Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Exhaust system - any way to hold this together?

2001 Saturn SL1 - 158,500 miles. I’m the original owner. I was under the car today, pounding on the starter to remedy a no crank/no start. I saw that the exhaust system doesn’t appear to be connected to the engine any more! I had been experiencing noisy exhaust, but I thought it was a pinhole leak or something like that. Of course, when I got it started today, forget noisy exhaust, she roared like a Harley. I’m not expecting any miracles here, but is there anything I can do as a very temporary / “hold this thing together for a month without killing anyone” fix? A clamp or epoxy, or something along those lines? Just looking to push off the mechanic’s visit for a little bit. Based on the age of car, and that every exhaust component is original and 16 years old, I’m guessing this is going to be a lot more than a minor job. The car’s just at the age that when replacing one component often dominoes into more than that. Here’s a photo of it. Front of the car is on the right, downstream is on the left. Thanks for any feedback.

Wondering if the only problem is that a clamp has fallen off? No way to tell for certain, but from the photo it appears both parts making the connection remain in pretty good shape.

looks like a detached weld to me…

1 Like

That joint would need to be cleaned of all corrosion, and a wire feed welder used to weld the joint.

Visit your local muffler shop and ask for an estimate for this type of repair.



To me, it looks like the left part will insert into the right part if you just lift it a bit. A hose clamp may last a few weeks…

just my opinion, I’m not an expert by any means…

With the engine movement epoxy or hose clamps won’t last 2 minutes.

That front exhaust pipe is available for $61 if you are capable of replacing it yourself. Replacement at an exhaust shop may cost over $200.

I enlarged the image, and it appears that the tapered fitting on the front of the flex pipe was a part of the head pipe. I could see the ragged, rotted end of the head pipe. It appears that there was a clamp attaching the head pipe to the flex pipe, and that clamp is what you see opened around the rotted end of the head pipe.

If you remove that clamp, you may be able to secure the two back together with a clamp like or similar to this

You’ll of course need to then select a clamp to rehang the joint.


Quite a puzzler for me. Yes the header pipe? And exhaust pipe seem in good condition with no evidence of clamping. What I see in the photo could not be successfully clamped.

Slide it back together & use a couple sheet metal screws through both parts .

You might try one of these to hold the exhaust together. It is usually called a band clamp and it’s intended for exhaust. They can be found at Pep Boys and other auto parts stores. They come in exhaust pipe sizes. You would need to measure around each piece and buy the part closest in size. Note, they don’t stretch much!

i bought my vue for the new exhaust. it was a parts car. that i am fixing?

Unless you get it welded together at a muffler place, I like Sloepoke’s recommendation, using a couple of metal screws and placing a metal band around it, like Mustangman suggested. That’s a DIY job.

I’m usually pretty loose on stuff but in this case, I would want a guaranteed leak free connection at that point. That’s the flex section and so subject to repeated stress. So the physical connection needs to be robust and leaks there could enter the cabin.

The local muffler shop around here could fix it pretty easily by just welding it back together. They also make and sell their own flex sections with header pipes to keep the cost of replacement down.

If you have ever been ill because of an exhaust leak ( I have ) you would be on your way to a Muffler shop.


Does the front exhaust pipe come with that joint (which has come apart in the photo above) already connected together then?

about $140

Hello folks - this is the original poster with an update. First, thanks for all of the replies. Who knew there could be so many thoughts and opinions on an exhaust system? Took the car to my mechanic (a local, family-owned/operated business that I trust). The verdict was not good. As I feared, there’s more involved. The cat is fried too (now that’s a bad mental image) as is most of the exhaust system downstream. Now I’m getting into a debate that has been hashed out on cartalk so many times before . . . the “keep or junk” debate. I’m having the mechanic give me a full rundown on the car so I can make an educated decision. This car is not my daily driver anymore, but I am sentimentally attached to her (another subject that has been hashed out elsewhere on this forum). She’s the first car I ever owned new, and I was determined that my currently six year-old son would learn to drive on her when he gets older. Well, we don’t know yet, that might still happen . . . .

A 2001 Saturn from a closed product line and you want to keep it another 10 years and put a new driver in it. Trying to be nice here, Are you nuts?
This thing will never be a collector vehicle so check Kelly Blue Book before you put any money in it.

There are a few cars I wish I had now but none I was really emotionally attached to. I don’t consider you nuts but… Probably time to let “her” go.

Post back when you have this. Without knowing the condition of the rest of the vehicle, our opinions will be created with biases and unfounded assumptions whether we realize it or not. While Saturn is history, GM still supports the brand, and parts will be available for the foreseeable future.

Whatever the verdict, don’t load your decision with emotions. It’s only a car, after all.

1 Like