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2005 Outback Wagon / Bean Model
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138 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I had to replace the stock CAT at around 110K in my OBW and put a Random high flow CAT in its place. It lasted for 20K and the foil elements in the Random turned to loose chunks a big ball of metal, plugging the exhaust. Random would not honor the warranty because I installed the cat & not one of their "authorized distributors"; Absolute BS but it's their policy to support their distributors & jack up the final cost to the consumer.

I tried pushing the ball of metal out of the CAT but it's so large and hard it just rolls around inside the CAT "shell" & the only way to remove it is to open/remove the cat itself.

Not willing to pay another $600+ for another Random CAT & experience this again, I put in an inexpensive "CAT" brand cat and I can feel a tremendous loss of power with it, it must have a high flow resistance. I have the Random still and was thinking of putting a different high flow element in it. The Random has two cats in series and I was wondering if there's a high flow single cat that will allow me to pass emissions and be affordable?

If there's a single CAT element that will do the job, I can have it welded to the pipes from the Random and it'll certainly be cheaper than buying an entire high flow, turn key CAT assembly.

Suggestions? & where will I find this at a low price? I'm looking for a new job right now :gasp: so keeping the cost down is important.
 

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114 Posts
Couple of things I have learned about cats:

1. Properly-running fuel injection on modern cars will NOT pollute without a catalytic converter in place. The converter acts as a backup "scrubber" to the fuel system. I've known of people illegally hollowing-out their cats and re-installing them....then passing California emissions inspections.

2. Those Random tech cats are all the rage in the Porsche and corvette worlds. Most everyone I've talked to has had very good results with these products.

3. Catalytic converters are all VERY sensitive to excessively-rich fuel mixtures! Internal temperatures soar with the extra fuel, easily melting the substrate.

There in lies your problem I believe. You've a rich-running condition, and it melted your cat. I cannot believe that the installation caused this, but I am sure that your car damaged that converter, and it is in the process of doing this same thing to the CAT product you've installed. Do you have an air/fuel ratio gauge installed? If not, then you probably need to get one. You may have a failing coil, and you need to check your fuel pressure, it might be excessively high.


I don't recommend pulling the cat and removing the melted junk inside it, then simply re-installing it [thus passing the "visual" portion of any vehicle inspection your state may have], since the cat is still a good idea, despite the fact that for the most part it does nothing.

Good luck!
 

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2005 Outback Wagon / Bean Model
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138 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hi,

If I smell the exhaust I smell no richness whatsoever (unlike my early 80's motorcycles...). I did replace the coil 30K ago when I replaced the plug wires. I don't have a dedicated air/fuel ratio gauge but I do have a scanguage though if it gives this A/F info, I don't know it or how to interpret the results.

I'm personally not convinced that having a cat makes much difference in pollution if the rest of a FI engine is working well. If anything, pollution wise, I suspect the extra MPG without a cat might equal out the extra gas required (& those extra pollutants), the restriction of an inefficient cat creates over the same distance travelled.

It's just easier to not have to worry about passing emissions.
 

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2002 Outback Wagon 2.5L Auto Weather Package
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The nose test isn't really enough for a modern injected car. In terms of the carefully computer controlled injected cars, if you can smell it, you are grossly rich.
 

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2008 Ford Escape XLS - 2002 Subaru Outback
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246 Posts
OBX has a cheap high flow cat, I think it's about $50 on Ebay. I've not heard any complaints, and it will soon be on my to buy list.
 
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