Did the '02 Durango come with a stainless steel exhaust system? I could've
sworn I saw that in the brochure and on the window sticker but I'm not so
sure that's what I got. I had my D at my mechanic the other day to check
out a noise coming from the front wheel area (turns out a little lubrication
solved the problem) and I mentioned to the mechanic about my exhaust system.
He mentioned that if it truly was stainless, it shouldn't have been showing
signs of rust, as it was. Anyone have any info on this?
P.S. I just checked the catalog for the '02 Durango. It says it comes with
a "full stainless steel exhaust system." Maybe I don't have a full
understanding of "stainless," but I was under the assumption that it doesn't
rust. My stainless steel kitchen knives don't rust so why should this?
Are your kitchen knives constantly exposed to heat, acids, and moisture on
one side, and water and road salt on the other?
Rust is the result of oxidation of iron. Stainless steel, although
containing a fair amount of chromium and nickel, is still mostly iron.
It's physically impossible to produce an alloy of steel that "never" rusts.
However - higher quality stainless steels will resist rusting better than
lower quality ones. The goal of the automaker is to produce an exhaust
system that doesn't rot through for the life of the vehicle's warranty.
Given that the maximum lifetime of that warranty is 7 years or 100,000 miles
(biggest service contract you can buy), the fact that your 4-year-old
exhaust is starting to show signs of surface rust (and I'm sure that's all
it is), I'd say it's perfectly normal.
As has been stated, there are many kinds of stainless. They have
different qualities. Those that take a beautiful shine and are
virtually corrosion resistant don't take kindly to the heat and
vibration. Cracked exhaust systems are worse than rust stained exhaust
The biggest problem with factory stainless systems is the joints are
mig welded with what is basically a mild steel wire, so the welds rust
Chrysler, and virtually all other manufacturers weld with "mild steel"
wire because it is cheaper, easier, and it is "good enough".
And yes, stainless can be welded with stainless wire. It is a little
less forgiving, and works best with TIG, rather than MIG - which makes
it more labour intensive. Robots can MIG quite well.
On Thu, 08 Dec 2005 14:56:22 -0500, email@example.com
For what its worth- I bought a Dodge Caravan new in '89;
put 560,000 klicks on it in commercial use, retired it from my
business in '98- stainless exhaust system lasted the life of the
vehicle, never a problem with it- other maintenance issues with
this stalwart little van were- clutch replaced twice, tranny rebuilt
once, fuel pump replaced twice, timing belt replaced twice, water
pump replaced once. Otherwise, changed the oil and filter 2x/month;
plugs, wires, rotor and cap every second year. Original starter,
never replaced, head never removed, at 560,000 k it was using
about a litre of oil per 1000 k.
If Chrysler still built this beautiful little 2.5 engine I'd buy
another vehicle equipped with it in a second.
Just my 2 cents worth
My stock exhaust on my '03 wasn't welded anywhere.... it was all crimped to
hell with those damn saddle clamps.
Sure.... ER308 wire with Tri-mix gas (Helium/Argon/CO2) does stainless
nicely on my mig welder. Yeah - tig is nicer, but it takes too damn long.
If I were welding up some SS pipes on a bench, I'd use my tig. If I were
welding up over my head, out of position, I'd use (and have used) my mig.
However, that aside, I much prefer band clamps to welding when it comes to
exhaust pipes. I tend to burn myself much less tightening up clamps, and
don't need the cut-off tool to take it apart later on :)
The AISI 300 series Stainless steel are austenetic (non magnetic) generally
pretty and can handle high heat. Kitchen SS is 304, marine SS is 316,
Chemical and food industry is 316TI and 316L. Blast furness, heat treat
manifolds and engine valves are 301 SS. These SS alloys do not corrode
easily, but they work harden, fatigue and crack easily and they have poor
machining characteristics, with the exception of 303. AISI 400 series
Stainless Steels are magnetic and corrosion resistant, not corrosion proof.
They are generally stronger and some alloys can be hardened like 440
(Knives). This series is less expensive, melt at a lower temperature and
resist fatigue better than austenetic types cosecquently they can be
machined, drawn and forged easier. This is the series used for exhaust
systems. All stainless welds will rust even with the correct filler rod.
This is caused by Iron molecule migration to the surface under high heat.
Once welded, the welds must be "Passivated" to prevent excessive rusting.
This can be done both through electro etching or acid exposure, which
removes the surface Iron. Stainless welding can be done using all methods
except OxAct gas.
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