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Old 01-03-2011, 12:10 PM   #1
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Default How long should catalytic converters last

04 TL 6MT, 240K miles. Check engine code was 0420, indicating a bad cat. This car actually has THREE catalytic converters. 400 bucks for the part and 4 hours of labor to replace it later, 1000 bucks.

What is a reasonable time/miles for a cat? I can only assume it uses up all the material in it after so many miles and exhaust. If one went bad I can only assume the other one is on it's way out.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:24 PM   #2
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Depends. So life of car so less than 100k. Usually they get danaged by the car being over rich or other things in teh exhust stream that damage it.

Also 0420 does not mean bad cat, just means that the O2 sensor is not reading the right information.
Could be something wrong on that bank of Cyl's, a bad O2 sensor, and even a bad Cat.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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Last car had an original cat, 200k and 14 years later. Pretty sure my parents have never had a cat issue and they keep their cars at least 10 years and well past 100k.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by spidey07 View Post
04 TL 6MT, 240K miles. Check engine code was 0420, indicating a bad cat. This car actually has THREE catalytic converters. 400 bucks for the part and 4 hours of labor to replace it later, 1000 bucks.

What is a reasonable time/miles for a cat? I can only assume it uses up all the material in it after so many miles and exhaust. If one went bad I can only assume the other one is on it's way out.
Heck, my V8 has three per side...

There are too many factors to say how long a cat will last. Drive a couple thousand miles with the engine running rich and that will kill them in short order.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:31 PM   #5
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I can only assume it uses up all the material in it after so many miles and exhaust. If one went bad I can only assume the other one is on it's way out.
Catalysts aren't consumed by the reactions they facilitate. In theory, a catalyst should never wear out. In practice, however, they eventually become contaminated and their effectiveness goes down. This contamination can be accelerated by poor mixture control (either too rich or too lean) or by other contaminants getting into the combustion chamber (e.g. burning oil or coolant).

Your car, as you said, has 3 catalytic converters. The usual arrangement would be one for each bank of cylinders and then a third further downstream after the headers have merged into one exhaust pipe. If one bank of cylinders were a little off, then the catalytic converter for that bank would be contaminated the fastest, and the downstream cat would have minor additional contamination, but the cat for the "good" cylinder bank wouldn't have any problems. It all depends on where the contaminants are coming from.

At 240,000 miles, it's probably a good time for a thorough tune-up anyway though. Things like having the injectors rebuilt, making sure the MAF sensor is clean, that the fuel filter is changed, and that the fuel pressure regulator isn't getting weak, etc. Might be overkill for a daily beater, but I tend to err in that direction with my own cars.

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Old 01-03-2011, 02:14 PM   #6
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That's probably a good life.
I've never had a car with that many miles, but it would not surprise me to have to replace something like that with that mileage.

I've never replaced one on any of my cars.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:25 PM   #7
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At least 100K miles, unless the engine was running very rich due to a bad O2 sensor. And they usually last much longer now. Mine was only replaced due to a leak in the flex connector from the exhaust manifold. So the replacement downpipe I went with (from ZZP Performance) came with it's own high flow cat already in place.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:03 PM   #8
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Forever, unless the engine isn't maintained.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:52 PM   #9
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At 240,000 miles, it's probably a good time for a thorough tune-up anyway though. Things like having the injectors rebuilt, making sure the MAF sensor is clean, that the fuel filter is changed, and that the fuel pressure regulator isn't getting weak, etc. Might be overkill for a daily beater, but I tend to err in that direction with my own cars.
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Just so you know. You cannot "rebuild" a gasoline injector. The bodies are welded together and they are injection molded over with plastic. Older Diesel injectors Yes.
Gasoline injectors No.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:29 PM   #10
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04 TL 6MT, 240K miles.
Dang you drive a lot, spidey!
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:02 PM   #11
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Just so you know. You cannot "rebuild" a gasoline injector. The bodies are welded together and they are injection molded over with plastic. Older Diesel injectors Yes.
Gasoline injectors No.
I must have imagined rebuilding the injectors in my 951 then.

And this well-reputed website must be selling imaginary rebuilt injectors as well.

While I'm sure that some cars do have non-serviceable injectors, many do have rebuildable injectors. Most BOSCH units I've seen are rebuildable, at least to the extent of being able to replace the seals and the hat/nozzle which are pretty much all the parts that get out of whack.

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Old 01-03-2011, 06:34 PM   #12
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Dang you drive a lot, spidey!
Gotta get to work. Thanks for the upkeep tips Zem, I intend to drive it at least another 100K. 1-1.5K maintenance a year is better than a car payment.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:46 PM   #13
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I have an '01 I30 with 130k miles, both of my precats went bad (P0420 & P0430). That's due to the stupid honeycomb structure that just breaks down inside the cats.

The main cat is still going strong, who knows I thought that was supposed to be a lifetime part.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:08 PM   #14
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Forever, unless the engine isn't maintained.

i agree with this.

i think youll get bad batches of cats out there where theyre made of some poor quality metals, but most cats will last as long as the engine stays running efficiently.

my 99 ranger has 201,000 miles and still has original cats. just about every sensor has been replaced though, including all 3 o2 sensors (thats not fun to do btw). ive done well maintaining this engine, with regular oil changes, using RESTORE oil additive and fuel injector cleaners. also, keep spark plugs fresh every 30k (use cheaper plugs and replace them often, that limits the chance they will rust or freeze into the block). replace anything on the engine that needs it, as it needs it. it makes a difference.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:54 AM   #15
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I must have imagined rebuilding the injectors in my 951 then.

And this well-reputed website must be selling imaginary rebuilt injectors as well.

While I'm sure that some cars do have non-serviceable injectors, many do have rebuildable injectors. Most BOSCH units I've seen are rebuildable, at least to the extent of being able to replace the seals and the hat/nozzle which are pretty much all the parts that get out of whack.

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Well I hate to keep popping your bubble, but ... I happen to work for Robert Bosch LLC in North Charleston SC. They have been building the EV1, EV6 and EV14 gasoline injectors for the last 15 years that I have been there and none of them are " Rebuildable ". They are all welded or in the oldest EV1 injectors Crimped together and the only way you can get at the internals is to break them apart. When you do that they become paperweights, or junk.

That injector link is an old EV1 type. You cannot take it apart. It is also molded with plastic. There are no serviceable parts inside. No seals or anything, it is all metal to metal sealing inside.

Sure you can replace the outside seal between the injector inlet and fuel rail and the seal between the injector and the intake port. That is not rebuilding an injector.

Just so ya know. There are lots of small parts inside that can get out of whack ( dirty ) also.

Anyone that buys a rebuilt injector is buying junk. At best it is a used injector that the inlet micron filter has been replaced along with new outer seals as described above. Pulling the micron filter exposes the internals of the injector to contamination which can and will cause it to stick either open or closed. If you are lucky it will stick closed, if it sticks open you engine could hydro-lock and destroy itself. It only takes a few skin cells to cause one to seize, they build them in a clean room environment.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:35 AM   #16
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Also 0420 does not mean bad cat, just means that the O2 sensor is not reading the right information.
This. My '98 Accord was throwing 0420 literally every time I drove 3+ miles. I replaced the downstream O2 sensor ($60 part and <15 minutes of work), problem solved.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:23 PM   #17
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Anyone that buys a rebuilt injector is buying junk. At best it is a used injector that the inlet micron filter has been replaced along with new outer seals as described above. Pulling the micron filter exposes the internals of the injector to contamination which can and will cause it to stick either open or closed. If you are lucky it will stick closed, if it sticks open you engine could hydro-lock and destroy itself. It only takes a few skin cells to cause one to seize, they build them in a clean room environment.
When dealing with old injectors, by and large the common "failure" is simply the spray pattern getting wonky. If you replace the hat and seals. I'm well aware that a "rebuilt" injector doesn't have the internal mechanicals replaced, but even just cleaning the nozzle in an ultrasonic bath is almost always enough unless the car is throwing a code.

I'm not talking about situations where an injector has died or has something seriously wrong. I simply replaced the outer seals and cleaned the nozzles on my old 951 injectors and it was enough to clean up the spray pattern and re-balance the injectors to within 1% of each other.

Perhaps I should have been more pedantic about the term "rebuild" and just called it "cleaning", but "rebuild" is the colloquial term for any cleaning of injectors that involves physically removing them from the car rather than simply running a cleaner through the EFI system.

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Old 01-04-2011, 01:31 PM   #18
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Perhaps I should have been more pedantic about the term "rebuild" and just called it "cleaning", but "rebuild" is the colloquial term for any cleaning of injectors that involves physically removing them from the car rather than simply running a cleaner through the EFI system.

ZV
Sorry, but I've never heard anyone say "rebuild" when they meant "clean" unless they're screwing with me.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:04 PM   #19
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Sorry, but I've never heard anyone say "rebuild" when they meant "clean" unless they're screwing with me.
Maybe it's just local, but I've heard people talk about "rebuilding" injectors a lot and all I've ever seen it mean is removing the injector, replacing the outer seals and, in some cases, the nozzle, and giving it a thorough cleaning.

It's a more involved process than just running a can of Techron through the fuel system which is what most places mean when they say "clean" the injectors.

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Old 01-04-2011, 03:27 PM   #20
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I've always viewed injectors as disposeable, fully enclosed, crimped, and molded over in one piece plastic from end to end. The only thing I've ever replaced are the o rings on both ends. Even the after market Siemens Deka 55# injectors I've used you can't even remove the built in screen from the top, all you can do is tap it and dump the crap out. If running cleaner through it on a bench doesn't fix it, toss it and buy a new one... or in my case I buy precision parts like that in complete matched sets if one is bad.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:28 PM   #21
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I've always viewed injectors as disposeable, fully enclosed, crimped, and molded over in one piece plastic from end to end. The only thing I've ever replaced are the o rings on both ends. Even the after market Siemens Deka 55# injectors I've used you can't even remove the built in screen from the top, all you can do is tap it and dump the crap out. If running cleaner through it on a bench doesn't fix it, toss it and buy a new one... or in my case I buy precision parts like that in complete matched sets if one is bad.

This.

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I wasn't trying to discredit your post I just wanted to clarify that modern fuel injectors cannot be rebuilt.

The newer injectors have no removable nozzle tip. The spray pattern is very critical. The piece that develops the spray pattern is an orifice plate in which the holes are cut using a laser and it is laser welded to the valve seat and that is in turn laser welded to the body.

The filters can be replaced ( in a clean room environment safely ), but there is a risk of creating metal particles which could fall into the injector. The tolerances inside the injector is in the single digit micron range. I have seen injectors fail due to skin cells. When reinstalling the new filter the depth is important as you could press on the sleeve which sets the flow rate. The injectors should last the lifetime of the engine, even without replacing the external seals. Usually if one is going to fail / leak etc it will happen within a few hours of operation.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:19 PM   #22
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My car only has 2, 1 for each 3 cyl. Aftermarket is 400 bucks and easy to change out.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:02 PM   #23
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This.

ZV

I wasn't trying to discredit your post I just wanted to clarify that modern fuel injectors cannot be rebuilt.

The newer injectors have no removable nozzle tip. The spray pattern is very critical. The piece that develops the spray pattern is an orifice plate in which the holes are cut using a laser and it is laser welded to the valve seat and that is in turn laser welded to the body.

The filters can be replaced ( in a clean room environment safely ), but there is a risk of creating metal particles which could fall into the injector. The tolerances inside the injector is in the single digit micron range. I have seen injectors fail due to skin cells. When reinstalling the new filter the depth is important as you could press on the sleeve which sets the flow rate. The injectors should last the lifetime of the engine, even without replacing the external seals. Usually if one is going to fail / leak etc it will happen within a few hours of operation.
I need to stop working only on older cars too. I don't have experience with anything newer than the old EV1 injectors on my 951 and most of the experience is with the D-Jet system on my 914.

I should have bowed to your experience with late-model cars.

ZV
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:17 PM   #24
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I need to stop working only on older cars too. I don't have experience with anything newer than the old EV1 injectors on my 951 and most of the experience is with the D-Jet system on my 914.

I should have bowed to your experience with late-model cars.

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