Protect your exhaust flange by keeping the throttle in check

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Updated Oct 17, 2014
exhaust emissions

An owner-operator recently called the shop, and he was upset because the exhaust pipe flange – which holds the pipe to the turbocharger – failed several months after we did some work on his system.

But we didn’t change the pipe coming from the turbocharger; it was his original flange that failed. The flange is a wear item, and they need to be replaced from time to time.

However, this owner-operator’s problem, and maybe even one of your own, is another lesson in something I preach regularly: Take it easy on the throttle, and your engine – and your wallet – will thank you.

I teach people to drive as if there’s an egg between their foot and the throttle. Flanges take abuse, and that is why there is flex-pipe in all exhaust systems: to help alleviate the torque of both the engine and your right foot.

Every time you accelerate, the engine torques to the right and tries to rip itself off the engine mounts; thus, the engine’s torque twists the exhaust pipe flange.

The flange has to hold up the exhaust pipe until it gets to the first exhaust hanger, which is sometimes located back alongside the transmission. They crack, and we change them all the time when installing new turbos.

But you can help keep yours intact. Just take it easy on the throttle, and you probably won’t have to call us a few months after we work on your system.

–Bruce Mallinson is the owner of Pittsburgh Power, an engine performance shop in Saxonburg, Pa.