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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 2002 Desert Runner, non -SC VG33 auto.

Muffler is rotted out. One option is the Walker exhaust, I can cut off the old one ahead of the muffler and put a wrap-type clamp from the old to the new. Risk is that I may find that the rest of the system is just as rusted out.

Option 2 is an entire new system downstream of the exhaust manifolds. Risk here is the studs will probably break off, and no room to drill them out to put bolts in.

Option 3 is Doug Thorley headers and new system downstream. Again, risk of not being able to get the factory header bolts out, and certainly no room to work in there.

Do I have any other options? Am I missing something?
 

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The key phrase in your options is: "...I may find out the rest of the system is just as rusted out." It's hard for one to recommend anything without seeing what the rest of the exhaust system looks like. It also comes down to what you want to spend and if you are content with a stock system or want to upgrade the performance. Rockauto offers a complete, cat-back, exhaust system from Walker with gaskets, brackets and insulators for $233+shipping. If the converter(s) is/are in need of replacement, that will add expense. DT Headers are expensive and will likely require using a CEL eliminator to keep from triggering catalyst efficiency codes. One option is taking it to a shop that does custom exhaust work and get a price quote from them. Sometimes they can install a system cheaper than you can get the parts for.
 

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The key phrase in your options is: "...I may find out the rest of the system is just as rusted out." It's hard for one to recommend anything without seeing what the rest of the exhaust system looks like. It also comes down to what you want to spend and if you are content with a stock system or want to upgrade the performance. Rockauto offers a complete, cat-back, exhaust system from Walker with gaskets, brackets and insulators for $233+shipping. If the converter(s) is/are in need of replacement, that will add expense. DT Headers are expensive and will likely require using a CEL eliminator to keep from triggering catalyst efficiency codes. One option is taking it to a shop that does custom exhaust work and get a price quote from them. Sometimes they can install a system cheaper than you can get the parts for.
Irony is, and I suppose this depends on where you live, nearly every exhaust shop today will refuse to do anything aftermarket due to insurance reasons. Nobody out where I live was willing to do headers or an exhaust that wasn't OEM, so I did them myself. I guess if you live in a place like california though, you'll probably find plenty of places to do aftermarket stuff.

I do take that back, one place was willing, but they wanted to charge an arm and a leg and said they didn't normally work on wimpy 6 cylinder engines and that I was wasting my time and money by not going with a big block engine to begin with. They basically catered their business to hot rods and drag type cars though.
 

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California would actually be harder due to the strict emission laws and inspection process out there. I live in central VA where they only do a safety inspection of the vehicle and make sure your CEL and airbag light are not on. I worked in a shop that would fabricate just about any exhaust system one wanted with a pipe-bender and mig welder. On my '06 Pathy, I went with the Doug Thorley shortie headers and mid-pipes, cut out the main muffler and replaced it with a Magnaflow 12580 and fabricated new pipe sections for the front pipes to flow into the two inlet muffler. Hardest part of the job was getting the heat shield removed from the right side exhaust manifold!
I have a 2003 Frontier SVE (with the VG33ER engine) and a slight leak at the right manifold and the rest of the exhaust in fair condition. Eventually, as time and wallet permits, I'd like to go with the DT headers, new Y-pipe and maybe a Magnaflow muffler or the Nissan performance option muffler, if it's still available. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it!
 

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I have a 2003 sc crew cab long bed 4x4. Earlier this year I installed the Doug Thorley headers, walker b- pipes, new y pipe and a Gibson cat back system. End result was raspy and loud like a race truck. I added a vibrant ultra quiet resonator in place of the small pipe that connects the y pipe to the muffler and I love the result. Nice low tone and gets raspy and loud if I really get into it. I had cracked manifolds and quite a few exhaust leaks everywhere. Now no more farm tractor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How hard was it to access the header bolts, and did they come out easily or was it torch time?

Also, did the exhaust bolt up to the headers or did it require custom fabrication?

Thanks
 

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I have a 2003 sc crew cab long bed 4x4. Earlier this year I installed the Doug Thorley headers, walker b- pipes, new y pipe and a Gibson cat back system. End result was raspy and loud like a race truck. I added a vibrant ultra quiet resonator in place of the small pipe that connects the y pipe to the muffler and I love the result. Nice low tone and gets raspy and loud if I really get into it. I had cracked manifolds and quite a few exhaust leaks everywhere. Now no more farm tractor.
I did this same exact thing except instead of the Gibson I used a custom cat back system with a flowmaster 70 series big block 2.5 in

The header bolts aren't a problem if you pull off the tires and fender liners to access what you cant reach from the top

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

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How hard was it to access the header bolts, and did they come out easily or was it torch time?

Also, did the exhaust bolt up to the headers or did it require custom fabrication?

Thanks
Like kevinjohnson said, everything is accessible through the wheel wells. What you cannot get there can be accessed by working from the top (under the hood). If you get the walker b pipes, they bolt right up to the headers with no problems. These pipes eliminate your rear cats. The headers will eliminate your front cats. Be prepared to use cel eliminators or just deal with the cel (Check engine light). Under my truck everything looks factory except the resonator (which I had welded in at the exhaust shop).

Edit: I will say that I had to drop the front drive shaft to get to the drivers side exhaust bolts by the rear cat. Also had to support the tranny and temporarily remove the tranny cross member to get to the y pipe.
 

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Like kevinjohnson said, everything is accessible through the wheel wells. What you cannot get there can be accessed by working from the top (under the hood). If you get the walker b pipes, they bolt right up to the headers with no problems. These pipes eliminate your rear cats. The headers will eliminate your front cats. Be prepared to use cel eliminators or just deal with the cel (Check engine light). Under my truck everything looks factory except the resonator (which I had welded in at the exhaust shop).
I put my vibrant ultra quiet resonator about a foot before the muffler. It turned the rasp into a deep growl

I had to use angled CEL eliminators also

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 
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