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Discussion Starter #1
I just replaced the entire exhaust system in my wife's 1997 RAV4 (4 door / AWD / 5MT) -- from the front cat back.

I used all Bosal parts and got everything from Amazon in 1-2 days. They were less than the auto parts stores, even after their online discounts.

One part that I didn't buy is the "converter damper". It seems to only be available from Toyota dealers and is expensive for what it is, at over $40.

The original damper was gone -- the mounting bracket had rusted off the cat pipe. I can't complain -- everything is the original 20+ year old factory parts, with the exception of the resonator pipe which broke at the forward flange early on, for reasons unknown.

Anyway, my question is -- how important is the damper? Should I replace it? The original one has been gone for who knows how long -- probably years -- and we haven't noticed anything unusual.

I'm sure the Toyota engineers didn't throw it on there for giggles, I just don't know its purpose. I'm guessing it's NVH reduction.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
"Damper" -- is that the "rubber" insulator/hanger? If so, aftermarket part by Walker is available:

More Information for WALKER 18935
Thank you for taking the time to look that up LugNut.

Unfortunately, what I'm referring to is some sort of small weight that is bolted to a steel tab that is welded to the cat pipe. The tab lays flat and sticks out about 2" from the passenger side of the pipe. It is shown in the illustration you linked to as #35017 -- but that is actually a rubber hanger.

Right location, wrong part.

I don't have the OE damper. I think the steel tab just rusted off. So I don't know exactly what it looks like, but I have seen them on other cars -- like my sister's 1991 Town Car.

#18935 is an optional muffler (SoundFX).
 

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I wouldn't worry about it. Put back together without it and see if you notice anything.
 

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I wouldn't worry about it. Put back together without it and see if you notice anything.
Thanks Leon, that's what I've done. So far so good.

I can't help wondering about it though. Automobile mfrs aren't in the habit of installing parts that aren't necessary.
 

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They do all sort of silly "comfort things" that are questionable in nature :)
 

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If it doesn't attach to anything except the pipe it could only be some kind of a vibration damper that has nothing to do with the emissions performance of the exhaust system. Probably takes out some resonance frequencies that are only detectable with a sensitive spectrum analyzer, the kind I used for Sonar research. Similar purpose to the various shaped protuberances and "organs" attached to many stock air intakes.

Yesterday I was working under my Accord and noticed a metal cased chunk of rubber about half the size of a brick bolted to the body just behind the engine. Two bolts held it on but nothing else connected to it. Could only conclude it was also a vibration damper. With the way Honda wants to save weight especially on a Hybrid I figured it must be important. Wondered if I'd notice any difference if I removed it but decided not to find out.
 
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