On friday my brother in law and I set off out to the wrecking yard to try find an exhaust for the Olds, because it basically didn't have one from the catalytic converter back. After peeking under what seemed like a hundred cars, none of which had wheels under them, we finally found one that was off the ground and had a complete exhaust. It wasn't just complete, it was an almost brand new aftermarket exhaust that someone had put on the car we pulled it off of!
We set about removing it, but I couldn't free up the bolts behind the cat. We ended up having to leave it, and went back today. I wasn't going to give up, I wasn't coming home empty handed again, and most importantly I wasn't spending another day driving around temporarily deaf from interior resonance/drone from a goddamn V6.
I finally wound up cutting the exhaust off just behind the cat, then grabbed some miscellaneous bits and pieces from the exhaust shop and sleeved the rest of it back together, which slides into my cat and only leaks the tiniest bit. If I can get the car further off the ground I should be able to weld the sleeve into the old flange on the back of the cat and have a perfectly good exhaust.
Because it leaks the tiniest bit at the moment, there's a very minor raspy noise under acceleration - but oh my god the difference is astounding. The radio is worth listening to. You can drive to the store without once itching your ear. You can hold a conversation.
All for about $35 and a few hours' work.