Question about 2001 Chrysler Concorde
Inspection of the engine:
Start your inspection at the engine and go all the way back to the tailpipe. One place where exhaust leaks often develop and go undetected is where the exhaust manifold mates to the cylinder head. The thermal expansion and contraction that occurs every time an engine is started, driven and shut off creates a lot of shear stress on the exhaust manifold gasket. After several years, it's not unusual for small leaks to develop. And over time, the small leaks usually get bigger.
On some late-model engines, exhaust manifold cracking has also been a problem because thinner castings are used to reduce weight. Some replacement manifolds have thicker castings to improve strength and resist cracking. An exhaust manifold leak can be especially dangerous because it provides a direct path for carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment through the cowl vent at the base of the windshield, or past hose and wire grommets in the firewall.
The escape of hot gases can also burn nearby spark plug wires and plug boots. Clues to look for include an intermittent hiss or popping noise when the engine is running, discolored or burned paint next to the exhaust ports on the cylinder head, or burned spark plug wires or boots. Another point where exhaust gases tend to leak is the mating point between the exhaust manifold and head pipe - especially in front-wheel drive cars with transverse mounted engines. The back-and-forth motion of the engine caused by the application of drive torque produces a lot of movement at the point where the head pipe mates with the exhaust manifold. On some front-wheel drive cars, the head pipe has a flexible section to handle the motion. On others, the flange that holds the head pipe to the manifold is spring loaded. A graphite donut gasket and/or a "ball and socket" head pipe flange may also be used to allow some flexibility in the joint. But over time, any of these systems can fail. And when they do fail, they pose the same risks as a manifold leak.
Clues to look for include noise and hot gases escaping from the joint, and discoloration around the joint. A visual inspection of the rest of the exhaust system will usually reveal any obvious problems like holes in the muffler, cracked or damaged pipes, broken or missing hangars, etc. The most common leak points are where the exhaust pipes mate with the muffler, resonator and converter, the seams in the shells of the muffler, resonator and converter, and where pipes joint together. The hump in the exhaust pipe where it goes over the rear axle is another point where cracks or damage may be found.
Exhaust Leak Dangers
Exhaust leaks should never be ignored because they can have serious consequences any time of year. Because it is colorless and odorless, carbon monoxide gas can be lethal, especially if the windows are rolled up and the deadly gas finds its way inside the passenger compartment. According to a research report published several years ago by the EPA, as many as one out of every five cars involved in accidents may have elevated levels of carbon monoxide inside the passenger compartment.
Posted on Jun 17, 2009
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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