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Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by John Patterson
Using exhaust clamps vs. exhaust welding is a matter of debate.
You won’t regret it after implementing any one of those.
However, you have to do things properly. Otherwise, it will do more harm than good.
To make your life easy, I’ve prepared this guide, where I will teach you what an exhaust clamp is and the different types of clamps. I will also describe what welding is and the different kinds of welding.
Not to mention, I will also give my opinion on the exhaust clamps vs. welding debate.
Then, let’s get to the business. Shall we?
Exhaust Clamps VS Welding
First, let me talk about exhaust clamps.
What are Exhaust Clamps?
In the purest form, an exhaust clamp is a metal object used to hold and firmly fasten the exhaust, and muffler parts. You fit an exhaust clamp around the exhaust pipe.
You can go for multiple clamp types like – band clamp, U-bolt clamp, V-band clamp, etc.
A band clamp is considered the most helpful type of exhaust clamp. It can be either a flat metal strap or ring-shaped. The band clamp offers the most versatility among all other types in terms of usability and size.
You have both aluminum and stainless steel versions of band clamps available to choose from.
The U-bolt clamp is the most commonly used exhaust clamp among users. Many factory exhaust systems and aftermarket exhaust systems use this type of clamp.
You can adjust this clamp to various sizes of pipes. One of the drawbacks of this clamp is that you will be troubled when trying to apart the exhaust parts later.
V-band clamp is the most expensive type and is used mainly by high-end car owners for turbo exhaust systems. That’s why it is also called a ‘turbo clamp.’
This clamp consists of two interlocking rings you will weld to the pipe. Then the outer ring is put on those two rings to keep them together and make an excellent leak-free seal.
Now I’m going to give you an insight into welding and its types.
Let’s learn more about the Exhaust Clamps in the below video.
What is Welding?
In the purest form, welding is a procedure of joining two pieces of metal with each other to make them a single part.
While it’s pretty easy to define welding, at the same time, some sophisticated processes go on behind the scenes when you do welding.
You heat two metals to their melting points, and you add a filler metal in between the two metals. Adding this filler metal helps make a strong bond between the two pieces.
You will want to use a welding machine (apply the heat and add filler metal).
Let’s get to know some of the commonly used welding methods without making things too complicated.
TIG is the short form of Tungsten Inert Gas. This type of welding is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW).
So, TIG welding is an arc welding process. Here it uses a tungsten electrode as an electrode, which is non-consumable, meaning it gets hot but doesn’t melt when you do TIG welding.
Let me explain the TIG welding process in the purest form.
Here, it would help if you had a gas supply, a DC power supply, a tungsten electrode with an electrode holder, and the workpiece.
First, connect the workpiece with the positive end of the DC power supply, and then connect the negative power supply with the tungsten electrode holder handle. Connect the gas supply with the electrode holder handle too.
When you turn on the DC power supply, the tungsten electrode will get a negative charge, and the workpiece will get a positive charge.
So, once the electrode comes into contact with the workpiece, it will create an arc.
The inert gas supply then passes the gas at the tip of the electrode to seal the arc from the outside air. Eventually, it will help to make a strong welding joint.
You can use inert gas like Argon, Helium, etc.
This is the basic concept of TIG welding.
MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas. The other name for this kind of welding is Gas Metal Arc Welding.
The components and mechanisms of MIG welding are almost similar to TIG welding. Here are some differences –
- This time you will use a consumable metal electrode (aka Bare electrode), whereas, for TIG welding, you will use a non-consumable tungsten electrode.
- For MIG welding, you will connect the negative end with the workpiece to make it act as a cathode and connect the positive end of DC power with the welding torch.
- The bare electrode will go from a wire reel through a drive roll to the welding torch.
Except for those, the procedure and working mechanism of MIG welding are similar to TIG welding. Know more differences here.
The other name for this kind of welding is Shielded Metal Arc Welding.
Here a rod-shaped metal electrode covered with a flux material is used as an electrode. It’s a consumable electrode like MIG welding.
This time you don’t need an inert gas supply.
It would be best if you had a metal table to keep the workpieces on, a coated electrode with an electrode holder, one DC generator, and two electric cables.
You will use a gripper that will be attached to the metal table. You will connect this gripper to the power supply through an electric cable.
The electrode will also be connected to the power supply with an electric cable.
Consider the electrode is getting a negative charge, and the workpiece is getting a positive charge through the gripper. If you use the AC supply or a rectifier, you can always change the polarity based on your needs.
Once you turn on the power supply and touch the electrode with the workpiece, it will create an electric arc. The arc melts both metals in the electrode and the metal in the workpieces. The ore from the electrode is called the filler metal here.
The flux coating of the electrode will work as a gas shield protection in this case to make the joint stronger.
Flux-Cored Arc Welding
Here a tubular wire with an inner flux core is used as an electrode.
The components you require for this welding type are similar to the MIG.
A wire reel feeds the wire electrode in this case.
When the wire electrode comes into contact with the workpieces, it creates an arc and melts the wire electrode’s metal to form the joint.
Flux-cored arc welding can be of two types – one is self-shielded, where the flux of the electrode act as the protected shield.
The other one is gas-shielded, where the gas acts as the protective cloud-like other welding methods I discussed above.
For both shielded processes, the flux creates a slag that protects the weld once it starts cooling.
Let’s learn more about exhaust welding in the below video
Difference Between Exhaust Clamps and Welding
Some people like to weld the exhaust components, and some want to use clamps.
Both have their perks.
Welding seems to make the component joint stronger than a clamp, but clamps make them equally stronger.
I personally prefer using a clamp to welding.
It gives me the freedom to change the parts whenever I need it; like changing the muffler is super easy if I use an exhaust clamp rather than welding it.
I can install the clamp myself, whereas welding needs to be done by high professionals. Otherwise, it won’t be anything good for your car.
So, as using a clamp provides better results in spending less money, I vote for using an exhaust clamp rather than exhaust welding.
How do you clamp exhaust pipes together?
It is essential to make sure you clamp the exhaust pipe in your vehicle. The clamp’s job isn’t only to hold the pipe together; it also makes sure you and your passengers are safe when they are in the car by keeping harmful gases out.
Before starting the work, you will have to make sure you have your safety gear on. Next, you have to disassemble your exhaust clamp. Do this by loosening it first and then removing it. Then on top of the pipe connection, you should place the saddle.
This is when you would thread the hex nut on each unit without tightening it. Then make sure the connection is made by applying some pressure.
When you have matched a socket with the hex nut size, you need to attach and tighten it; the same process must be followed for all the units. In the end, ensure each has been installed correctly, and then pull the exhaust clamp to check if it is tight.
How to connect exhaust pipes without welding?
If you want to connect exhaust pipes without welding, then there are some things you will have to do to make it work. First, take pictures of the damage and take measurements so it is easier to find a match for adopters at the store. It is time to get to work when you have all the supplies ready.
But before starting, make sure you have your safety gear on. Lift the car so you can work with the exhaust pipes. Now cut with the saw as close to the damaged part as possible. Take the rubber bushes off and disconnect the oxygen sensors. You can easily take the exhaust out to do all the necessary work.
It would help if you used adapters to connect the exhaust pipes when all the work is done.
Exhaust Band Clamp vs. Bolt
To work with and attach exhausts, many different tools and accessories are needed. Some work better than others, but finding the ones that will work well with your car or the kind of exhaust you have installed is challenging. Now the question is exhaust band clamp vs. bolt, which is better?
Many will give you different opinions about this because each has performed differently, and not everyone has the same preferences.
In most forums, you will see that people rave about band clamps. They are widely used by everyone all around the world. People like this so much because it makes the thing easy to put together, but later on, you will have an easier time when you take the exhaust apart.
However, others prefer the bolt over the clamp band because they can seal things tightly. The bolt can be made as tight as possible, but this is not possible with the band clamp.
So, if you are opting out of welding, then your number one option should be the band clamps, but otherwise, the bolt is the way to go!
#1. Are exhaust clamps suitable?
Answer: Yes, without any doubt whatsoever. I prefer clamping the exhaust parts rather than welding because clamps provide the same stability and strength as welding. On top of that, it allows me to change the exhaust component effortlessly, which is not accessible if I weld the parts.
#2. What are exhaust clamps used for?
Answer: An exhaust clamp is used for holding and sealing the exhaust system. You will find different types of exhaust clamps of varying price ranges. All of them are good. But I like the band clamp most. It’s quite easy to put things together, and any DIY enthusiast can install an exhaust clamp to his car.
#3. How do exhaust clamps work?
Answer: Exhaust clamps hold the pipes together and restrict the escape of unhealthy fumes.
#4. What are the four types of welding?
Answer: The four most common types of weldings are – TIG welding, MIG welding, Stick welding, and Flux-cored Arc welding. I’ve discussed these types of welding above in this article. I think it would be enough for you to understand the mechanism involved with these welding types.
#5. What is the use of welding?
Answer: The primary use of welding is to join two pieces of metal together. As I’ve said, you have different ways to do the welding. They work differently using different kinds of electrodes. But at the end of the day, all join two pieces of metal together.
You are now quite sure about an exhaust clamp and what we mean by exhaust welding.
I’ve given my opinion on the exhaust clamps vs. welding debate too.
I’ve not told you yet that you always take proper safety measures whenever you deal with exhaust clamps or welding.
If you prefer welding to clamps, I suggest taking the service from a professional welder. Don’t go cheap.
On the other hand, if you prefer using exhaust clamps, wear gloves and other safety gear to avoid injury.