Exhaust clamps vs welding, what choice should one make? Repairing a damaged exhaust manifold can be slightly confusing. Also, you can feel tempted to choose the cheapest technique. There are only two choices, including welding or clamping your exhaust.
But is it better to weld or clamp exhaust? To answer this question for you, we will first discuss each method individually. After that, we will determine the best choice based on each method’s pros and cons.
A muffler clamp is a tool for fastening and holding your exhaust.
“A clamp is the best to use when you want to repair your exhaust at home. Simply grab your exhaust clamp and fit it around the pip’’.
As it is quite a simple mechanism, you can tighten it or loosen it with ease. All the same, installation ease depends on the type of clamp you have. Here are the main types:
- Band clamps – A muffler band is not as temporary as other clamps. The truth is that band clamps are more permanent. Band clamps can feature aluminum, galvanized steel, and stainless steel construction materials. Thus, band clamps are very durable. They also come in several adjustable sizes to fit different exhausts. Installation can be harder without a clamping tool. If your exhaust system gets hot, fix it with stainless steel or galvanized steel band clamps.
- U-Bolt Clamp – A U-Bolt clamp is a u-shaped bolt that you need to fit around the exhaust pipe. The more you tighten it, the harder the bolt presses the pipe into a brace that prevents it from turning. Perhaps what you currently have is a U-bolt clamp. That is because it is common in most vehicles. Like the exhaust band clamp, it is available in several sizes.
- V-band clamp – The V-band clamp has the most complex design. It consists of two interlocking rings, and it is more expensive and harder to attach without welding it onto the end of the pipes. Only owners of expensive and classy vehicles should buy this exhaust pipe clamp. A powerful turbo system is necessary for this band to work.
Based on our clamps discussion, you can easily determine the best clamp to buy. However, we can suggest buying a band clamp because it is durable and more permanent. Alternatively, buy the U-bolt clamp as it is popular. The benefits of clamps, in general, include the following:
- They are idiot-proof DIY items
- Installation is quick and you might not need any help
- Clamps feature different shapes and sizes
- Are easy to fit with a muffler on your car
- Quite easy to disband later.
The disadvantages of clamps are:
- Clamps provide a non-permanent bond when compared to welding
- You still have to weld some clamps onto the pipes.
To discuss exhaust clamps vs welding, we will explore the welding option. We have all seen how the metal welding process works. A technician merges two metal objects using electric-powered equipment. Welding uses filler material to produce a sturdier and more permanent bond.
When compared to an exhaust clamp sleeve, welding creates a durable bond. Doing welding at home is hard if you do not have the necessary gear and expertise. As there are different kinds of welding techniques, you need sufficient knowledge and skill. Here they are:
- TIG Welding – It is the most prevalent welding technique. TIG refers to Tungsten Inert Gas welding. As the name suggests, TIG uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and an inert gas like argon or helium. TIG uses more electric current and filler material to create an arc. Although it produces the sturdiest bond, TIG is more difficult and expensive to do at home. To weld a muffler via the TIG method, you require special tools. The goal is to create an arc using non-consumable electrodes. The best metals for TIG welding are stainless steel, magnesium, titanium, and copper.
- MIG Welding — Gas Metal Arc or MIG welding differs from TIG welding because it uses a consumable electrode. The aim is to create an arc by merging two metals. MIG uses an inert gas like carbon dioxide to stop oxidation from interfering with the welding process. A MIG manifold weld process is easier to do than the TIG process. Because it is an automated process, MIG welding is easier to do.
- Stick Welding – Like the other two techniques, this one uses electricity to make an arc. The positive terminal holds the stick while the negative terminal attaches the power supply. The stick here is a consumable electrode covered with flux. Stick welding does not use an inert gas to prevent oxidation. It uses flux instead and the goal is to make an arc. The easiest method is stick welding, but you still need expertise.
- Flux-Cored – This type of welding is more similar to stick welding because it does not have to use an inert gas (unless you want to use it) to stop the oxidation process. The only difference between the two is that flux is on the inner side of the hollow consumable tubing. You can do self-shielded flux welding or gas-shielded welding depending on what you have. Like all the other three techniques, flux-Cored welding uses electricity to weld stainless exhaust or any other exhaust.
Now you know the main types of welding methods. The one you select depends on your expertise and wallet. The main advantage of using welding for manifold repair is:
- It creates a long-lasting bond
- Welding is versatile because of its many applications.
Similar to clamps, the welding technique has disadvantages. See these below:
- Requires unique equipment that you might not have
- You must protect yourself with safety clothes and accessories
- You must have welding knowledge and skills
- It can be more expensive because few people can weld at home
- You might have to remove the entire manifold.
Exhaust Clamps vs. welding: Which method is better?
We can only say that the best method depends on your needs. Do you need a temporary exhaust fix? If so, clamp your exhaust with one of the clamps we explained before. If you want a more permanent bond, choose to weld. But welding is more expensive and most people cannot afford it. Welding requires all the necessary tools, electricity, and sufficient expertise.
When adding an exhaust pipe to a high-end vehicle, welding is better. As earlier hinted, you need to use V-band clamps on high-end cars. These require welding. Even if you pay more to weld, you will create a more permanent bond. If your exhaust system has partial damage, choose the clamp styles.
You can install them without removing the whole manifold, which might not be the case with welding. When choosing your 3-inch exhaust clamp style, consider the most common U-bolt style because it will be more affordable.
“Although the U-bolt is easy to install, it often rusts. Once a U-bolt rusts, it gets harder to unfasten. If you want an item that will not rust, choose band clamps for an ordinary car. V-band clamps are exclusive for upscale vehicles.”
Welding is difficult and expensive for most vehicle owners. So, choose it if you can afford it.
In our exhaust clamps vs welding discussion, we have described each method. To decide on the best repair method to use when repairing your exhaust, refer to the pros and cons section.
Additionally, select a repair method based on if you want temporary or permanent results. Welding will give you more permanent joints, but it is harder to disband during a future repair. Clamps are easy to install, but the fix is temporary.