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08 Outback 2.5 Limited
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So in 2014 I had both Cats replaced in my 08 outback. I had the CEL, VDC lights on solid and the cruise control light blinking yesterday. Took it to a subaru dealer in Kenosha Wi. They called and said that both Cats needed replacing to the tune of $3400. I called the dealer in Mechanicsburg Pa that replaced them under warranty in 2014 to see what they would do since i've only put on about 15,000 mi since i had them replaced. They said the replacements are only covered for one year.

Is this possible since the Federal warranty is 8 years / 80,000 miles? One year seems scant.

And also, would it be unwise to drive the car 700 miles back home to Pa(currently on vacation in Wisconsin) without fixing anything to take it to a mom and pop garage that specializes in subies?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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has either shop offered a reason why the cats are going bad?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,047 Posts
miles on the car now.?

were the o2 sensors replaced at the same time ? although many other things can make for a p0420 code the rear o2 sensor it the one associated with that as a singular code, and such things get old / dirty overtime.

and typical knee jerk reaction for a dealer is to want to replace cats, vs. any cheaper option, whether the cat converters are good or not. (I guess as long as the dealer is not paying)

_____

and the p0420 code is a mild thing, easy to cancel and drive for a while, and cancel again if need be while you sort it out. (nothing is getting hurt).
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,371 Posts
Your original cats were likely fine. Aftermarkets may be dying, they aren't typically as sturdy.


PSA:
P0420 is almost never the cat.
 

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08 Outback 2.5 Limited
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
122000 miles. Believe he did say it was throwing the 0420 code along with another one. I'll have to look at the paperwork I got. Didn't have any work done...decided to risk it and drive. Stopped for the night after driving about 300 mi. Lights were on the whole time meaning I had no cruise control. I'll have to go back and look at the old paperwork to see if I had the O2 sensors replaced when the original cats were replaced.

Also, AWDFTW, wouldn't a subaru dealer replace the original cat with the same one?? Or am I just that naive.
 

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2018 Dark Blue Outback 3.6R Touring arrived 8/31/2017
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343 Posts
If your catalytic converters are sufficiently clogged, you may have your engine lose a major amount of power, up to and including not running, as well as risk engine overheating.
 

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08 Outback 2.5 Limited
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Made it home after 760 miles with the check engine light on. No cruise control sucked. Seemed to run fine...maybe a little iffy at idle and just after starting from a stop. Averaged 25-26 mpg with a canoe on top and loaded for vacation, so that's pretty good. I'll be taking it to my mom and pop garage that specializes in subies to see what they say.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Leaks - if you have any exhaust leaks - those can contribute to this.
Engine running - if it's anwhere near due for a tune up - plugs, air filter, PCV valve, seafoam the intake and MMO the gas/oil - I'd do it now just because it's stuff I would do anyway.

If you're planning on keeping it another 100,000+ miles sometimes I replace front and maybe rear O2 sensors simply because I don't want the original on there for 300,000 miles anyway.

Subaru's can run indefinitely with the P0420 code on - it's not a big deal and routine to run them forever in states without emissions testing.

That being said - if you have a chance of saving those expensive OEM cat's it would be nice to diagnose it and see if something is causing it and you can catch it in time to save the cats.

Issue - Technically shops can read the data and try to diagnose. But almost all shops just toss a new converter on there instead. Which as you're seeing - isn't actually fixing the problem, it's just covering it up until it damages the new one again.
 

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So in 2014 I had both Cats replaced in my 08 outback. I had the CEL, VDC lights on solid and the cruise control light blinking yesterday. Took it to a subaru dealer in Kenosha Wi. They called and said that both Cats needed replacing to the tune of $3400. I called the dealer in Mechanicsburg Pa that replaced them under warranty in 2014 to see what they would do since i've only put on about 15,000 mi since i had them replaced. They said the replacements are only covered for one year.

Is this possible since the Federal warranty is 8 years / 80,000 miles? One year seems scant.

And also, would it be unwise to drive the car 700 miles back home to Pa(currently on vacation in Wisconsin) without fixing anything to take it to a mom and pop garage that specializes in subies?
Any competent mechanic can diagnose the catalytic converter by looking at the lean to rich swing on the oxygen sensors. I find it difficult to believe that any professional shop would replace a catalytic converter without checking if it was working. This one of the most basic tests in automotive repair.

Catalytic converters usually fail due to either a lean condition or unburned fuel entering the cat. I always replace the upstream oxygen sensor to be sure an incorrect air/fuel ratio didn't cause the failure. If the original problem that caused the first cat to fail wasn't corrected, the replacement cat will also fail prematurely.
 
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