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Discussion Starter #1
I'm back at working on the Smurf (96 Cougar stock). I'm struggling with removing the front exhaust & tranny cross member. I've searched and can't find what I'm looking for. I disconnected the exhaust but can't slide it back far enough to get the hangers to slide out of the tubes. Is there a trick here? Can I remove the whole mounting bracket from the tranny to get the exhaust out? Do I need the exhaust out to get the tranny cross member off the car? I had the xmember unbolted, but could not fan-angle it out with the exhaust in the way. Thanks for any help.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Couple things to look for with the exhaust. The exhaust manifolds have studs which might be catching the flanges as you try to pull it back, preventing you from sliding the exhaust out of the mount unless you get the angle right. With the driveshaft and driveshaft loops/gas tank still in place, you can unbolt the trans. crossmember to give you a little more room to maneuver the exhaust without the trans falling. I'd suggest putting a floor jack under it to ease the "shock" of the slack in the bind that the driveshaft will cause, after the bolts let go from the body. Also shoot a bunch of penetrant of choice (PB, WD40, Liquid Wrench etc.) into that rubber exhaust mount on the trans crossmemeber, it'll help them slide out a lot easier.
 

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You need to remove the back half of the exhaust if you want to drop the front half / Y pipe assembly. It will get in your way and prevent you from removing the hangers out of the transmission x-member. Once the back half is off the car, or at least dropped at the hanger near the IRS, you may need to use a hammer to slide the hangers out of the trans X-member portion.
 

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just grab a dead blow mallet and give that sumbitch hell, they get gunk and rust in those hangars that make them stick.

the middle pipe will be in the way, and yes it can catch on the studs as you're trying to pull it
 

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IIRC getting it apart wasn't too hard on mine. Putting back together was a PITA. Especially since I used nuts and bolts off the manifolds.

What was the biggest hangup was where the clamp is on the small extension pipe, that joint was stuck together. Separating the exhaust at that location would give a lot more angle to remove and install it. I took it apart at the bolted flange in the middle, that makes it very tight to get in an out. Looking back I should have just cut the down pipes somewhere in the middle, and put it back together with band clamps. Would be kind of sloppy way to do it, but also have saved me a lot of time and drilling!

Another thing I did that helped... Matt posted in one of his threads that he cut down the two hangers a small amount before reinstall.That advice seemed to make it a bit easier to get back together
 

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On literally every single MN12 I have ever owned (that still had stock exhaust), I pulled the pipe back as far as it would go, then got out the cut-off wheel and cut the last inch or so off those bars that slide into the hanger, and never had an issue with them again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
MadMikeyL that seems like what I need to do. The Smurf has no rust and I was amazed at how easily things came apart. I would never touch exhaust work up north because all the rust.
The exhaust slides nice and easy in those hangers, just won't come all the way out.
 

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Another thing I did that helped... Matt posted in one of his threads that he cut down the two hangers a small amount before reinstall.That advice seemed to make it a bit easier to get back together
Oh yeah, I actually forgot I did that. I used the scissor jack to pull the assembly out the very first time but cut down the ends an inch or two to get it back in(and out later). I probably stole that technique from Mike too :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I made some serious progress today before I lost light. I've got all 4 O2 sensors removed, the back 1/2 of the exhaust disco'd from the hanger at the diff and tied out the way & the 4 nuts holding the cats to the manifolds out. I've slid the Y-pipe back as far as I can, the drivers side cat is up against the body and can't get any more flex out of the pipes. Anyone familiar with the bracket mounted to the tranny that the exhaust hangers slide in? It looks like only 2 bolts hold that onto the tranny. There is a electrical connector that I would need to remove from the bracket and obviously support the tranny. Any other issues with removing that braket? I'll try to post pictures later once Dropbox catches up. I'll be back at it tomorrow.
 

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Do you have a cut-off wheel or a sawzall? If so, just cut those hangers flush with the bracket while the exhaust is all the way back. If you don’t have a way to cut those on the car, then yes you will have to remove that bracket. If that is what you are trying to do, then put a jack under the trans pan with a block of wood to spread the load, then remove the one center nut for the trans mount, then the 2 outer bolts for the trans crossmember, then remove the 2 bolts holding that bracket to the trans, which also hold the trans mount.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Exhaust is off. Will be replacing the crossmember bushings tonight and support the engine to remove the mounts tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Got the tranny x member bushings replaced last night, engine lifted and supported today. Wrenched on some of the block bolts, but couldn't break them loose. Soaked with PB blaster and will revisit.
 
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