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1999 Camry Flex Pipe Fix

So I posted a while back about a Flex pipe issue with my Camry. I took the car to a well-reviewed mechanic and they said they needed to replace it (includes catalytic) with a new one for $550.

I researched and found that, depending on the location and size of the leak, you can see about cutting out the busted flex pipe and welding in a new section. From calling around and looking online, it looks like this option should be under $200 easily.

Well, I took the car to another mechanic today (well-reviewed) to see if it could be a weld job and he is quoting me $300!! to do it. $200 for labor and $100 for parts ($50 for pipe, $20 for welding materials, etc.).

Is it just me, or is this an awful price? I told him from shopping around I thought it would be $150/$175 and he said he couldn’t touch it for that. Said it’s a lot of labor to remove it, weld it, and replace it.

$300 sounds very reasonable to me.

That pipe has been in there for 11 years. The flange nuts/bolts will likely cause grief to remove (where grief means time). The mechanic will then need to cut out the old section of pipe, measure and cut a new piece (after taking time to find a new piece), make a jig to hold everything together, weld everything, and then reinstall (with new gaskets which are not inexpensive).

If you were running that shop, could you afford to do the job correctly for much less than $300?

2 and a half hours of labor to do this? Just based off my research, that’s not what I thought it would be. Midas just quoted me over the phone $300-$350 for a weld job. This is an independent shop…I wouldn’t think it would be Midas prices.

Granted, I don’t know much about cars. The parts costs seem reasonable ($45 for a part that runs about $25/$30) but the labor estimate appears steep. I had called a few other places and they estimated the weld fix (without having seen the car) would be $150-$175.

If the job is fouled up big time then you may be out over $200 and then will have to shell out another $550 to get the job done right. I too think $300 is a fair price if the job is done right. I would opt for new if you are going to keep the vehicle and forget about the repair. I’m not a big fan of the flex pipe anyway.

Thanks for the responses. I talked to the mechanic a little more and he did say that the quotes I was seeing for sub $200 may be because they hadn’t seen the car and don’t realize that he needs to remove the entire section, cut and weld, and then replace it back in the car. He says there is not enough room to do the weld from underneath the car. He knocked it down to $284 and said he’ll take care of a broken parking light for no charge. It wasn’t much, but it was a nice gesture.

That explanation as well as some of the good feedback you guys gave made me decide to go ahead and get it fixed. Seemed like a very professional place and I’d be out $40 for the diagnostic if I drove it out of there without getting it repaired.

Thanks again for the tips.