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Hi Guys, I'm currently in Vancouver BC, Canada. On a migratory road trip from Utah to Alaska in my trusty 87 GL Wagon.

 

Before I took off I worked on and fixed everything I could think of to try and make it a solid and dependable ride for the trip, I noticed I had a rusted out hole in the seam of my muffler, but it didn't seem to be effecting performance and basically just made the car sound like it had a glass pack muffler on it so I let it slide. I've never done any exhaust work before aside from replacing manifolds, and accidentally pulling one of my studs out of the cylinder head when I re-sealed the engine (Still gotta helicoil that or something)

 

Then on my way through Grand Forks, British Columbia, they just so happened to be in the middle of a 200 year flood, but the road was still open, so I drove through ~2-3 feet of water on their main drag downtown. (Here's a video I shot if you're interested to see what that looked like)

 

When I arrived in Vancouver, and was idling at the stoplights on my way to a friend's place, the exhaust started rattling so loudly that I thought it had come loose and was somehow smacking the body of the car. That rattle comes and goes now, only when I'm idling. The engine idles at about 1000rpm when it's warm now instead of 700 like it used to, I've got a sort of noticeable power loss, and my gas mileage has dropped 4-6MPG. I'm pretty well assuming the muffler needs to be replaced, it sounds like there's something loose in there that knocks loudly at idle and is partially blocking airflow.

 

So here's what I'm wondering as I'm thinking about getting this fixed and moving on towards Alaska:

 

-It looks like the exhaust essentially has a front and a rear section, so provided I can get a new rear section here, is this something I would be able to do in someone's driveway (assuming someone will loan me their driveway) with a pretty basic socket and wrench toolbox? That's what I've got.

-Anything weird I should keep an eye out for while looking for parts?(gaskets, springs?, bolts, Junkyards maybe?) I've never bought parts in Canada before.

-If I do too much running around with my exhaust a little messed up like this is there some potential engine damage in my future? I imagine this can't be too good for it.

-In the meantime would I be better off just cutting off the muffler and running a straight pipe? Since I'll be replacing it anyway?

 

It's late so I'll probably post some photos tomorrow, any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks a million, as always guys

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With just basic tools, probably not because the bolts will be "rust-welded". Give it a shot and if a no-go, go to a muffler shop.

 

Probably should check the fluids in the transmission and differentials for water. 

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Something mat be partially blocking the exhaust, but it could be either of the catalytic converters also. The bolts on the exhaust are very likely so rusted that they need to be cut off with an angle grinder or burned off with a welding torch. Unless they were replaced with stainless, and or recently assembled with ano seize compound. Best to test before buying parts - loosen the nuts tat hold the y pipe to the heads, to get a gap between the flanges and the heads. Quarter to half inch. Be sure the studs are not backed out. If it runs and drives normally but loud, the exhaust is blocked. If it still runs badly, then the exhaust is not the problem.

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Well you guys were right about the bolts being rusty. I almost got the self locking nuts to break but the they just stripped. I could probably rent an angle grinder and cut them though. Looking at the catalytic converters they both have little metal flakes coming out the holes in the bottom, and they both say Subaru on them so they're probably the originals and if not broken, very tired at least.

 

The muffler looks to have been replaced before and I guess they must have just welded it straight to the rear exhaust pipe rather than bolting it with a gasket because from the connection just before the second catalytic converter all the way to the tail pipe it's just one piece, not two like the FSM says it should be.

 

So now the real question is if I can even get parts.. the hunt begins! I think if I can find all the pieces I'll probably just take it all off and replace it all at once rather than renting an angle grinder and chopping the bolts to just do the rear and the muffler. This should be interesting and fun! hope I don't go too broke.

Here's looking at the muffler from below, then trying to take a peek inside. it's obviously not functioning even close to as it should be now. 

post-68000-0-85322900-1526322335_thumb.jpg

post-68000-0-86394100-1526322347_thumb.jpg

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Here's a few more photos from the rear exhaust pipe back to the muffler, I guess whoever replaced it last just welded them together because there's no gasket or bolts, just a welded pipe.

 

Chatting with the folks at the Subaru Dealership it looks like I'll probably have a hard time finding parts for this one. If I can I think I'll just do the whole exhaust just to have it done in case the front Cat goes bad someday (I mean heck it might be already)post-68000-0-30879400-1526326357_thumb.jpg

post-68000-0-58798100-1526326373_thumb.jpg  

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I don't know what the market is like up there. But here it would probably be cheaper to just have a muffler shop weld on a new muffler, than to find a pre-bent section and try to attach it to what's already there.

 

 

Or, cut it off, and buy some ear plugs....

 

 

 

 

Also, I live in the first major town South of the Canadian border in this area, and it's very common for Canadians to come down here to do their shopping, because stuff is much cheaper here. We even get customers coming here to the dealership, even though there's a Subaru dealership in Thunder Bay. It might save you a good chunk of money to endure until you get across the border.

Edited by Numbchux
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There should be aftermarket parts for it still. Might have to try looking them up as a 1990 loyale.

 

They won't last nearly as long as the oem, but way lower cost. I built an all stainless exhaust - there's a link on another similar thread, but your not going to be doing that project in a parking lot.

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I don't know what the market is like up there. But here it would probably be cheaper to just have a muffler shop weld on a new muffler, than to find a pre-bent section and try to attach it to what's already there.

 

 

Or, cut it off, and buy some ear plugs....

 

Yeah it's looking like I'll either cut it and wait until I get to Alaska, or just have a shop cut it and weld on a new muffler. My two concerns with driving it as is are the drop in fuel econ - gas isn't cheap on the Alaska-Canada highway - and the potential for damage to more components - I don't want anything getting any worse

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There should be aftermarket parts for it still. Might have to try looking them up as a 1990 loyale.

 

They won't last nearly as long as the oem, but way lower cost. I built an all stainless exhaust - there's a link on another similar thread, but your not going to be doing that project in a parking lot.

Oh Yeah? A rear exhaust pipe/cat from a 1990 Loyale would fit? That's super good to know because I've called a few parts shops now and they've basically just said tough luck guy, have a muffler shop build you something custom.

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I know first hand that for 4wd wagons. Spfi, 3AT automatic. 86 gl through 1990 loyale very similar parts for almost everything. Exhaust should be swappable. Minor differences crop up swapping between auto and stick, 2WD vs 4wd, stuff like that.

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Custom made by an exhaust shop is commn here in Australia - cheaper too. You really need to be aware the idea is to get the bad stuff out the back so it does not creep into the cabin. Not sure if it is the fumes or impact that will kill you and other innocents

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Custom made by an exhaust shop is commn here in Australia - cheaper too. You really need to be aware the idea is to get the bad stuff out the back so it does not creep into the cabin. Not sure if it is the fumes or impact that will kill you and other innocents

Yup I read you loud and clear there Jono, I'm putting together an order on Rockauto with all the parts to just redo the whole exhaust with OE shaped pipes (and the mid pipe/cat from a 1990 Loyale) then gonna compare that to what a shop would charge for a custom setup here and go with the better option. I like the idea of a whole new setup because then no detritus from a broken catalytic converter or anything else could possibly be in there.

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Well I just ordered everything gaskets and all to just put on a whole new exhaust pipe from front to back. $450 USD including shipping to Canada. Here's hoping the 1990 Loyale mid section fits!

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Nice. Glad to hear you got a whole exhaust setup as I would pin the issue on the catalitic converter letting go.

 

As for extra fuel usage who knows what's up with that unless the O2 sensor is no longer getting the same heat to keep it inside its optimal operational temp range, which could mean you're running in a fuel enriched loop/limp mode.

 

Cheers

 

Bennie

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So I've been reading around and trying to figure exactly what could have happened here so I don't go through replacing all this stuff only to still have an issue and I'm seeing other people who've had problems with O2 sensors going awry after a seafoam treatment in the gas tank to clean the fuel injectors. I happen to have put a can of seafoam in about a tank or two before all this trouble began. Maybe they're related? I'm definitely going to pull the O2 sensor now and see how it looks, should probably pull my sparkplugs too and see how they look.

 

Anyone have any experience with this? If the sensor is dirty can it just be cleaned or would I have to replace it? 

 

Edit: I put about 12 oz in a full fuel tank and 4 oz in the crankcase. Also the car sputtered and ran like crap for the next tank and a half of fuel, I also got 8mpg less on that first tank. I was left feeling like it was obviously a pretty bad idea. Maybe it let loose a bunch of gunk and clogged my first CAT down the line? or maybe just gunked up the O2 sensor?

Edited by Brianmitchtay

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Check for ecu codes. If the o2 sensor is that bad, it should show a code.

 

The CTS is also a common cause of weird idle changing idle. Depending on how it fails. It can be bad and not cause a code.

 

Testing is best, as parts cost money.

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Check for ecu codes. If the o2 sensor is that bad, it should show a code.

 

The CTS is also a common cause of weird idle changing idle. Depending on how it fails. It can be bad and not cause a code.

 

Testing is best, as parts cost money.

Alright, I haven't had a chance to check for codes, but I did find a disconnected vacuum hose so hopefully that'll help the idle a bit. Spark plugs look pretty normal according to how the FSM says they should be.

 

Forgive my ignorance, but what's the CTS?

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CTS is coolant temperature sensor. How many miles does your car have? Over 150k? If you put in a 12oz can of seafoam you might not have a restricted exhaust, or any electrical problems, you might have compression problems. Depending on how well the prior owner maintained this car. Sea foam will eat carbon build up that are on the rings, valves and all sorts of places carbon gets to. I did it to my 1982 Chevy last spring. $10 of seafoam cost me $1300 to replace the engine. I'm not trying to be a pessimist, but if the exhaust and CTS doesn't help and there is still extreme power loss and poor milage, it might be a good idea to find a compression tester and a leakdown tester. I made this mistake and would hate to see it happen to somebody else. My hopes are high for you

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Is this engine a SPFI?  or Carburetor?  Most of what I've read in the thread leads me toward SPFI.  Just want to be sure.

 

I've seen many people use seafoam on these cars / engines with no negative effects, so I'm not thinking it's likely the cause.  I have nothing to go on regarding Chevy engines, something could be different.

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CTS is coolant temperature sensor. How many miles does your car have? Over 150k? If you put in a 12oz can of seafoam you might not have a restricted exhaust, or any electrical problems, you might have compression problems. Depending on how well the prior owner maintained this car. Sea foam will eat carbon build up that are on the rings, valves and all sorts of places carbon gets to.

...

My hopes are high for you

I'm not too worried about the seafoam having ruined the engine, the old owner was pretty meticulous in his maintenance of the car, he had a few 3x5 cards in the glove box stating the mileage intervals of every fluid change, tire rotation, etc, and he was putting a can of sea foam in the tank every 20k miles. The car itself has 230k miles on it, but the engine was rebuilt by Colorado Custom Rebuilds just over 100k ago, so there's probably not anything too frightening going on in there. I just figured the catalytic converters might be near the end of their useful life and so a bit more crud and then getting flooded with water might have pushed them to kick the bucket.

 

I'm really pretty confident that it's an exhaust issue, the most noticeable symptom is a super loud clunky rattle that's obviously coming from the muffler. Honestly I could probably just put a new muffler on it and it would be A-ok, but since the cats probably aren't so efficient anymore anyway, and I'm not too fond of the idea that my car is hurting the environment, new catalytic converters seem appropriate. (plus to do the muffler I've got to do the midpipe because someone welded them together, and if I'm gonna do the midpipe I may as well do the whole damn thing for just an extra $100 while I'm in there)

 

Is this engine a SPFI?  or Carburetor?  Most of what I've read in the thread leads me toward SPFI.  Just want to be sure.

 

I've seen many people use seafoam on these cars / engines with no negative effects, so I'm not thinking it's likely the cause.  I have nothing to go on regarding Chevy engines, something could be different.

It's SPFI Dave

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Alright guys, parts are here, but I've got a maybe stupid question.

post-68000-0-90023600-1526600159_thumb.jpg

See the metal post coming out the middle of the CAT in the Y pipe section? My current Y pipe and Catalytic converter doesn't have that. The FSM says there should be an "Air duct" there, what is that supposed to connect to on the other end?? 

post-68000-0-08383700-1526600429_thumb.jpg

 

The plan is to buy a pair of nuts and bolts to connect the midpipe to the muffler, and then try to replace this thing tomorrow. If I can't figure out what to do with the air duct, do you think I could just cover it and be ok? Thoughts?

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That short pipe on the y pipe cat is a port for a carburetor heat riser. Just ignore it. It is not open to the exhaust. It allows warmed air from around the cat to be sucked into the carburetor via a lightweight flexible duct. Helps with warm up and preventing icing. Not applicable to SPFI.

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If you can get them, do yourself a favor and get stainless steel nuts and bolts. Flatwashers and lockwashers also.

 

Studs for the heads to the y pipe. NOT bolts.

 

Anti seize helps with all of this also.

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