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Saturday, September 15, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATION - Replacing Donaldson Muffler on Safari Motorhome

Motorhome maintenance is a must. Our rig is now 22 years old and needs regular service and strict vigilance of things that need replacement.  It's good to stay on top of things, and if you can fix it or replace it before it causes further damage.

We replaced the muffler back in April of 2009. Here is the blog post from that process:

Fast forward now nine and half years later-----  We noticed the motorhome was sounding a little louder. Although it's kind of hard to hear the noise back there in the engine area when you are riding 38 feet up in the front.

Nine and a half years is a pretty long life for a muffler, I guess. Considering that we live in Wisconsin with cold and damp and snow and salt and heat and humidity too.  Steve did a lot of research to find the best price on a replacement muffler. He checked high and low everywhere, with calling local dealers and shopping on the internet.

We needed the large Donaldson muffler and both of the mounting bands. You will see why in the pictures further down the line.  Here is where he placed the order from all the information and the link to their website:

TUCSON, AZ 85714 
Tucson, AZ 85714 
Phone: 520-889-5781

$26.13 each - $52.26


Subtotal: $260.56
Shipping: $45.13
Total: $305.69

from our local NAPA
1- 5" u bolt  7.49  733-5774
1-  4" u bolt  5.99   733-5775

from hardware store 
four bolts .73

The total replacement cost:


Steve figures the cost would have been in the $800.00 range to have it done somewhere. I am so glad he is able to do this work himself. I just merely help out, hand him parts, fetch tools, and hold things out of the way.

And take pictures of course!

Two certain little dogs were very excited to see such huge boxes come delivered by FedEx. It sure made their day!!  They sniffed and snorted and checked out these big intruders that got plopped in our front porch. 

Here is the beautiful shiny new muffler

Here's a close-up of the part number and also a shot of the U-bolts and the 2 really nice mounting bands. They are coated with a type of black substance that is a rust inhibitor of some sorts. You will see why that is needed on the pictures down below. The coating (which we didn't have on the bands before in 2009) is a really really really good idea!

We set up the work area underneath the motorhome with a yoga mat. It works very well on the gravel and rolls up out of the way to be stored in a basement compartment. 

Our mosquitoes here in Wisconsin are totally atrocious, horrible, and are swarming in such large amounts that it's not funny. We've had a lot of rain lately and we've got a super duper bumper crop that has hatched. I am not exaggerating, they are worse right now than any other time of the year, and worse than they have been in many years in the past. 

We set up two Thermacell units to create a dome around the entire work space. These things really work!  https://www.thermacell.com/    I'm not trying to sound like a commercial.  Without these, we could not stand it outside without being covered in thick welts and bites.  The thermacells work wonderfully and you don't have to slather any DEET or sprays on your skin or in your hair.

Steve also brought out the big guns. (His tools to work on the project.)  He knew that all of the bolts and nuts would be rusted tight, so he brought out his torch and tanks to cut them off. He also brought out his air compressor to run his air tools. Since he installed a power post pedestal in our yard, just like at the campgrounds. He is able to plug in his tools while working on the motorhome or anything else in the yard. Handy dandy!

Steve got to work cutting away the rusted up brackets and nuts and bolts. I was able to get this shot with sparks flying! Wheeee

It didn't take too long and he was able to cut it all free from the brackets attached to the frame. Then he could drop the old muffler and tailpipe right down onto the driveway. Clunk.

Wow... just look at that. Wherever the mounting bands were strapped around the muffler, that is where it rusted the worst. I am sure moisture hangs up between the band and the muffler shell, as well as road salt if we happened to have driven on Wisconsin winter roads. We have been known to do that a couple times... ahem.  But we usually try to spray it off as soon as possible. The danged road salt intrudes under the bands and hangs up in there.

That is why it's such a good idea
 that these new bands are coated
with this material to prevent rust.

Steve also had to torch off the U bolt clamps that hold the tail pipe to the muffler. He's going to reuse the tailpipe because it's still in good shape. The muffler, not so much.

Steve started to install the new bands and bolt them up into place on the brackets that are attached to the frame. It turns out that the old bands had holes 8 inches apart, and the new bands have holes only 6 inches apart. Drat!

He ended up drilling new holes in the brackets from above. It's pretty easy leaning down from inside of the motor home, with the raised bed to access the engine compartment. Once he had the new holes drilled in the frame brackets, he could go back underneath and bolt up these new handy dandy mounting bands.

Now it was time to slide in the muffler....
Wow, look how nice that slid into place. 
It was pretty easy I must say.

He clamped on the tailpipe and clamped the upper Inlet pipe with large U-bolts. One is a 4-inch and one is a 5 inch. Those are the ones he was able to get at the local Napa dealer.

My oh my, look at that. 
All nice and shiny and new and pretty.

And quiet!


While we were busy working, these two little furballs were having a good time running around the backyard. I think they were running to avoid the mosquitoes who were chasing them.

They sure were having a good time. I kept snapping picture after picture. I thought it would be fun to capture their silliness.

They are quite experienced at driving the ball around the yard, 
just like it was a sheep that they are herding.

You can see how ferocious they look. They get a little wound up and carried away. Finnegan has his mouth wide-open biting at the ball. Binney has her mouth wide-open trying to chop on Finnegan. All she usually gets is a mouthful of fur. In between yap yap yap barking as they run around.

This is a good way to wear off their energy and burn up some steam. The mosquitoes have been so bad, I didn't even want to take them out for walks the last few days. We need a good hard freeze to kill the mosquitos off.

Their speed is amazing when they race around. I'm glad we put up the fence in our backyard. They are able to run, romp, play, and not have to drag a rope around with them attached to their collars.

Yep, I know I post a lot of pictures of my dogs. 
But after all, they are just so dang cute.


I think tomorrow I will do a post about
The Bird Lady!!! 


  1. Like Steve I try to do as much of our Maintenance and Modifications as well to save Big $$$$.
    The Dogs are Cute and do need a way to burn off their energy.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. I often wonder why the states aren't charged for using salt and rotting vehicles down!!! I lived in Ohio for 6 years and I had a spring, summer, fall pickup to drive and also a winter pickup to drive. By the time I was transferred to S TX, my winter rig had horrendous holes in the floorboard, fenders, bed, etc. Had to sell it for scrap even tho the engine and drive train were still great!! I always felt that I should have charged the state for my loss! (Yeah, sure!! Good luck with that!!)
    Don in Okla.

  3. I will have to say I enjoyed the pictures of the dogs a lot more than the muffler shots!! I love watching my little guys interact when I am in the yard with them.

  4. Just did the same job on my 1998 Safari Sahara motorhome. Thanks for the info and pictures, it helped! I ended up wiping down the muffler, mounting bands, new piping and elbows with solvent then painted them with a high heat primer and silver high heat paint. It should help protect the new parts from the elements, especially the raw welded areas that start to rust almost immediately.


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