Exhausting work

The rear exhaust silencer box hanging down under the car, behind the rear wheel.

With the transport of EV parts underway from Ireland I needed to get back on the car. I have been a bit busy recently and rather exhausted from lack of sleep. I have also been installing some low voltage Solar PV on my trailer, so not idle.

Anyway, I decided to remove the exhaust pipe today. It is not worth looking on YouTube to check processes and details as the videos tend to be the ‘Look at how I made my car more noisy and dirtier!’ then proper ‘how to…’.

It wasn’t too difficult, well, it shouldn’t be. The mid section joint behind the catalytic converter is a clamp with a 17mm AF bolt head and 15mm AF flange nuts. The bolt will need a socket to hold it as there is no clearance for a spanner. The next joint along the line is just ahead of the rear axle. this was just two pipe clamp ‘U’ bolts, 13mm AF nuts. That is the annoying oddball.

The whole pipe, as designed by VolksWagon, is a two part system with one joint behind the catalyst. The rear pipe is bent to go over the rear axle and would have been fitted before the axle in the factory. As a result replacement involves cutting the pipe and re-joining it at the point marked on the pipe.

So with that joint undone the middle section is free to wiggle around to release the first joint, and the catalytic converter can be removed.
Now this centre bit of pipe goes over a cross-member, where there is a support that it is clamped to. The clamp is a chunky jubilee hose clamp, the head of which is accessed by a screw driver through a hole in the base of the cross member. Hope that this is not too corroded to undo.

A view under the car showing two removed wheels lying on the cobbles and two bits of exhaust pipe, the catalyitic converter and the midsection of pipe.
Isn’t that bit valuable?

On to the rear silence box. I say ‘rear’ as some models have a mid silencer box as well. This is held on two rubber suspensions. The front one is is just ahead of the silencer and is bolted to the underside of the car with two 13mm AF flanged head bolts. When undoing these make sure the silence is supported. I say this as the rear support is on the nearside of the silencer box only and as the box swings free it also rotates and empties the sooty contents of the pipe into your ear, if you happen to be lying underneath!

The rear mount of the silencer box is a nut and bolt, 13mm AF, possibly with a very long rusty thread on the bolt. The silencer can then be wiggled out from the car….

The rear exhaust silencer box hanging down under the car, behind the rear wheel.
Come out! Dammit!

….or not!

A view under the car showing the 'S' shaped curve of exhaust pipe over the rear axle, leading to the silencer box.
Gonna have to cut it out.

The ‘S’ bend pipe over the axle doesn’t come out on my car. No amount of wiggling finds enough clearance to get it out. I could cut the pipe but the access is difficult for a hacksaw. I do have an air powered body saw but maybe if I have to get the pipe out of the way.

I suspect I will just leave it hanging there until I am ready to unbolt the rear axle in order to remove the fuel tank.

Now that there is access I was also able to remove the gearstick and shifting mechanism. The direction control will be electric so only a switch is needed for forward, neutral, and reverse.

This was a very easy task. The heatshields under the tunnel are held on by fasteners that have turned completely to brown flaky pastry. Flicking the flakes off allowed the aluminium heat shields to be removed. The shields have done a good job of keeping the tunnel, and the gearstick mechanism really clean and protected.

There are four fasteners. two nuts above, and two bolts from below.
To access the nuts, first unclip the gearstick boot from the centre console and pull it up over the gear knob. Then open and remove the ashtray. There you will see two 13mm AF flange nuts. Undo and remove those.
Then from underneath the car undo the two 13mm AF bolts. As these are being undone the gear stick mechanism will begin to come away so support it while the bolts are coming off. The whole thing, gearstick boot and all can be fed through the hole in the floor.

A view of the centre console inside the car showing a large hole where the gear stick mechanism used to be.
“Helloooo belooooow!”
The gear lever and mechanism lying underneath the car.
That came out easy.

This gasket, and the whole mechanism, will be a pattern for making up a blanking plate to cover the hole in the tunnel. I might try to reuse the foam gasket if it is sound.

A view of the gear lever mechanism showing two of the fixing bolts at the front and the shape of the gasket that sealed it to the hole in the floor.
I’ll need a patch to replicate that shape.

I will also need to use the plastic gearstick boot surround to make a switch panel for the forward/neutral/reverse switch, and any other switches and displays that night be needed there. As this is my wife’s car I will omit the ejector seat button….

The gearstick with the gator pulled down over the mechanism showing the shape of the interior plastic that fits inside the centre console.
Gonna need to re-make that too, for a switch.