About 4-5 years ago I repaired the heat shield above the muffler. 3 of the four mounting locations had rusted out. I was unable to loosen the factory nuts (and at least one of the posts itself started to turn when i tried. So I added a big washer and new nut on top of the old ones and it was fine. Well Sunday, the heat shield fell off. The one remaining factory mount and all 3 of my new ones had rusted. It fell off while driving so the heat shield itself got bent up, but I may be able to fix that.
Now I have a dilemma. Three of the holes on the exhaust shield are now about 1.5”+ in diameter, the nuts I added are now rusted on and there aren’t enough threads on those posts to add another but to the stack. If I take it to a dealer, the fact that one of the posts started to turn a few years ago worries me. I bet replacing the posts is a very expensive affair. I called a local (trusted) muffler shop and the guy on the phone told me to just drive it without it. I looked at where the shield is located and don’t see any wires or cables in that area. Just sheet metal for the floor under the third row seats. But I can’t imagine Toyota would spend the money to put a heat shield on there if it wasn’t needed.
So, what do you guys think is the best solution to this? Is it safe to drive without this shield?