Fabricated Exhaust on … a Grand Caravan!


Working with the right tools absolutely makes a job like this easier. Power hacksaw. A really good grinder with a cutoff wheel. A good reciprocating saw. A great Tig Welder and the welder who knows how to use it. A hoist! Seriously, what was I thinking when I considered doing this in a driveway. We used a 180° mandrel bent tube for all of our angle cuts – except where we could just make enough adjustment in the straight pipe and still maintain a proper edge for welding. Did I mention that holding pieces of stainless exhaust in place, over your head, on a day that is extremely hot and humid is not fun? Because it seriously is not. My role was 'go-fer' and hopefully Paulo at AES Auto will say that I did it well.
Maintaining a tight fit along the side of the wheel chair bay was important to provide clearance without using up a ton of material to get around the spring and shock. Unlike what had been on the van, the exhaust was kept above the lowest part of the wheelchair bay for improved ground clearance.
Notice at the mid-point by the hanger that there is a slight bend. The pipe was cut at a slight angle to start moving in to by-pass the shock. Each piece was test fitted and then tack welded into place. Note: do not say spot welded. Spot welding is apparently something very different. I am telling you this so that you, unlike me, will know better and appear somewhat educated when you talk to welders that you know. And, if you do not know a welder, then you should.
Automotive tip: We first saw Paulo using hose clamps for marking cuts when he was fabricating the new hot side intercooler piping for the NX GTI-R. This is a time saving shortcut and with a bit of care can be used effectively to cut sections of a mandrel bend. Here, Paulo is preparing the angle piece that he wants to use for the bend at the back wheel.

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