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Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure...
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brodyjdavis
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:56 am    Post subject: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

I recently (around march of this year) had a shop in Seattle replace my entire exhaust system with what I was told was stainless steel, with a price to match. I have only exposed the van to standard highway driving, no salt or anything like that.
My question to the more seasoned; Is appearance of the exhaust in the photos normal for less than a year of break down on a new stainless steel exhaust system? or is this something I should get in touch with the shop about. They were a pretty upstanding shop and had great customer service. Just left scratching my head on this one...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:00 am    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

Depends on what grade of stainless they used. However it looks good, I would question the hardware (bolts) as some of those look a little advanced.
Stainless doesn't stay shiny forever.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

Looks like Stainless to me with mild steel flanges and hardware.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

newfisher wrote:
Looks like Stainless to me with mild steel flanges and hardware.


If you sail, you learn that stainless steel, isn't.

Above assessment is correct
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

Your want concours grade appearance stainless exhaust?

Polish it once a week.

Heat will do this to a Duesenberg, Cord, Benz exhaust system too if it isn't kept up.

Get the polishing wheel out and start polishing if you are entering a concours d'elegance car show with the Van--
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:38 am    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

not sure on the grade of stainless, but would it be a bad idea to take a few bits off and polish them up? would it just end up rusting back up? I grew up building chromed out hot rods and definitely lean towards chrome/polished stainless when I can.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

The stainless doesn't look rusted up--a little heat discolored perhaps.

A little 0000 steel wool dipped in Blue Magic, and a little manual labor would have the exhaust system brightened up in no time.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:58 am    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

409SS will rust due to it's iron content
304SS will not rust but will corrode depending on environment

as mentioned above, you have a SS exhaust (could be either grade although it does look 400 series to me) with mild steel flanges

SS 3 bolt flanges usually cost 2-3X that of mild steel, so a lot of people cut corners on the flanges, but mild steel is much more resistant to cracking if not designed properly


Last edited by icolquhoun on Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

The flanges are mild steel--no doubt--

Clean them up with scotch brite pads on your angle die grinder & season them in peanut oil--they'll stop rusting up.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

interesting, i wonder if i could find some SS flanges and hardware somewhere? Would it be worth it to hit the pipes with a sander and work my way up to ~2000grit and then buff it to a polished stainless shine?
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

What's wrong with 0000 steel wool and some Blue Magic?
Use 3-M heavy duty rubbing compound & a buffer if you think it needs more.

Where's the show at--?
McCormick Place???

You'll be doing this more that you could ever possibly imagine if just for grins you want it to be show quality.

You want to cut off the mild steel flanges, and have stainless flanges welded back on ?
You clean them steel ones up and season them in the peanut oil yet?

The stainless flanges are brittle and won't take much to crack them at the unions--especially with the exhaust heat.

This is a real bad move--
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

304 is a common stainless used for exhaust because it is comparatively cheap. However, it WILL eventually rust, especially with the heat cycles the exhaust system sees. The saltier and more moist the environment, the fast it will rust. 304 is only "fair" as far corrosion resistance.

321 is another grade of stainless that less common for use on production exhaust systems due to the higher cost, but it is more corrosion resistant compared to 304. It is also used due to its greater resistance to cracking. It is much more stable throughout the heat cycles which reduces the amount that it work hardens when heated and cooled repeatedly.

Corrosion resistance of 304 (or any other grade) stainless is also determined by the quality of the material. Cheap tubing coming out of China will corrode much quicker than more expensive, higher quality material coming out of American (and other) plants, even though they are both sold as "304 stainless steel".
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Last edited by Christopher Schimke on Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

Is that the Gowesty exhaust system?
As far as I know Gowesty and Vanistan/RMW both make a SS system.
Yours looks more like the Gowesty system.

This is from their description:
"Materials note: This GoWesty stainless steel exhaust system will not stay shiny and aesthetically perfect—but it will last, and we value longevity over aesthetics. For the complete story on stainless steel metallurgy, please click here."
More reading here: http://www.gowesty.com/library_article.php?id=1565
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
What's wrong with 0000 steel wool and some Blue Magic?
Use 3-M heavy duty rubbing compound & a buffer if you think it needs more.

Where's the show at--?
McCormick Place???

You'll be doing this more that you could ever possibly imagine if just for grins you want it to be show quality.

You want to cut off the mild steel flanges, and have stainless flanges welded back on ?
You clean them steel ones up and season them in the peanut oil yet?

The stainless flanges are brittle and won't take much to crack them at the unions--especially with the exhaust heat.

This is a real bad move--


Thanks for your answer, this is basically what I was looking for, I grew up building show cars with my dad and we always had mirror finish chromed out exhaust systems. This is my first time fixing up one all by myself and no plans on showing it, just want a seasonal vehicle I can be proud of. and i dont want to do something that is essentially a huge waste of time and unmaintainable.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

From what I have experienced building tube header systems on non vw platforms, the higher grade stainless that looks shiney and has no iron in it is very brittle after several heat cycles a d cracks. The cheaper stuff that lasts but has iron in it and looks like poo seems to remain softer and doesnt fail as quickly when ran hard. Pick your poison
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

<<i dont want to do something that is essentially a huge waste of time and unmaintainable>>

If you want to kill some time while it's still warm out today--prior to the big drop in temps for the next week or so--go for it.

It won't take long for it to return to the exact way it is now.

I would soak the flanges in peanut oil so it they won't get any worse than they are.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

I pretty much just want to reinforce what is said above. The mild steel flanges are superior to stainless steel as they will not crack. You should be using original steel exhaust hangers also, the stainless will hold up to that much vibration, mine broke. Having the full set up ceramic coated will increase longevity of the steel and retain heat and shine in/on the exhaust. For bolts, do not use stainless, they will stretch and you will end up with rattling bolts and exhaust leaks. Ask me how I know...
Copper plated hardened steel bolts would be best with a deformed thread lock nut.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

Interesting, I'm learning a lot here.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

To echo the others, cutting off your flanges and replacing them with stainless will not only be super pricey, but not even close to worth it. It's have some superficial rust on one hand, likely have cracking on the other hand, pick your poison

Last edited by icolquhoun on Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Stainless Exhaust? Not so sure... Reply with quote

304 and any stainless steel does have iron (the element, aka Fe) in it. It is usually the largest component. The Nickel and Chomium and other elements in various amounts are what determine the type of alloy.
-d
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