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Exhaust System Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Exhaust System Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$500

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets (13mm, 18mm, E10, Torx) pipe cutter, flathead screwdriver, prybar

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)
BMW M5 Sedan (2006-10)

Parts Required:

Exhaust system, exhaust gaskets, exhaust fasteners, rubber exhaust insulators

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool exhaust

Performance Gain:

Replace worn exhaust system

Complementary Modification:

Use performance exhaust

The exhaust system wears out and becomes leaky with age. A leaky exhaust can be a severe health hazard to passengers if odorless CO or other exhaust gases find their way into the cabin. A leaky exhaust system is usually far noisier than an intact one. Finally, bear in mind that the catalytic converters and oxygen sensors, an integral part of any modern automobile exhaust system, are critical to the emissions control system of the vehicle. Generally speaking, a vehicle with a defective exhaust system fails most annual state safety and emissions tests because of the safety hazard, excess noise and emission control failure.

When replacing your exhaust system, remove the entire unit as one piece. Once the exhaust has been removed, repairs or modifications can be made. Keep in mind that a number of other repairs such as drive-shaft replacement, transmission removal and fuel tank removal require that the exhaust system be completely removed from the vehicle.

You can replace the rear muffler with the exhaust installed, but not the center mufflers. See our tech article on rear muffler replacing. When removing the exhaust system, have new fasteners, gaskets and rubber insulators on hand. These parts wear out just like the exhaust system. Having new ones on hand helps to complete the repair.

Damaged catalytic converters or failed oxygen sensors mostly cannot be diagnosed visually. Before you remove the exhaust system, use a BMW scan tool or equivalent to download fault codes and determine if there is any reason to suspect the failure of these major emissions control components. The oxygen sensors, particularly those downstream of the catalysts, may be easier to remove once the exhaust system is off the car.

When removing the exhaust system and particularly if you are going to store it while other repairs are taking place, be sure to protect the oxygen sensors and their electrical leads. Do not drag the exhaust system on the ground carelessly.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Raise and support the vehicle on jack stands. If you raise just the rear, you should have enough space to work at the front of the exhaust. If not, raise the front of the vehicle to work on the front, then raise the rear of the vehicle when removing the exhaust system. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. Be sure to always wear safety glasses whenever you work under your car.

Working at the front of the exhaust system, remove the four 12mm nuts that connect the exhaust system to the exhaust manifold (blue arrows).
Figure 1

Working at the front of the exhaust system, remove the four 12mm nuts that connect the exhaust system to the exhaust manifold (blue arrows). Be careful when loosening these nuts. I like to spray the studs with penetrating oil and clean the end of the stud with a wire brush before removing. Depending on your region, these can seize up. If they break, don't worry. You can remove the studs by hammering them out and replacing them with new studs.

The first exhaust support to remove is located at the transmission.
Figure 2

The first exhaust support to remove is located at the transmission. There are two ways to remove it. There is a clamp that is held in place by an E10 bolt (green arrow). You can unbolt it here. However, I find in my area it is usually rusted solid. The other option is to remove the entire support bracket with the exhaust, which means unbolting it from the transmission. To do this, remove two E10 bolts (red arrows).

Next, working at the center of the vehicle, remove the four 13mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 3

Next, working at the center of the vehicle, remove the four 13mm fasteners (red arrows). Then remove the reinforcement plate from the vehicle (blue arrow).

Support the exhaust system from below using a hydraulic floor jack or jack stand.
Figure 4

Support the exhaust system from below using a hydraulic floor jack or jack stand. I like to put the jack under the center muffler.

Working in front of the rear differential (at the subframe), detach the rubber insulator by levering it off using a pry bar (red arrow).
Figure 5

Working in front of the rear differential (at the subframe), detach the rubber insulator by levering it off using a pry bar (red arrow).

If your vehicle has a tailpipe flap, disconnect the vacuum hose (green arrow) to the tailpipe flap.
Figure 6

If your vehicle has a tailpipe flap, disconnect the vacuum hose (green arrow) to the tailpipe flap. The flap vacuum hose is located between the mufflers. Next, remove the three 13mm exhaust mount fasteners (red arrows). Your exhaust should be supported at this point. If it isn't your exhaust will drop down and likely be damaged. Lower the exhaust and remove it from the vehicle. You may have to wiggle the exhaust out of the exhaust manifold studs. If stuck, raise the exhaust slightly. Then pull the exhaust off toward the rear of the vehicle.

Once the exhaust has been removed, you can replace the front mufflers or repair the system as needed.
Figure 7

Once the exhaust has been removed, you can replace the front mufflers or repair the system as needed. Line up the new parts with the old ones, and mark where you will cut. Use a pipe cutter to cut the pipes. Then remove any sharp edges from the pipes. Install new parts using exhaust clamps. Then reinstall the exhaust system. Be sure to replace the front flange gaskets (blue arrows) and the flange studs (red arrows) if they are not in good shape.

Now fit the exhaust tips to the ends of the mufflers and secure them with the supplied clamps.
Figure 8

Now fit the exhaust tips to the ends of the mufflers and secure them with the supplied clamps. It helps to do a bit of measuring and aligning before you tighten the clamps down fully.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:39:39 AM