How to tell if your exhaust manifold is cracked or leaking.
If you've noticed a faint smell of exhaust gas entering your passenger compartment, or if you've failed your recent emissions test, then it's likely you have some sort of exhaust leak. The most common place for your exhaust gases to leak from would be a cracked exhaust manifold gasket. It will exhibit a ticking sound as the engine revs up. In much older, high-mileage cars it's not uncommon to have to replace some of the engine's sealing systems. Cylinder head gaskets and intake manifold gaskets are usually replaced around the same time, as you are going to have to remove large sections of the engine to access the exhaust manifold gasket. Don't get discouraged, though. This is a very necessary fix if you have determined you have an exhaust leak. Carbon monoxide is both odorless and poisonous, and continuous exposure can result in health problems. If you have to replace your exhaust manifold gasket, get it done right away.
What your exhaust manifold gasket does.
Your engine disperses and disposes of exhaust gases through a manifold or header that is bolted to the cylinder head. The space where the manifold meets the head is sealed by an exhaust manifold gasket. Since the exhaust manifold gasket is subject to intense amounts of heat from combustion, it is made of a multi-layered embossed steel or graphite/ceramic composite material. That does not, however, make them indestructible. After enough years and miles, anything can break. And when your exhaust manifold gasket breaks, it starts to misdirect the flow of exhaust through the small rip in the gasket and into the engine compartment. That will ultimately end up in the atmosphere or engine compartment rather than through your catalytic converter and out the tail pipe.
A little elbow grease goes a long way.
It is not easy to change an exhaust manifold gasket. You must be able to remove the manifold or header, and that often requires the removal of the engine. It will at least need to be lifted on a hoist up to a level where the manifold can be pulled off. In order to do that, you must first disconnect all hoses and wire harness connectors so that the engine can be moved freely. Then, you must unbolt the exhaust manifold from the front exhaust pipe. Once you have done this, the engine will be free enough to lift and you can remove the exhaust manifold. Remove the old exhaust manifold gasket, making sure to get every piece off the manifold and cylinder head. You are now ready to install the new exhaust manifold gasket, and re-install all other engine parts following the previous steps in reverse order.
The parts you need are right around the corner.
Buying a new replacement exhaust manifold gasket is easy, but installing it is a whole other matter. So don't just go looking for the least expensive part you can find. At Car Parts Discount we sell top quality exhaust manifold gaskets from big name aftermarket sealing component brands like Fel-Pro, as well as original equipment manufacturers like Stone and Victor Reinz. Make sure you buy a name you trust, and make sure you get it from us.