Catalytic converter - fix or replace? - Nissan Forums : Nissan Forum
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#1 Old 10-24-2007, 01:30 AM
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Catalytic converter - fix or new car?

The engine light on my 2000 GXE lit up Monday. Car's running fine as far as I can tell at 123,000 miles Took it to the dealer next day and it came back with a P0420 - TW Catalyst System.

They gave me a cost of about $773 to replace the catalytic converter. Could be more if other parts are needed, like O2 sensor, EGR tube. What's on there is the original, so it's lasted this long.

Is that definitely what it is, or could it be something else? If I need a new cat, how is that price to do it? I'm getting the cat at $545 and labor is just under $200.

Are things like this considered any good: Nissan Altima Catalytic Converter - 96 97 98 99 2000 2001 2.4L 4 Cylinder Altima SE, GXE, XE - Nissan Eastern Converter - big price difference, would make fixing the cat a no-brainer for me.

It's either fix my car - which I love and is in otherwise immaculate condition - or buy a Versa SL for about $287/mo.

Last edited by BriGuy_1971; 10-24-2007 at 01:51 AM.
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#2 Old 10-24-2007, 02:38 AM
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A) You don't need a cat. from the dealer...
B) You should get another quote, muffler shops can usually weld on replacement cats. for as cheap as $90.
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#3 Old 10-24-2007, 02:48 AM
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Well, if I get it done, I want it done right. This dealer has really treated me well over the years. I trust 'em. Even if I buy the cat somewhere else, I'd want them to put it on. If I can save $400 on the part, I'll pay what they want for labor no prob.

What about the aftermarket alternatives? Worth considering? Opinions on them? Eastern Converter? Magnaflow? Other makers? Where to buy?

Last edited by BriGuy_1971; 10-24-2007 at 04:39 AM.
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#4 Old 10-24-2007, 05:05 AM
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you have two catalytic converters on your car. the pre-cat is what causes P0420... NOT the main cat which is what you linked from ebay.

the pre-cat is located in the exhaust manifold. dorman makes an OEM replacement for about $140, or you can post an ad in the for sale forum and buy a used one for cheaper than that from one of the assloads of people that removed theirs and replaced it with an aftermarket header.

check your rear o2 sensor as well... it could also be the culprit of the code, and at $40 is a cheaper fix if you arent sure what exactly is causing it. if the rear o2 is original on the car as well, it could very well be the cause

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#5 Old 10-24-2007, 04:55 PM
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I found out this morning it's the front, not the rear.

The dealer is telling me there were no other codes given, so there are no sensor problems or anything else amiss, just the cat itself. They say the car is in such good shape, there isn't another problem that caused the cat to go bad - it's just worn from use/age.

Eastern Catalytic itself referred me to a site called www.dropshipparts.com that has the part - #40389, which is a direct-fit - for $210 shipped. Trying to decide if I should go that route or bite the bullet and run up the ol' ccard for the dealer's, which is $545.

Funny update: An Eastern rep just told me that's a good price for a Nissan cat. And that it's going to be better.

But... they insist that there has to be another problem that caused the cat to fail. Dealer tells me there isn't. ??? Should I push the dealer to check the car for a cause of the cat failure?

Last edited by BriGuy_1971; 10-24-2007 at 06:40 PM.
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#6 Old 11-04-2007, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BriGuy_1971 View Post
I found out this morning it's the front, not the rear.

The dealer is telling me there were no other codes given, so there are no sensor problems or anything else amiss, just the cat itself. They say the car is in such good shape, there isn't another problem that caused the cat to go bad - it's just worn from use/age.

Eastern Catalytic itself referred me to a site called www.dropshipparts.com that has the part - #40389, which is a direct-fit - for $210 shipped. Trying to decide if I should go that route or bite the bullet and run up the ol' ccard for the dealer's, which is $545.

Funny update: An Eastern rep just told me that's a good price for a Nissan cat. And that it's going to be better.

But... they insist that there has to be another problem that caused the cat to fail. Dealer tells me there isn't. ??? Should I push the dealer to check the car for a cause of the cat failure?
BriGuy, did you get your problem fixed? I am running the same problem code, and I'm going to replace the front cat if replacement of the engine coolant temperature sensor doesn't work.

I have found front cat prices at 247 & 270 for Eastern listed on a few websites. I found a dealer price for I think around 370.

I'm not an expert, but catalytic converters fail in time. Dealer would be right in this case, nothing cause the failure except for wear & tear. Being a 2000 like mine, these cars have almost 8 years + on them.
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#7 Old 11-05-2007, 02:45 AM
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I really don't know... but what really does a catalytic converter do?
ALSO, why can't we just take that pre-cat off completely and just buy a 100ish dollar header? It will still pass the CA inspection with the rear one. Plus a little more HP.

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#8 Old 11-05-2007, 12:07 PM
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The catalytic converter converts harmful gas into "friendly" gas. The front converter, ie. pre-catalytic converter, goes through sort of a pre-stage conversion process for the regular main three-way converter (TWC). So it eliminates a large amount of the bad emissions, which in turn will lets the TWC run much 'cooler' and do a better job controlling emissions.

Since the pre-converter is in the front line of the conversion process, it will become damaged first before the TWC. So a bad main catalytic converter would very much guarantee a bad pre-catalytic converter as well.

What is the main reason why catalytic converters go bad? Running a rich mixture for a prolonged period of time. This causes the catalyst material to overheat and collapse.



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#9 Old 11-05-2007, 04:25 PM
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I really don't understand why people are willing to pay 700$ for oem cat converter when they can get full exhaust with highflow magnaflow cat converter for 200$ tops. + 150$ for obx header.

you don't need front cat converter.
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#10 Old 11-05-2007, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BriGuy_1971 View Post
I found out this morning it's the front, not the rear.

The dealer is telling me there were no other codes given, so there are no sensor problems or anything else amiss, just the cat itself. They say the car is in such good shape, there isn't another problem that caused the cat to go bad - it's just worn from use/age.

Eastern Catalytic itself referred me to a site called www.dropshipparts.com that has the part - #40389, which is a direct-fit - for $210 shipped. Trying to decide if I should go that route or bite the bullet and run up the ol' ccard for the dealer's, which is $545.
...
But... they insist that there has to be another problem that caused the cat to fail. Dealer tells me there isn't. ??? Should I push the dealer to check the car for a cause of the cat failure?
#1) Age of the cat in your case, the materials in the CAT have a finite lifetime. #2) Probably at some point recently or otherwise, unburned fuel igniting in the precat.

I removed mine this year for my header, bought new F&R O2 sensors (welded into the old cats) and put an Eastern Cat on the rear, put the boat anchor on the shelf. Car has always passed emissions easily, including our new wonderful CT program which other than having higher limits, is in many ways just as bad as CARB's.

If you spring for staying OEM in front, by all means get a more definitive answer on the failure. If it got toasted, that's largely visible when you pull it and look down into it. In the most extreme case, my Magna Cat on my Sentra SE-R blew all the guts out the tailpipe after breaking up over time. Cause - running rich and lighting up the mixture after the DP.

The Eastern cat I bought for my first gen was a lot cheaper (rear cat) - maybe $150. The top (front) pre-cat is pretty restrictive and is a band-aid solution to reduce emissions largely due to the need to create flow into the EGR and make up for a poorly designed manifold.

Me? Pick your header, replace the O2 sensor front, since the old one is probably toast. Don't buy an OEM cat, that's crazy.

Since 2003 and before, peace and good luck - I'm outta here!
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#11 Old 11-05-2007, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paradox96 View Post
I really don't understand why people are willing to pay 700$ for oem cat converter when they can get full exhaust with highflow magnaflow cat converter for 200$ tops. + 150$ for obx header.

you don't need front cat converter.
tend to agree esp. if you have concerns over noise, good resonator and muffler go a long way to mitigate that, and the engine has a lot of untapped potential above ~4k that you never get with the stock mani

Since 2003 and before, peace and good luck - I'm outta here!
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#12 Old 02-18-2008, 12:59 AM
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similar issue, please help me

I found this post and figured a new one wasn't necessary, but I can make one if it will help.

I am working on my friend's car (2001 Nissan Altima) and got the p0420 "catalyst out of efficiency threshold" code. I think the code has been on for a while and ignored. The car runs OK IMO, and does not use any oil.

I said I would help the fix it. Is this basically the front converter at the manifold that is the issue? This vehicle needs to pass a maryland emission inspection (currently failed bc of CEL) and I am wondering if I can just replace the whole mess with the OBX header, solve my problem for cheap and still be 'legal'. I don't even feel like disconnecting the old cat etc. I just want to take the whole thing out from the manifold to the second cat and replace with the 4-2-1 header. The replacement cat was around $275 with shipping etc. and the header is $150.

I know that there might be another source for the problem (front oxygen sensor), but can somebody recommend to me putting on the header in this situation, given the maryland state inspection? Please help me as soon as you can. I am new to Nissans and want to order the parts and start working on it this week.

Thank you in advance for your help and sorry for the long post...
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#13 Old 02-18-2008, 01:09 AM
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if the car is running well and the gas mileage is okay, you can rule out any problems with the front o2 sensor.

installing the header is not a bad idea. just remember there is a small part of the engine casting that needs to be shaved in order to make the OBX fit correctly. look in the FAQ there is a thread that shows you exactly what to do.

also, interestingly enough, installing a header is the #1 cause of P0420, which results from the removal of the pre-cat. search for "ghetto sim" and do that after you install the header. it looks retarded, but i promise it works.

actually, if you really just want to try to fix the problem super cheap, just try doing the ghetto sim all on its own. just remember that on a stock car there is no reason you should ever need to do the ghetto sim. it isnt a bad idea if you just want to pass emissions ASAP, but i would not make it your permanent solution, at least not without installing the header as well.

hope this all helps...

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#14 Old 02-18-2008, 01:50 AM
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thx

thank you for the quick reply. I should be able to figure out how to grind down the block and that ghetto simulator thing seems easy enough.

Do you think the car will pass emissions testing without the front catalytic converter, if the back on is still in place?

I just would hate to have to take the header back off and buy the catalytic converter anyway etc.

I am not sure if they pop the hood or anything and I don't want to hang anybody out to dry.

Your are right, I just don't want fool the computer without replacing the cat or installing a header bc it still wouldn't be addressing the issue which is the stock vehicle is throwing the p0420 code.

Thanks for the reply again.
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#15 Old 02-18-2008, 01:56 AM
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i cant speak for what is involved in emissions testing in maryland, so honestly i cannot say to be certain.

but, in new york my car passes with the header and the ghetto sim, and the main cat is in place. they do not do a "sniff test" of my exhaust and actually test the functionality of the cat. all that is required is a visual inspection that there is a cat, and the check engine light is not on

as far as i know, california is the only state where you can fail a visual inspection when a header is installed. but again, you really need to look into the details of emissions testing in your state. you should be able to find all of that information on the state's department of motor vehicles website

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