to make a long story short on the exhaust system. No one would put the system on saying it did not fit. When i did find someone to it
(A national chain with a team of Window Lickers for employees.) They Bleeped it up soooo bad. they clamped it, put everything at the wrong angle, never insatlled a hanger of the TC, and put the cross member support above the cross member so it constanly bangs off it. the CM support go ripped off when I dropped the TC for the swap so that is where I have a hole in my exhaust system. I shold take pics you will want to through up in your mouth. Shes already got one tire in the grave so I am just passing time till she dies and I have the money for a WJ.
I took it to "my mechanic" who said he wouldnt dare touch it, he kind of pissed me off too by chargeing me $28 for a tire roataion. I was thinking around the lines of 10 bucks since it was there for an inspection and he was way into a tire rotation any way.
It could be TIG welded with some work. My friend did this: A small square section (like 1”x1”) was cut from an old exhaust pipe of the same diameter (that way the curvature is maintained) and it gets wire wheeled on both sides to provide a clean surface. Then the curved square section is tack-welded over the hole. Instead of running a continuous bead all the way around the perimeter, he instead made numerous tack-welds until the tacks formed a continuous bead. That way he did not risk burned thru the very thin gage metal.
I know you stated other then welding … for solutions but I thought I would share one way that I know worked.
Of course finding someone willing to help/work in this way may be difficult to find.
94 Black Laredo 4-Liter with QuadraTrac (42RE trans & NP249 TC) 200,000 + miles purchased new
88 Cherokee 2-door with 5speed manual 139K miles(deceased) purchased new