Exhaust Valance DIY
Making an exhaust valance is quite easy and very satisfying.
On a standard City-Coupe/Fortwo the lower rear valance is unpainted black plastic, no matter
what colour panels and tridion you have, if you have a silver tridion it looks wrong. Remove it.
If you opt for an aftermarket exhaust you quite often get a matching valance as
seen below on ProblemChild's smart, it is a Blindschleiche twin centre exit very
much like the original Brabus exhaust.
So what do you do if you have a standard exhaust and want something different,
got a new exhaust but don't like valance that came with it or even ripped it off
in freak idiotic reversing incident?
Make Your Own
I was lucky to have an old Blindschleiche valance to make a template from,
if you don't, just remove the plastic one, hold a large piece of card behind the back panel
and draw the outline directly onto it. the fixing points can be seen and are easily guessed.
Once you have the template you need to transfer it to a nice bit of metal,
tape the edges onto the metal/mesh and get cutting.
You can use 1 of 3 things, tin snips, a grinder or a metal nibbler (below)
Although it looks like a cross between Robocop and the chest burster from Alien,
it's avery quick, precise and easy tool to use.
Just like in primary school, cut around the line as best as you can.
This is what you are hopefully left with, an exact copy of the template.
Using a pair of pliers, bend the tabs 90 degrees towards you and get ready to go and fit it.
With the back off the car (see here) fix the valance in place with either nuts and bolts,
rivets or screws and fast fixings. Reattach the rear of your car and look at your handiwork.
What happens if I have no talent/tools/mesh etc?
Simple, get someone else to do it for you. At the moment the only person with the Evil seal of approval is a guy called 'Chalky' White who is now a regular on Ebay (C_h_a_l_k_y)
He does a few other parts too but started off with custom valances, if you have something
in mind it's worth giving him a call as his prices are way better than everyone else.
Custom Biohazard Valance
After chatting to chalky about my idea he recommended he made me a valance border, essentially it's a metal valance with the centre cut out so you are left with a 15mm border.
With a border valance you are then able to add any mesh you want.
I chose to use biohazard symbol mesh that was on offer at Halfords/Ripspeed
and one sheet was enough for what I wanted to do with it.
Using the border valance as a template I cut out the mesh with a decent pair of scissors
and placed the cut mesh behind the border to mark up all the bolt holes.
With all the bolt holes marked I cut them out using a standard hole punch.
Luckily the Halfords mesh is very thin and easy to work with.
Obviously I had to colour code it to match the car so I sprayed it with hammerite,
fitted and tightened all of the nuts and attached it to the car as showed previously.
At this stage the bolt heads are still silver, they might stay like that, they might not.
I Don't Want A Valance
If you have a nice looking exhaust and you want to show it off, you don't want to hide
it behind a valance. The problem with removing the valance is that the lower section
of the rear bumper is attached to it. If you take the valance off, the bumper flaps about.
One solution has been offered elsewhere but involves cutting sections from the valance supports,
splaying them out further and securing the bumper to the relocated supports with zip ties.
A long time ago I saw a better solution on a German site so decided to copy it.
Prototype Valance Tips
Initially I was intending to use aluminium or stainless steel but for speed I opted for 'Foamex'.
Foamex (also called Sintra), is an aerated plastic board with thin solid plastic laminates on each side. It's easy to cut and bend and can be sanded and filed with ease. Perfect for prototyping.
I used a felt pen to copy the fixing points from an original valance.
Cut the shape with a pair of scissors and bent it with a heat gun.
Then I copied the shape again and cut it out as before.
This time it was bent in the other direction to give a mirrored pair of brackets.
Using a file and sand paper, I cleaned up the edges and drilled out the two large holes.
They bolt in place using a single bolt and a washer. The washer stops the Foamex compressing.
Both valance tips installed and tightened up.
With the rear bumper in place and bolted down, I eyed up the captive nut in the original valance
support brackets and drilled a 4mm hole for the fixing bolts to go through. The captive nuts can
move up and down by about 15mm so it isn't essential for you to get the holes spot on.
Now your exhaust is on show and the rear panels are held in place.
OK, my exhaust is filthy and shouldn't be on display but I only made these valance tips
so I could remove my existing valance for an overhaul and a respray.
These are ones that were fitted to to Pianoman's car in mid 2006, origin unknown.