If your vehicle is losing performance, smells of fuel, or has visible damage to the exhaust manifold, it’s likely time for a new one.
The exhaust manifold exhausts spent fuel into the vacuum system and into the exhaust system, maintaining engine equilibrium.
When it fails, your vehicle may lose power or stop meeting legal emissions requirements.
Here, exhaust manifold replacement costs normally average $300-$1000. However, exhaust manifolds can range between $50 and $3,000. On the other hand, labor will normally average $250-$400, or 2-4 hours of work.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of exhaust manifold replacement cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
How Much Does Exhaust Manifold Replacement Cost?*
In most cases, the cost of labor and the cost of a new exhaust manifold will be about the same. Often, that averages out to about $300 each, for a total bill of around $600.
However, the make and model of your vehicle will impact which parts fit in your vehicle, how much labor is required, etc.
The following chart offers more detailed estimates for different vehicles.
|Vehicle||Part Cost||Labor Cost|
|Dodge Ram 1500||$84.99-$229||$105-$298|
*Note: Prices are estimates and were correct at the time of writing (June 2022). Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.Please select a valid form
Exhaust Manifold Replacement Price Factors
The cost of a new exhaust manifold can range from under $100 to over $3,000. That alone is the largest cost factor in most replacements.
However, labor, the make and model of the car, the type of manifold, etc., will all be important.
Make and Model of the Car
The make and model of the car impacts the base cost of the new exhaust manifold no matter which brand you buy. That’s in part because different vehicles have different spaces and shapes required for the exhaust manifold.
For example, if your vehicle requires a large 4-branch exhaust manifold with a large head and shaped in a way that means it only fits into that specific car, you’re going to pay a lot for it.
On the other hand, if your vehicle has a very general design, the manifold will likely fit into a lot of cars – therefore the manufacturer can sell it as a universal part and lower the total cost of the part.
In addition, the make and model of the car will impact how easy it is to replace the manifold.
For example, in some vehicles, there’s virtually nothing in the way of the manifold. In others, you’ll have to take out several belts and accessories to reach it.
Parts Being Replaced
It’s also important to consider that you might have to replace more than “just” the exhaust manifold.
The upper exhaust system consists of the exhaust manifold, the linking pipe, the catalytic converter, and the resonator. If you have to replace the full upper exhaust, you’re looking at several thousand in costs.
In fact, some of the more expensive exhaust manifold prices in the chart above are quotes for an upper exhaust “kit”. That includes the parts and the gasket.
Here, the catalytic converter is the most expensive, so if you can keep the one you already have, you’ll save a lot of money.
In some vehicles, the exhaust manifold is welded to the catalytic converter and you’ll have to replace both at once.
Often, if you have to replace the exhaust manifold, you’ll need the manifold, a manifold gasket, lubricant, and that’s about it. In some cases, you’ll want new bolts as well, but they may come with the new manifold.
Cost of the Parts
An exhaust manifold can range in cost from about $50 to upwards of $3,000. Here, the lower end parts are aftermarket and universal – they’re made to fit as many vehicles as possible.
If you choose an original equipment manufacturer part, such as a Honda part for a Honda Vehicle, pricing is more likely to be in the $150-$300 range for most vehicles.
On the other hand, if you opt for performance parts, you’re more likely to pay anywhere from $800-$$3,000 for the part.
Of course, there are exceptions. Some OEM parts cost over $1,000 as well. However, for an exhaust manifold, that is rare and normally means you have a luxury or a performance vehicle.
Cost of Labor
It normally takes between 2 and 4 hours of work to remove and replace an exhaust manifold. That includes taking the old one out, cleaning off the old gasket, replacing the new one, and putting any accessories and parts back in place.
At the national average labor rate of $100 per hour, you’re normally looking at $200-$300 in labor. However, labor rates vary from $15 to upwards of $250. You may find that you’re paying well over $600 in labor at some shops.
That’s also important if you’re sourcing the work from a dealer, where the full cost of the job is usually about $800+ instead of the $600+ total you see at most independent or chain shops.Please select a valid form
4 Signs of a Bad or Cracked Exhaust Manifold
Problems with the exhaust manifold will normally mimic symptoms from elsewhere in the exhaust and the fuel injection system. That’s because when something goes off with this system, the whole thing goes off.
Therefore, you’ll see fuel efficiency declining, decreased engine power, and normally, have a louder engine.
However, you can also look for these four specific signs your exhaust manifold is bad or cracked.
1. Noises from the Engine
Noises in your engine can mean anything. However, if you hear the engine louder than usual, such as a louder rumble, hissing, or gears changing, it could mean there’s an exhaust leak above the muffler.
That’s because normally you only hear exhaust after it’s been muffled.
A leak or a hole in the exhaust system before the muffler always means you’ll hear your engine more than you’re used to. Unfortunately, you can’t really pinpoint it to one specific part of that exhaust without inspecting it.
2. Gas or Exhaust Smells Under the Hood
If you have a leak in the exhaust above the catalytic converter, you’ll smell exhaust or gas under the hood. That’s important because it almost always means an issue with the exhaust manifold.
However, it could also be one of the valves or even with another part of the vacuum system.
In most cases, if you smell gas or exhaust under the hood, it’s a good idea to inspect the exhaust system, starting with the exhaust manifold.
On the other hand, if you smell gas in the exhaust, it may mean your catalytic converter is going out or is damaged.
3. Poor Engine Performance
Exhaust pressure is maintained at a careful vacuum and burnt fuel is mixed back into the air in the injection to maintain an ideal fuel/air ratio. When you have a leak, that ratio goes off.
You may find that your engine isn’t speeding up or responding as quickly, slows down more when going up inclines, and loses towing power.
At the same time, you’ll likely notice reduced fuel economy and your engine will be using more fuel for less power.
4. Check Engine Light
Most modern engines have a large number of sensors including an oxygen sensor and a vacuum pressure sensor to detect when something goes wrong with the exhaust.
If something is wrong, your check engine light may go on.Please select a valid form
How Do You Replace an Exhaust Manifold? (17 Steps)
You can normally save around $300 on the total cost of an exhaust manifold replacement by doing the work yourself. However, you should expect to spend at least half the day on the job.
Otherwise, this is mostly a straightforward job. On the other hand, you will have to remove accessories and hoses to get started. Most importantly, because those vary per vehicle, we can’t offer a specific guide.
Things you’ll need:
- Wrench and ratchet/socket set matching your vehicle
- Torque wrench
- Flat screwdriver
- New exhaust manifold
- Exhaust manifold gasket
- Gasket scraper
- Light grit sandpaper
- Penetrating fluid
- Shop towels
- Jack plus jack stands
- Repair manual
Replacing the Exhaust Manifold
- Park your car on a flat and level space, take the key out of the ignition, and unplug the battery from the negative terminal.
- Open the hood and assess the vehicle to see what’s between you and the exhaust manifold. Use masking tape and a marker to label what goes where if you want to have an easier time putting everything back.
- Then, take off the engine covers, air intake hoses, air filter, fuel filter, alternator, water pump, or air conditioning system if they are in the way. Often, you’ll have to remove all of them. If you have to remove the water pump or the coolant lines, you’ll want to drain the coolant first. In this case, use the drain plug on the bottom of the radiator. Make sure you have new coolant to refill it.
- Jack up the front of the vehicle and stabilize it using jack stands.
- Remove the heat shield by unscrewing the bolts on the top and the ones on the side of the exhaust manifold, you may need penetrating fluid to get these off.
- Use penetrating fluid on the nuts holding the exhaust manifold in place. Allow this to sit for 20 minutes to four hours. Then, spray the bolts under the vehicle, where the exhaust manifold connects to the first exhaust pipe.
- Use a breaker bar or a socket and wrench to unbolt the exhaust manifold from the top and the bottom. If you have a V-8 or V-6 engine, you’ll probably have to remove two exhaust manifolds.
- Slide the exhaust manifold out of the exhaust pipe.
- Pry the exhaust manifold away from the cylinder. The gasket may be quite stuck in place.
- Clean the cylinder head to remove any bits of the old gasket. Use a gasket scraper, brake cleaner, and sandpaper if necessary to clean all of the old manifold out.
- Clean the exhaust ports to remove any carbon buildup. You can get special cleaning spray for this or just use brake cleaner.
- Check your repair manual for the bolt pattern used for your exhaust manifold. The new manifold may also have the recommendations on it.
- Install the new gasket, using the lubricant that came with the gasket kit or a simple gasket grease. It should be installed in the manifold body.
- Install the bolts on the bottom.
- Then, press the exhaust manifold onto the cylinder head studs and tighten the nuts.
- Use a torque wrench to tighten each bolt to manufacturer recommendations.
- From there, you can reinstall the heat shield, the engine cover, and any other accessories you had to remove to get to the exhaust manifold. Then, refill the coolant. If you’ve drained the coolant, make sure you bring the engine up to temperature with the radiator cap off before closing the cap.
Replacing your exhaust manifold will take time and usually around $300. However, you can halve exhaust manifold replacement costs by doing the work yourself. If you do, make sure you check your repair or service manual to ensure you know what to remove, the torque and replacement bolt pattern, and other specifications for your vehicle.Please select a valid form