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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The center muffler, the one under the passenger doors, on my 2007 I4 has started to develop a leak, and the dealer wants $1000-2000 to fix it (they won't tell me the exact cost until I agree to pay a $100 diagnostic fee) depending on how many other parts need replacement. One of the reasons it is so expensive is that the assembly includes a cat converter.

There's a little muffler shop down the street that does mostly custom stainless systems. They say they can cut out the bad muffler and weld a new 409 stainless one in, using the old pipes and cat, for $250. 409 is the cheapest grade of SS but still a heck of a lot better than aluminized steel.

Is this a reasonable option? Any pitfalls I may be missing?

BTW I had the car in the dealership for a a recall yesterday, and asked the service person if they could see where the leak was, and come up with an estimate to fix it. He said the dealership charged a standard $98 charge for diagnosis so I told him not to bother, but when the car came out he told me they had given it their free 25 point safety check and there was nothing wrong with the exhaust so he hadn't bothered to work up the estimate. When I took it the the other shop they showed me how you could feel the leak from 2 feet away!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmmm I am starting to make sense of it. There apparently is only one replacement muffler that all the muffler shops use (and Auto Zone and everyone else can get), from Walker, made of 409 SS and it is not a universal but specifically made for the Rav4. It is designed to be used with by cutting off the old muffler but keeping the pipe and cat which are integral with the muffler, which saves a lot of money compared to the Toyota which requires replacing the cat along with them muffler. The Walker slides right on to the old pipe once it has been cut, no welding or fabrication required (I think the shop I went to was trying to make it sound like more work than it was so they could charge more) so installation does not require any special tools or skills

not bad. The walker muffler is around 100 + shipping. I think I paid around 250 OTD.
 

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Hmmm I am starting to make sense of it. There apparently is only one replacement muffler that all the muffler shops use (and Auto Zone and everyone else can get), from Walker, made of 409 SS and it is not a universal but specifically made for the Rav4. It is designed to be used with by cutting off the old muffler but keeping the pipe and cat which are integral with the muffler, which saves a lot of money compared to the Toyota which requires replacing the cat along with them muffler. The Walker slides right on to the old pipe once it has been cut, no welding or fabrication required (I think the shop I went to was trying to make it sound like more work than it was so they could charge more) so installation does not require any special tools or skills
removing the old muffler and installing a new one requires plenty of special tools and plenty of skill....at least if you want it done right.....and welding IS required if you want it done right........if it was no different than changing a headlight bulb then you would be doing it yourself and not taking it places....also what is your build date and miles.....i think the federal emissions warranty applies to the muffler since it is connected to the cat as one piece and i think that warranty is 8 years or 80k miles......not totally sure tho....
 

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IMHO 250 bucks is a very reasonable price for a new muffler properly installed and welded.
 

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The reason Toyota wants and arm & a leg is the entire exhaust system is in one piece. That's also the only way they will replace it........the whole gorilla. I don't think $250 is out of line providing it's done correctly.
 

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Are you too late for the Federally mandated 8 year/80,000 mile emission system warranty? Since the cat converter is an part of the muffler and it's not your fault Toyota made it one part.
 

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Seems to me that rav4system is correct about the 8 yr./80K miles federally-required warranty covering the exhaust system. Of course it's possible of course that either or both of the limits have been exceeded with a 2007 RAV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah that is what I was thinking when I started out, mainly because of all the nonsense the dealer and the muffler shop gave me, that this was some big deal job best left for the pros, since the choice was either buy a $875 OEM muffler or pay to have someone to fabricate one from scratch from a universal muffler, then weld it into my system. Turns out neither are so. The Walker SS muffler is direct fit for the car. with all the necessary mounts, and made to slip over the old cat pipe after it has been cut, where it can be fastened with a standard "U" clamp so that welding is not required and the old cat can be rused. So this is just another basic muffler job well within the abilities of most owner mechanics.

Oh, we've got 111,000 miles on it, and 8 years, so we miss the federal thing.

removing the old muffler and installing a new one requires plenty of special tools and plenty of skill....at least if you want it done right.....and welding IS required if you want it done right........if it was no different than changing a headlight bulb then you would be doing it yourself and not taking it places
 

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How much auto work have you done Kyle? If you're confident of your ability to work under the car, buy a tailpipe cutter and it will pay for itself on this one job. That assumes that the replacement muffler really will slip over the exhaust pipe and that U-bolt clamps really will secure it. That's the way all the old cars did it.
But today all the shops weld everything.


Me - I've done the tailpipe cutter thing, have one in my tool box, and still prefer to have a shop fit and weld a muffler.
 
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