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2009 Outback H-4
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The OEM catalytic converter failed on my 09 Outback after 110k miles. The dealer replaced it for about $1000. Well, 20 months and 26k miles later the new one has failed. The service guy says that they have a 12 month / unlimited miles warranty and that I am out of luck. Anyone have similar issues? When I pick up the vehicle I'm going to ask the service manager to call the home office. This is an unacceptable situation!
 

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2018 Dark Blue Outback 3.6R Touring arrived 8/31/2017
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How can anyone know you didn't put enough bad gas through it and that caused the problem?

Besides, technically, it went 20 months, not failed within 12: that won't make you feel better, but it seems probable you have no recourse.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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why did they replace the cat in the first place?

who paid for it?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
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How can anyone know you didn't put enough bad gas through it and that caused the problem?

Besides, technically, it went 20 months, not failed within 12: that won't make you feel better, but it seems probable you have no recourse.
lets keep this positive for the person driving and paying for the car. :|

and @jcgunn15 did they change anything else at the time ? (sensors??? ...write down some code(s) on your bills?)

 

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lets keep this positive for the person driving and paying for the car. :|

and @jcgunn15 did they change anything else at the time ? (sensors??? ...write down some code(s) on your bills?)

OK, I am positive the OP is out of warranty period for the replacement part. You replace it again and keep on trucking.....

Not sure why he wants the service manage to call the home office.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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983 Posts
I hope you didn't let someone change it the first time simply because of a P0420 trouble code. I also hope you didn't let the mechanic change this one for the same reason.
 

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This may apply to our situation:

Any converter which meets EPA requirements must be properly labeled and warranted to meet Federal durability and performance standards. New aftermarket converters are required to have a 5 year/50,000 mile warranty on the converter shell and end pipes. They are also required to be warranted to meet EPA's emission performance standards for 25,000 miles when the vehicle is properly used and maintained. Used converters are only required to meet the performance requirements at the time of sale; no additional warranty is required. All manufacturers who meet the requirements also must state that fact in writing. Usually this is stated in the warranty information or application catalog. Required labels on the converters will have a series of letters and numbers and be in the following format:

  • N/XX/YYYY/ZZZZ for new ones, U/XX/YYYY/ZZZZ for used, where N - indicates a new converter, U - indicates a used converter.
  • XX - is the manufacturer's code issued by EPA
  • YYYY - is usually a numerical designation of the vehicle application or part number
  • ZZZZ - is the month and year of manufacture (i.e., "0187" for January 1987)
Note: Converters manufactured for sale in California may have the letters "CA" in place of the "N" or "U". Since California standards are more stringent than EPA's, these converters will also meet EPA requirements.

Federal EPA Aftermarket Catalytic Converter Fact Sheet
 

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2009 Outback H-4
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36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I hope you didn't let someone change it the first time simply because of a P0420 trouble code. I also hope you didn't let the mechanic change this one for the same reason.
The OEM converter failed mechanically. The symptom was loss of engine power.
 

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The OEM converter failed mechanically. The symptom was loss of engine power.
I asked about codes, as just replacing a actually failed cat on such a young car, usually only leads to another failed cat.

lots and lots and lots of threads here about subaru dealers not fixing the underlying problem,.

...or just replacing perfectly good cat(s) for a simple p0420 code.
 

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2009 Outback H-4
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I asked about codes, as just replacing a actually failed cat on such a young car, usually only leads to another failed cat.

lots and lots and lots of threads here about subaru dealers not fixing the underlying problem,.

...or just replacing perfectly good cat(s) for a simple p0420 code.
There was not a CEL and it did not throw any codes. The first diagnosis on the OEM Cat was: "Tech notes the low MAF reading. Tech removed catalyst and inspected. Tech notes the catalyst has separated from the housing and was pushed back in pipe."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How can anyone know you didn't put enough bad gas through it and that caused the problem?

Besides, technically, it went 20 months, not failed within 12: that won't make you feel better, but it seems probable you have no recourse.
Back in the day people ruined expensive cats with leaded gas. That's kinda' hard to do now...
 

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There was not a CEL and it did not throw any codes. The first diagnosis on the OEM Cat was: "Tech notes the low MAF reading. Tech removed catalyst and inspected. Tech notes the catalyst has separated from the housing and was pushed back in pipe."
@traildogck @Glennda5id @idosubaru @plain OM or @ntippet
might have a opinion on what was missed,...or should have been done,

no codes at the time suggests a condition that is just below threshold for throwing one.

I guess it is throwing any codes now,...and bogging down again.?

(sadly this is kind of a typical thread here for pre 2010 cars and owners popping up here for help,...and asking WHY ).

If I lived by you in Idaho i would happily drive by with my windows laptop, with free rom raider, and $10 cord and grab some diagnostics on this.

I would consider getting a 2nd opinion.
 

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My views:

The first diagnosis on the OEM Cat was: "Tech notes the low MAF reading.
Low MAF when tested at WOT and trying to get the rpm and MAF up high can mean a blocked exhaust, especially if there's no other apparent reason. In logs I've seen here that turned out to be blocked cats, the rpm might go up fairly high, but not as high as it normally could, and the MAF, instead of increasing along with the rpm, levels off at some intermediate level. The engine is spinning but isn't pumping as much air through as it should.

Tech removed catalyst and inspected. Tech notes the catalyst has separated from the housing and was pushed back in pipe."
I've read of cases where the cat core overheated, melted, and broke loose. But I don't recall cases where the core separated from the housing, moved back, and blocked the outlet, without it having first sustained some form of damage.

The symptom was loss of engine power.
The tech identified the cause of that symptom, but perhaps didn't address the reason the cat failed in the first place.

If the cat had overheated, then that was more likely caused by an external problem, e.g., too rich mixture, misfirings etc.


I presume the quotes relate to the original cat that was replaced at 100k miles. Now the car has 136k miles and, apparently, the new cat has failed. But what are the symptoms now and what diagnosis was done to conclude that the cat is bad? If the symptoms and failure of the new cat are the same as on the original, it's possible that the cause of the first cat's failure was not addressed at that time, and it's continuing presence contributed to the new cat failure. But this is speculative; there isn't enough information, and I doubt that at this time we could find out what other tests the first tech might have done to eliminate outside factors.
 

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2009 Outback H-4
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My views:



Low MAF when tested at WOT and trying to get the rpm and MAF up high can mean a blocked exhaust, especially if there's no other apparent reason. In logs I've seen here that turned out to be blocked cats, the rpm might go up fairly high, but not as high as it normally could, and the MAF, instead of increasing along with the rpm, levels off at some intermediate level. The engine is spinning but isn't pumping as much air through as it should.



I've read of cases where the cat core overheated, melted, and broke loose. But I don't recall cases where the core separated from the housing, moved back, and blocked the outlet, without it having first sustained some form of damage.



The tech identified the cause of that symptom but perhaps didn't address the reason the cat failed in the first place.

If the cat had overheated, then that was more likely caused by an external problem, e.g., too rich mixture, misfirings etc.


I presume the quotes relate to the original cat that was replaced at 100k miles. Now the car has 136k miles and, apparently, the new cat has failed. But what are the symptoms now and what diagnosis was done to conclude that the cat is bad? If the symptoms and failure of the new cat are the same as on the original, it's possible that the cause of the first cat's failure was not addressed at that time, and its continuing presence contributed to the new cat failure. But this is speculative; there isn't enough information, and I doubt that at this time we could find out what other tests the first tech might have done to eliminate outside factors.
(I am the original owner of this car) The OEM cat was replaced at 110k miles. The car is a DD and goes up and over Horseshoe Bend hill on ID-SR55 (2600'-4242'-2600' over a 12-mile stretch) every day. We put it in third and the car has no problem. When the cat started (slowly) failing my wife noticed that over time the Outback couldn't make it over at 60mph. I used both an aftermarket OBD2 scanner as well as the car's onboard OBD (see sticky on how to do this) to pull codes both times and nada.
 

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2009 Outback H-4
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@traildogck @Glennda5id @idosubaru @plain OM or @ntippet
might have a opinion on what was missed,...or should have been done,

no codes at the time suggests a condition that is just below threshold for throwing one.

I guess it is throwing any codes now,...and bogging down again.?

(sadly this is kind of a typical thread here for pre 2010 cars and owners popping up here for help,...and asking WHY ).

If I lived by you in Idaho i would happily drive by with my windows laptop, with free rom raider, and $10 cord and grab some diagnostics on this.

I would consider getting a 2nd opinion.
Thanks for the kind offer. I used an Actron OBD2 scanner as well as the car's OBD and it did not throw any codes with either bad cat.
 

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Thanks for the kind offer. I used an Actron OBD2 scanner as well as the car's OBD and it did not throw any codes with either bad cat.


No codes on simple code readers or the 05-09 onboard diagnostic,...does not mean perfect running,

more like running mildly lean, or something else just odd. (edit: lean can make for hot for unexplained reasons)

as it is not fouling the o2 sensors with some liquid like from unspent fuel, or dumping motor oil, or coolant through. and odd enough to make a cat run off temp.

if that is truly what is happening.

I would think there would have been some devil in the data there when the new cat was put on,

...don't know if it will be easy to see today. (what with the ecu making corrections).
 

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2009 Outback H-4
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Picked up the car the other day, runs great now. Diagnosis was "Catalyst is Blocked" Part #SOA635112, PB001278 and WQD40 plus gaskets and the like were replaced for a grand total of $783. Had a nice meeting with the service manager and he assures me that he will run this up the chain and see what he can do. Not holding my breath!
 

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2009 Tribeca Now - 2004 Outback EJ259 - Sold
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CAT was blocked eh?

Ever have an engine misfire?
Dumping raw fuel into the CAT usually = melted and blocked.
Or years of burning oil / bad fuel ect...

Has the source of the damaged CAT been fixed?
Its possible the new ones will just suffer the same fate otherwise.
 
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