Using a rigid pipe could cause more exhaust movement than you'd like. It
could theoretically damage the rubber hangers. If I had to guess, I'd say
the rigid pipe would probably work, but you'll run the risk of improbable
other problems. I might try it on my own car if I were hard up for the
cash, but wouldn't even think of it on a customer's car.
Same thing happened on my 2001 Accent. By the time the dealer was
done, the bill was near $700 CAD for
flex pipe (includes a length of rigid pipe)
replace one O2 sensor
salvage one O2 sensor from rigid pipe
When mine went I took it to Midas, it actually cost more then your
estimate (my price includes labor). And I didn't have to have the O2
sensor replaced. I did have the engine check light, and my dealer
reset that for free.
Thats mighty expensive replacement for some exhaust-rated flex hose
(like dryer hose, just smaller and rated for much more heat) and a
couple stainless pipe clamps. :)
Thats all there is to it folks... most any parts store (O'Reilly's
here) has that stuff, reasonably cheap..
Not sure if it'll pass inspection where you live. I'm in an area
without emissions testing in Texas, and I know people that have had this
stuff on their cars for years (And current inspections) so be aware YMMV.
My factory flex pipe part includes the flex hose, a braided jacket and
3 feet of rigid pipe. It is all one piece. I was told by a muffler
shop that it is a dealer only part. The other option was to cut off
the existing flex hose and weld on an after market flex hose for $200.
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