catalytic converter

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  #1  
Old 02-16-04, 07:26 AM
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Question catalytic converter

I think the catalytic converter on my car may be clogged - I drive a 1998 Chevy Lumina LTZ, with 3800 series II 3.8 liter engine. I am from west central Iowa.

I was wondering how much should it cost to have the catalytic converter and the oxygen sensor looked at and replaced if necessary, parts and labor? Also, is this a part that can be easily replaced, or would it be best to just take it in?

Thanks,
kev
 
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  #2  
Old 02-16-04, 07:50 AM
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Before you pay anything to replace either part, check your odometer and owner's manual. Both of these parts are in the engine breathing/pollution control system and as such MUST last for between (IIRC) 80,000 and 100,000 miles, regardless of the car manufacturer.

I think the number of miles may have changed over the past 6 years but your owner's manual will state it for your year car.

frank
 
  #3  
Old 02-16-04, 07:54 AM
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I'll check on that - the car currently has over 120,000 on it, so it sounds like it may be due for a replacement.

How difficult would it be to replace these parts on my own?
 
  #4  
Old 02-16-04, 08:12 AM
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find someone that...

...can do a backpressure test on your exhaust. you give no indication as to why you think the cat is restricted. it's expensive to replace and should be tested first. so for doing it yourself...unless you have welding experience and equipment, it's better left to the exhaust pros or the dealer
 
  #5  
Old 02-16-04, 07:00 PM
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I believe Federal law requires a shop to make that repair. Any incorrect installation would be considered "tampering" under Federal law. You have to get the parts from the dealer anyway. Those aftermarket cats can cause problems. They don't perform the same.
 
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Old 02-17-04, 08:02 AM
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thanks for all the advice, i guess i'll take it in

can anyone give me an estimate of what is a fair price for this work? as i said, i'm from west central iowa

thanks again
 
  #7  
Old 02-17-04, 08:23 AM
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are you sitting down?

they list two different ones...one is $638 list price and the other is $665 list price...figure about 1 - 1.5 hours labor at their customer pay shop rate

the 02 sensor lists for about $115 and there is more than one.

now...back to my original question....why do you think that the cat is restricted?

a competent tech can test the back pressure and tell you if you have an exhaust restriction...
 
  #8  
Old 02-17-04, 02:53 PM
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If you need a converter buy it over the counter it's easy to change on that car.You shouldn't have to pay list price that way.On a car with that mileage I'd call a muffler shop they can test it and install one cheaper than the oe cat for less than you will buy it.Is the ses lamp on?
 
  #9  
Old 02-17-04, 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by slumlordfrank
Before you pay anything to replace either part, check your odometer and owner's manual. Both of these parts are in the engine breathing/pollution control system and as such MUST last for between (IIRC) 80,000 and 100,000 miles, regardless of the car manufacturer.

I think the number of miles may have changed over the past 6 years but your owner's manual will state it for your year car.

frank
I disagree with the fact that the auto manufacturers have to abide by that rule because people can destroy the converter by neglecting their car or adding chemicals in the fuel that ruin the cat.It is federal law however so the company loses if you drive with a misfire or ses lamp on until the cat clogs.Catalytic converters don't just go bad something else causes the failure.Great emmision warranty though probably adds about 3grand to the price of a new car.
 
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Old 02-17-04, 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by davo
If you need a converter buy it over the counter it's easy to change on that car.You shouldn't have to pay list price that way.On a car with that mileage I'd call a muffler shop they can test it and install one cheaper than the oe cat for less than you will buy it.Is the ses lamp on?
No Davo, I've seen that backfire on 2 different jobs. New cat, continuous Check engine light with cat code. turns out the aftermarket units had insufficient capacity and set a PO420 code until the dealer unit was installed. No problem after that. Do not use aftermarket cats on OBDII cars. You will regret it.
 
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Old 02-18-04, 05:19 AM
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Desi you may be right I've never put an aftermarket cat on an obd2 vehicle but I still think that they can buy the cat over the counter at the dealer and install it themseleves and save labor dollars and probably not pay list price.
 
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Old 02-18-04, 06:11 AM
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Originally posted by Desi501
I believe Federal law requires a shop to make that repair. Any incorrect installation would be considered "tampering" under Federal law. You have to get the parts from the dealer anyway. Those aftermarket cats can cause problems. They don't perform the same.
There's no way you'll get in trouble if you replace your own cat.
 
  #13  
Old 02-18-04, 09:58 AM
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the reason i thought that there *might* be something wrong with the cat is because i was getting a bad smell when the car ran, but it could also possible be a small oil leak, i am not sure yet, hence my questions on the board. haven't done anything yet and was just trying to get some ideas....thanks for all of the advice, anymore advice anyone has is much appreciated

someone said in one of the above posts that this will require welding?? or did i read that incorrectly? some say this cannot be done on your own, others say go for it - i am getting confused - which is right?

thanks,
kevin
 
  #14  
Old 02-18-04, 12:28 PM
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A bad smell coming from a car could be a lot of things.

If I remember right replacing a cat wouldn't require any welding. It should just be some bolts. You'd probably have to take everything off such as the tail pipe, muffler, and any other stuff that you need to take off in order to get to the cat easily. My guess would be it wouldn't take more than a couple hours tops.
 
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Old 02-18-04, 02:46 PM
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Originally posted by kskwsde
the reason i thought that there *might* be something wrong with the cat is because i was getting a bad smell when the car ran, but it could also possible be a small oil leak,
thanks,
kevin
WAIT A MINUTE!
You don't need a new cat. That smell just means either something is rich or like you said, possibly oil dripping on the exhaust. You car monitors exhaust before and after the cat just so it can tell you if that cat isn't doing it's job. It can be very expensive to "self diagnose" in situations like this. You nearly spent $700 for a cat you likely don't need. Why don't you spend $75 and get a professional opinion on what that smell might be caused by.

As far as the welding question, every car is different. Some simply bolt together and some are part of the front pipe. It really doesn't matter because I doubt you need one anyway.
 
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Old 02-18-04, 02:51 PM
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I haven't spent $700 on anything - as I said in a previous post, I haven't done anything yet and was just trying to get some ideas....


thanks,
kevin
 
  #17  
Old 02-18-04, 05:09 PM
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I am not sure if this idea will work for a car as new as yours or even if it is legal, but friends of mine have drilled through the cat to get rid of the clog and their cars actually ran better when the cat was just a cosmetic, non functioning piece of equipment.
 
  #18  
Old 02-18-04, 05:27 PM
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dont drill

Do not drill the convertor it is illlegal in all 50 states.Look and see if the one you have now is welded.Some are bolt ons but others require a weld,Why dont you just go to the muffler shop and see what they say on the cost get the price for parts and labor and ask them if you can get one from the Chevy place will they install it.
By the way you can not buy one from a junk yard it is not legal for them to sell you one at least here in Texas.I would not do that anyway but I thought you might need to know that.
 
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Old 02-18-04, 05:52 PM
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I don't know why we're still talking about changing a converter here. An odor is surely not an indication of a bad converter. It's time to start looking for the real cause of the odor.
 
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