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Hi. About 2 years ago I had my transmission replaced under warranty. Simultaneously the belt was replaced as well.
Unfortunately after I picked up the car there was this rattling sound which was not entirely related to the rpms. Shortly after I got the car I took it in for a similar sound which turned out to be a rattling heat shroud. Since I had just had the transmission replaced I figured when the exhaust was put back in place they didn't re-secure the heat shield. I tried to take it to a local dealer who wanted $90 to look at my car to figure out the cause...and several days to get to it at their leisure - no appointment.

Anyway, after taking my car to a couple different mechanics, as i dont live near the dealer who performed the transmission work, nothing made sense why I was hearing an exhaust leak.

I finally made an appointment to make the 3 hour drive and get it looked at by the dealer again - service manager changed but he agreed to "look" at it.

After looking at my car the dealer indicated that my exhaust manifold was rusted through and needed to be replaced... odd - I thought and confirmed with another mechanic that the manifold was stainless. My car is a 2009 altima. Rusted... all the way through in 5-6years?

I cannot remember the qoute but it was like $1500-2000 to replace the manifold.

Other mechanics that have checked my car believed the gasket was either not put in or potentially the original gasket was replaced after the exhaust was removed/put back and this could be the source of the leak.

Should the gasket be replaced if the exhaust is dropped and replaced? Is this more likely than the manifold rusting through?

Also, the rattling turns out to be the bearing for the AC compressor.

Sorry for the long winded explaination... i tried to be brief considering all the trouble this has given me - next concern is the smell of exhaust inside the car ... Need to get this addressed and want to see what experiences or advice there is out there since the dealer was no help. They either cracked it by over tightening the manifold or forgot to replace the gasket or something else - I don't believe in coincidences like this... the leak didn't develop.. it was immediate after the transmission job.
 
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