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Cracked exhaust pipe after driving through puddle. No codes about cylidners.

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Aug 6, 2017, 9:43 PM

Post #1 of 5 (404 views)
  post locked   Cracked exhaust pipe after driving through puddle. No codes about cylidners.  

I have a 6 cylinder 2000 Ranger with ~60K miles, and it has a lot of rust.
I drove thorugh a few 6" puddles 3 days ago. Immediatley after driving through the last one, I heard the muffler/engine sounding rough, but doesn't sound too bad compared to what I've read others had. I didn't think it was a big deal. I thought it would sort of fix itself. I drove like 2 horus on the highway like this, and there's no noticable power loss, and no alarming metal clanking sound.
A couple days after, I did some googling and apparently this could be really bad if water got in the enigne (I didn't know the air intake can actually be much lower than the air filter, so I didn't originally think I got much if any water in the engine, I'm also not sure if even the intake IS much lower on the 2000 Ranger vs the ait filter location, but that might be besides the point).
Today, I checked the air filter is indeed dry. I also sprayed WD40 on the spark plug wires because I read if you're lucky enough that the leads aren't damaged too bad that WD40 might actually fix it if one cylinder ins't firing after water gets on cracked wires, but that might not pertain to my situation but I did it anyway.
Next I plugged in the code reader, but thankfully I don't have any current or pending codes about any cylinders not working (there would be a code showing this, right?).
I just have the same 3 codes I've had for two years,
P0455 Evaporative Emession System Leak Detected (large Leak) $10 generic.
P0171 System Too Lean Bank 1 $10 Generic
P0174 System Too Lean Bank 2 $10 Generic

Then I looked under the truck while it was running and then I obviously see the exhaust pipe is completely cracked right past the catalytic converter. And I hear the "sound" coming from there.
What's strange though is that this sound only occured right after I drove though a puddle, as if water had something to do with it. I drive past through where the puddle a few times a week and there's no pot hole there that I can remember that would possibly cause the exhaust pipe to crack from vibration. the suspension is bad on this truck and I hit potholes all the time that are loud bangs basically, but still strange how this sound happened right after that puddle.

If the code reader isn't showing anything about cylinders misfiring or not firing at all, then I shouldn't worry about water in the engine, right?
I'm due for an oil change in about 400 miles but I'll get that done this week just to be safe, but I read water in the engine usually needs much more work than just an oil change.
As for the cracked pipe, what should I do? I'm planning on selling this truck in about 4 months basically as-is for engine and stuff, so I don't really want to replace the whole exhaust or anything.
You can see in the pictures where it's cracked is right at the weld joint. One picture shows me pulling the two ends apart making a gap, but otherwise it just sits close as if maybe I can just get it re-welded. Should I just get it rewelded how it is?

Those exhaust bandage wraps might hold BUT there's a lot of movement and it will likely just break soon because of the movement. If I can't have it welded, and if the bandage tape is not really an option, I'd like to cut the ends off and have a flex pipe welded on with a coupling to join the two different size pipes. Can I just cut the ends and put a flex pipe on and use metal epoxy instead of paying a shop ~$50 to weld it?
There's not much suspension support on the pipe from where the crack is to the other end near the muffler, so I'm afraid if I simply get it re-welded how it is now, that it'll just crack again. I could support the pipe with wires, but I don't think that'll do much. I have a bad shock on one side and it bottoms out and bangs and is a really bumpy ride.

I googled and read it's not much a big deal to drive with basically no muffler. The muffler does equalize back pressure though, and without it, can cause the engine to have more carbon build up. But my last queastion is, does it really matter? Can I just put that cheap bandage stuff over the crack and pass inspection and stuff and if the banage does split, I can just re-bandage it? I plan on selling the truck as-is because there's so much rust there's much more problems that this crack that I don't think it's worth fixing this the proper way if I'm basically selling this truck for the engine and parts.

I'm actually going to get the patch tape now for at least a temp fix just so it doesn't sound like a complete POS, but would greatly appreciate if anyone can add some insight on this issue. Thanks.


Aug 6, 2017, 9:51 PM

Post #2 of 5 (398 views)
  post locked   Re: Cracked exhaust pipe after driving through puddle. No codes about cylidners.  

well I can't upload photo here apparently, but basically the pipe is cracked right past the weld joint.

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 7, 2017, 4:29 AM

Post #3 of 5 (382 views)
  post locked   Re: Cracked exhaust pipe after driving through puddle. No codes about cylidners.  

OK, first off, you didn't suck any water into the engine. If you had you would still be sitting on the side of the road with a junk engine because it would have broken a connecting rod instantaneously.

The rest of your ideas need to remain in the comic books where they came from.

Yes, the sudden cold water on the hot exhaust pipe would have caused the crack in the pipe. This can cause issues with performance because the air leak will skew the 0/2 sensor reading. Since you are already ignoring important lean codes in the computer, you have no way of even knowing that. No, you can't use an epoxy, no, you can't use a bandage and no, you can't use a flex pipe. I doubt you could even weld it effectively. You will likely have to replace the damaged component/ You need to bring it to an exhaust specialty shop to be advised on what needs to be done to repair the issue.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.


Aug 7, 2017, 4:22 PM

Post #4 of 5 (354 views)
  post locked   Re: Cracked exhaust pipe after driving through puddle. No codes about cylidners.  

if water gets in, it's not instant rod breaking. I did a decent amount of reading and video watching about that. Often it starts as metal on metal noise and/or performance loss, one or some combustion chambers get water in them which can't compress easily like air and thus breaks a rod (and when it breaks, it'll blow engine apart in TWO!, or blow holes out of the metal housing as if it were shot with tank piercing rounds.

Yea someone else said same thing I realize now that it was said = water on hot pipe shocked and broke it.

Truck is so rusty I'm afraid to attempt to remove any bolts and replace the pipe with a salvaged one. Just removing bolts sometimes requires grinding the heads down to something I can actually get a grip on, blowtorching it, etc.

here's the pics if it matters.

Link deleted .......... not allowed

and ideas for fix others had.

Link deleted .......... not allowed

I might just get it re-welded just how it is and press my luck.

(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Aug 7, 2017, 4:31 PM)

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 7, 2017, 4:41 PM

Post #5 of 5 (342 views)
  post locked   Re: Cracked exhaust pipe after driving through puddle. No codes about cylidners.  

You don't post links to other forums on this site!

You just keep listening to all your fellow truck owners for technical advice and we'll see where you end up.

I don't care what your buddies say. If that truck sucks water into the intake and it makes it to the cylinder, it is INSTANTANEOUS rod bent or broken. You're right about one thing, water cannot be compressed so if it gets into the cylinder, the next time that piston comes up, something HAS to break and it's going to be the connecting rod.

This site is staffed with professional techs that donate their time for free. We don't have an "wanna be's" or vehicle owners giving advice. We don't have any intention of debating any of our advice with you or anyone else so I will close this question now and let you get your advice from your fellow truck owners.

Note on your pictures. What broke was someone else's substandard patch job. Somebody welded a reducer adapter and it cracked at their bad weld.

My last piece of advice for you is to simply take it to an exhaust shop and have them make a new piece of pipe and weld it in there. It's a quick, easy job for those guys.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

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