How to Gut a Catalytic Converter?

In general, catalytic converter is the equipment that would convert 3 hazardous substances in vehicle exhaust to harmless ones by using a catalyst. The 3 harmful substances are:

  • Nitrogen oxide, which is produced when nitrogen combines with oxygen under the effect of heat in the engine. This substance is the main cause of acid rain and smog.
  • Carbon monoxide, which is generated by the combustion of fuel and harmful to all air-breathing animal.
  • Hydrocarbon, which is in the form of unburned fuel and often produces smog.

In the catalytic converter, catalyst, which is often in the form of palladium and platinum, is coated onto ceramic beads or a ceramic honeycomb that are located in a package like the muffler. In general, this catalyst would help the car in converting nitrogen oxide to oxygen and nitrogen, hydrocarbon to water and carbon dioxide as well as carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide.

After using for a long time, the catalytic converter might get clogged, which makes it not run smoothly as well as reduces the fuel efficiency of your car. Fortunately, you could check up this device on your car to know whether any repairing tasks need to be done.

Which Tools will You Need?

  • Ethyne welding torch
  • High-frame jack or pneumatic lift
  • Air compressor
  • Steel-wired arc welder
  • Welding face mask for protection
  • Powered grinding wheel
  • Steel putty knife
  • Fireproof gloves
  • Chisel
  • Ball peen hammer
  • Crowbar
  • Cold-weld epoxy
  • Broad-nose plier

Firstly, separate the catalytic converter from the car’s muffler. If the engine suddenly sounds less ratty and smoother, the catalytic converter would be plugged. If you want to gut the catalytic converter on the car, follow the process below to get it without the need of removing it.

  • Step 1: Lift the car off the ground
  • Put up the car on a group of high-frame jacks or pneumatic lift with block to do repairing task for your catalytic converter when it remains on the car.

  • Step 2: Look for the catalytic converter
  • On most models of car, the catalytic converter is located close to the engine block, in front of the muffler.

  • Step 3: Make a flap by creating particular cuts in the converter base
  • Use the ethyne welding torch or wheel grinder to make 3 cuts in right angles at the base of the catalytic converter. However, do not completely cut out a square hole if you do not want to change this device immediately. After that, let the catalytic converter to cool off to normal temperature in the air and use a crowbar to bend the cut flap down.

  • Step 4: Break the ceramic lining apart
  • Use the chisel and hammer to chip the lining of the converter away. In fact, you could easily break it up with well-placed and small taps of the hammer thanks to its honeycomb form. Also make sure that you have get rid of all the ceramic slices inside of the catalytic converter.

  • Step 5: Shut the flap
  • Bend the cut flap back to its place as firmly as possible by using the broad nose pliers.

  • Step 6: Join the flap shut
  • Put on the gloves and welding mask, then join the flap shut with steel strip melted to match the welding torch. In general, you could use the medium-high to medium setting of the welder to melt the steel wires effectively. Use the steel putty knife to make the welded metal smooth while it is still hot.

  • Step 7: Check if any leakage
  • When you run the engine of the car, the hissing noise, rattles or extra-loud echoing sound would show you that there are still leakage of air in the catalytic converter. In this situation, you need to fix these leaks by using cold-weld epoxy, which is often applied to seal small holes in car exhaust system.

  • Step 8: Other choices
  • You could also make the catalytic converter clear after removing this device from your car. When the engine is still off, detach the exhaust pipe and rear exhaust clamp, then remove the catalytic converter in front of the muffler from the exhaust pipe. Gently shake the device. If there are no sound, the converter would probably be blocked by unburned gas. If it sound rattling, then the ceramic lining would be disintegrated under the effect of heat. In both situations, you need to change the catalytic converter as soon as possible.

John Henry
 

I am John Henry and I have begun to work in automotive industry since the 90s, specializing in car rebuilding and repair. After nearly two decades of working in this complex section, with extensive experience in repairing, troubleshooting and maintaining thousands of cars, I started to work as an auto blogger to share my practical knowledge as well as skills with car owners all around the world through a wide range of articles in online magazine.

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