I stopped at the indy shop today. The Service Manager crawled underneath and agreed with my assessment. Actullay, the taillpipe piece has now broken off the rear of the muffler. His first suggestion was to replace with a Ford product because, "it will come as a single piece, just like what is now on the truck." He said it could be done with aftermarket products, but the total will come as two or three pieces. OK, that was what I already learned.
I sat in the waiting area while he worked up a price. He was gone for awhile, then came with a strange look on his face. The Ford replacement product (one piece) is a $600 part -- yes, $600! On top of that would be the labor to install. He said after he heard this (apparently, the price was a bit of a shock to him), he made some other calls, hence, the long wait. He said the best he could do is an aftermarket product in multiple pieces for about $525, complete (parts and labor). Clearly, he was not anxious about doing this job, as he suggested I talk with a muffler shop.
Remember, the NAPA store gave me a price for three parts of about $125. Some clamps would be needed, so another $10-20 needs to be added.
I came home and crawled underneath to take off the tailpipe. The hanger rod, with the button at the end would not slip through the rubber hanger. I got out the angle grinder, put on a cut-off blade, and was able to cut off the button. The rod slipped through the rubber hanger easily.
I then crawled under the muffler to look more closely on how it is mounted. It has one rod hanger in the front, and two at the rear. The front one has pretty good access for my cut-off blade. The rear ones are not very easily accessed. Perhaps the rods could be first cut off at the muffler to get it dropped out, then start cutting on the rods with the buttons. The two rods mount above the muffer in parallel, about three inches apart. At the top, they take an L-turn, opposing each other. Just as the rear hanger, they have the same button on the end that protrudes through the rubber hanger.
I can check with NAPA to see about availability of the rubber hangers. Perhaps the best thing is to cut through them, and replace them with new. Rather than trying to get the metal rod hangers out, putting new rubber hangers may be the easiest route.
Collicut .. how did you get the double/parallel rods out of the rubber hangers? With the layout, they don't have the flexibility to be squeezed together. The button ends need to move at least an inch to get them through the rubber hanger. When these were installed initially, they could have been mounted separately, then the support piece bolted into place on the frame. In the replacement situation, the support piece cannot be taken out and reinstalled. I would expect that when the truck was assembled, the muffler/tailpipe was installed BEFORE the body was put over the frame. Access from the top would be easy. Colli... did you use these same hangers, or did you need to make new ones for your customer muffler? If so, how did you make the intallation? Did you replace the rubber hangers with new ones for easier install?
In looking more closely at the clamp between the cat and muffler, it will have to be cut off. It is so badly rusted there isn't much left to the bolt. There is no head or nut to mount a wrench.
I was thinking of making a cut through the existing pipe behind the break/clamp -- maybe 4-6 inches. Then get the muffler out of the way. Then cut off the clamp by cutting through the clamp itself, and use a chisel to get underneath to peel it off. This will leave me a section of old pipe, 8 inches long or so. The likelihood of this coming loose is zero to none, even with PB Blaster, WD40, or whatever. With the cut-off blade, perhaps I could make a cut parallel to the pipe, attempting to cut only deep enough to cut through the stub end of the pipe that has to come off. With a slit, I could use a chisel to get underneath to start peeling it off. I see a major problem of support of the end of the pipe behind the cat. It would not be well supported to start beating with a hammer. Maybe the slit and peeling could be started BEFORE the muffer comes off, giving the pipe support for the hammering.
Thoughts ...? Ideas ...?
As a side note, I did call Munro (I said Midas yesterday -- wrong). Again, it was clear they weren't much interested in the project after I made the description. Maybe the message I'm hearing should be enough to deter my interest in doing this myself. I can be stone deaf sometimes....