The Vanagon sports a proper exhaust

“Meh, this will only take a couple hours. I’ll bust it out Saturday morning.”

I should know better by now. My wife does :-D In any case, a recent post exposed our dilemma, where the Vanagon’s exhaust wasn’t exactly, well…. exhausting. The original thought was to get something welded up that would fit the extractor pipes. After calling a few shops, it seemed I was going to have to drop a minimum of $300 bucks for a muffler, and to get it welded in. Not quite was I was wanting to do.

Thinking about it more, I realized I had a complete stock exhaust from a friends 1973 bay window bus that we parted out a while back. Plan B! We pick up some new exhaust gaskets and muffler clamp from Bus Depot, and hopefully spend somewhere around $30 bucks instead of $300.

Supply check…

Muffler (w/tail pipe) (071251053C) Tail pipe is a separate item.


Catalytic converter (043131701E)


Crossover pipe – I’m fairly certain these are NLA. I’ve seen some that have been welded and repaired, but most are not solid enough for repair. You can find used ones on TheSamba Classifieds at times. The one I have here is descent and I’m thinking about removing it at some point and having it refurbished a bit.


EGR Valve (021131617F) These are discontinued and getting harder to find. The one I have came with the Vanagon when we bought it.


Muffler strap (021251521) This strap secures the muffler to the cross over pipe.



  • Parts ordered to make it all work…
    Exhaust flange gasket 
    (043251509) Uwhen connecting the catalytic converter to the cross over pipe.
  • Muffler clamp kit (023298051) Used to attach muffler to catalytic converter.
  • Exhaust flange gasket (025251261) Used when connecting the crossover pipe to the heat exchangers.
  • EGR filter gasket – POST FILTER (071131599B) This one if for AFTER the filter, where it connects to the crossover pipe. It is smaller in length.
  • EGR filter gasket – PRE FILTER (071131599C) I believe this gasket is used where the EGR filter connects through the engine tin. The center hole is the same diameter, but the overall gasket is longer. These were on backorder at the time, so I used the shorter one from above. I placed a couple dabs of Permatex high-temp sealant to hold in place while bolting it together. Ratwell has a good shot of all EGR gaskets required.



Most of this went together without too much of an issue. I did take a metal file and wire brush to all the flanges to get them cleaned up. The crossover pipe I have was missing one stud on the passenger side, so I temporarily stole on from the Ernst muffler we have for our Westy. Also, since it wasn’t going to get any easier than now, I took the catalytic converter off the crossover pipe and replaced the gasket. On the passenger side heat exchanger, a support bracket drops down. The top stud on the crossover pipe needs to go through both the heat exchanger flange, and the hole for the bracket. On this bus, the two were not lined up very well and I had to loosen the bracket some.

With the crossover pipe installed, I started fitting the muffler. It wasn’t working as planned because the previous owner decided to mount a hitch to the rear bumper. It was on there pretty good, but the mounting practice was a bit odd. They took a large bolt on either side and tightened them through the two rear tow hooks. During their install, they had to push the rear skirt in. This kept the muffler from properly setting up against the crossover pipe. Once I got the hitch off I was able to realign the skirt and muffler was able to set up against the cross over pipe properly. I loosely attached the muffler strap so it could hold the muffler while I attached it to the catalytic converter with the muffler clamp.

With the muffler freshly attached, I anxiously started up the engine. Sounded better, but there was still a racket from the driver side. Looking at it more, I realized exhaust was spitting out the EGR mount. In all the years of bus ownership, this was the first time I’ve had to pay attention to the EGR. Most are blocked off in some manner. In fact, if you are planning to block yours off, German Supply has a block-off kit for all of this. But I had everything I needed to actually hook one up, so I wanted to try and get it working. So I hooked it up. Keep in mind, in the engine compartment I had all the rest of the EGR components in place.

In the end, I’ve noticed a few things. The engine warms up faster. Power seems (seat of the pants) slightly lower, but smoother across the RPM range. And oh yeah, damn it’s quiet. I initially found myself beyond 4k rpm’s because it was so much quieter. Having recently moved to Arizona, I need to get this thing to pass smog so I can register it. It’s failed once already, but that was on the extractor system. I imagine this engine is running a bit cleaner with the introduction (or perhaps re-introduction) of a catalytic converter and EGR system. Fingers crossed!

Here is a before and after pic. And for the record, spent about 5 hours on this.


Leave a Reply