Catalytic converter clogged what do i do

RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
First and foremost, my family and I maintain a razer thin profit margin.

So last night, the check engine light came on.

My family went to O'Reilly auto parts and their machine said clogged converter.

I'm having a hard time locating a mechanic to take care of this and am looking for guidance.

Posts

  • Macro9Macro9 Registered User regular
    edited November 2016
    When I was younger I had a similar problem and was able to fix it for a few months after dumping some lacquer thinner in my tank and giving it a nice Italian tune up. I don't know if I'd recommend it but it did work for a time for me. Might be something to look into.

    If you are not required to follow any emission testing you could maybe replace it with a flex pipe or test pipe. I don't know what the laws are for you so your mileage may vary.

    Have you used a temperature gun on it? Also how many converters do you have? If you multiple of them you may need to find out which one it is. You could always give it some nice whacks with a hammer with a block of wood to see what happens.

    Bad Converters suck when you're on a tight budget and I feel your pain. Hopefully it works out for you.

    Macro9 on
    bO0v7.png
  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    If you have emissions testing in your state, you'll need to get it fixed. You may be able to find a used one in a junkyard for cheaper, but unfortunately it's an expensive part. That said, the work itself is fairly straightforward and can be done at a typical muffler shop.

    If you're not in a state that does inspections... I mean, it's not a great thing to do, but you could just leave it as is if it's otherwise running okay. Gas mileage will probably suffer.

    Cats don't generally just fail though, if they do there's usually a root cause of an engine that's running rich or otherwise not burning fuel correctly. Regardless of what you do with the cat, the car is probably due for a tune up. Spark plugs, plug wires, and the distributor cap (if applicable) is a pretty typical starting point for that.

    Macro9chrishallett83
  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    Cats 'failing' are more often than not sooted. The "Italian tuneup" (thrashing the pants off your car for an extended period of time to get everything good and hot) method can help un-soot a minor incidence, but you probably won't be so lucky.

    A new cat is a simple bolt-in job, but the parts are expensive because calalytic converters have lots of precious metals on them (platinum, mostly). If you live in a state that has lax emission laws (i.e the south, the mid-west), you can just pull the cat off yourself and smash the guts out of it. This is bad for the environment, but then there are hundreds of millions of cars running around the globe without cats, one more isn't going to be the straw that broke the camels back.

  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    edited November 2016
    Yeah, we use the terms interchangeably in the industry. A cat doesn't have any moving parts, either air passes through it or it doesn't.

    You can't exactly wash it out with a garden hose.

    mRahmani on
    chrishallett83
  • L Ron HowardL Ron Howard Registered User regular
    I hope this is relevant, but you can take your old cat to places and sell them for a bit of money. As was said, they're full of precious metals. I don't think it's the kind of thing where you need a core for it. You just go to the dealership or where ever and get a new one, and sell the old one so you come out a little bit less behind.

    guidomaggi
  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    I think the primary concern here is whether or not you're located in a state that handles emissions testing. If you are not, and you truly can't afford it, that converter can be cut out and replaced by a straight section of pipe (in most cases). The Check Engine Light will be stuck on (because it will forever believe your non-existent catalytic converter is inefficient, which is kind of true), but you won't have to worry about the converter plugging off and causing massive exhaust restrictions.

    I can get you more detailed options if I know your year, make, and model and engine size though.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    Washington state Chevy cruze 2013.

    Uncle suggested tune up to handle this problem.

    Currently thinking mineke

  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    Pretty sure the cat on that is under emissions warranty to 100,000 miles. Get it checked at the dealer.

    schussShadowfirechrishallett83
  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    edited November 2016
    Washington state Chevy cruze 2013.

    Uncle suggested tune up to handle this problem.

    Currently thinking mineke

    Oh I remember this car.

    Tl;dr - You can try to blow the exhaust out, but replacement/removal is likely to be the only viable option. Depending on your ZIP code will likely dictate whether you can just cut them out, or whether you HAVE to replace them.

    A tune-up will likely help with the REASON the the catalytic converter plugged up (worn out plugs not burning fuel efficiently, sending unburnt fuel through the exhaust overheating the catalytic converters), but it will not fix the plugging problem.

    Converters plug for one of two reasons:

    1) Either contaminants (soot, oil, etc) make their way through the exhaust accumulating on the substrate (the part the performs the cleaning of the exhaust gasses for mother nature), causing build-ups to restrict exhaust gas flow. This can be sometimes resolved with the "Italian Tune-Up" (driving it like a jerk, high RPM's, just run her hard). This is also where the recommendation for lacquer thinner came in to act as a sort of detergent, and attempt to loosen the deposits (I DO NOT recommend doing this unless you don't give a shit about the car. Older cars would likely have no problem with this, but newer direct injection engines have pretty fine tolerances on their fuel injectors, and I would air on the side of caution).

    2) Unburnt fuel makes it's way through the exhaust and the metal catalyst reacts, causing it to overheat and melt. This melting of the substrate blocks exhaust gas flow. The substrate is non-serviceable, and will require either replacement or removal. Some exhaust shops are able to save you money by installing universal (ie. not designed to fit, but can fit) catalytic converters, or by removing the converter entirely (if this is allowable in your state).

    It's basically impossible to know which of the 2 is ailing the car until the converter is removed and inspected (which means you're halfway there). Being that you're in Washington state, it appears that the rules are:

    Emissions tests are required every 2 years. Your renewal notice will indicate whether your vehicle is up for inspection.

    All vehicles registered in the following counties* that aren't exempt (see “Inspection Exemptions" below) must undergo vehicle emissions testing:

    Clark
    King
    Pierce
    Snohomish
    Spokane

    * Some ZIP codes are exempt from emissions checks. Refer to the state's Emission Check Area ZIP Codes list for clarification. - Source: http://www.dmv.org/wa-washington/smog-check.php


    Hopefully this helps some. =/ Catalytic converter problems are a real bitch.

    BouwsT on
    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    mRahmani wrote: »
    Pretty sure the cat on that is under emissions warranty to 100,000 miles. Get it checked at the dealer.

    Also a super good call, could be covered? Doesn't hurt to ask, because you were only up to 50K just last year, weren't you Royce?

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    Triple check that warranty, I'd have to confirm to be sure but I believe the Cruze has the exhaust manifold and cat as a single assembly. That is going to be $$$ to replace.

  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    I'm getting conflicting reports. Expanded view on my repair guide shows it bolted directly to the manifold, but the direct fit replacement sold through our local NAPA dealer is a one piece manifold/converter assembly, like Rahmani says.

    Quadruple check the warranty.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
    guidomaggi
  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    288282.png

    There are two cats on the 2013 Cruze, part #18 and part #6. Get to the dealer ASAP, as the emissions warranty runs out at 80,000 miles.

    BouwsTtinwhiskersZilla360Elvenshaechrishallett83
  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    WOOO! 150,000 warrenty good till 2028! Calling now!

    BouwsTL Ron HowardchromdomSiskaLostNinjaShadowfireMcFodderThroElvenshaeChall
  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    Bam, I'm glad to hear that Royce! Those things are not cheap, especially the manifold integral designs.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
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