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my (not so) lovely exhaust system is exhausting - photos
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WHITEWESTY
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:28 pm    Post subject: my (not so) lovely exhaust system is exhausting - photos Reply with quote

Long time reader, first time rant:

I just bought a new exhaust system, well, everything but the cat and muffler. I was happy, but now I am grumpy. I was wondering if any of you have had similar problems. I started this on Friday morning and now, Sunday, I am still at where I started. I pulled off my old system and threw up the front pipe. The flanges matched the ports but the straight part of the pipe hit the factory vw exh mount. SO, I relieved the mount with a side grinder. I am planning a trip next weekend so no time to return this to supplier- probably send me the same pipe anyway, right?? So, I get it ground back so pipe misses but now the tubular support bracket on the exh pipe hits the LH valve cover bail. Hell, the flanges aren’t even flush to the port yet. So, now I decide to move the tubular bracket to the other side of the tab (see pic) which they should have done from the start. The brkt is the wrong angle by a mile (it was against the tab at a 45 degree angle!!!) and they just jammed a bolt on in, tightened two threads and painted it. I couldn’t believe it. SO, warm it with torch and twist to correct angle, flip to other side, tack weld bolt to prevent turning. Done.

The ports have an 1/8 inch ring of weld inside of the flange at the port. I mean, crappy welds and enough to cause restriction and carbon build up. Also, there was weld on the FACE of the flange so the gaskets sit on a gob of weld. Grind off that and rotary burr inside the pipe. What a pain. By now, I am WAY past the Return to supplier point. Sunday morning, I finally get the pipe on, mounted, and I have a horrifying thought. What if the rear pipe does the same thing to me?

Well, it has. With the flanges snug against the port, neither the mounting bracket fits, nor do the holes in the cast 2into1 pipe match up. WTF? Did vw make my engine different from everyone else’s??? I hope the pics paint my story. I didn’t take a lot of b4 pics because I wasn’t planning to write this all down but now I am exasperated. I wonder if Jp Group got a good deal in China for welding!? I coudnt even pound the bolts in with a hammer to get this thing to fit.

No b4 pics but look at how much weld had to be ground away. The face and the bore.
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cut the frickn bracket off so I can slot the holes an extra ˝ inch and relocate, slots not done in this pic….
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overlapping weld, no penetration:
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bracket after repair:
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Oh, yeah – they punched a nice square hole, presumably for a carriage bolt head to keep from spinning because the head is so close to the engine that you cant get a wrench in to hold it. But, no, they used a hex bolt and didn’t even have the care to tack weld it in place. Had to do that myself. Damn Jackabillies:
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NOW FOR THE REAR PIPE:

Golly, the holes are way off here, too

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Oh gosh, here too: I couldn’t even pound the bolts in with a hammer to get this thing to fit.

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Hmmmmmm, pipe is bent the same amount that the holes are off – is this the problem with the rear? Or is it the Camo Allstars?

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the genius’ that fabricated this mess:

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goffoz
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is the supplier?...Go ahead and name them...maybe they'll be good guys and make it right....there are good people everywhere.
I had a similiar problem with a EG33 header out of a Washginton supplier.
I blame the vendor..No quality control ...and too greedy for proffit, they screwed the local fab guys out of $$ and then blamed them for the lack of quality. Rolling Eyes
Hey! you ask a Fab shop too do crappy work for pennies and some of them will...they got bills too pay
I get work done in China, and they will make it to any standard the vendor requests....the garbage sold in the US. is requested by the US contractor...so don't go getting Nationalistic.
I have too get stuff made in China, because the skills are unavailable here....I worry about my kids future...I think I'll sewnd them to India for college...It might open their eyes Shocked
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WHITEWESTY
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK ok ok ok, since you asked, (but i have had EXCELLENT service from them - prompt, quick shipping, prices, yadda. I won't name them directly. Initials are Van Cafe. I wasn't going to mention the name because I haven't contacted them yet but they will know on monday. And they always include cookies in with their order.

Why can't i be nationalistic in a rant? I thought I was getting good old pipes from the fatherland, or close to it. Hell, the pipes say "Distributed in Denmark with original German Technology". Maybe za chermans haf forgotten how to run za welder??

Alright, FOR THE RECORD, I will pay more for good quality. And I apologize to all the Chinese welders. My quality-prejudice was showing. I typically stick with German manufactured parts for Sauerkraut vehicles and Japanese parts for Japanese cars. But my Westfalia only gets the best. Anyone else weird like like that 'cept me?

I agree with you that many times, we screw ourselves by employing the lowest bidder. Quality usually suffers. But, I paid +$400 for 4 pipes. Isn't that enough?
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motelvw
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes that is enough for four pipes. Let Van Cafe know what you've been through and send them back the crap that you received. They need to know when they're sending out junk. I order most of my parts from them, and haven't ever had a problem. Any conscientious vendor should welcome product quality information.
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WHITEWESTY
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

goffoz wrote:

Hey! you ask a Fab shop too do crappy work for pennies and some of them will...they got bills too pay
I get work done in China, and they will make it to any standard the vendor requests....the garbage sold in the US. is requested by the US contractor...so don't go getting Nationalistic.
I have too get stuff made in China, because the skills are unavailable here....I worry about my kids future...I think I'll sewnd them to India for college...It might open their eyes Shocked


what skills are available in china that are not available in a first world country? Ability to work for less is not a skill. If you are sending your kids to India for college or a job, you can thank folks that are sending work overseas. But this was about an exhaust system, i think. Sorry if I went off base a little.

On the bright side, after slotting the rear pipe hanger 1/4", i am really happy to say that the job is 100 percent finished and I am ready to install my Van Cafe cup holders and injector seals. Then to exercise the tires this weekend! I will definitely let VC know what is up. I'd wanna know.
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buildyourown
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I have no idea what a decent exhaust costs, but I'd be pissed if I got that quality for $400. What a pain.

As a courtesy, I would at least let Van Cafe know they are selling junk.
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goffoz
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHITEWESTY wrote:
what skills are available in china that are not available in a first world country? Ability to work for less is not a skill. If you are sending your kids to India for college or a job, you can thank folks that are sending work overseas. But this was about an exhaust system, i think. Sorry if I went off base a little.

As for "first world" counties ...I dunno...But China has, Laser cintering with precious metals,in an inert gas environment..as a commercial product...So does Sweden and Germany...the japanese also but they don't trade.

So are the pipes made in China?...or are you just a .......
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WHITEWESTY
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just guessing, based on experience. But I just expect more from a product that has a Germany on the sticker. Honstly, though, it does not say where it is made. I'm just baggin on the Chinese welders.
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goffoz
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHITEWESTY wrote:
I'm just guessing, based on experience. But I just expect more from a product that has a Germany on the sticker. Honstly, though, it does not say where it is made. I'm just baggin on the Chinese welders.

1/2 of the world! who have " high speed" internet ..just read your post!
Shocked
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ftp2leta
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The van is 20+ yo, parts are getting harder and harder to find, jobber part will probably be available but in a way cheaper format. We will all have to deal with that. People want cheap price but good parts! Sure! Cheap and good is not a fact of life.

I just look at a few distributors and some Dansk (good solid match/fit) pipe are no more available. Replace by Starla?

So if they are not replace by Starla or your make, what would you use????? VW one?
Well, there is expensive SS option but no one want to pay 1600$ for a full SS nicely made and perfect fit exhaust system.

My Subi muffler is a custom made SS polish one, very strongly made with perfect welding and Canadian SS. Cost price was 600$.

Everything holding that muffler is SS, including strap. But i'm sure 3/4 of you guys just jump in your seat!

Everything going to be ultra cheap in a near future unless you pay big money.

Bosal muffler was a decent one, lately, it's written "Made in Philippine" on it.... it's a piece od scrap, built and noise wise. The German made "Ernst" is of very good quality, but more expensive. What will i do when Ernst stop making them!!! I will have to have some custom made and the price will go drastically up.

The era of owning a Vanagon as a cheap van is fading away, it will become a luxury vehicle.

Ben
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always found thet the trick to installing an exhaust system is to leave it all lose until everything is in place and all the bolts are in. There is enough play in all the connections and parts that it will all come into place if you do it this way. If you bolt one part down, and then try to install other pieces, you will have similar problems to what you experienced. Every van seems to have slight oddities because of motor position or other parts that have shifted. The quality of those pieces doesn't seem any different than what I've worked with in recent years and what I got from GoWesty. I feel your pain though. I've been there too.
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vanagonforever
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I installed a complete exhaust kit from Van Cafe last summer and I haven't been particularly happy with it either. Don't get me wrong, I love Van Cafe - I just got another order from them today. They are my favorite Vanagon parts supplier but their complete exhaust is not so great. Mine was not nearly as bad as yours. I was able to get it together after some serious wrestling, squeezing, and a dash of swearing but it could have been made a little bit better. It still has some tiny tiny leaks but I've just accepted them because I don't want to get back under there and wrestle with it anymore.

The thing that really bothers me though is how rusty the entire system has gotten in the year since I've had it installed. I swear the exhaust looks 20 years old. Every single pipe has surface rust on it. If I didn't have a list of things to do a mile long then I'd pull it all, blast it, and repaint it. Maybe I was supposed to paint it before I installed it? Maybe my engine has had condensation problems above and beyond what is normal? Regardless, the system looks terrible today. If I replace it again I think I'll just pay a billion dollars and get all SS.

I have not contacted Van Cafe and I don't plan to. I have a ton of incredibly positive things to say about them but I think they could use a new exhaust supplier.

Best of luck with yours.
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Dant
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:48 am    Post subject: Exhaust Reply with quote

Exhaust was my first Vanagon project. I didn't read The Samba then. Just thought I would get new parts and bolt em in. HA! Vanagon exhaust...oh boy, not an easy job. I have since done J pipe, cat and exhaust a few times. It gets easier once you know what to expect.

WW, your experience sounds like it might be typical? This is no help I know, but exhaust does seem easier after doing a few and knowing what to expect. Your bracket problems don't seem right. Although I had a rear bracket that would not bolt up, I just didn't use it.

Anyone notice the ETKA drawing showing the muffler bracket open to the bottom? My first exhaust, I had everything bolted up and then checked ETKA. Crap, I had it on wrong! So I took it off and tried the way it showed, no f'ing way....
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motelvw
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm having the exact same fitting problems with the Van-Cafe exhaust I ordered last fall.

Did you ever contact them?

They're getting a call from me tomorrow to discuss replacement or refund.
I love Van-Cafe. Ordered $1500 of parts from them just for my rebuild. This exhaust is crap, though.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:42 pm    Post subject: Van-Cafe Exhaust System contribution Reply with quote


I purchased the Van-Cafe complete exhaust, and out of fear of misfit, I bolted the entire thing up to test fit, and mine fit perfectly with no modifications at all. Don't get me wrong, the real issues I had was removing the old one, and I am still not driving my Doka since late December due to this BS project. My exhaust was send to www.procoatperformancecoatings.com in Tampa to get ceramic coated Grey. Well, it has been over 5 weeks at procoat, and they still have it. I get my powder coating back in 1 week from them, but damn this exhaust is taking a lifetime. Well, I am just saying, mine fit like a charm. I can't wait to feel a power improvement from my hollowed out CAT!

Tony
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motelvw
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to hear that, Tony. Maybe VC just had a bad batch last year. I'll talk to them tomorrow and post the results.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I can't wait to feel a power improvement from my hollowed out CAT!

Keep waiting. Laughing The exhaust is just louder, there isn't a power increase.
I had a gutted cat and had to buy a real one for smog, there wasn't a power difference.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you get what you pay for.... So why does EMPI bother to paint theirs it just cooks off! Their welds look like my dog had a hand, i mean paw, in it. Wink Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: my (not so) lovely exhaust system is exhausting - photos Reply with quote

WHITEWESTY wrote:


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I just pulled my factory exhaust and reinstalled(head gasket job). Even the original exhaust going back on was a pain. Not like you are dealing with, but it certainly didn't line right up.

I found I couldn't make hammer or muscle do much, only levering big screwdrivers and crowbars made things bend.

Also, don't forget those two bolts that go into the bracket near the cat don't line up often because the cat has play in it too... both the bracket and the thingamagig it bolts to can be manipulated.

G'luck, hope you can get it together in time for your trip.

-Rob
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:31 pm    Post subject: my (not so) lovely exhaust system is exhausting Reply with quote

Whitewesty
I bought same identical system from Van Cafe last year. Maybe I got lucky but mine fit perfectly. No issues at all!
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