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On the 1989 and 1990 model year 525i or the two 535i cars that I was analyzing, the exhaust had two main parts, a front section and a rear section. The front section starts by the exhaust manifold bends down, incorporates the catalytic converter and then ends in a bolted flange. The rear section bolts to that, and makes an “s” shaped curve towards the driver side, where a large muffler and the tailpipe tips complete the picture.
Removal of the rear section consisted of separating the front and rear section at the flange and then freeing the exhaust from the hangers. There is more than one way to approach the latter process. For the rearmost hanger, I used a 10 mm socket to remove the bolt that attached the metal connector to the hanger from the exhaust.
I have been working on cars for many years and even so, the rear section and its muffler surprised me with how much it weighed.