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So I've got a bit of a problem, one I'm hoping to resolve without breaking down and paying a mechanic. My brake lights don't always want to go on, and I'm having trouble identifying a pattern. Sometimes they go on, sometimes they don't. It seems like it's related to the brake pressure, since when they don't want to work, the auto gear shift doesn't want to release either. It almost seems like there's too much pressure sometimes. I had checked the brake fluid level a little while ago and it was about 1" to 1/2" below the max line, so I filled it to the max line. That doesn't seem to have had any effect though, and they still fail to work just as unpridictably as before. Sometimes it seems like just the way I hit the pedal. The other thing I considered: for a while I had my amp grounded to the same spot (I believe) as the brake lights in the trunk, so I undid that. Also no help.

One other issue, this one exhaust. The resonator(?) part of the down pipe before the cat has a nice big tear in that woven metal around it, and the pipe is cleanly severed. I think I'll use this opportunity to replace it with the ssautochrome header/down pipe a lot of people seem to like, but I'm wondering...why would the pipe break so cleanly like that? Is it likely that the cat is badly clogged and that caused too much back pressure and a burst? Also, would there be any benefit to the ssauto header/downpipe if I don't plan to upgrade from the cat back? Would I get any sort of performance increase?

Any advice is appreciated
 

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the brake lights could be a fuse, shotty wiring or any number of other things. sorry im no help there.

the flex pipe could have broken apart for any number of reasons, including age. the new header is a good way to fix that, and might even gain a few ponies. if u want to spend even less $ than that you can just cut out your flex pipe with an exhaust cutting tool you can rent at most auto parts stores, and replace it with a new one that u can have welded in or u can bolt in yourself with some exhaust U-clamps.
 
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