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So I finally just pulled the trigger on a catted downpipe this morning. I had collected some MAperformance gift cards for Christmas, and was able to purchase the balance super cheap. It's not a GESI, though...as apparently they discontinued producing GESI cats earlier this month. But that's okay. For what I ended up paying out of pocket myself (I also used a ton of AMEX points), I figured it was a minimal financial "risk" if it ended up not working well with my FP tune for whatever reason. We will see. <knocks on wood>

So essentially, what I want to ask those people who have put one in is: Should I outsource this to a garage/mechanic, or should I attempt this myself? If I do outsource this to a competent mechanic, what is the estimated install time for a fully functional garage, who should know what they are doing? My gut tells me 2 hours. Does anyone believe 3? On the flipside, if I choose to try this myself, do I definitely need a second set of hands? Do I definitely need a lift? Ive done a TON of things myself on my car (racing style IC, charge pipes, springs, amongst many other things), but I actually outsourced my catback install due to factors of needing two hands, and easier to do with a lift, rather than on stands. However, there is a local DIY garage that I've found, where I can gain access to a lift now.

So anyway, what say you? Remember, I'm not a major gearhead...and most of the stuff I've done, I did for the first time, as a learning process along the way. Should I sit this one out?? Just looking for opinions to help me with my decision.
 

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Save the money and do it yourself, you only need a jack jackstands and basic tools. The hardest part and not that its even hard, is taking the backside nut on the downpipe off, just tricky to get the right angle.

When installing the new downpipe, put some high temp rtv aroud the outside of the donut and stick it into the downpipe, the rtv will help keep it from moving around.

Should take you around 2 hours or so your first time doing it. Ive had mine on and off several times now and can do it in about an hour.
 
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I would also back up doing it yourself, especially if you have access to a lift nearby. I did mine on jack stands and the only issue I ran into was like above, the back nut off of the turbo is in a tricky spot. I am right there with you in the whole “learn as I go” side. Although having a second set of hands was very useful
 

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My mechanic did it in an hour, cost was 100.00.
 

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i know you can do it. from the looks of it...heavy, one piece design(+adapter) will be better/easier with a second set of hands to support/keep weight off the studs when bolting on. the heavy pipe is gonna wanna hang so the extra set of hands can keep pipe 'parallel' and lined up and centered. i had to use Advanced Auto 'borrow' policy for the O2 sensor tool.
 

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My old ass says take it to a muffler shop. They have the expertise, tools, gaskets, donuts etc to do the job right. They deal with rusted/stuck studs/nuts on flanges all the time. Find a local shop with good reviews on-line and let'em get dirty.
 

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My old ass says take it to a muffler shop. They have the expertise, tools, gaskets, donuts etc to do the job right. They deal with rusted/stuck studs/nuts on flanges all the time. Find a local shop with good reviews on-line and let'em get dirty.
I'll most definitely get a quote from the garage that I've outsourced my work too, but they are also a full service garage, and the quotes they give me are very dependent on their current level of business. If they are busy, they will charge me more for the time, and occupancy of a lift. They are very honest about telling me that when the quote is eyebrow raising. But sometimes they do give me dirt cheap quotes (like $60/hour). They only have two true mechanics and a bunch of shop helpers. But one of the mechanics is straight up awesome. Guy is super knowledgeable and I've actually sat in there and watched him work. He's also taken the time to take me under the car and explain things to me. But I feel ya' on all this. Ever since my daughter was born, time is at a major premium. It used to be that I could tell my wife, I'd be gone all day long, and I wouldn't even get a question about what time I'd be back. But with a kid, all that changes. So yeah, I don't want to be stuck at a garage, which is way across on the other side of Miami, for hours on end trying to figure out how to get a rusted or cross-threaded O2 sensor off. If I can find someone I trust to quote me $200 or under, I'll probably end up taking it.


you only need a jack jackstands and basic tools. The hardest part and not that its even hard, is taking the backside nut on the downpipe off, just tricky to get the right angle.
When installing the new downpipe, put some high temp rtv aroud the outside of the donut and stick it into the downpipe, the rtv will help keep it from moving around.
the back nut off of the turbo is in a tricky spot. I am right there with you in the whole “learn as I go” side. Although having a second set of hands was very useful
will be better/easier with a second set of hands to support/keep weight off the studs when bolting on. the heavy pipe is gonna wanna hang so the extra set of hands can keep pipe 'parallel' and lined up and centered. i had to use Advanced Auto 'borrow' policy for the O2 sensor tool.
So the flipside argument to what I wrote above is basically, I enjoy doing it all myself because I enjoy knowing which bolts get turned, and exactly how the car was pieced together. Plus, there is a good chance I'll have to put the stock cat back on at some point, and I'm not gonna wanna outsource it again.

I do have a large set of 'basic tools', but I DON'T have an O2 sensor socket. Trying to go to an Advance Auto to 'rent' a tool in Miami is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 9 times out of 10 they will tell you they don't have one, or its out. It seems to me the major issue with getting the O2 sensor off is that it might be rusted into place. Miami is a very humid area. That plus all the heat traveling through the exhaust, I'd imagine that guy is sealed on there pretty good. What I do have is PB Blaster and a wrench...do you think that would ultimately suffice? Is there any tool that you think is a MUST HAVE for this? I have a regular cordless craftsman ratchet, but its very bulky and requires ample clearance. I've been wanting to get the cordless Milwaukee stub ratchet, as it fits into much tighter areas. Do you think it would help me with that backnut?
M12™ FUEL™ 1/2" Ratchet | Milwaukee Tool

What is the preferred tool and angle for that backnut? I've seen videos, and it seems the only way is to get underneath the car, come up, and hit it with a deep socket, and flex head or swivel ratchet...yes or no? Also, do you guys unclip the O2 sensor first, and unscrew them with the pipe off??

@Limptriscuit With that whole RTV trick you talked about, is there absolutely any chance that stuff will melt or harden and brake off and get caught up in the cat? If I do decide to take this on myself, I may hit you up via DM to see your exact process and order of operations since you seem to have it down to a science. Wish you lived nearby! lol
 

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I just used hand ratchets on everything since they’re much smaller and easier to maneuver. We used a wrench to get the O2 sensors off with it being outside of the car. I’m in central Louisiana so I feel you on that bad humidity part, but mine came off without much of a fight.
 

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I'd try to remove the O2 sensors with a wrench before tracking down an O2 sensor socket. I ordered an O2 sensor socket when I did my downpipe and the socket just bent when trying to loosen the sensors. I ended up swapping them out with a normal open end wrench with no issues. I'm sure a more quality socket would probably hold up better, I just ordered a random one off Amazon since I figured this was likely the only time I would be using it.
 
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I don't have one yet, but when I do (maybe spring, who knows), I'd do it myself. You shouldn't have too much trouble, humidity and all. Where you have trouble is up here in the salt belt of the nation. If you got a car up here that is over 5 years old and you run it in the salt, you're cutting off exhaust not unbolting them. I think you'll be fine. As far as a wrench goes, you should be okay with that too. Sockets aren't required for the o2 sensor. If you can though, thread the box end of the wrench over the wire pigtail and use that on the nut vs. the open end if you can. Save your knuckles that way.
 
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x2 with above you dont need a O2 socket, just a wrench and swap them off the car.
 
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this is what i wrote in my Stang Journal:
Downpipe install : sockets mm = 11, 13, 15, 19 // wrench= 15mm // O2 sensor=22mm
(i don't have 22mm wrench which is why i had to Advanced Tool Borrow. i was very liberal with the PB blaster -- one of my 02 sensor was cross threaded)
1. disconnect upper O2 sensor plug
2. unscrew nuts connecting DP to turbo -- one nut from top, one from underneath
(maybe it was 3/8" ratchet bc 1/2" was too large--also PB blasted them)
3. disconnect DP from resonator = 2 bolts then disconnect tab and slide free
4. disconnect downstream O2 sensor from underneath near transmission - metal clip - i don't remember why i wrote metal clip. i remember that sensor was taped to other wires
5. slide DP out of hanger using special tool or (channel locks in a pinch)
6. unscrew bolts to remove bracket from side of transmission
7. disconnect bracket attached to DP and O2 sensors from DP after you have it aside
note: locate turbo donut
i let all the bolts soak in PB Blaster
i would also consider a J-extension for downstream sensor .. my CVF catted is popping the DTC code often
i recall wishing i loosely attached bracket to new DP before bc i wasn't using a lift and it was tight squeeze
i installed the turbo nuts evenly - going back and forth often so as to not misalign
i don't know any torque specs
edit: looking at what i believe is the DP you're getting, i don't think you're gonna need the donut -- should come with a fancy gasket
 

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Discussion Starter #14
this is what i wrote in my Stang Journal:
Downpipe install : sockets mm = 11, 13, 15, 19 // wrench= 15mm // O2 sensor=22mm
(i don't have 22mm wrench which is why i had to Advanced Tool Borrow. i was very liberal with the PB blaster -- one of my 02 sensor was cross threaded)
1. disconnect upper O2 sensor plug
2. unscrew nuts connecting DP to turbo -- one nut from top, one from underneath
(maybe it was 3/8" ratchet bc 1/2" was too large--also PB blasted them)
3. disconnect DP from resonator = 2 bolts then disconnect tab and slide free
4. disconnect downstream O2 sensor from underneath near transmission - metal clip - i don't remember why i wrote metal clip. i remember that sensor was taped to other wires
5. slide DP out of hanger using special tool or (channel locks in a pinch)
6. unscrew bolts to remove bracket from side of transmission
7. disconnect bracket attached to DP and O2 sensors from DP after you have it aside
note: locate turbo donut
i let all the bolts soak in PB Blaster
i would also consider a J-extension for downstream sensor .. my CVF catted is popping the DTC code often
i recall wishing i loosely attached bracket to new DP before bc i wasn't using a lift and it was tight squeeze
i installed the turbo nuts evenly - going back and forth often so as to not misalign
i don't know any torque specs
edit: looking at what i believe is the DP you're getting, i don't think you're gonna need the donut -- should come with a fancy gasket
Thank you for the great detail. What was your method for dealing with the crossthreaded O2 sensor? Just let it soak in as much PB as you can, and carefully wrench it out, taking your time?? Did you have a tough time getting it back in? I noted in a few youtube install vids, that they ended up buying a new downstream O2 sensor (I checked and they go for like $30-$40).

I definitely don't have that exhaust hanger tool, but I do have a good pair of channel lock pliers.

I reached out to MAP to see if they could give me a definitive answer on whether I'll need an O2 spacer. But it seems to me, from all the accounts that I've read on this forum, that NO aftermarket 'performance' cat is going to do as good a job scrubbing your noxious gases, as well as the stock downpipe. So yeah, the probability of popping a catalyst efficiency code is high. I know its just a spacer, but Im averse to buying something cheap off ebay that might not be made with the right materials. This is a pricier spacer, but at least its made by vibrant. Do you have any recommendations?
Vibrant Performance 11620 Vibrant Performance J-Style Oxygen Sensor Fittings | Summit Racing

Thanks for checking that out for me...about the gasket/donut. So I won't be reusing my stock donut gasket? Do you think the aftermarket gasket will be easier/harder to keep in place and aligned while I install and bolt everything down?

Thanks again!
 

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i have surmised you and i are very similar in that taking a moment to assess a best course of action will avoid future complications, even when only course of action appears to be brute gorilla force ;)
i soaked/re-soaked and really let PB penetrate-no hurry. the O2 tool was ok. it felt 'lil' loose and kinda small so getting leverage was difficult imo. a heavy duty, long 22mm wrench might be better idk. they required the most strength i have ever exerted to unscrew something. like several red-faced, holy shyt am i gonna break this thing or my knuckles when it finally gives. the second one was easier, i imagine, bc i had applied learning and it was able to PB soak longer. i didn't have much choice but to re-use cross-threaded downstream O2 sensor. used some anti-seize, prayed, and didn't torque too much bc i figured a J-extension was in my future.
the vibrant seems to be best choice..has to be a J bc of fitment/positioning. yeah, it's 'how much for that stupid thing?' but ive only seen one other possibility that was a few bucks cheaper..lemme check. edit: i think vibrant 11619 is correct one..its lil different from 11620..
pretty sure your pipe fits flush, no donut. the gasket fits over the studs and doesn't pose issue..especially one designed by MAP, i imagine.
almost forgot.. Congratulations on the new DP! and Happy New Years Eve!
 

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I have 2 purpose built O2 sensor sockets.

One looks like a very heavy duty deep well 7/8 socket with a slot machined along the length to accommodate the wire and the body of the sensor. This is not my preferred tool. Since a ratchet or breaker bar plugs into the top about 3" higher than where the heck is on the sensor it is easy to caulk and damage the body of the sensor. Plus it has a 12 point hex and on really tight sensors you can round off the sensor hex.

My prefer tool is a Snap-on piece. It looks like a crows foot. The socket portion is about 1" thick and looks like a tubing wrench. The flange the breaker bar or ratchet plugs into is about 7/16 thick and is at one end. You can put the socket on with the flange down against the pipe and there is no danger of caulking it and damaging the sensor body. Plus it is 6 point which minimizes the chances of rounding off the hex on the sensor.

I also use a torch to heat up the bung in the pipe on really stuck ones.

I would not recommend using the open end of a wrench until the sensor has been cracked loose. The box end is a good option if you don't mind depopulating the connector or cutting the wires to get it on.

Sent from my moto g(7) using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have 2 purpose built O2 sensor sockets.

One looks like a very heavy duty deep well 7/8 socket with a slot machined along the length to accommodate the wire and the body of the sensor. This is not my preferred tool. Since a ratchet or breaker bar plugs into the top about 3" higher than where the heck is on the sensor it is easy to caulk and damage the body of the sensor. Plus it has a 12 point hex and on really tight sensors you can round off the sensor hex.

My prefer tool is a Snap-on piece. It looks like a crows foot. The socket portion is about 1" thick and looks like a tubing wrench. The flange the breaker bar or ratchet plugs into is about 7/16 thick and is at one end. You can put the socket on with the flange down against the pipe and there is no danger of caulking it and damaging the sensor body. Plus it is 6 point which minimizes the chances of rounding off the hex on the sensor.

I also use a torch to heat up the bung in the pipe on really stuck ones.

I would not recommend using the open end of a wrench until the sensor has been cracked loose. The box end is a good option if you don't mind depopulating the connector or cutting the wires to get it on.

Sent from my moto g(7) using Tapatalk
Thank you Dave. I'm having a tough time visualizing your preferred piece. When you have an opportunity, could you link it? I did some searching on snapon's website and I found this. Is this what you're referring to?
Snap-on Store
 

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Mine looks like but the hex goes all the way through so you can position the flange up or down. this.


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Yeah man! thats the stuff .. your patience is rewarded .. totally stoked for you!
the V-band clamp is a variable that looks straightforward . the bonus bung is quality!

note: the 4 bolts for the transmission bracket had blue loctite
 
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