I ordered a set of motor mounts online for $80. I shoulda popped the hood first to inspect before ordering. All the motor mounts appeared in good condition.
I was able to jack up the car and crawl under last month.
Turned out to be the catalytic converter. Neck of the converter pointing toward the engine had corroded and broken off - but not completely.
Metallic clunk was sound of it occasionally clanking against the pipes as it bent in a scissor motion to the remaining metal.
I had to debate whether to buy a new one for a car I only plan to keep another year. Or just repair.
The neck had corrodeed almost all the way around with less than 7 percent of the metal remaining for the clamp to hang on to. It was hanging the way a the lid to a tin can would hang if you just cut around the can and bent the lid back a bit, not pulling it completely off.
I removed the cat and used a wire brush wheel on a electric drill to remove all the rust on the outside and inside. By now tha remaining 7 percent was probably less and just a little thicker than tinfoil.
Looking inside the cat, the insides looked intact. I could see through the honecomb with no blockages.
I had an old Harbor Freight flux core wire welder I had gotten years ago and never used. I figured what can I lose? I can try welding it back together!
Aligning the tow piece best I could I found that it was like a serrated knife edge all around. In as much as 40 percent around, there was a 3mm gap. To bridge the gap between to two edges, I took a wire coat hanger and sanded off all the paint/enamel.
Carefully, I tack welded all the edges that were already close together. Then, I welded the wide gaps with coat hanger in the middle to bridge them.
First time welding, so it looked really ugly.
I would stop occassionally and hit the welds with a hammer to chip off the slag and use the wire brush on it.
When I had completely gone around, I held it up to the light to look for pinholes and welded those closed.
Looked pretty good.
I got two new gaskets and some Permatax Copper Hi temp sealant and some new bolts to clamp it back together. Waited 24 hours for the sealant to cure.
Took it off the jack and drove it around - no leaks!
It's been doing great since then.
Now I have to get around to return the motor mounts.
Harbor freight welder has paid for itself on it's first use. I had gotten it on sale for $90. I think the cat I wanted to buy was going to cost $80, not including labor.