Internal combustion engines need an exhaust system to get rid of the resulting gases from the combustion.
Such a system consists of different pipes, including a muffler that helps to reduce noise. Your car has an exhaust system designed to prolong the life of the engine and boost its performance.
For upgrades, maintenance, or repairs, some pieces of the exhaust system need to be replaced sometimes. A common argument is whether one should use exhaust clamps or welding to fix these parts.
Some argue that exhaust clamps are more practical, whereas others prefer welding. Which method should you use?
To help you decide, we will discuss the differences between exhaust clamps and welding in this article. You will learn about the different types of clamps that you can use, as well as different welding techniques.
Are you ready to make a more informed decision? Then, read on.
Exhaust Clamps versus Welding
Before we start the discussion, it would be quite useful to agree on the definition of each of these fixing methods.
In its simplest form, an exhaust clamp is a metallic piece that is fitted around an exhaust pipe to fix it. Pipes, muffler parts and other components can be sealed using exhaust clamps.
The latter ones also help to keep these pieces firmly attached to the chassis of the car. There are different types of exhaust clamps, some of which we’ll describe below.
Welding is the process of joining two metallic pieces by melting the parts to bond. A metal filler is usually added during the welding process, which results in a very solid joint.
The welding process requires a welding machine to generate intense heat and add the filler. There are also different welding techniques, which we’ll briefly describe.
Types of Exhaust Clamps
You can find different types of exhaust clamps in the market. The best for your vehicle depends on the original design of your car. Following, are the most common types.
It is the simplest exhaust clamp design. It can be a metallic ring or, even simpler, a wide metal strap. The band clamp is the most versatile of all exhaust clamps, despite its simplicity.
This type of exhaust clamp provides a very secure union between different pipes. Being somehow adjustable, it will be useful for different pipe sizes.
These exhaust clamps are made of stainless steel. Hence, their price can be quite high.
They are commonly used for turbo exhaust systems in high-end cars. They allow for perfect sealing and also look great.
This type of exhaust clamp has a rounded ball end. It is fitted in the socket end of a pipe. Then, the joint is secured with a ring. Several bolts keep the ring in place.
This type of exhaust clamp is commonly used in the original manufacturing of the car. Since the clamp can be easily uninstalled, it allows for customization.
Types of Welding
As an alternative to welding clamps, you can weld the pipes. However, what type of welding is the most suitable for such a task? First of all, let’s review the most common welding techniques.
This type of welding uses DC to create an arc. A tungsten stick is used as an electrode. You must connect it to the negative terminal of the TIG welding machine.
Additionally, you place a supply of inert gas together with the electrode. You connect the positive terminal to the metal to weld.
When the electrode makes contact with the metal, an electric arc appears and melts the metal but not the electrode. The gas will shield the weld from contaminants in the air. The melted metal will bond, forming a solid joint.
This technique uses DC as well. However, you use a consumable welding wire as an electrode. You also use a shielding gas to avoid the weld from being contaminated.
When the arc is created, both the metal and the electrode melt. The metal from the electrode forms a clean weld.
Flux-Cored Arc Welding
This welding technique is similar to MIG. However, the wire used as an electrode has a flux core, which creates shielding agents when the arc appears.
This property rescinds the need for an external source of inert gas. The technique is more versatile than MIG.
It is the most used welding technique of all. Here, a metal stick is used as an electrode. The welding machine can deliver either AC or DC.
The created arc melts both the metal and the electrode. Because of all the slag and spatter that this technique creates, the resulting weld won’t be as clean as with MIG.
Differences Between Exhaust Clamps and Welding
There’s a consensus that welding generally results in stronger joints. Nevertheless, there are exhaust clamps that can create joints comparably strong.
Are exhaust clamps good?
Yes, they are, especially for DIY hobbyists. High-quality exhaust clamps can provide strong joints.
You don’t need any special training to use exhaust clamps, unlike welding. Moreover, exhaust clamps give you the flexibility to make modifications more easily.
What are exhaust clamps used for?
They are used to join and seal pipes of an exhaust system. Moreover, they hold these pieces firmly attached to the chassis.
How do exhaust clamps work?
They are fitted around the pipes, and pressure is applied using bolts or any other similar way.