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Old 10-14-2011, 06:37 PM   #1
dah97765
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Default 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Hi Friends,

I recently removed the exhaust from my car and I am about to put the new parts back in. I really value the advice from this community so I'm asking advice on this.

The problem though, is that I think the holes for the bolts in the front flange of the flex pipe is oriented incorrectly. I've been reading about this problem on the forums, and I would rather not return this and go through trying to find another cat + flex pipe (currently welded together) that is in the correct orientation.

I know nothing about welding and I would have a shop do any welding that I'm suggesting below. I've read on here its likely to be inexpensive (< $40)

What are your thoughts on:

1) cutting the flange and a little pipe from the old and welding it onto the new one. Note: the old pipe is notably rusted.
2) drilling holes to match up with the bolt configuration (I don't think that this would work but I saw it suggested somewhere.)
3) cutting the current flange and rotating it so it fits, then weld back into position.

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Old 10-14-2011, 08:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Choice #3 is the preferred approach.

This is the DIY approach. You can use a piece of close fitting pipe the will slip over the cut pieces to put it all back together and use a single band clamp to seal it if you do not wan to weld it. You will have to place 2 saw slits on both sides and seal them with muffler cement and the apply 2 band clamps. The pipe will have to be expanded by a muffler shop to make the connector as You can not have any leaks in the pipe from the head to the CAT inlet or you will have mixture problems.

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Old 10-14-2011, 08:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

One of these clamps will do it if you are lucky and all you need is rotation and not angular change. No additional pipe required. http://www.summitracing.com/search/D.../?autoview=SKU

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Old 10-14-2011, 10:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Out of curiosity... what brand cat/con assembly did you get. It's been a while since I remember seeing the flange orientation problem and thought that had been corrected?

...
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
One of these clamps will do it if you are lucky and all you need is rotation and not angular change. No additional pipe required. http://www.summitracing.com/search/D.../?autoview=SKU
Nice... I like this approach. As much as I want to do this, I'm afraid that there isnt really a good flat spot on the pipe to do this. See picture below.


Quote:
Originally Posted by off-track View Post
Out of curiosity... what brand cat/con assembly did you get. It's been a while since I remember seeing the flange orientation problem and thought that had been corrected?
I'm thinking about just returning and reordering...if I'm paying $200+ for a part I shouldnt have to mod it.

off-track, have you had good experiences buying some elsewhere? I'm looking at BOSAL Part # 0795189 and BOSAL Part # 0795149 Direct Fit (without knowing if they have the same problem)

I got it from RockAuto: EASTERN CATALYTIC CONVERTERS Part # 50411

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Old 10-14-2011, 10:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

There are serious fitting issues with these aftermarket units for the 99 and 00 cars. You have to open the drivers door and get the build date and then look under the hood and get the emission certification code. Then you call Easter tech support and get the correct part number. Now you can make the exchange, if they even make one for your car.

What exactly is wrong with your existing pipe?

Where are you located?

Last edited by OldNuc; 10-14-2011 at 10:57 PM..

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Old 10-14-2011, 11:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
There are serious fitting issues with these aftermarket units for the 99 and 00 cars. You have to open the drivers door and get the build date and then look under the hood and get the emission certification code. Then you call Easter tech support and get the correct part number. Now you can make the exchange, if they even make one for your car.

What exactly is wrong with your existing pipe?

Where are you located?
I'll check out the build date and emission cert code tomorrow when I have daylight.

I'm located in Philadelphia. Not sure where the car is originally from.

The existing pipe is actually fine, but the cat is bad (I think the substrate has completely broken off - it rattles when shaken now that its off).

EDIT: Also I should mention that unbolting the intermediate pipe from the cat wasnt really an option with the amount of rust that is going on.

I decided that rather than welding a new one onto old rusting pipes (see picture below), I would do a bolt on install and replace the whole exhaust. from the front pipe down to the muffler. It was only about 150 more than what the shops quoted me. I'll be giving this car to my brother sometime in the next year so I didnt want to give him something that would have these issues again sometime soon.


Last edited by dah97765; 10-14-2011 at 11:18 PM.. Reason: added bit about flange being rusted

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Old 10-15-2011, 08:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Had the same issue with walker exhaust. I kept getting the wrong parts, like the front pipe and the intermediate pipe vary depending on whether it is a:

DOHC, SOHC and whether it is a coupe or sedan. Plus the year!

What was supposed to be a straight forward installation was an ordeal in incorrect flanges and an intermediate pipe that is not the right shape or length. The guy ordering the parts for you needs to choose the parts more carefully so your time is not wasted like mine was...

Also I believe there might be some purposely offset flanges in aftermarket so you can't just change a pipe but you must switch to their entire exhaust so the flanges match...

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Old 10-15-2011, 08:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

I would love to have that original rusted (stainless steel) pipe.I bet i could make it outlast that aftermarket steel pipe which only last 2 1/2 years here in the northeast.

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Old 10-15-2011, 09:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

+1^^^Just replace the CAT as it is cheaper and easier and now that it is on the floor it is simple. The aftermarket pipes are either incredibly expensive or crap, pick one.

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Old 10-15-2011, 10:23 AM   #11
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Despite how it may look, your original pipe is far better than the replacement. Just replace the cat.

The original is stainless steel (low grade: 409, but still stainless). The rust you see is just surface rust, which actually prevents further rust. The "new one" is plain steel: if you live in the rust-belt, it will be useless in no time (you'll be replacing it every 2-3 years, literally). Unless there is some damage not shown in the pictures, your original exhaust will certainly outlast it, with just a new cat.

(Also, as can be easily seen, the OE bends are a lot smoother: the crush bends in that replacement will hurt power and mileage--probably not enough for you to notice, but still not something you want...)

As for the OE flange behind the cat: yeah, if it's original, those bolts probably won't be coming out without a lot of patience (it's probably possible, but not worth your time). If you can get a socket on them, just break them. If not, cut them. Replace them with stainless hardware, with neverseize, and you'll never need to worry about that again.

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Old 10-15-2011, 09:28 PM   #12
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Quote:
Originally Posted by richpin06 View Post
I would love to have that original rusted (stainless steel) pipe.I bet i could make it outlast that aftermarket steel pipe which only last 2 1/2 years here in the northeast.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
+1^^^Just replace the CAT as it is cheaper and easier and now that it is on the floor it is simple. The aftermarket pipes are either incredibly expensive or crap, pick one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
Despite how it may look, your original pipe is far better than the replacement. Just replace the cat.

I've been reading similar thoughts here on the forum. pity.

So, based off of the advice here, I think I will keep the front pipe and use a cat like this: WALKER Part # 15842 Ultra Direct Fit Converter. I'll return the one I have currently since it doesnt fit anyway.

I would rather save the ~100 bucks by returning the assembly I have and get a new, cheaper one without the front pipe attached. I'll use as much of the old pipes as I can.

I can probably only use the front pipe...I bent and cut the intermediate too much I think :/

Thanks for the advice! I'll keep you updated.

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Old 10-15-2011, 09:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Quote:
Originally Posted by dah97765 View Post
I got it from RockAuto: EASTERN CATALYTIC CONVERTERS Part # 50411
Actually, that was what I was hoping for based on another post a while back:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=171887

I already PM'd Adam. Let's see if he responds?

...
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Purchased 114k 10/07
Added OEM CC

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Old 10-15-2011, 09:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

To separate the rear flange just cut between them after breaking off the nuts. You use a band clamp to connect the walker cat to the old front pipe. Cut carefully and that leftover piece can be expanded to make your slip adapter coupling. The inlet side of the Walker cat is a bit long so you get to trim to fit nicely. To replace the rear section you could spring for a Thermal Research exhaust or just buy a new Walker rear section. It will last a reasonable length of time as it does not get as hot as the front pipe. Exhaust work is expensive...

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Old 10-15-2011, 10:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Quote:
Originally Posted by off-track View Post
Actually, that was what I was hoping for based on another post a while back:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=171887

I already PM'd Adam. Let's see if he responds?
Wow... thats unusually awesome.

EDIT: Thanks for reaching out! I'll fill out that form asap.

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Old 10-15-2011, 10:25 PM   #16
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
To separate the rear flange just cut between them after breaking off the nuts. You use a band clamp to connect the walker cat to the old front pipe. Cut carefully and that leftover piece can be expanded to make your slip adapter coupling. The inlet side of the Walker cat is a bit long so you get to trim to fit nicely. To replace the rear section you could spring for a Thermal Research exhaust or just buy a new Walker rear section. It will last a reasonable length of time as it does not get as hot as the front pipe. Exhaust work is expensive...
nice. This is along the lines of what I was thinking too.

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Old 10-16-2011, 09:20 AM   #17
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

The pipe pictured below is for a 99 DOHC. It sure looks like the one shipped to you.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1566.JPG (166.0 KB, 68 views)

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Old 10-16-2011, 09:40 AM   #18
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

If you search here long enough you will find where this conundrum has been solved before. One problem hat has not been mentioned very much is that the service life of the aftermarket head pipe is not real long and this tends to negate any real interest in a decent solution to the multiple lengths and manifold combination issue. The usual solution is an OBX header and proper installation thereof. It may even be cheaper.

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Old 10-16-2011, 10:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

I'm kind of wondering about the obvious differences in the diameter of the aftermarket downpipe in the pictures (aside from the flange position)?? Is that not an issue on it's own?

...
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: 99 SL1 - replacing exhaust - flange holes incorrect

Hi guys,

Sorry I took so long to get in on this. Call me at (215) 702-3600 ext 118 and let's get you squared away. I will also advise everyone in the future to go straight to the eastern website to get any part numbers or information. I do live updates on that catalog whereas third party catalogs may take up to 90 days. Let's get the ball rolling ASAP on this issue. I look forward to hearing from you.

Let me give you guys a brief lesson as to why these problems are happening. In 99 Saturn went to a different platform mid year for certain models. Now during that time, the big 3 were playing a little catch up. In around 97 or so the import companies decided they would build a single 50 state design for all vehicles instead of two versions due to cost.

They didn't need to use as much catalyst in a 49 state converter as they did a CA converter. So amongst the platform change and the fact that they redesigned the entire exhaust system, they wound up with roughly 8 or 9 different units as well as 4 or 5 different manifolds due to the built in converter and O/2 locations. To meet a higher tier of emissions, the whole goal is to have the upstream reading as close to the engine as possible. Secondly, they needed to use more precious metals which is why you see manifolds that are almost identical but the outlet flange is slightly different.

The differences were that some were conforming to what they called "Green State" emissions, and others to CA LEV emissions. There are different RPO's for each system. Now the aftermarket wants to capture the Saturn market but has no damn idea what they are doing. That's where I come in.

Last edited by Eastern; 10-17-2011 at 12:57 PM..

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