Downpipe and Exhaust Manifold

Having replaced the front suspension and control arm-related hardware it was time to take the car to get inspected. I didn’t anticipate any issues, and I thought I’d take the opportunity of having the car in the shop to get the alignment done. On a whim I also asked them to change the transmission fluid. This is something that I could have done myself, but it’s sort of a pain in the ass and I didn’t want to have to worry about disposing of the old fluid, so I figured I’d pay someone else to do at least this one thing. My mileage was pretty low for the year, so I didn’t even have to get my emissions done. I dropped the car off expecting to get it back later that day.

When I did get the call I was told that everything was good… except that my exhaust had fallen apart. For those not familiar, when I had originally replaced the original rusty exhaust system the end of the downpipe attached to the catalytic converter broke in half. I fixed it by binding it back up with muffler tape and a stainless steel clamp. That stopgap measure was obviously no longer stopping that gap.

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Front Suspension

So I decided that in preparation for inspection I should replace the front shocks. I had already replaced the rear ones a year ago. That was quite easy, but I knew the front would be more challenging and include things like spring compression and other sort of scary procedures. I foresaw the following set of actions I’d have to do before getting a place where I could remove the old shocks:

  1. Up top, remove plastic cover that hides the 24mm nut that holds the shock absorber as well as the three nuts that hold the strut assembly to the body.
  2. Remove the tire
  3. Disconnect the brake line from the brake caliper and then remove the caliper from the steering knuckle
  4. Unbolt the steering end link from the steering knuckle and the sway bar end link from the sway bar. This will allow the lower control arm to move down far enough to get the strut out.
  5. Remove the four bolts that connect the strut to the ball joint and remove the strut from the car
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