This inexpensive do-it-yourself project helps to eliminate dents and dings that seem to befall motorhome exhaust pipes.
By Jerry Vinson, F352101
Whether caused by a backing mishap, by turning too wide, or from some mysterious force, it seems that dented exhaust pipes are fairly common among motorhomes. Replacing the dented piece may require a chat with a loan officer at the dealership. Repairing the heavy-gauge stainless-steel end piece yourself generally requires a special tool that costs around $80.
The quick fix we used to repair our mystery ding (Figure 1) cost nothing and worked very well. It restored a nice round end to the tailpipe of our 1996 Foretravel.
The process requires a squeeze clamp jig that can be made from a 10-inch-long piece of 2×4 lumber and a C-clamp. Begin by holding the 2×4 against an undamaged round part of the tailpipe and tracing an arc that includes about 1/3 of the diameter. Since the line is a trace of the outside edge of the pipe, cut along the inside edge of the line with a saber saw or band saw at the midpoint of the 2×4. You may want to sand the two pieces to get smooth mating surfaces.
Save the plug that is cut out and trim off the sharp corners. You will find that the saw blade is about the same thickness as the exhaust pipe. The gap that is left between the two parts of the repair jig allows the plug to fit snugly inside the tailpipe, while the notched piece matches the outside perfectly (Figure 2).
Place the two-piece jig over the dented section and hold the pieces in place with the C-clamp (Figure 3). A third hand is useful here, as the pieces slip around while you are trying to tighten the clamp.
As you tighten the clamp, the distorted portion is pressed back into its original shape without the use of heat, hammering, excessive force, or cursing. You will need to slide it around within the diameter of the tailpipe and tighten it in various locations to get a smooth cylinder that is free of wrinkles (Figure 4).