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Old 09-07-2003, 08:02 PM
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Copper pipe for an exhaust system

Does anyone have experience using 2inch copper water pipe as an exhaust system,

The many available fittings are smooth and have tight radius to make a nice custom fit at a moderate cost.

Any comments on durability(suitability) of copper are appreciated.

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Last edited by oldcat76; 09-07-2003 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 09-07-2003, 08:20 PM
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this is just what i think, the coper would rust out and probably heat up and melt fast, why would you go with 2 inch, what kind of car is this going to be on anyways? if it were me i would just get regular piping and have it mandrell bent not crush mandrell is like 3 inch diameter thru the whole pipe even in the bends, while chrush pipe is bent in the the turns and it goes down to like a 2 and a 1/2 inch pipe. Just my .02, if you do use copper tubing for it let me know how it works.
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Old 09-07-2003, 08:43 PM
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I would think you would give you a really loud popping noise from the copper thickness. If you ever saw someone use a old drive shaft for exhaust piping you know what I mean.
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Old 09-07-2003, 09:52 PM
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I would think that you would melt out the solder with the heat from the engine. Unless you used a higher temp solder, such as silver solder. The same shapes are available in steel from most auto parts stores in their exhaust repair sections. If not I bought some bent pieces at a muffler shop and made my own exhaust by cutting the bends where I needed them and welding them together.
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Old 09-07-2003, 11:39 PM
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Copper is actually a very good material for exhaust except....

On the good side, it doesn't rust like steel, and it is corrosion resistant. I am using 1/2" copper tubing on my Clifford Chevy 6 intake manifold as heat riser pipes but I am using brass compression fittings, not welding or brazing.

On the bad side, it is difficult to joint together. Can't solder the joints with tin/lead solder 'cause exhaust temperature is several times that of the melting temperature of the solder. It can be brazed with brass rod quite successfully, brass rod melts at a lower temperature than the copper. The real problem comes in the nasty tendency of copper to anneal at brazing and even exhaust type temperatures - in other words it becomes very soft. The only way to harden it again is to work it by bending or stretching it. Once annealed, you could almost collapse a 2" tube with your bare hands. All things considered, cost being one of the most important ones, steel tubing is still by far the best all-round material for header construction. Do a ceramic/metallic coating and it will last forever.
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Old 09-07-2003, 11:42 PM
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Well there are a few issues here, first exhaust gasses are very corrosive, they would eat un-protected copper up in no time. Copper by nature is a very soft metal, I don't think it would stand up to the vibration. Soldering would not be an issue unless the exhaust would reach around 700 degrees, which is the melting point of most solder I work with. The other issue here is your muffler will be made of a non copper material, with the corrosives in the exhaust and the two different types of metal your setting up MAJOR electrolysis. this would rot the joint out in no time flat. I've used copper pipe for vacuum lines and breather hookups, I don't think it's up to the task of exhaust pipe however.

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Mark
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Old 09-08-2003, 06:42 AM
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You guy's are great!! Steel is the way to go.

The car is 67 MGB with 60 degree GM V6/700R4 set-up and clearance is a real problem for the exhaust.

Thanks


Gil
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Old 09-14-2003, 10:22 PM
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oldcat76:

A '67 with a V6 ... ooh, nice What are you using for the rear end ?

Talk to Ted Schumacher (www.tsimportedautomotive.com). He does a lot of parts (including headers) for MGB V8 conversions. He may not have a header sitting on the shelf for your V6 swap, but he knows what he's talking about when it comes to putting silly engines in MGBs and could probably give you some excellent advice. (I've learned a *lot* from talking with him about my conversion).
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Old 09-15-2003, 01:14 AM
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Oh yeah - as to your question about copper:

Never tried it, but my gut instinct would be to say "no, bad, don't do it". Between the different thermal expansion rates and the tendency of copper to work-harden (think about the vibration), I don't think it would last very long.
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Old 09-15-2003, 06:08 AM
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After the comments about work-hardening the "light came on in my head" and I decided on going 2inch steel..I had to fabricate some 90 degree elbows as no one (that I could find) could do pipe bends tigh enough to get to get a clean job. I am sure that I lost some horses however I am very pleased withe the fit and sound.

The rear end is stock which is 3.909 and look plenty strong. The car is NOW s a pure joy to drive.. The V6 set-up weighs about the same as the 4, so no handling problems and for an old man the auto trans is the way to go!.

Thanks for the help

Gil
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Old 09-15-2003, 01:20 PM
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On any type of flow you do not want tight bends, as it disturbs the flow and also slows it up. Any pics showing how you done it?
Sounds like a fun car to drive.
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Old 09-15-2003, 01:54 PM
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Now that is the kind of original response I like to see on this board. I think copper could work if brazed. Most hotrods get very low miles so the corrosion may not be that bad a problem. You could do the forward section in steel and the rear section in copper where it is cool. I say try it and tell us how it worked.
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