Exhaust Clamps vs Welding

The exhaust system of your car plays a crucial role in the overall performance of your car engine. It also contributed directly to the lifespan of your car. It comprises several components that are pieced together to facilitate your car engine’s great performance and prevent leakage in your car’s exhaust.

These components are held together with either by clamps or through welding. This piece will explore the benefits of having a clamp vs. welding and how different parts and components of the exhaust come together. This guide will also explore the common ways of putting together a great exhaust through welding or using an exhaust clamp.

Exhaust Welding

Welding an exhaust pipe means attaching different parts of the exhausting system through various techniques that ensure the exhaust system is fully sealed. There are many ways of welding your exhaust together. Here are some of the most common ways of doing it well. Choose one that suits your needs well based on the process involved and the material of your exhaust pipe.

Important: If you want to save $100s in servicing, diagnosis, and repair costs, improve your car's performance significantly and increase its value by 1.2x with little effort, download our Beginners Auto Maintenence & Repair Manual now. 

MIG Welding

MIG is the most popular system of welding the exhaust because of how easy it is to do. MIG welding uses an inert gas shield and electrodes, which are combined through an automatically fed filler wire. MIG welding is great for automation. It is also the common method used during the fabrication process of mass production of exhaust systems. However, you should not use the MIG technique to weld thin tubing sections that are used in the racing exhaust systems.

TIG Welding

TIG welding is also common in the car manufacturing industry. This arc welding technique uses a non-consumable electrode that is made from tungsten. This welding method is not recommended for DIY projects because it requires a lot of skills to pull it off correctly. In addition to this, the TIG welding technique is mostly applied manually to all weldable metals. In most cases, TIG welding is used in alloy metals, such as stainless steel metal. It is for this reason that TIG welding is used in the exhaust parts of most racing cars. It is used in parts like catalytic converters and headers. As you weld using the TIG technique, a high voltage is produced by the electric transformer, which heats the filler metal and seals it.

Stick Welding

Stick welding is also known as shielded metal arc welding. In this method, a metal electrode shaped as a rod and covered with flux matter is used. This electrode is consumable, like in the MIG welding process. However, you do not need an inert gas supply in this welding process. To carry out the stick welding process, you will need the following tools:

  • Metal table for keeping the workpieces on it
  • A coated electrode that has an electrode holder
  • One direct current generator
  • Two electric cables

Use a gripper that is attached to the metal table and connect the gripper to a power supply using an electric cable. Connect your electrode to the same power supply using an electric cable. This connection will create positive and negative terminals. The electrode receives negative charges while the workpiece is receiving positive charges via the gripper. If you are using a rectifier or Alternating current, you can adjust your output’s polarity based on what you need to achieve.

After setting this up and turn on your power supply, touch your workplace using the electric rod. This will create an electric arc, which will melt both metals in your electrode. It will also melt the metal in your workpieces. In this welding method, the melted ore from the electrode is known as the filler metal. The flux coating on the electrode will act as the gas shield protection that strengthens the joint.

Flux-Cored Arc Welding

In this welding method, a tubular wire that has an inner flux core serves as an electrode. Tools needed for this welding process is the same as what you used for MIG. However, the electrode is fed by a wire reel. An arc is created immediately. The wire electrode touches the workpieces. This process melts the metal that forms the wire electrode and forms the joint.

There are two types of flux-cored arc welding, that is:

  • Self-shielded – the flu in the electrode serves as the protected shield.
  • Gas – shielded – the gas serves as a protective cloud. It is similar to other forms of welding.

In both processes, a slag that offers protection as the weld begins to cool is created by the flux.

Exhaust Clamps

A clamp is metal equipment that holds and tightens the muffler and exhaust parts firmly in place in the simplest terms. Exhaust clamps are usually fitted around a vehicle’s exhaust pipe. There are different types of exhaust clamps in the market, including, U-bolt clamp, band clamp, and V-band clamp.

U-bold Clamp

The U-bolt clamp (view on Amazon) is the most common type of clamp used today. Many aftermarket and factory exhaust systems commonly use it. This clamp can be adjusted to fit various pipe sizes. However, its main disadvantage is that it presents a huge challenge when trying to take the exhaust system apart.

Band Clamp

A band clamp (view on Amazon) is thought to be the most suitable type of clamp. The band exhaust clam may either be ring-shaped or a flat metal strap. It provides a lot of versatility, with regards to size and usability. You can find a band clamp made of stainless steel or aluminum.

V-Band Clamp

V-Band clamp (view on Amazon) is very costly and expensive for all exhaust clamps in the market. This explains why the V-Band clamp is used by high-end car owners on their car’s turbo exhaust. It is for this reason that the V-Band clamp is also known as the turbo clamp.

The turbo clamp has two interlocking rings, which you will attach on the pipe through welding. You then attach an outer ring on those two rings to hold the two rings together and create a great seal that will not leak.

Difference between Welding and Exhaust Clamps

It is a common belief that welding exhaust parts together gives the unit a final professional look. This might be true, depending on your perspective. However, it is a fact that welding joints of your exhaust system together creates a very strong bond that will survive very harsh conditions. When you skillfully weld your exhaust system, it will prevent it from leaking. Despite these benefits, there are disadvantages to welding your exhaust system.

First, welding requires a skilled person to take on the job. An unskilled or inexperienced welder will damage your exhaust system, which causes leakage and a lot more damage to your car’s engine. For this reason, most car owners prefer getting exhaust pieces that clamp on the exhaust manifold of your car. Second, welding your exhaust is challenging and requires special equipment to pull it through successfully. In essence, welding your car’s exhaust system should only be done by an experienced professional.

On the other hand, clamping is less involving and does not require a lot of skill to pull it through. Most car owners prefer clamping exhaust parts to the exhaust manifold. It is especially popular when installing mufflers catalytic system because you will not have to purchase special equipment. Follow these steps to clamp a part of your exhaust to the exhaust manifold:

Using the right car jack, lift your car. Lifting your car will create more room and give you the freedom to work under your car. Place a spare tire underneath your lifted car as a precautionary safety measure. Attach the new part of your car exhaust system in its rightful place and ensure that there is no leakage by listening to the sound produced by your car’s exhaust system.

Clamping has many advantages, especially to someone who prefers to install new exhaust components while in their home garage. The clamping process becomes much easier when you use the right seal. Additionally, the exhaust clamps do not need repairs, only frequent tightening when they become loose.

You Need to Know This About Your Exhaust

If you regularly have problems with your vehicle or you’re experiencing problems with the exhaust system, chances are you don’t maintain your vehicle often. The key to avoid problems within your vehicle along with exhaust problems is to properly maintain your vehicle.

If you want to avoid problems and save $100s of dollars that you’ll spend at the auto repair shop, you’ll need to service your vehicle often – you can use our mechanic-rated Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual to do this. It’s basically what mechanics use to go through your vehicle to check if there are any problems that need fixing. As soon as they notice the most minor problem, they’ll ask you to fork out some money even though it’s a problem you can fix yourself in minutes – the manual will teach you how to maintain your vehicle every few thousand miles and it’ll teach you how to fix minor problems that mechanics will ask you to pay for; saving you money in the long run.

A lot of our readers have the Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual printed on their garage wall and 92% of them haven’t visited the auto repair shop in the last year because they know what to do to avoid problems. All it takes is giving your vehicle a little attention every few thousand miles and you’ll never spend money at the workshop again.

Process of Clamping an Exhaust System

Clamping an exhaust is a simple process that can be done right in your home’s garage. It requires little skill and does not need special equipment. Here is a simple process for clamping your car’s exhaust:

  • Wear protective gear, that is, work gloves and safety goggles
  • Loosen your car’s old clamp to disassemble it
  • Unwind the HEX nuts to remove them from the U-bolt
  • Place the saddle around your car’s exhaust pipe without tightening the HEX nuts
  • Fasten the connection and ensure that it has seated fully by applying the right amount of pressure on the exhaust system
  • Choose a socket, from the socket set which matches the size of your HEX nuts and fix it to the ratchet
  • Using the ratchet, tighten all the nuts
  • Check the first nut that you have tightened to ensure it is tight enough. If it has not fastened as it should, re-tighten it. You should observe the exhaust pipe pulling in as you tighten the bolts of the exhaust clamp.
  • Finally, ensure that the clamp is tight by pulling it. If it is static, then it is installed correctly. Use this process in all the other clamps that you install.

Do You Have to Weld A Muffler?

Welding a muffler provides a stronger bond and a more professional appearance. However, you cannot weld a muffler as a DIY project. You need to hire a qualified professional to do it well. When you weld a muffler, it will be difficult for you to maintain it. It will be more expensive compared to maintaining an exhaust held together with a clamp. Clamps are also cheaper.

Should I Use an Exhaust Band?

Exhaust bands are a variation of exhaust clamps. It is wide and made from mild steel or stainless steel. The exhaust band is wrapped around a joint of the exhaust pipe. They come in two subtypes, that is, the pre-formed ring and a flat stripe. The pre-formed ring is ready to install while the flat stripe has to be wrapped around the exhaust pipe and re-bolted. Both types of exhaust bands have a low price; they are easy to use and can be reused without damaging your exhaust pipe. It also allows you to remove the exhaust system and re-install it without cutting or damaging its structure.

Should you use an exhaust clamp, or should you weld your exhaust parts together? The answer to this question depends on what you seek to achieve. If you want a more professional look and stronger joints, welding will do the magic. However, if you prefer the ease of maintenance and keeping your cost down, then exhaust clamps are a good solution.