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I just got back from autozone, they hooked me up to their computer and told me I need a cat converter that costs like $350!

I'm begging anyone out there who knows if there might be a good universal I can buy somewhere online, please reply with a link/model?

Thanks everyone, I really want to try and keep this car!
 

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I just got back from autozone, they hooked me up to their computer and told me I need a cat converter that costs like $350!

I'm begging anyone out there who knows if there might be a good universal I can buy somewhere online, please reply with a link/model?

Thanks everyone, I really want to try and keep this car!
You probably don't need a catalytic converter. What's the code? (in PXXXX format)

Subaru cats last a very long time and rarely need replacement...MUCH cheaper issues are often misdiagnosed as being cat problems.
 

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Vehicle?
Miles?
Code being thrown?

Cat's rarely fail.
 

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Say you do need to replace it. Why is $350 a deal breaker for an entire vehicle?

The cat(s) on mine were apparently an outlier to the views around here that they never go bad. New sensors, gaskets, ENGINE(separate issue), nothing would keep the code permanently gone. I bought a Walker direct-fit cat assembly for $266.xx, sold my "junk" cats on eBay for almost $150 and haven't seen a CEL in over 10,000 miles.
 

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Those guys at Auto Zone sell parts. They don't have a clue how to diagnose a problem. If they did, they wouldn't be selling parts.

Its probably a P0420 which means nothing more than the engine is not performing the way it is designed and the issue needs to be found and repaired.

A short list of things that will cause a 420 code:

1. Crappy, cheap gasoline. Especially this time of year when the oil companies are switching to "winter blend".
2. A stuck thermostat. If the engine is not getting to proper temperature, the ECM continues to enrich the fuel to try and warm it up. More fuel means the CAT must work harder to get the numbers the ECM wants from the rear O2 sensor, but the CAT can only do so much before extra HC's get through. Also, when your engine doesn't maintain proper temperature, it reduces the combustion temperature which lowers the rate of burn and efficiency of the engine itself.
3. Ignition system. Old, worn plugs, wires, weak coil, dirty injectors (bad spray pattern or streamed gas shot due to varnish build up)
4. Vacuum leak.
5. Clogged fuel filter
6. Exhaust leak.
7. Failed O2 sensor. O2 sensor feeds info back to the ECM as to how the CAT is functioning, or the amount of HC's mixed with the oxygen on exit.
8. RARE Faulty AF sensor. If it is sending incorrect readings to the ECM, and the ECM hasn't picked up that the AF sensor is slacking, it only knows what the O2 sensor is sending, the CAT is not working as designed or there is a problem upstream of the CAT.

Now, 1-6 you can check easily in your driveway. You know where you buy your gas. If its a Murphy station, stop going there. Its "shelf" gas. The temp gauge should stay at the middle all the time after warm up, and you can also use a digital thermometer to check the temperature at the base of the water pump where the thermostat is to check the block temperature above the stat. Steady reading above 195 is great. The thermostat opens at 195. Ignition, pull a plug, check the gap, color, tip wear and go from there. Vacuum leaks tend to make a whistle noise. Fuel filter needs to be replaced every 15k unless you use Murphy gas, then every 10k or less. And exhaust leaks, well you know what that sounds like, right.

7 and 8 are best judged with the use of a scan tool that will show data for the AF sensor and the O2 sensor at the same time. The AF sensor does not fluctuate in a waveform pattern like the oldschool O2 sensors. It measure oxygen content but the voltage will be around 3 with slight changes as the computer switches from rich/lean. The rear sensor will be steady, but the voltage feedback from it tells the ECM the hydrocarbon level exiting the CAT. If you see the voltage of the O2 sensor going up and down, matching the short term fuel trim fluctuations, the CAT is bad, otherwise, if its steady, regardless of the voltage reading, start with 1-6 then check the O2 sensor readings again.
 

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Cat's rarely fail.
True. Catalytic converters are designed to last the life of the car when the car is properly maintained and performing as it was designed and with use of top tier gasolines. The catalytic converter on my 1996 Chevy Cavalier is original with 209k miles on it.

Top Tier gasolines are those most people drive by because they want to drive the extra couple blocks for .02 cents a gallon cheaper. On a 10 gallon fill up, that's only .20 cents. Sure, do the math over a long period, then do this, fill up with premium unleaded from a major fuel station and track your MPG difference compared to using that cheaper gas. Even Super Unleaded at the cheap stations is not up to par with the Super at Texaco, Chevron, Shell. Diamond Shamrock/Valero gas is the middle of the road fuel. They aren't refining in corn country for naught.
 

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you don't need new converters, save your $350.

get antifouler for $3 and be done with the P0420 code, no doubt that's what you're asking about.
 

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Top Tier gasolines are those most people drive by because they want to drive the extra couple blocks for .02 cents a gallon cheaper. On a 10 gallon fill up, that's only .20 cents. Sure, do the math over a long period, then do this, fill up with premium unleaded from a major fuel station and track your MPG difference compared to using that cheaper gas. Even Super Unleaded at the cheap stations is not up to par with the Super at Texaco, Chevron, Shell. Diamond Shamrock/Valero gas is the middle of the road fuel. They aren't refining in corn country for naught.
And remember that all refiners make the same spec base gasoline, and dump it into the same pipelines, allowing it to co-mingle with other refiners product. They don't get out the same batch they put in. When they get a tanker full at the depot, they add their additive package, which makes their gas unique. This is also where the ethanol goes in, as well.
 

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O2 sensors are usually the issue. However with my car I cracked the exhaust pipe right at the "y" and about 4yrs later enough road grime had made it to the front Cat to kill it. $150 ma and pa exhaust fabrication shop welded in a new one - replaced the front O2 sensor and the rear one and the car was fine for the next 40K then I sold it at 180,000 miles and bought a new Subaru. I recall subaru wanted close to $1700 to fix my car I did it for less than $700 and had zero issues.
 
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