Cost Of Replacing Exhaust Manifold – How To Find & Fix A Leak?

by Conner Mckay

Between the engine’s cylinder head and the catalytic converter is where the exhaust manifold is situated. As the exhaust gas exits the cylinder head, it gathers it. In case of sustained damage, what is the cost of replacing exhaust manifold?

The exhaust manifold gathers the hot exhaust gases that the engine pushes out of the cylinder head, increasing pressure.

Some exhaust manifolds are made to withstand the intense heat produced by the exhaust gases leaving each individual cylinder while they are still burning. This aids in burning any leftover gasoline in the exhaust before it is transported to the catalytic converter, the next emissions-controlling device.

Exhaust Manifold Leak

The exhaust system in your car serves the incredibly straightforward task of removing exhaust gases from the engine. However, a car needs a surprisingly large number of parts to carry out this seemingly straightforward duty. These parts include the exhaust manifold, the catalytic converter, a network of pipes, and the muffler. Also, check out our guide on what is a muffler on a car.

One of the most crucial and least understood components of an exhaust system, the exhaust manifold occupies a special position. The connection between the engine and the rest of the exhaust system is made by this vital part. The manifold is made up of several tubes, each of which connects to a cylinder in your engine.

Leaks in the exhaust manifold can be dangerous and expensive issues as well.

Therefore, the exhaust manifold’s job is to gather each cylinder’s exhaust and merge it into a single pipe.

The reason it is the first line of defense against hot and harmful gases is that it is directly fastened to the cylinder head. The exhaust manifold has completed its task when these gases leave to join the remainder of the exhaust system.

But the entire exhaust system is impacted if there are a crack or any exhaust manifold leaks. Gases leave the engine at an incredibly high temperature. However, as they get closer to the vehicle’s tailpipe, they start to cool down gradually.

Locating The Exhaust Manifold Leak

The same signs of an exhaust manifold leak may also be seen in other leaks in the exhaust system. Therefore, before making any repairs, it’s crucial to confirm that the leak is originating from the manifold.

By paying attention to the engine noise and conducting a visual inspection, you may frequently detect an exhaust manifold leak.

Start the engine cold to begin with, and while it is running, listen for the distinctive ticking or tapping sound from the exhaust leak. As soon as you have located the source of the noise, such as the manifold, search for signs of the exhaust leak, for instance, soot marks as well as missing studs. It’s also possible that components near the exhaust leak, like spark plug wires, will melt.

By paying attention to the engine noise and conducting a visual inspection, you may frequently detect an exhaust manifold leak.

In some circumstances, you might need to take the exhaust manifold out to be sure it has broken. You can visually check the manifold after removal to look for hairline cracks.

If you don’t find any cracks, you should use a precise straightedge and a flashlight to check the manifold for warpage.

Clean the manifold of any leftover gasket material to start. Next, spread the manifold using the straightedge. If the manifold has a twist or warp, you will be able to see light coming through from beneath the straight edge by shining your flashlight at the spot where the manifold and straightedge meet.

Exhaust Manifold Repair

Exhaust Manifold Repair

You must swap out the problematic part to cure an exhaust manifold leak. That might be the manifold itself, the manifold gasket, or damaged mounting studs, depending on the circumstances.

You must swap out the problematic part in order to cure an exhaust manifold leak.

If your exhaust manifold leaks, can you still drive?

As soon as possible, you (or your mechanic) should take care of any exhaust manifold leaks in your vehicle. Eventually, a leaky manifold may cause other issues, such as early catalytic converter failure.

Additionally, if carbon monoxide enters the passenger area as a result of an exhaust manifold leak, it may pose a health risk.

Therefore, you might have a leak if you smell exhaust coming from the engine area and hear a ticking sound. The gases that leak from a manifold will eventually harm nearby components.

Always begin with a visual investigation when you suspect a leak. Look for black soot near the connection between the manifold and the downpipe. You may observe one or more of the following signs if the car has a leaky manifold gasket or exhaust manifold:

Exhaust Manifold Leak Symptoms

Exhaust Manifold Leak Symptoms

Cost Of Replacing Exhaust Manifold, Leak Symptoms #1 – Ticking Or Tapping Noise

Almost always, a leaky exhaust manifold will make a ticking or tapping noise. When the engine and manifold are both cold before starting, the sound is frequently audible more loudly. Once the engine has warmed up and the leak has been sealed by the manifold expanding, the noise may become less or even disappear.

Cost Of Replacing Exhaust Manifold, Leak Symptoms #2 – Check Engine Light Is On

Your car’s oxygen sensors may interpret a lean operating condition—an engine air-fuel mixture with insufficient fuel—caused by an exhaust leak even though it doesn’t actually exist. The engine computer then gets information from the sensors of the deemed lean situation, causing the computer to activate the check engine light.

Extreme situations can also lead to the computer richening the engine’s air-fuel mixture, which can lead to performance issues like rough running and misfiring.

Your car’s oxygen sensors may interpret a lean operating condition—an engine air-fuel mixture with insufficient fuel—caused by an exhaust leak even though it doesn’t actually exist.

Cost Of Replacing Exhaust Manifold, Leak Symptoms #3 – Exhaust Odors

You might smell exhaust coming from the engine bay if your automobile has a leaky exhaust manifold. Hazardous carbon monoxide emissions could also infiltrate the passenger area as a result of the spill.

Cost Of Replacing Exhaust Manifold, Leak Symptoms #4 – Visible Damage

When the studs (or nuts) connecting the manifold to the cylinder head deteriorate and break, an exhaust leak results. Additionally, a misaligned exhaust manifold could push the studs too far and cause them to shatter.

Black soot and/or melted parts near the leak’s source are additional indicators that the exhaust manifold (or gasket) is leaking. The manifold may also have obvious cracks that you can see.

Crack In Manifold

Crack In Manifold

Two things can cause an exhaust manifold crack.

The manifold experiences heat cycles is the first.

These cycles wear down the manifold over an extended period of time, and eventually, it can no longer withstand the heat.

There are places on the exhaust manifold where the material begins to deteriorate and crack.

Depending on the size and severity of the crack, spot welding may be an option.

While some may be doable on your own, others require professional assistance. However, welding cracks is simply a short-term solution.

The other scenario is that the “hangers” or brackets holding the exhaust system’s weight fail. The exhaust manifold supports the weight of the exhaust systems when these brackets fail to do so.

Along with leaks, manifold cracks can let outside air in, which might result in the engine stalling or dying. You can also seriously harm the engine if you don’t fix the crack immediately.

Exhaust Manifold Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing exhaust manifold is 1,080 to $1,180.

While parts are priced between $850 and $890, the labor cost of replacing exhaust manifold is predicted to be between $230 and $290.

Taxes and other costs of replacing exhaust manifold are not included in this range, nor are your particular vehicle or geographic area taken into account. There might be more repairs required.

Fixing The Exhaust Manifold

The purpose of an automobile’s exhaust manifold is to direct combusted gases—exhaust—away from the engine. The metal manifold expands as a result of the intense heat produced by the combusted gases. The metal then cools and contracts when the engine is off. A manifold may crack and start to leak exhaust as a result of this continuous expansion and contraction over time.

Exhaust can leak into the cab of your car instead of exiting through the exhaust system and away from the back of the manifold on your car is faulty or has fractured. While hot exhaust in the cab is particularly dangerous for passengers, it can harm plastic components underneath the hood.

Cost Of Replacing Exhaust Manifold: Best Way To Fix A Cast Iron Manifold

You can make cast iron manifold repairs using either brazing or welding. Here is some professional advice for manifold repair that will help you get the best outcomes possible.

1. Welding For Cast Iron Manifold Repair

Start with the Muggy Weld Cast Iron Exhaust Manifold Repair Kit to fix your exhaust manifold. It has electrode rods that are ideal for this kind of repair, numbers 72 and 77.

Start with the 72 rods. These help to join cast iron that has sustained damage by heat and contamination, making them ideal for burnt and faulty exhaust manifolds. The 72 rod’s high porosity makes it the perfect material for bonding to unclean cast iron when welding it.

Chip off the slag after closing the crack with the 72 rod.

Use the crack-resistant, incredibly strong, and porosity-free 77 rod to reinforce the weld. Impurities change into slag by the special covering. The 77 rods may stretch up to 300% more than nickel rods because they are softer, which prevents the base metal and weld from splitting.

Allow the weld to naturally cool and make an effort to keep it out of the wind so that it can cool gradually.

You may repair exhaust manifolds for a range of vehicles, including automobiles, RVs, trucks, buses, and more, using a relatively tiny welder for this type of manifold repair.


Always limit your welding to 2 inches at a time, and wait 2 minutes between passes. You might simply want to weld an inch or less and give each pass a minute to cool for some cast irons.

For a cast iron weld to be strong, the process must be slow and low.

2. Brazing For Cast Iron Manifold Repair

Cast iron can also be brazed to fix manifolds. For individuals who don’t have access to a welding machine, this is a great alternative. Fluxless silver solder coils can be effectively replaced by SSF-6 High Strength 56% Silver Solder.

The flux-coated rod can be utilized with a variety of metals at pressures greater than 70,000 psi and has a high thin flow.

Exhaust Manifold Gasket Replacement

Due to the greater heat damage to the exhaust system, an exhaust manifold gasket is more likely to need replacing than an intake-manifold gasket, but the technique is essentially the same for both.

As seen in this illustration, the inlet manifold may be on one side of the engine and the exhaust on the other

Excessive exhaust noise and white burn streaks around the manifold flange are signs of a “blown” exhaust gasket.

The intake and exhaust manifolds may connect to the cylinder head on different sides, together, or distantly from one another.

If the engine has a V shape, each cylinder bank will have an exhaust manifold on the outside, but there will likely just be one intake manifold in the center of the V.

You must remove all nuts and bolts, including the fixing for the exhaust-pipe clamp.

The remnants of the old gasket may cause the manifold to stick when you remove the nuts or bolts. Tap the manifold with a leather hammer to free it. Use two nuts and a wrench, a stud remover, or self-locking grips to remove any faulty manifold studs.

1. Removing Dirt Remnants

Carefully remove any dirt and remnants of the old gasket from all gasket-mounting surfaces while the manifold is off. Keep debris from entering the cylinder head or the manifold.

Make sure the manifold doesn’t have fractures or is otherwise faulty, and use a straight edge, such as a steel ruler, to examine the face to make sure there are no deformities. If so, swap it out.

Install a new gasket, making sure it is on the right side and that all of the holes line up. Make sure all parts align properly because certain engines may have inserts or gaskets that are in two or three pieces.

Because the bigger water passageways are more prone to leaking, there are some intake manifolds, especially on some engines, that need gasket sealant on all sides of the gasket.

Reassembly occurs after removal, not before. Using a torque wrench set to the setting advised in the automobile service manual, tighten the nuts on the manifold. Typically, you will first tighten the manifold’s center, then finish with the ends.

Run the engine to operating temperature after reassembly, then turn it off and check the torque settings.

2. Intake-Manifold Gasket Removal

Take away the air filter. Note carefully all of the connections to the carburetor.

The center of a V-engine housing the inlet manifold.

You should disconnect the carburetor’s throttle and choke cables. Next, remove the fuel pipe.

Keep the fuel pipe’s detached end higher than the fuel level in the fuel tank if at all possible.

Drain the water and disconnect the hoses if the manifold has water heating.

Plug the pipe end with a pencil stub or a small bung if it is lower than the fuel level.

Disconnect the water pipes or cables at the automatic choke if the carburetor has one.

Before you can remove the manifold, you might need to entirely remove the carburetor. If so, keep it upright in a tidy location.

Be careful not to damage the carburetor mounting block, which serves as a gasket and may comprise rubber or a composite substance.

In cases where you are dealing with a water-heated intake manifold, drain the cooling system of the vehicle till the level of the coolant is much lower than the inlet manifold.

The Socket Wrench

To remove the nuts or bolts on the manifold, use a socket wrench.

The hoses or pipes should be disconnected from the intake manifold. If installed, disconnect the brake servo pipe.

Replace the gasket after removing the manifold.

Check with your local dealer or a service manual to determine if gasket sealant should be on both sides of the gasket and if the manifold has water heating, especially if it is on a V-engine.

If you have not taken out the carburetor, raise the manifold off the engine.

Clean the manifold face after removing the old gasket.

The process of reassembly is the opposite of removal. After everything has been put back together, top up the cooling system, warm up the engine, and check for leaks.

3. Exhaust-Manifold Gasket Removal

Apply penetrating oil and let it sit for at least an hour, ideally overnight, before removing the manifold screws or bolts.

Verify that the exhaust pipe’s front end may move freely enough for you to take out the manifold.

If not, unplug any connections to the engine or gearbox housing’s exhaust brackets. Eliminate any additional elements that may be blocking the path.

After detaching the downpipe, remove the manifold screws or bolts.

Clamping the exhaust pipe to the manifold, release it. Replace the gasket on the clamp if it has one during assembly.

You must unscrew manifold nuts and bolts. Remove the heat shield. Replace the gasket after removing the manifold.

Exhaust Manifold With Catalytic Converter

Manifold With Catalytic Converter

If you’re shopping for a replacement exhaust manifold, you might find that the options are only available with an integrated catalytic converter for your particular vehicle.

Similarly to this, a search for a replacement catalytic converter might only produce products that are combination converter/manifold (as it does on a 2012 Infiniti QX56 catalytic converter replacement or a Jeep Commander catalytic converter and a 2012 Nissan Sentra catalytic converter replacement).

As it sounds, this kind of manifold has a catalytic converter directly linked to it. Instead of being underneath the car as is typical, it is right there in the engine bay.

Only because your year, make, and model feature this particular setup on the assembly line do you get these options. Speaking of options, make sure you also do some research on where you can get a catalytic converter repair near me.

What Is A Catalytic Converter

The adoption of catalytic converters, which was phased in during the 1970s, was one of the first significant improvements brought about by United States emissions rules.

Due to the fact that they include valuable metals that chemically transform dangerous gases into safe ones like carbon dioxide and water vapor, catalytic converters are a crucial component of clean exhaust emissions.

There will be a separate catalytic converter for each exhaust pipe.

Because of this, vehicles with single exhaust systems normally have just one catalytic converter, but those with dual exhaust systems typically have two.

Catalytic Converter Placement

Only at fairly high temperatures can catalytic converters effectively transform hazardous gases into inert ones. It takes a catalytic converter about 500 degrees Fahrenheit to even start reducing the pollution in your exhaust after a cold start, and it takes another 800 degrees F to reach full efficiency.

Due to their proximity to the engine, exhaust manifolds with built-in catalytic converters heat up much more quickly.

Catalytic converters are often underneath cars about a third of the way back from the engine.

As you can expect, the amount of pollution an engine will emit in the brief window immediately following a cold start depends directly on how rapidly catalytic converters reach these temperatures.

Automakers discovered that catalytic converters heat up more quickly and start functioning earlier. This is when they are located close to a vehicle’s engine. Light-off temperature is the temperature at which catalytic reactions begin inside a catalytic converter.

Catalytic converter placement was an issue for automakers in the early days of pollution control. This is before fuel injection and precise computer control for air/fuel mixes were standard.

The Vapor Lock

Several minutes after a hot engine was turned off, a condition known as vapor lock would develop when heat from the catalytic converter radiating onto adjoining fuel lines forced fuel within them to boil and aerate.

The hard-start or no-start conditions caused by this bubbling fuel continued for 15 to 60 minutes before it cooled down and returned to liquid form.

As a compromise, the majority of catalytic converters were beneath the car around halfway back from the engine.

Catalytic converters are not just an add-on part of this configuration. Rather, they are integrated into a section of the exhaust system, with various lengths of exhaust pipe extending from both sides.

This under-vehicle configuration was successful and would remain in use even after improvements in gasoline distribution.

The main issue was that there was less space for catalytic converters under the hood. This is as the total size of automobiles decreased and transverse-mounted engines became common.

Both of the aforementioned problems were resolved in the 1990s when automakers created catalytic converters that were built into exhaust manifold assemblies.

This type of catalytic converter quickly became a favorite of automakers all over the world due to its quick light-up time and smooth engine performance.

Soon, much larger inline-6, V6, and V8 engines also had integrated exhaust manifolds installed.

These integrated exhaust manifolds are now a standard feature on nearly every new automobile and truck produced in the United States because of our even tighter environmental regulations.

FAQs On Cost Of Replacing Exhaust Manifold

What Is A Manifold On A Car

The first component of your car’s exhaust system is the exhaust manifold. It collects emissions from your vehicle’s engine and is attached to it. The various cylinders in the engine of your car send their air/fuel combination to the exhaust manifold.

How Hot Do Exhaust Manifolds Get

Some vehicles’ manifolds or exhaust pipes can reach 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. These extreme temperatures are uncommon in everyday life. The regions that experience some restriction or impingement of engine exhaust frequently have the highest temperatures.

What Is A Exhaust Leak

An exhaust leak is a hole or crack in the exhaust system of your car that allows poisonous exhaust fumes to enter the cabin rather than leaving the car through the tailpipe.

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