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2002 Outback, 2.5L SOHC w/ 170k mile
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88 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It has been on the dash for a while and I've ignored it, mostly. First I replaced the catalytic converter at a local shop since the idiots at the dealership were charging 1200 or so. The local muffler shop charged 250 after I used a coupon from the paper.

Few months later the light is back again. I did the heads and oil pan gasket and while crawling under there did the o2 sensors and the gaskets for the downpipes and the intake manifold, hoping to seal any possible leaks in the system.

Again, went out for a bit. More frustration so I go through everything again and replace the PCV valve. Went out for a little while and is back again. Completely and utterly frustrated I gave up and sacrificed a few MPGs because I was done with the **** code. Even used Seafoam through the intake system to clear any crap out. (Had my mechanic friend do it for me since I didn't trust myself. I'll rip out the engine but won't use snake oil on the car, figures)

Now I figure it's time to put this crap to rest and I probably got screwed. The car went in for something else at the dealership and the guy asked where we got the aftermarket cat because it's undersized. He said lots of people come in with undersized cats from aftermarket shops that put too small of ones on and they burn out fast.

So... again, stealership is out. Now they're trying to tell me 1500 is reasonable. The part is listed at 1429, gaskets cost 160, diagnostics is 180 plus another 70 in labor but yay me, they're giving me a break and calling it 1440 out the door. Bull. Found a direct fit bolt-in California legal catalytic converter for 350 bucks. Considering I blew 250 last time I'm hesitant.

Catco, anyone? I'm thinking buy that, jack the car up bam, slap that in and spend 180 on gaskets and not buy a 1400 dollar oem cat. I just want to know if I buy aftermarket my catalytic converter will last more that 10,000 miles. So is catco reliable? Stupid me I didn't question what brand they stuck in last time.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
Wow.

Has anyone even bothered to replace the O2 sensor? Local muffler shop cat is most likely junk.

O2 sensor should have been your very first, replacing the cat the very last, and testing in the middle.
 

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Premium Member
2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,784 Posts
This is another example of trusting in a probable incorrect diagnosis to start with and throwing parts at it.

The aftermarket CAT could have failed due to poor construction or it failed because the originating problem hasn't been located and corrected. It could be the aftermarket CAT hasn't failed and its a misdiagnosis, again. The CAT is the first thing to be replaced at a lot of repair shops because its a gravy repair with high profit. Anytime someone says "It's the CAT.", get another opinion and ask for proof.

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/49537-p0420-diag.html. Read through here and start over.

If it is a failed CAT, aftermarket works as long as its rated proper for the car.
 

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Registered
2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
What he said.

What was probably a bad sensor plus labor has now balloned into a wallet sucking problem with you being mad at a dealership, the car, and rightfully at the other shop.

Not all aftermarket cats are equal, and some of them are just junk. There was probably not a thing wrong with the original cat.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,390 Posts
You aren't sacrificing gas mileage - the P0420 signal isn't used for engine management, it is strictly emissions and trips the light - that's it. You can literally cut the rear O2 sensor out and the car will drive fine...with a check engine light obviously.

You're wasting your time and money on a debacle of an issue. Your original converter would have passed an emissions test, it did not fail. This one likely didn't either. As much as it's talked about converter failure is actually very rare. Try the $5 fix first (install a new sensor while you're removing it) and be done with it. The P0420 code is a debacle across lots of vehicles and this usually solves the problem.

like this:
O2 Oxygen Sensor Test Pipe Extension Extender Spacer M18 x 1 5 2 | eBay

friend of mine that owns his own independent shop and does tons of Subarus uses and recommends the 90 degree jokers, i haven't tried a 90 degree one yet but i assume he means like so, but there are different varieties.
O2 Oxygen Sensor Angled Spacer 90 Degree Test Pipe Extension Extender M18 x 1 5 | eBay
 

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2008 Outback Limited, 2001 Outback LL Bean
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61 Posts
Will this pass inspection in PA or anywhere else? I have been getting this code for 3 years on and off. Changed one O2 sensor, changed the PCV valve. Shop keeps insisting that I need a new cat. Would really like to believe that this is a legitimate solution to my problems. Is it?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,390 Posts
Will this pass inspection in PA or anywhere else? I have been getting this code for 3 years on and off. Changed one O2 sensor, changed the PCV valve. Shop keeps insisting that I need a new cat. Would really like to believe that this is a legitimate solution to my problems. Is it?
Yes. Not a big deal. Last one I installed was on a Pburgh forester. They're not even going to look at it unless your ex-wife works for them. LOL

And they generally don't know the ins-and-outs of numerable manufacturers, makes, models, years, varieties, etc so they'd have to really have it out for you to look at it.

If you're worried about it, have it done a long time before hand so the new part looses it's shine and attention grabbing ability or install it with a new sensor as well so it looks integrated.
 

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Registered
2008 Outback Limited, 2001 Outback LL Bean
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61 Posts
Is this an easy job to do myself? I am willing to give it a shot, but have never messed around with the O2 sensors. Any special tools I need? Any special precautions?

thanks!
 
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