Exhaust clamps are some of the simplest and most useful components used to make a vehicle perform better. Band clamps are one of the most common types of clamps used with exhaust pipes.
That said, an essential skill any vehicle owner should have is to know how to install exhaust band clamps. The following article will be teaching you exactly how you can do that all by yourself.
An Overview of Exhaust Clamps
Exhaust clamps, to put it simply, are clamps made of metal that holds together and effectively seals a variety of components within a vehicle’s exhaust system.
They are of several types and shapes and sizes to fit different exhaust pipes. You can also control how tight an exhaust clamp is around pipes.
Some of the most common types of exhaust clamps are U-bolt clamps, ball and socket, V-band, and flat band (or simply ‘band’) clamps. Let us get to know the basics of each type of exhaust clamp.
A simple type of clamp, and hence, one we are going to be talking about today, a band clamp is basically a metal strap made of stainless steel or mild steel. It fits around the joint of an exhaust pipe to hold it together.
Band clamps can be further classified into two types, one is in ring form, and the other is a flat strap. The preformed band clamp is the more expensive of the two, due to its relative ease of use.
And band clamps are a very popular type of exhaust clamp because of their affordability, how easy they are to use, and for their reusable nature. You do not need to cut into anything in order to remove a band clamp and re-install it.
U-Bolt Exhaust Clamps
The most common type of exhaust clamp is the U bolt clamp. Even so, they are not the most functional of clamps.
And the dilemma with these is that they need to be tightened to the point of slightly denting the pipes in order to work properly.
This is a good thing until the pipes need to be separated, which becomes impossible to do with a U-bolt clamp around them.
These tend to be very expensive, but are perfect for higher-end vehicles that feature turbo exhaust mechanisms. V-band exhaust clamps are easy to handle, and they seal pipes together seamlessly.
And these need to be welded onto the pipes during installation but are also removable when needed. The versatility of V-band clamps usually makes them worth their high price.
Ball and Socket Exhaust Clamps
As the name suggests, these consist of a rounded end that fits into the flared socket end of a pipe. A ring with two or three bolts holds the two parts (the ball and the socket) together.
They are easily removable and used extensively in factory exhaust systems. Ball and socket exhaust clamps are also reusable.
How to Install an Exhaust Band Clamp
The first step is to lubricate the pipes you want to join together (at least the ends that will be joined together) and the band clamp itself.
In order to connect a pipe to your exhaust pipe, insert the pipe with the smaller diameter into the one with the larger diameter until the hollow slots of the larger pipe are covered by the smaller pipe.
Installing a Flat Exhaust Band Clamp
In case of a flat band clamp, cover the joint of the two pipes with the clamp by wrapping it over the joint. Next, insert the bolts into their places on the clamp.
Take a hex wrench and, while supporting the opposite side to where you are tightening a bolt, tighten the bolts of the flat band clamp in alternating turns.
Start by tightening the bolt that is on the side of the larger diameter pipe, then tighten the one on the side of the smaller diameter pipe, and so on and so forth.
Installing a Preformed Exhaust Band Clamp
To install a preformed band clamp on exhaust pipes is quite easy. The preparation for this is the same as for a flat band clamp. Start with a lubricated set of pipes and a band clamp.
Insert the smaller diameter pipe into the larger diameter pipe so that the former covers the hollow slots of the latter.
Next, making sure that your preformed exhaust band clamp fits onto the larger diameter pipe, simply slide it on and move it until it covers the joint between the two pipes, with its surface area distributed equally over two the pipes.
Use a hex wrench to tighten the band clamp’s bolts so that it is secure around your exhaust pipe.
Installing an exhaust band clamp is truly one of the simplest tasks that a vehicle owner can perform by himself or herself, as has been proven by the directions above.
You only need very basic skills in order to install an exhaust band clamp, especially so in the case of preformed band clamps.
That said, you should still maintain some safety measures such as wearing goggles and gloves while working. If you are unsure about completing any of the steps mentioned in this article, do not proceed without the advice and help of a professional.