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My 2000 Sienna is in need of exhaust work. The braided component right under the engine (after the fwd and rear manifolds combine) is rotted and leaking, causing fumes to get in the cabin with vents open standing still. My understanding is the whole system from the exhaust manifolds to the muffler flange (~72" long) is made as one piece. Dealer wanted $1200 to replace. Meanwhile I see aftermarket units for as low as $300. I was all ready to buy an aftermarket and replace it myself, then I read a few posts that seemed to raise concerns about getting fault codes because of differences between factory and aftermarket cat converters. So now I am wondering what to do.

Does anybody have experience with the aftermarket units? I like the idea of replacing between flanges... thats like 6 bolts and I think I can do that. One other thing, the factory install seems to be wrapped in stainless heat or debris/muck shielding. Is this important? Will the aftermarket stuff have that also? Can I buy the shields from toyota and install on my aftermarket unit? I will call a reputable local shop on Monday to get some more advice, but would appreciate input from toyotanation.
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