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Exhausting Situation

I recently bought a "doggie bone" shaped logo-style chrome exhaust deflector for one of my collector cars from a catalog. This item set me back a cool $28.95, plus a couple of bucks for shipping. When it arrived it came in a large, square flat box that seemed much too large for an exhaust tip. Did they send me the wrong item? Nope.

When I opened the box, I expected to see a shiny part I could pop right on the car's exhaust pipe. Instead, I saw something that looked like a "chrome bearskin rug" with two flaps sticking out - one on each side. It turns out you have to bend these flaps to fit your exhaust pipe. This took about a half hour or 45 minutes to do. First, I had to find a bar or heavy pipe that was the same diameter as the exhaust pipe. Then, I had to bend the metal without kinking it. To make matters worse, the edges of the flaps had screw holes drilled in them and these had to be bent over a vise, being careful to pad it first so as not to scratch the chrome. These edges had to be bent just perfectly, so that when you fit the now-curved part around the exhaust pipe, the holes in the edges of the flaps line up in a way that allows you to pass bolts throgh them. Also, the bolts didn't come with the exhaust deflector, you had to go to a hardware store a buy them separately. Yes, I had plenty of bolts around the shop, but not stainless steel bolts, as recommended in the instructions. So it took another two hours to drive to the next town to buy the bolts. I figure I did about $40 worth of work and traveling to put an exhaust deflector on my car. To make matters worse, I don't like the way the car sounds with the deflector (the exhaust is too loud) and the first time I drove it, the car smelled like it was on fire. (I hope it's just a rust-proofing oil burning off the chrome.)

If you ask me, a company that charges nearly $30 for a chrome exhaust tip could have the courtesy to bend it for you and include a few stainless steel fasteners. But, that's only my opinion. Tell me yours.

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