could pull the engine back and off the tranny.

What’s that you say? I thought you were pulling tranny and engine as a unit? I did plan on that, then I realised that if I allowed the tranny to drop 4 inches or so (as described in Bentley manual), I could reach the spots on the tranny that I wanted to deal with (starter electrical connections and diff lock light switch). Leaving the tranny in meant I didn’t have to fuss with CV joints or clutch slave cylinder bleeding. But after all the time I spent trying to get the engine back off the tranny I am not sure I saved any time at all.

A couple of other excuses – no lift/hoist and tight working space. Ok, I agree, lame.

Anyway, the dirty oily thing is out and hanging on the hoist (engine was lowered by hoist and pulled out from under van as it was resting on hoist base). Today begins with shop clean up and transferring engine to work stand.

Here is the engine pretty well ready to be removed.


And out.


Tranny is resting on blocks in this shot and van rear is raised high to allow engine to come sliding out. No stress that I could see on tranny connections, but van lowered back down after pic taken. I was concerned about stress on CV joints, but I don’t think I’ve subjected them to any great angle.


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Jerry can

Last week or thereabouts, I went to the local metal re-cycling yard to drop off some scrap and I came away with two finds. A nice section of 6″ stainless pipe (will be body of homemade muffler project) and this kinda cool jerry can. At first, and this is an excusable mistake as I am not a jerry can expert :), I thought it was a fuel container. But the internet came to my rescue and I identified it as a water can. Lots of info on jerry can can be found here. As far as I can tell, it is a water can, designed by Cavalier and made by McCord (the McCord part is a guess of sorts). I think 44 refers to the date, 1944. Anyhoo, the can is in pretty good shape and I wonder if I can’t use it for fuel (and use funnel). But I wonder if the inner coating will be affected by gasoline. Anyone know?


Vanagon syncro aux. back up light installed

I gave up on making an adaptor for the chrome light housing and decided instead to make one for a rubber housing, here it is.

Made of black polyethylene, kinda clunky looking. Jony Ive does not live here. It does seem to work though.

I led the power and ground wires through one of the holes in the rear valence, up over and well away from the muffler, and through a grommeted hole in the heat shield. I do wish there was a better route. I used one of those black plastic electrical box to house the relay.

I used wire I had lying around, not conforming very well to any colour code. I did use a little bus, power is on the right, and ground on the left. I mounted the box onto the plastic “bulkhead” that the air intake snorkel connects to on the right hand side of the engine compartment. I tapped into the black/blue power wire feeding the right hand side back up light to provide the signal power for the relay.

I also put in an old back up beeper I had on my ’82 westy. I was a good thing to have when my son was young and I got used to it, so now it’s on the syncro, just lying in front of right hand side tail lights.

I took power from the alternator stud – NOTE – I have not installed in inline fuse on this feed line yet, one DOES need to be installed. I led a ground to one of the alternator housing screws.

Gack, I need to buy black cable ties. Tested, and works (beeper too).



At the wreckers

Went to Malahat Auto Wreckers thinking they had a good condition caliper (they said so on their website), but no, they didn’t. I did get a couple of muffler hangers that were in good shape and an antenna (I tend to bend them when I go on old logging roads). Also picked up a delay dim interior for Brett – I’ll email you.

While there I took a couple of picks of some wrecked JDM imports. There are more of them than there are Vanagons. One Vanagon of note is a white 86/87 panel van. Black bumper still in decent shape.