I still have a few days before the new OEM exhaust arrives, but since I was catching up on a couple other projects in the garage, I decided to get a head start on removing the existing exhaust. I wanted to video this process, but the battery in my GoPro is dead and I didn’t want to wait for it to charge. So for now, pictures will have to do. The first concern any time you do this is the condition of the head studs and nuts that secure the muffler. I had already taken a peek at mine when I replaced the intake year before last and was happy to discover the the previous owner had used brass nuts to secure the muffler to the heads. Brass won’t rust and less likely to seize to the studs. Usually, the first step would be to raise the rear of the Beetle for easy access, but since I’m only removing the tin to take a better look, I skipped raising the rear for now. I removed all of the piping for heat first, this differs a bit from year to year, but it’s pretty much self explanatory. Remove them gently so you can re-use them. I’m running J pipes, but I still keep everything plumbed just in case I want to put heat exchangers back on. The outlet on the dog house shroud is capped to keep the air flowing over the engine. If I ever do put heat exchangers back on, I’ll just remove the caps. Next step is to remove the rear tin. For me, this was a total of twelve 6x12mm 6mm shroud screws and washers. If you’re missing these screws or want to replace them to dress up your engine bay, most VW vendors sell them for about 5 dollars for a set of 12. This is a good time to put your Titan Magnetic Parts Tray to use. Helps to keep your nuts and bolts from being lost or kicked across the garage. Once all of the screws are removed, all you need to do is to remove the rear tin. If your engine bay seal is in really good condition, it will take some maneuvering to get the tin out, but it’s a fairly easy process. Once the tin is removed, you’ll have easy access to the nuts that secure the muffler to the head (the bottom nuts are easier to remove from beneath the car) and the heat riser screws.
Now you can get a good assessment of their condition. This is where a lot of people screw up and create a much bigger headache for themselves. Again, if brass nuts were used in the previous installation, chance are you’re going to have great success. If steel nuts were used and the muffler has been on the car for many years, chances are you’re going to have to work at it a bit. Regardless, do not be in a rush to remove the nuts. I gave mine a couple shots of PB Blaster and let it sit for a couple of hours before attempting to remove the nuts. If the nuts and stud are really rusty, you’ll want to clean them as good as you can before spraying any PB Blaster or WD40 on them. Be patient and let them soak it up. I went ahead and loosened all 4 of the nuts with ease. Again, brass nuts make all the difference. This is where I stopped for part 1 of this project. If the nuts are fighting you after a good soaking of penetrating oil, try applying heat to the nuts and gently tap them left and right to break them free. If you’re still getting resistance, STOP and try something else. In some cases, if the nut is really tight, you can split it with a chisel. There are a few videos floating around on Youtube that’ll give you a lot of insight on this process. Remember, be patient and don’t break the stud. If you do break the stud, plan on removing your engine to fix it.