Mild, Stainless and Coatings
I should probably start by pointing out that I purchased a stainless steel exhaust and then had it high-temp ceramic coated in flat black. I arrived at this combination after listening to various exhaust systems available for the stock MGB through YouTube videos. I knew exhaust paint is temporary, and that it eventually chips and scratches to reveal the metal underneath. I wanted a system that didn't exist anymore: Peco. a mild steel exhaust, but then ceramic coated. Ceramic coating can scratch off too, but it is much harder to do and the finish is much hardier than paint. Especially if the people applying it know what they're doing, and prepare the surface correctly.
|Bell system with center "bomb"|
I have read that stainless exhausts, while they have an initial higher register note mixed into the lower overall sound, that higher pitch goes away as soot lines the insides of the pipes. So, when I selected my powder-coater, I selected a company that coated the insides of all of the pipes as well as multiple coats on the outside so the exhaust would have that ripened sound from the moment of install. The inner coat also serves an additional purpose of providing a slickery smooth surface so soot will not build up over time. Last, this ceramic coating has some kind of thermal barrier as well so less heat will transfer through the pipe walls, sending it out the tailpipe instead. This should help keep the cabin cooler in the summer.
Old Manifold Off First
The existing (not original) system was welded in from the exhaust manifold through to where I had soup-canned on a muffler. Yes, I used a soup can (See MGB Muffled) to connect a recycled muffler to the rusty pipes to get through DEQ without attracting attention. It worked, but as one would assume, the integrity of a soup can is no match for the stresses of an exhaust system, and it split apart at some point shortly after that. With all the other action this Summer, I didn't really have time to do the full exhaust replacement, or I'd not have the convertible to play with while the weather was nice. Well, the weather turned to cold and rain early this year, so with an uncharacteristically empty autumn Saturday, I grabbed K2 and set to it. First things first: get the front end as high in the air as you can (safely) on jack stands and make sure it does not budge when you shake the car.
|old system sans catalytic converter|
Just as a point of reflection, he was using the Sears Craftsman wrenches that I got for Christmas when I was his age. 30 years later, they have hardly aged. RIP, Sears; it is truly ironic that you, a company rooted in catalog mail-order, met its demise due to Amazon, an internet-order company. You were the one rare store where product quality remained relatively high while prices stayed reasonable. Sears never felt cheap (like Target does), and you offered practically anything a shopper might need other than food. The store closest to me is closing, bringing our 30+ year relationship to an end. Sadness.
Anyway... with the nuts and bolts off, K2 carefully slid the intake and exhaust manifolds off of the head, taking care not to disturb the gasket. The gasket still looked new and the copper sealant between the gasket and the head looked like I had just put it on. Honestly, since I'd only driven the car a couple of miles since I did it, I'm not sure the gasket and sealant ever got all the way up to temperature. So, yeah, that gasket is basically new.
Tail End Removal Next
Meanwhile, I was working on the other end. I noticed the split in the soup can, and figured that the tail-end would just come apart with a good yank once the tail mount was removed. I gave the muffler a hardy tug and it came right off. With a clatter I tossed the muffler into the driveway exclaiming "the first of the exhaust is off". Once K2 had the manifolds clear of the head, we figured out that the pipe needed to be cut to get free. I grabbed the angle grinder (and gloves and a face-shield. Safety First!) and cut the pipe just aft of the collector (and in front of the catalytic converter). With the mid-section now free, it rested on the garage floor. It soon joined the muffler in the sprinkling drizzle on the driveway. K2 was now able to pull the manifold free up through the open bonnet and set it on the rust pile in the driveway.
|look at that non-transition|
Tossing the rusty bits to the driveway, we chose to take a break. I quickly cut the catalytic converter free from the other debris, and slid it under the 280ZX for later use.
This post got super long once I wrote about the install. So, I'm stopping here and will continue in the next post. Thanks for following along-