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Muffler restoration shop?
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harrymarlin
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:18 am    Post subject: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

I have an original muffler on my 67 Beetle which is not in bad shape (some dents, dings, and rust on the outside), but I am concerned about the internals. I have a replacement, but I would like to keep the original, if possible. Are there companies I can send this to which will evaluate and restore a VW muffler? If so, do you have any recommendations?

Basically, I'm looking to:
* Evaluate exterior integrity of muffler
* remove dents/straighten parts
* Evaluate interior of muffler
* maybe ceramic coat

Thanks!

-Harry
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jason
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

I don’t think there is anything inside a stock muffler, it’s in the tips. Could be wrong though, I’ve never cut one open.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

jason wrote:
I don’t think there is anything inside a stock muffler, it’s in the tips. Could be wrong though, I’ve never cut one open.

I have and that is correct!
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KTPhil Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

Early mufflers were simple, just a couple of pipes and a baffles:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5497136
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Later ones were more complex:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I don't think any of them are in any way repairable. Just look for a good NOS VW-sanctioned unit.
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harrymarlin
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

Those are cool pictures! At what year did they get more complex (and what year is that bottom set of pictures - more recent than 67)?

Thanks!

- Harry
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oprn
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

The early one is what I took apart, don't remember the year - possibly '66 or even '68. I had Beetles from both years.
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harrymarlin
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

How did you get it apart so cleanly? Aren't the two halves welded together?

- Harry
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

All good mufflers have baffles and pipes in them, the cheapo replacements often omit a few features to cut costs, that's why they are louder or fall apart in a few years, you can easily tell by picking each one up, the weight alone gives it away.

That has to be some sort of training aid that never got welded, the seam on those is a continuous rolling spot weld and impossible to separate cleanly.

But good OG mufflers are getting hard to find and some surgical repairs isn't as far fetched as some might think, some carefully cut access hatches or patches and skilled welding and grinding could make the job undetectable. But I wouldn't quote on something like that until it was open, there's too many possible issues that you can't see from the outside even though it may appear to be solid.

I can't think of a shop that would even take a job like that on unless things were slow and the budget wasn't really a big deal, start by asking some of the higher end vintage metal repair guys and see if they are up to it.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:09 am    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

I can't think of a dedicated muffler resto shop. Maybe check Hemmings Motor News for advertisers?

KTPhil, thanks for those excellent cut-apart photos. Based on the comments above, cutting the original muffler apart for an internal inspection might be beyond the shop's skill or the PO's budget. However, IMO the following might be a useful "task list".
1. Shake the original muffler vigorously to listen for larger components that have broken or rusted loose inside. If nothing is loose, the muffler can be considered for further work.
2. Sandblast the entire outer surfaces.
3. Hold the sandblast gun INTO each of the orifices to blast media inside the muffler. You'll reach mainly those parts in direct line of the gun, but the downstream media might reflect off of the housing inner surface to break off rust flakes.
4. Fully shake out/blow out the blast media from inside the muffler.
4a. Shake the muffler again vigorously to see if the blasting had loosened/separated any marginal components.
5. Plug all but one orifice holes (balled up aluminum foil?) and pour a rust converter such as Evapo-Rust into the muffler main chamber. Let sit 2 days. Drain out into a clean container, since that product states the fluid is reusable.
6. Repeat Step 5 by plugging the one open hole and pouring the fluid into another, such as the upper pipes from cylinders #2 and 4.
7. For dents, weld on "weld studs" and pull them out using a stud puller. For dents on corners, weld on the weld studs, but heat the muffler metal red hot so that the metal is more flexible.
8. File muffler attachment flanges flat, and sight along them to see they are parallel.
9. Clean up external surfaces.
10. Send out to have ceramic coating applied for longevity, in a dull grey color.
11. You might consider pouring a high-temp paint inside the muffler, such as POR15 1500 degree manifold paint. Slosh it around with the orifices plugged, and let excess drain out. That would give some protection to the freshly blased, exposed metal surfaces.
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harrymarlin
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:51 am    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

Sounds like a good plan of attack for muffler restoration. How hot might the interior of the muffler get? Would there be any worry about even the POR15 high temp peeling and clogging the muffler baffle holes?

Thanks!

- Harry
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[email protected]
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:52 am    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

Since this thread has accumulated a few replies, you may want to check into what rules your DOT has about restoring/modifying mufflers. In PA, it is illegal to do ANY modifications/repairs to the body of a muffler. Sure you can weld on pipes/tips, but no patching/welding can be done to the muffler itself. This fails the vehicle for the annual safety inspection of standard/classic registered vehicles. Some “get away” with this by having an antique registration that no longer requires the annual inspection. Technically, the antique vehicle “must be able to pass” the safety inspection at the time of applying for the antique registration, and it is the owners responsibility to keep it in this condition, but a cop can force the issue if something won’t pass. Sure, you can get “a metal guy” to repair a muffler as if nothing was ever done to it, but you’ll most likely have WAY more invested than a new one, NOS, or otherwise.
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nextgen
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:33 am    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

Funny, I see this complex detailed description of how to rebuilt an old original muffler and think, this has got be Roland ( aks Rome).

Roland is a modest guy you have no idea as to his VW background.

We met in a Junk Yard, 30 years ago, I was looking for dual port heads and manifolds for my 1600 Single Port and Rome was looking for Ghia bumpers.

BTW Roland do you remember VW Eastern Zone Headquarters in Orangeburg, NY. In 1992 I won Best Custom Car with my first T-4 engine in my bug.

Well two weeks ago I pulled into a car show late, all types of cars from Corvette to Rat Rods , did not clean the bug. Picked 3 cars I wanted to win for the People choice awards. Winners were called as I walk back to the my bug to leave and this woman yells come back the Judges are calling you.

I yell what’s up, the Judge on the mike says “you won Judges choice, best custom car in Clarkstown NY!! Got a Trophy, are you kidding. He said I guess in 25 years you forgot all you did to it!!

Last time I saw you was 2 year ago, blasting by me in the NYS Thruway going onto the G. S. Parkway , returning from Chris Vallone’s Bow Line Car Show.
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harrymarlin
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:48 am    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

[email protected] wrote:
In PA, it is illegal to do ANY modifications/repairs to the body of a muffler. Sure you can weld on pipes/tips, but no patching/welding can be done to the muffler itself.


Interesting - I wasn't aware. I can understand a modification, but what is the reasoning for not allowing a repair of a system (any system) back to factory specifications?

-Harry
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

Some states are crazy, in NY the check on a 25 year car is Beep the horn, turn on the lights, Check my wiper blades, they were bad but they did not have any so they let it go. NO Emission testing.

As for engine, to them a Upright converted 914 engine looks like a T-1, not a blinke.
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jeffrey8164 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

I’m glad I live in GA.
I don’t have to deal with any car nazis.
No emissions, no inspections, no seatbelts, no title required, I can register an old plate to it even.

But! I can’t even walk down my own street with a beer in my hand.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

harrymarlin wrote:
[email protected] wrote:
In PA, it is illegal to do ANY modifications/repairs to the body of a muffler. Sure you can weld on pipes/tips, but no patching/welding can be done to the muffler itself.


Interesting - I wasn't aware. I can understand a modification, but what is the reasoning for not allowing a repair of a system (any system) back to factory specifications?

-Harry


DC by no means gets the stuff spread on Winter roads that PA/OH does, but it has to do with carbon monoxide entering the cabin of the vehicle. Sure, there shouldn’t be any real way for exhaust gases to enter the cabin, but stuff here corrodes, and exhaust sections leak. I guess they figure if a “section” needs repaired, the rest of the muffler will also soon start leaking. Their “repair” of a factory system is replacing a component, instead of attempting to patch it. It also has to do with hilljack backwoods poor repairs that end up leaking more CO out of the muffler than from before it was attempted to be patched. Sure, our cars with the muffler being basically the last mechanical item under the vehicle wouldn’t cause too much of an issue if they leaked, but most modern cars have resonators/mufflers much farther forward under the vehicle than an Aircooled VW.

jeffrey8164 wrote:
I’m glad I live in GA.
I don’t have to deal with any car nazis.
No emissions, no inspections, no seatbelts, no title required, I can register an old plate to it even.

But! I can’t even walk down my own street with a beer in my hand.


To each their own. There are pluses, and minuses of each DOT, and geographical location.....
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

before the flow masters came along I would go for a run then take the mufflers off cut them open and remove the crap that busted with a 9000 rpm v8 pass.then weld up and resume as normal.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words, Joe! Yeah, that junkyard was wonderful- Keahon's in Haverstraw NY right along the Hudson River about 35 miles N of Manhattan. Cars piled 3 high, sometimes teetering precariously. Wasp nests in fenderwells, mud mixed with oil on the ground puddles/sludge; wonderful. Explore and remove parts at your own risk. During the '90's there were some amazing cars*, not just VWs which were my main target; though I remember a Marathon Blue '73 SportsBug from which I wanted to remove the front sport seats. Car was plopped down onto the roof of another car so that the pan's seat tracks were tweaked and I could not get the seat to budge.

*Kaiser Manhattan, BMW Isetta, Sunbeam Alpine, Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, Lancia Flaminia, and the one that takes the cake for me- a German Amphicar!

gkeeton makes an excellent point about muffler revival vs. state inspections. If the PO is lucky to have friends who can do some of my suggested steps, it's likely you could do the resto work (except for the ceramic coating) for a comparable price as an NOS German muffler. But I also enjoy the aspect of reviving a marginal German original part back into a serviceable condition vs buying a new part.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

All - thank you for your advice and thoughts. I contacted 4 companies around the country who looked like they might be willing to do this project on my 1967 1500cc engine muffler, and only one responded (Specialty Cars in PA) - and they were enthusiastic about it. So far, they have been great to work with, and sent many photos.

I am trying to keep my 67 as original as possible, and I believe this muffler is original to the car (the tips attached to it were rusted out, but had a VW stamp on them, and I haven't seen any aftermarket mufflers stamped like this one, other than were what people believed to be original on their car).

Here's what it looked like, originally - some surface rust and a big dent with a hole (uh oh!) into the muffler:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


They first did a boor scope of the muffler (perhaps to verify any damage and make sure the cut would be safe). I believe the first picture shows the dent from the inside.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


It looked pretty good, but it's hard to tell from the photos, so he cut it open right in front of the seam/weld. Other than being really black inside, it looked pretty good! Note, the close up of the dent (and you can see the hole), in the second picture.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


But, what's really there? He put it in a blasting cabinet, and we see the following:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


He did note that the pre-heat tube has an almost rusted through couple of holes (from the outside), which will need to be replaced/fixed. Anyone have a good quality pre-heat tube they would sell me?
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Interestingly, this really goes against my previous understanding/wisdom, which is that mufflers rust from the inside/out. This one appears to be more worn on the outside than the inside. Perhaps the inside gets hot enough to reduce any moisture that gets trapped in it? Thoughts?

I'll post more pics, post-repair, but please let me know your thoughts, as I haven't seen anyone post pictures of a taken apart muffler before (other than this thread - oprn?). Is it just not worth it to most?
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Last edited by harrymarlin on Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:56 am; edited 3 times in total
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harrymarlin
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:27 am    Post subject: Re: Muffler restoration shop? Reply with quote

Here are some better pictures (straight on) of the inside, after blasting. He's planning on painting the inside with an exhaust manifold paint (the inside about an inch away from the weld so the welding process doesn’t burn the coating and contaminate the weld). Then after it is welded back together he will pour in the manifold paint to coat the edges around where it was welded back together. This sounds similar to what Roland suggested before, but now it's open.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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