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Old 06-07-2017, 03:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Catalytic Converter

Hi,

My wife's '08 Tribeca with 75k miles is giving the check engine code for the catalytic converter. It was suggested to use non-ethanol fuel along with Lucas every other fill up. Now 6 months later the warning lights are intermittent instead of constant (about half the time on ; half the time off).

Would it be worth trying a specific converter cleaner or does it look like the converter needs to be replaced?

This is her 2nd Subaru that's had converter issues before 100k miles (I've never had issues with any other brand car that I've had regardless of age or mileage).

Thank you for any suggestions.
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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what code exactly is it giving you?
most of the time its the sensor that fails, or a combination of other factors,
given pretty low mileage i would suspect that catalytic is fine and something else is throwing the code.
i see no problem using e-blended fuels, the car was designed for them, although if i have a chance i fill up with non-e myself.
Which lucas additive are you using?
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It was scanned at an auto parts house and I did not save the exact code. I do remember him saying that it was indicating increased converter resistance.

Makes sense that the O2 sensor may be measuring this. I'm mechanically inclined so perhaps I should start with the O2 sensor (or sensors).
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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before you throw money at the check engine light, get a real scan to get pointed in the proper direction. catalytic inefficiencies are determined by the downstream sensor.

if you have a inferred temperature sensor, the exit temp should be higher than the inlet temp.

you might look for 100% premium fuel in your area and use that for a few tanks.
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Lots of troubleshooting to do before you put a new cat in. Or you can just do what everyone else does, replace the rear O2 (although you might want to put in a new front one as well) and sees if it goes away. If not, replace the cat.

There are some a good threads over on subaruoutback.org on P0420:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/...ency-code.html

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/...diagnosis.html

Both are excellent. In the end, I tried, but it was under warranty, so the dealer just threw a cat at it for free.

Tom
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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i actually like my $5 obdII scanner, its bluetooth, so any smartphone can scan for most of the codes, and even with free Torque Light app it tells you which Bank sensor is throwing the code.
At first i'd find out exactly which Bank and which sensor it is, then simple swap side to side and see if the code changes. $5 bucks and an hour of work is pretty cheap troubleshooting in my book.

i think this is the one i have.
https://www.amazon.com/TOOGOO-Versio...eywords=ELM327
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you everyone for the great replies. Sounds like what I should do then is change the rear sensor and see what happens. Dodik that link is not working. What brand scanner do you have?
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi there.
Before I could offer any assistance, I really need to know what code was set. There are three catalytic converters on this vehicle, but only the two front ones (Bank 1 and Bank 2) are monitored. There are two air fuel sensors in front, and two oxygen sensors rear that look at the system. In my experience, if you replace one sensor, the computer will see the other three working slower and start to flag them.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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fuel matters. look for tier 1 quality fuel as some detergents are being removed.

its good to warm your cats up to temperature frequently and use an oil that minimizes consumption.
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You could also try a good Italian tune up, which is what I would do. If you're going through catalytic converters that fast you are doing something wrong. Also check your warranty booklet the emissions system is covered by a separate warranty that goes beyond the 60k mile one.
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My 2009 through a CEL and both catalytic converters were changed out under warranty by the dealership at about 110,000km (just 10000km before the factory warranty ended, saving me over $3000 in repair costs). I was told that they were both full of oil caused by an engine problem (a headgasket leak I think) that voids the warranty on the new converters that were installed unless I dish out almost $7000 canadian to get it fixed. I lose about a quart of oil between changes and have since switched to conventional oil instead of synthetic for oil changes and put in an oil additive when I need to top up for lost oil and have not had another code thrown in almost 2 years. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it could be something worse, so start trying to pinpoint your problem before that additional warranty runs out...
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Old 06-08-2017, 05:01 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLsubies View Post
You could also try a good Italian tune up, which is what I would do.
Italian tune up?
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Old 06-08-2017, 05:34 AM   #13 (permalink)
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"An Italian tuneup usually refers to a process whereby a motor vehicle engine is run at full load for extended periods in order to burn carbon buildup from the combustion chambers, spark plugs, and exhaust system."

i don't think its needed here just yet,
search for Elm327, i bought the cheapest i found, and it works, i dont know the brand.
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Old 06-08-2017, 06:31 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I had a p0420 code and tdelker posted about the thread that cardoc started. Lots of reading, but real informative. I will bet it isn't the cat or sensor. Myriad of things that can cause that and mine turned out to be cleaning the grounds real well. Didn't cost a thing.
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:14 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodik View Post
"An Italian tuneup usually refers to a process whereby a motor vehicle engine is run at full load for extended periods in order to burn carbon buildup from the combustion chambers, spark plugs, and exhaust system."
So that's why my cars run so good! Ha, they're always getting tuned up.

I love it, my new favorite expression, surprised I never heard it before.
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subaru Scott View Post
So that's why my cars run so good! Ha, they're always getting tuned up.

I love it, my new favorite expression, surprised I never heard it before.
It works wonders!
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Old 06-08-2017, 12:34 PM   #17 (permalink)
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lol...some judges understand it, others, not so much.
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Old 06-08-2017, 12:59 PM   #18 (permalink)
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You gotta be smart about your vehicle maintenance! Can't be doing tune ups in residential areas.
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Old 06-08-2017, 03:40 PM   #19 (permalink)
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FLsubies likes this.
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Old 06-08-2017, 06:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by crtfour View Post
Thank you everyone for the great replies. Sounds like what I should do then is change the rear sensor and see what happens. Dodik that link is not working. What brand scanner do you have?
If you get the code I would be glad to upload the diagnostic flowchart for you from the fsm. I think what Jeffytune is suggesting is replacing both rear sensors so you don't end up chasing another DTC for slow response from the old sensor. I would check wiring and grounding first before throwing parts at it.

Here is a video that discusses how to check the CAT:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VZ5K8n5jj0
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