1989 Yugo GVL: Monterey Car Week - The Exhaust Situation
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on September 8, 2015
When Mark and I left "The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering" on Friday afternoon, we were simply hoping to find a shop that could patch up the Yugo's leaky exhaust. But the situation escalated on the outskirts of Monterey when a metallic clanking noise joined the chorus.
Now we didn't just have a leak; we had an exhaust pipe dragging on the pavement.
As you might imagine, we weren't the only guys in town for Concours weekend with car trouble. All the mechanics I called were out straight. Even Midas couldn't fit us in until Saturday at 3:00 p.m., which would be after both the CNN rendezvous and the Concours d'LeMons. I made the appointment anyway, but we needed immediate attention.
Mark suggested that we stop calling and start just showing up, so I located the next garage on the list and drove directly into the service area, clanking exhaust and all. Specifically, I backed in after missing the turn, electing not to drive any farther than necessary. Although the foreman was evidently surprised to see a Yugo reversing rapidly into his shop, he took pity on us when he realized what we were dealing with.
A few minutes later, the car was on a lift.
Near as we can tell, what happened was that there weren't any hangers between the engine and the muffler, so the midsection needed full structural integrity to stay suspended. Once the hole compromised that integrity, it was only a matter of time before the pipe started bending, which in turn caused the midsection to rotate downward. If you look at the top photo, the rear hanger's still doing its job; it's the rest of the assembly that's having a hard time.
Unfortunately, the shop didn't have the resources to weld in a new piece, so they reinforced the rear portion with what looked like some chicken wire and sent us on our way. That got the exhaust off the ground, but it didn't address the vulnerability of the weakened midsection.
We took a closer look when we got back to Watsonville. What if the pipe were to break in two at the hole? It seemed there'd be nothing to stop both broken ends from dropping straight down.
Accordingly, we did what perhaps many Yugo owners before us have done:
Grabbed a couple of wire coat-hangers and twisted them into harnesses on either side of the hole.
Mark engaged in a little quality control under the car while James pretended to rummage through his trunk for something useful. We called it good enough. The noise persisted, of course, but there was nothing we could do about it now.
Next up: CNN in the morning, followed by the Concours d'LeMons and finally Midas in the afternoon. Hopefully our handiwork would stand the test of time.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor