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We have an 05 limited with 110k miles. It started throwing a code. Di while it was in for the timing belt change we had the shop check it out. They said the cat was bad and would be from 600-1000 to fix. Really? I guess my question is 1- are they really that expensive and 2- is it a bolt on piece or do I need a muffler shop to do it? I've seen them on eBay for 250 or so but don't know if they are cheap/low quality ones. Any help appreciated I want to get it fixed I just don't want to get ripped off. Btw it's a 2.5i no turbo. Thanks!
 

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We have the exact year and engine car.
Just before the warranty expired at 100K miles, the car was idling terribly slowly (idling around 400 to 500, barely readable on the tachometer).

My wife was on the interstate and she said the car started losing all power, like the engine was having some kind of problem. She drove it to a Subaru dealership an hour from home, on her way home, and within three hours, they had (I believe) two catalytic converters replaced along with two sensors IIRC.

It brought the idle back up to around 7 to 800 R's and the car immediately ran better, like it did when we purchased it new in '05.
 

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What is the code? We need it.

Also, it likely is NOT your cat.
 

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A new cat CAN cost that much, legitimately... but as AWDFTW says it's not very likely that you need it. Lots of shops cut to the chase and sell expensive parts instead of doing thorough diagnostics. As long as the cat hasn't been completely poisoned or clogged, and isn't rusted out, then it's quite likely that the fault is elsewhere.

Post the diagnostic code(s) and we'll try to help evaluate whether this really is a failed cat or just lousy detective work.
 

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2005 Outbacks have a very specific issue - I believe part of a recall. I have heard of numerous 2005 models having their catalytic converters replaced for free via Subaru....and there's an ECM reflash as well, though that might be for later models, not sure but just check into it, Subaru should know well the details.

Here's a guy with a 2005 that had new converters installed:
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/21123-recall-notice-wvm23-3.html

What they said is true - there are a few "catalytic converter" related codes, we need to know which one it is.

Let's for a moment ignore this recall issue and assume this is due to a P0420 code while I'm here just in case you need to be prepared:

That being said.... in more general terms (specific issue aside) Catalytic converter replacement is stupid (I'm putting it lightly) and one of the biggest debacles of the automotive industry right now - due to the P0420 code which is a joke.

If this is due to a P0420 - your converter is working fine (*see below) and would pass any state emissions sniff test if they'd perform it (though they won't with the check engine light on).


*Converter failure is only likely if the engine has seen serious abuse or massive engine issues. Highly unlikely. (or it's part of that recall deal noted above).

There’s a $5 fix that should be done first, so far it’s worked every time I’ve done it and to every friend I’ve recommended it too. That is standard P0420 practice for all newer vehicles due to the scope of this issue. They now sell the part all over ebay ready to go, a few years ago you sort of had to make your own from a part at the auto parts store (though it was very easy).

New sensor isn't a bad idea, that generally doesn't fix it and doesn't affect engine performance (that sensor isn't even used by the ECU routines), but they're not that expensive, easy to change and a lot simpler than exhaust replacement.

Any leaks need to be sealed up.

Yes catalytic converters are expensive. Buy a used one or aftermarket, but cheap stuff can rust quickly. I just priced a complete Bosal exhaust from the headers all the way to the muffler (including catalytic converter) for $225 shipped to my door from Rockauto.com. Only $100 for the converter section...i'll buy 3 of those if i have to before the insanely priced Subaru units...I ended up buying a complete Subaru system from Colorado (no rust) for $175 shipped to me from a board member.

A shop can easily and inexpensively (but you need a reasonable shop that doesn't charge a lot – often times they can charge a good bit) install any exhaust - it's just pipe really, not much to it. I've welded and installed my own, exhaust/muffler shops are set up for it and can do it very quickly. But - a check engine light is possible if it’s far from stock (Size and such). They should be able to mimic the original though.
 

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The code was p0420. They told my wife to try running Chevron premium gas for a while to see if the light would go out, and it did for a while. It is now on all the time regardless of the fuel she uses.
 

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Search P0420 here.

Typically an exhaust leak or failing oxygen sensor. Almost never the cat.
 

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The code was p0420. They told my wife to try running Chevron premium gas for a while to see if the light would go out, and it did for a while. It is now on all the time regardless of the fuel she uses.
if you will take keen notice - i predicted the future by guessing what the code was....re-read my last reply, i basically covered it all.

i'd fix it for $5 and a few minutes and be done with it.

you *do not* need a new converter. i
 

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Grossgary- I've looked on eBay for the $5 fix, are talking about the spacer for the o2 sensor? If that's the case I will give it a try. If not I'd like to know exactly what it is that works. Thanks!
 

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$600-1000 is CHEAP. Dealer cost on the part can be $800-1200 depending on which side it is. The car could have up to 3 cats, depending on what state it was sold in originally. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE AN AFTERMARKET CAT in an Outback. I bought an 05 Linited OBW this spring. Threw the PO420 code at inspection. Went back to used car dealer 7 times. He kept putting in aftermarket cats and oxygen sensors. Problem would come back in 50-100 miles. Finally he took it to Subaru and bough tgenuine Subaru cats. Problem finally went away permenantly. I learned from reading here to NEVER EVER use aftermarket emissions parts in a Subaru.
 

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Or just get an aftermarket down pipe with a high flow cat. They cost less than $800 for a very good one and you'll get more power too.

No problems with durability - my Cobb DP is much higher quality than the factory pipe.
 
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