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Hi all. I have a '97 Escort sedan with an exhaust leak.

The flex coupler (braided steel section) after the cat, and before the resonator, near the front of the car, is rusted through where it connects to the actual hard-wall exhaust pipe, on the front side.

The exhaust leak is most noticeable at WOT, when the engine rocks and seperates the pipe further apart, plus the exhaust is at higher velocity, so you hear the hissing sound.

This happened about a year ago and I paid a muffler shop $50 to weld it back together. Now their weld has broken, and I have the same problem.

They told me it was either this band-aid fix, or replace the whole exhaust for $400+.

Can you get just this coupler somehow? I assume it's needed to accomodate engine movement and/or chassis flex. Or can you just replace it with a piece of straight pipe?

Is there a way to turn this problem into an excuse for a new catback (say 2 1/4")?

When something breaks, I like to replace it with something better ... like the two broken rear springs I replaced with ZX2 S/R suspension on all four corners.

Thanks for your thoughts,

-- ST97
 

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Yes, they are not expensive to replace and you can easily find a replacement for your vehicle.

I tore mine off one day when I somehow convinced myself that my LX was a 4x4 with two feet of ground clearance over rugged, rocky terrain.

I couldn't find a replacement at the time so I just bought some exhaust pipe and some clamps and slipped in a section of hard pipe. I did not expect this to be a long term fix, with the lack of expansion and flexiblity. Two and a half years later, it's still fine, with no consequences to the adjoining exhaust sections. This is a cheap fix that you can do yourself relatively easily.

If you have the money, my preferred recommendation is to fit in a new flex-pipe. I don't know if you're going to be able to weld it in place very readily; clamping it in won't be an option. This is where things could get expensive for you (ie a shop may be required).
 
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