A number of the parts for the exhaust system (including this #2 tube assembly) are sourced from Rotax and then welded into assembly at Van's by our team. We are selling the part at our cost of materials (Rotax supplied and otherwise) and labor in this case, a decision that was made specifically because of the fact that we have seen two of these fail in the field and we believe it's in the best interest of aircraft occupants to have the reinforced part. We're certainly not making any money off the replacement pipes, and we actually put quite a bit of time and effort (not built into the cost of the part) into testing whether or not we could reliably produce one standard pipe that would actually fit on flying airplanes consistently. The entire exhaust assembly sells for more than $1200. Complete replacement of the exhaust system has always been the required approach when an exhaust repair has been needed in the past, so in this case we worked to reduce the impact of this particular part change.
All of the ideas being discussed (and a few more) were discussed here at Van's. We cannot take a used pipe on exchange and patch it and then send it to someone else. And sending a patch to the aircraft owner and having a reliable weld made is not something we determined could reliably work. The patches would have to be custom formed to the pipe, which is a time consuming and costly process to get right. The heat-affected zone as a result of welding these pipes requires special attention, to ensure the final result is safe and meets critical specs.
Exhausts are "wear" items, of course. There's a lot of vibration and heat and other forces at play. It's common to need to replace worn or cracked exhaust systems and components on aircraft. And they're never inexpensive, but in the RV world they're at least reasonable. The exhaust on my certified airplane is ridiculously
expensive to replace parts on - much, much more so than any exhaust system on any RV! The last part I had to replace on that airplane was a simple curved shield with a small screen welded on, and it was more than triple the cost of the pipe in question here.
So, we understand the frustration but please realize that we've done all we can to make it as reasonable as possible to take care of this item. Our goal here is to tell you about the issues we have seen in the field on the aircraft where the exhaust has cracked, so you can address the problem proactively. We do so in the interest of both safety and transparency, as we care about our customers and value providing you useful information you can act on.
[ed. $230 change that can keep CO from filling your lungs. I'm pretty sure this 'ol thread has run it's discussion course, so I'll close it up now. Greg, thanks to you and the mothership for looking out for us and thanks for the solution.
"Learn it. Know it. Live it." --- Brad Hamilton (movie quote)