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2003 F-250 exchaust replace -- difficult?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Roger, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943


    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....
  2. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    Update: project completed.

    I picked up parts from NAPA on Wednesday, and used time this morning to install. All in all, it wasn't too difficult. I used my angle grinder with cutting disk as the primary tool to remove the old parts. I drove the right rear wheel onto 3-2X10s to get it up a little higher. In hindsight, I should have used four pieces, not three. Room to work underneath was a little tight - no, mark that, very tight (especially cutting off the rear hangers).

    I used the cutting disk to strip across the band clamp on the pipe behind the cat. It came off easily. I put some PB Blaster around the joint. Again, using the cutting disk, I made a cut across the pipe to be removed, parallel to air flow, just deep enough to get through the outer pipe, not cutting the inside one. This enabled me to get a cold chisel in the groove. I peeled back some of the metal, made another stripe, and peeled back more. I learned the top and bottom of the pipe to be removed alrealdy had a split. While it was good enough to get a chisel inserted, the angles were not good for working.

    With a little metal peeled back, I found the joint to be loose. It came apart more easily than expected. See pics below how much I peeled back. I wanted to get this joint loose before attacking the muffler hangers. Keeping the muffler in the initial position was the right thing to do when breaking loose this joint.

    The tailpipe already had been cut off a couple of days earlier because it was broken off the muffler entirely. Now, the next task was to get the two hangers cut that hold up the rear of the muffler. It has two rod hangers in the rear, one in the front. Each are about 7/16" rod. I managed to get my angle grinder with cutting disk into a cavity above the muffer. Making these two cuts was difficult because of no working room, and hard to hold overhead. Also, sparks were flying everywhere. Goggles were a MUST!!!!

    However, I managed to get the two cuts made, allowing the muffler to drop down in the rear. I then moved to the front hanger, and cut it through. Access was easy, compared to the rear ones. Soon, the muffler was free, and I was able to pull it out, lay it aside.

    The stub ends of the hanger had to be pulled from the rubber mounts. They have the same "button" on the end, a conical shaped part, with a lip to keep it from backing out. I put some oil on them, intending they would slip out more easilly. However, getting the button back through was not so easy. I ended up using my large jaw 10 " "Vice Grips, but curved jaws could be opened to put force on the end of the button, with resistance on the hanger on the opposite side. This proved to work well, and I got all three out with the Vice Grip.

    When lining up the old to new, I learned that NAPA had given me one extra piece. I have an 8ft bed, standard cab. The stub end of pipe they gave me was about 10" long, straight. But, they also gave me one that was about 18" long, but had a slight S-shape. All pipe is 3" diameter.

    I set aside the extra piece and dry mounted the right piece in front of the muffler. Then holding up the muffler to get the rear hangers in place was the next challenge. I expect the muffler is about 25 pounds, maybe even 30. In other words, it is very heavy to hold overhead, while getting the two hangers mounted. I was concerned I would have enough travel in the rubber hangers to get them over the new button ends. The hangers were freely oiled for ease of slipping.

    With the help of a floor jack, I managed to get one side inserted, and then the other. My concern about the travel in side motion of the rubber hangers was unfounded. Then, moving to the front, getting the front hanger in the rubber was easy. Now, I just had to rotate the stub end of pipe to be sure the S-shape was properly alaighted for best fit, both on the muffler, and on the pipe from the cat.

    Then, the tailpipe was inserted from the rear of the truck, over the axle. Getting it over the stub off the muffler was easy. The rear hanger was not too easy to get inserted, but with some movement, it went into the rubber hanger (no button here, just a curved end).

    Now, to position all the parts in dry mount so that they fit well, properly rotated, etc. Then three 3" clamps were used to put into position.

    In summary, it can be done solo. Nearly all the work is solo. Another set of hands would be useful for making first attachment of rear hangers on the new muffler. Also, a second set of hands would be useful in threading the new tailpipe in from the rear. Other than those tasks, all else is solo. Of course, it can be handy to have somebody shuffling tools in/out while under the truck. Total time for the project was about two hours, but nothing was hurried. No special tools were needed, but the angle grinder was very helpful.

    Pics below. Sorry, I did not shoot any of the new parts. These are only of the parts torn out, along with the "weapon of choice," the angle grinder cutting disk.

    Thanks for all the input on the thread.

    Enjoy your own fun in muffler replacement...








  3. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871


    I don't own Fords but thanks for the detailed and step by step process. I'm sure someone will find this very helpful someday. I think this is one of the great reasons this site was invented. It's nice to read this vs someone asking the same basic question posted 2 threads down or teenage bantering.
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