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Common clamps in automobile exhaust systems

Views: 717     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-06-22      Origin: Site


There are numerous style of exhaust clamps, and the type that your vehicle’s exhaust system uses depends on the car. The main types are ball and socket, U-bolt, flat band, and V-band clamps. Each have their place in the exhaust system and you may find 2 or more styles of clamp on your factory system.


This is the most common type of exhaust clamp, even though it is the worst one. So many aftermarket exhaust systems use these types of clamps, even factory systems have used them. They are not bad, they are certainly functional and useful for hangers and slip-fit pipe connections. They get the job done when properly installed. The problem arises when you need adjust or remove a section of the exhaust for service, such as drivetrain or rear suspension repairs. The small diameter of the clamp crimps the pipes together, so you can twist them, but usually you can’t actually separate the tubes. If you don’t get the clamp tight enough to crimp the tubes, they leak.


U-bolt clamps do work, but they are not really reusable, and they crush the pipe, so it is really had to take them apart for service. Not to mention the nuts tend to rust, locking them together forever.


This is not quite a clamp, but also not a flange. Just like it sounds, there is a rounded ball end that fit inside a flared socket end of pipe. The two halves are compressed together with a two or three-bolt ring on either side of the joint. This is a gasket-less connection that is quite common on factory exhaust systems, particularly used between the exhaust manifold and the catalytic convertor. The cat is a service piece, so they have to be easily removable. The ball and socket can be reused over and over again, so it works really well. These can be bought as weld-on sections for custom exhaust as well.


This is one type of ball and socket, it is a hybrid between a clamp and ball and socket, with a sealing ball clamp in the middle.


This is the most common type of ball and socket. sometimes the factory will use a compressible donut to seal the joint, but usually it is just metal on metal.


The two halves fit together like this and then are compressed together with the two nuts.


The band clamp is a wide strap of metal, typically stainless or mild steel, which wraps around the exhaust pipe joint. These come in two subtypes, a pre-formed ring or a flat strap that you wrap around the pipe and bolt together. The pre-formed type is now more commonly used in higher-end aftermarket exhaust systems using slip-fit, whereas the flat band strap clamp is sold a “sealing clamp”, designed for use in butt-joint seams. The biggest benefit of this style is ease of use, they are relatively cheap, and are reusable without damaging the pipes. You can easily remove the system for service and reinstall everything without cutting anything.


This is a band clamp. These are available in narrow and wide. Wide clamps are designed to seal two butt-jointed pipe together, whereas this narrow clamp works for slip-fit pipes. These are easily separated for service, which is why they are more popular than the u-bolt clamps.


If your last name is Warbucks or Rockefeller, then you can afford V-band clamps. All jokes aside, these things are really expensive, easily fetching $20-30 each (and much more), but if you have a high-end vehicle with a turbo, they are worth it. Typically these clamps are used on turbo exhaust systems, because they are easy to work with, seal better than anything else, and look good. Each clamp consists of two machined interlocking rings that get welded to the pipes, and a large outer ring that sandwiches the two rings together for a perfect leak-free seal. If you are building a custom exhaust system and you may need to remove it later, or want a high-end look, dropping a few hundred bucks on some stainless steel V-band clamps may be worth the price. Is it overkill for a daily-driver Accord or Saturn? Yes. Does it look cool anyway? Absolutely.


The V-band clamp is the best of them all. they are serviceable, self-sealing, and they look amazing. Note the two ring halves, they interlock to provide the best seal.


Once welded to the pipes, the V-band clamps lock in place, and you just wrap the clamp ring over and bolt it down.

Servicing your vehicle’s exhaust system is not the most glamorous task. If you have a worn out exhaust hanger or busted exhaust clamp, fix it as soon as possible, otherwise you could be shelling out big bucks replacing the entire system after you drive over it on the freeway.

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