94 E320 exhaust leak.MB or 3rd party?

1994 E320. The exhaust leak is just in front of the middle muffler, and the reommendation to change both the middle and rear muffler assemblies together brings the estimate to $1,000CA (about US$730) for MB parts,
plus labour.
Is third party a good alternative? (no, I wasn't thinking of Midas!)
Thanks for any experience! Mike in Toronto
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Two options: 1) get a Stebro stainless system. They're in Ottawa. This makes sense if you plan on having the car 10 years or more. 2) order it online from any of the US based OE/OEM retailers. You'll need to have it shipped to a US address (know anybody in Buffalo?) and bring it through customs yourself to save any real money but you'll save quite a bit on both parts and shipping which is a concern for heavy parts like this. Ie it costs $65 more to ship a pair of wheels to Bostom from here but only $13 50 miles from here across the border.
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You say... "The exhaust leak is just in front of the middle muffler". Is the leak in the front face of the muffler or the pipe connecting to the front face of the muffler? If it's the pipe, get some muffler tape and fix it yourself. If it's in the front face of the muffler, get some furnace cement and fix it yourself--use metal screen too for a big hole.

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So far I've taken the mechanic's word for it being on the pipe itself just in front of the middle muffler. Tomorrow I'll look the thing over myself. If it is too close to the muffler than I doubt a patch job will hold, but it's worth a look.
Also, is muffler tape able to withstand such high temps. A friend at work had no luck with it on his Volvo, but that was right close to the manifold.

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I had a hole in the pipe between the mufflers welded at a muffler shop for $50.00 eight months ago. Problem solved!
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If the hole is big, get a beer can and cut a patch to be held in place by muffler tape. It can all withstand the heat.

and
assemblies
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