I took my '97 Chevy pickup to Midas today for a badly-needed shutup job. I've done my own work for decades, have the tools and skills, but crawling under a vehicle ain't near as easy as it was when I was younger.
The office guy predictably said they'd have to look at it and would call me when they had an estimate. I said OK but I'd like a ballpark before I decide to leave it with them, might save us both some time. He said, "man, I hate ballparks. People say ballpark and then get upset later." "I understand that. Ballpark means ballpark. I need two mufflers and two tailpipes, possibly more but I have no tolerance for being told I need to change the brakelines or the blinker fluid." He kinda grinned at me, got off his arse in the air conditioned office and came out to the parking lot where we both crawled under the truck. "Yup, coupla mufflers and tailpipes, the rest of your exhaust system looks good." It did indeed, I was quite amazed. He gave me a ballpark of $375. OK, I'd expected north of $300 and my cost datapoints are years out of date. Told him that'd be OK, let's proceed. I was impressed with this shop. They use 16-gage aluminized pipe, bent as needed -- all starts as straight stock. I told him I didn't want glasspacks again, I want quiet. Glasspacks are for teenagers. OK, quiet it'll be. Won't be whisper with duals, but it'll be considerably quieter than glasspacks. I returned a bit before closing to see how it was coming. They have the obligatory sign about nobody allowed in the shop, but there ain't a good tradesman alive that doesn't like having his work appreciated and all the doors were wide open so it was easy to kinda mosy in from the parking lot. The guy was just about to weld on new chromed tailpipe extensions. I coulda skipped those, but that's where he was in the job, pipes were cut to accomodate, and they do look kinda neat. He had two purpose-built stands to get them levelled just right before welding, and you'd think he was making a jewellry box. He saw me. "Whaddya think?" "I think about 1/16" lower on the left one. I don't mind if they droop slightly, and I'd like to be sure that condensation can drip out. I also want some clearance between that and the camper hold-down so I don't get clanks and rattles later." "Ah! Will that give you enough road clearance on an off-road bottom?" "Yup, the trailer hitch would skid first." "Yeah ...OK, I can do that." He did. I looked at the mufflers. Real close together. "Are those gonna rattle after while?" "Nope, I welded them together, look at the front." I looked. "Oh, yeah! Man, you sure did! Those suckers won't be rattling this lifetime, will they?" He grinned hugely. "Hope not!" He'd used 1/4" dia hanger rod to contrive a rather ingenious mount. Neatly done. He MIG'd the tailpipe extensions in place and declared victory. I don't know how the hell they MIG-weld on top where they can't see, but they do, and my finger said it was a nice weld on top. Lowered the hoist. Started her up and looked at me expectantly. I said, "are ya gonna start it up, or what?" He loved that! It isn't really quite whisper quiet, but it is a lot quieter than it was when I got it 10 years ago. Glasspacks are for teenagers. The guys in this Midas shop do nice work and they take pride in their work. Went in the office to settle up. I really don't recall the amount, $425 comes to mind. It was in the $375 guesstimate ballpark. I'm pleased with the work and with the results. I'll crawl under the truck tomorrow and shoot some instant cold galvanize on the welds. They'll rust out before anything else does because the aluminizing was burned off in the HAZ, but zinc-rich paint will help. I rarely if ever use the truck in winter salt condx, so this job could well last for as long as I'll care. Who'da thunk it, right? Might be a MN thing, YMMV.