Essential Things to Know About Exhaust Clamps vs. Welding

The exhaust system is one of the important factors that define the performance and working life of the engine. An exhaust system consists of some components arranged together to give the best performance and ensure no exhaust leakage. We will, therefore, talk about exhaust clamp vs. welding and how parts in an exhaust system together in this article. We shall also cover the most common ways of setting a good exhaust by either welding the components together or using exhaust band clamp, giving the advantages and disadvantages of the same.

Exhaust Clamps

Exhaust clamps are metal clamps designed to fit around the exhaust pipe. They are used to hold and seal exhaust, muffler components while mounting to the undercarriage of the vehicle and also ensure that there are no escaped fumes. The major types of exhaust band clamp are ball and socket, flat band, and V-band clamps. Each of them has its use in your exhaust system. There is more than one type of the band clamps on your factory basic kit. Each of the exhaust clamp bands has its diameter that suits its usage.

Additionally, mild steel construction provides durability and longevity. Checking the state of your exhaust clamps is mandatory. In case during your checks, you notice that the exhaust pipe is loose, make sure to have it checked by a professional immediately. Secondly, when the sound of your car becomes quite noisy, it could be because the exhaust clamps have begun to break or are already broken. In this case, repairing the exhaust clamps is not possible. Instead, you should tighten the exhaust clamps regularly or replace them immediately after you notice that they have a problem.

Exhaust Clamps vs. Welding

Exhaust Welding

Welding an exhaust means sticking exhaust parts together using various techniques, ensuring a fully sealed exhaust. There are many ways to weld an exhaust, and below are some of them: 

1.TIG Welding

TIG welding has played an important role in the automotive field. It is an arc welding technique that uses a non-consumable electrode usually made from tungsten. This technique needs one to have tremendous skill since it is applied manually. TIG can be applied to all weldable metals. It is mostly useful with alloys such as stainless steel. For this reason, a racing class exhausts parts such as headers and catalytic converters usually have a TIG welding. The electric transformer produces a high voltage needed to heat the filler metal.

Read More: Best Cheap TIG Welders on Market Reviews & Buying Guide

2.MIG Welding

MIG welding is considered as the most popular way to weld an exhaust system due to its ease of use. Just like TIG, MIG utilizes an inert gas shield, and electrodes are combined in an automatically fed filler wire. However, unlike TIG welding, MIG lends itself to automation. It is also used in the fabrication of production exhaust systems. MIG welding, however, should not be used to connect thin tubing sections used in racing exhausts.

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Difference between Exhaust Clamps and Welding

Many people think that welding exhaust parts together provide a much more professional finish. Welding the joints of exhaust systems create a stronger bond that will be long-lasting. When done correctly, it will also prevent leakage from exhaust systems. There are, however, various challenges that come in hand with welding a car exhaust. 

Welding is a special skill that needs too much training and needs a very skillful welder. An amateur welder may cause damages to your car’s exhaust system, which will also lead to exhaust leakage. This is why many people consider using exhaust parts that simply clamp onto your car’s exhaust manifold. It is difficult to welding exhausts, and you will also need special equipment to make it work. This means that welding cannot be done by a person who is not a professional.

On the other hand, a much more popular technique for fitting car exhausts is by clamping it onto the exhaust manifold. This is a very well-known method of installing mufflers catalytic since you do not need to worry about buying any specialist tools.

Start by jacking up the vehicle using a specialized carjack. This will give you the freedom to work under the car. For safety reasons, put a spare tire under your jacked up car in case the car falls for any reason. Later place the new part in place and make sure there are no high sounds caused by a leak.

There are a lot of advantages to clamping your exhaust components. It is much easier if you choose and use the right seals. There is no reason why it can’t be as successful as welding a muffler. Clamping is ideal for anyone who is trying to install a new exhaust component at home. Additionally, the exhaust clamps do not need any service but tightening the exhaust clamps now and then.

Welding vs Clamping Your Exhaust: YouTube Video:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Are Exhaust Bands Good?

Answer: An exhaust band is a kind of exhaust clamps. It is a wide strap of stainless steel or mild steel wrapped around the exhaust pipe joint. Exhaust bands come in two subtypes. One is a pre-formed ring. This type of exhaust band is ready to install. It is a commonly used type. The second type is the flat stripe. In this exhaust band, you have to wrap it around the pipe and re-bolt it. Both types have some great features such as ease of use, low price, and reusability without causing damage to the pipes. You can also easily remove the system for service and then reinstall everything again without cutting anything.

Question: How Do You Clamp An Exhaust?

Answer: For you to clamp an exhaust follow the following steps: 

  1. Put on your safety gear (safety goggles, work gloves)
  2. Disassemble the old clamp by loosening it 
  3. Remove the HEX nuts from U-bolt 
  4. Put the saddle on the exhaust pipe but do not tighten the HEX nuts
  5. Apply a pressure on the exhaust pipe connection to ensure the connection is fully seated
  6. Select a socket from socket set that matches the size of the hex nuts and attaches it to the ratchet
  7. Use the ratchet to tighten all nuts
  8. Recheck the first nut you have tightened if it loose re-tightens it. You should notice that the exhaust pipe is pulling in under the pressure of exhaust clamp 
  9. Finally, pull the clamp to ensure that it is tight and repeat the process with any clamp you need to install.    

Question: Can You Clamp a Catalytic?

Answer: It is ok to clamp a catalytic converter but make sure that there are no fumes leaks. An exhaust leakage before the oxygen sensor can cause the check engine lamp to be on since the car’s ECU will think that the catalytic converter is not working properly. It is, therefore, best to have one welded but if you can’t have it welded clamp it with no leaks

Question: Does Muffler Have To Be Welded?

Answer: Sure, mufflers can be welded, and it will provide a more professional setting and stronger bond, but it requires a skilled technician to install and weld it right. It is also hard to service it compared to installing mufflers using band clamps which are cheaper, easy to service and maintain and doesn’t require skilled installation. All you need is a few bolts and simple tools, and it is done.

Question: How to Fix a Hole in My Exhaust?

Answer: First thing, you have to detect the hole and what is the source of the excess fumes, starting from the front of the vehicle, all the way back. Look for signs of scratches, cracks, rust, holes …etc. Scrub it with metal toothed brush and scrub the surrounding area to remove any form of dirt or mud. After this, use sandpaper to prepare and smooth the surface of the pipe and erase any trace of dirt. Later wipe the surface down with acetone to help to bond to the metal. Finally, wrap the exhaust tape around the hole, covering it with at least two layers of exhaust tape.

Final Words

Here we had a glimpse of how exhaust systems are fitted together. Those are the most common and reliable ways to fit the exhaust system. We have also seen the difference between Exhaust clamps vs. welding. If you feel that you have some problems with your exhaust systems, do not hesitate to inspect it and solve the problem. If you cannot diagnose the fault yourself, you can seek help from a professional. Just make sure that your exhaust system is 100%, in excellent condition, and your engine is breathing well.

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