How to Install a Truck Exhaust System

  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 75-200
What You'll Need
Socket Wrench with socket set
New, exhaust system with gaskets
O2 sensor tool
Jack stands

A truck exhaust system helps in directing the exhaust gases safely away from the engine and out from the back of the vehicle. A truck exhaust system is quite prone to rusting or corroding if you live in the Northern Hemisphere however as you are bound to drive on snow-covered roads lined with salt to melt the ice and snow. The salt and water combo is very corrosive and at some point, you will have to replace the exhaust system of the truck. Installing a new one is a moderately challenging job but the step-by-step instructions below will help you finish the job.

Before you start the job though, make sure you allow the truck to thoroughly cool down if it has been running for a while. The areas around where the exhaust system will be installed can be extremely hot.

Step 1 – Place the Exhaust System on Jack Stands

The first step is to bring the exhaust system to the level of the truck you are working on. If your truck is not really high and does not have a lot of room below it, you may have to simple lay the exhaust system on the ground itself. But with most trucks, you have to place the exhaust system on jack stands. Make sure the exhaust is oriented. You want the right ends facing the right parts of the vehicle i.e. catalytic converters towards the front and the muffler towards the rear.

Step 2 – Attach the Exhaust System to the Hooks under the Car

You will find metal hooks with rubber loops under your truck that are in place to attach an exhaust system. Slide your truck exhaust system under the truck and attach the two metal hooks (the truck’s and the exhaust’s) through the rubber loops.

Step 3 – Install O2 Sensors

You can easily install O2 sensors now. Use the O2 sensor tool and socket wrench to screw in the O2 sensor onto the end of the truck exhaust system. It will thread onto the system like a bolt on turning and will get tightened on turning clockwise. Plug the car’s electrical connectors in the O2 sensors then.

Step 4 – Place Gasket over the End of the Exhaust Piping

The final installation step is to place a gasket over the exhaust pipe end that will be connecting to the exhaust manifold. Then bolt the exhaust to the exhaust manifold tightly.

Step 5 – Check for Leaks

It is imperative now that you check for exhaust leaks. Any leaks in the exhaust system can cause car heating up or decreased engine performance. Any leaking exhaust gases can actually be visibly seen from where the gasket end of the truck exhaust system is connected to the exhaust manifold. If you notice leaking gases, take off the exhaust pipe from the manifold and re-adjust the gasket. If that does not work, you might have to get a new one. It is very important to have no leak whatsoever.