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Old 08-16-2016, 09:19 AM   #1
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Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


2002 Nissan Altima, running rough. Back ground on our daughter's car, some dude replaced the gasket on the valve cover and put some kind of sealant on the spark plug tubes to keep oil out of the tubes. The car ran great for three days. We went to see our grandson and her son graduate from Army Basic in Fort Jackson SC, which is 354 miles one way from here.

On the way back we got about 145 miles from home and she called and said she was broke down on the xway. We were about two miles behind her and carried them to a motel and came home to get some parts and drop off her other son and his girl friend.

Two of the plug tubes had a lot of oil in them fouling the plugs out, I replaced the valve cover because the tube seals were made into the cover and none replaceable. I also changed the plugs. After cleaning the plug wires/coils, the car didn't have a definite miss, just shaking badly and dies at idle when coming to a stop.

Her husband had drove the car with the gas petal on the floor for almost a 100 miles, so raw gas was pouring through the converter. Any ideas what all was ruined by him doing that?

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Old 08-16-2016, 11:16 AM   #2
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


I'd pull the plugs again and check for tracking on the insulators. Spark will travel the path of least resistance. Secondary voltage is lowest at idle and maybe following a track.

The cat(s) and oxygen sensors could be contaminated and shot, but you will generally have no power under acceleration or at higher speeds.

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Old 08-16-2016, 01:50 PM   #3
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


Catalytic Convertor goes bad you will not only lose power, but you will also be able to smell it.


You would have a very heavy sulfur (rotten eggs). Can't miss it.


A sawzall to the exhaust pipe will work wonders if it's a welded in unit, simple unbolt if it a removable one, but you will have to replace it.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:57 PM   #4
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


I just installed new plugs, so that shouldn't be a problem.

While it was running there was never a smell so maybe it is OK. I will try cleaning the throttle valve and plate and see if that helps.

Thanks for the help fellows.
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Old 08-18-2016, 07:02 AM   #5
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


Good advice from ktkelly above.

When the converter fouls, you will actually be down on power and if you keep driving it like that, will ruin the motor. The down on power part is notable.
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Old 08-19-2016, 09:02 AM   #6
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


Install new plugs and wire/coil boots anytime there is oil intrusion. Now the cat. Yes you can ruin the cat by misfire and or excessive fuel. (and shock by getting hit and breaking up inside.) Get it running good without a misfire and then drive it on the interstate for a while. (30 min or so) In other words blow it out and let it heat up. You might get codes as you are doing this but that's ok. Just clear them then drive it normally. If a code comes back, record it and then clear. If the same code comes back then you gotta address it.
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Old 08-19-2016, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


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Install new plugs and wire/coil boots anytime there is oil intrusion. Now the cat. Yes you can ruin the cat by misfire and or excessive fuel. (and shock by getting hit and breaking up inside.) Get it running good without a misfire and then drive it on the interstate for a while. (30 min or so) In other words blow it out and let it heat up. You might get codes as you are doing this but that's ok. Just clear them then drive it normally. If a code comes back, record it and then clear. If the same code comes back then you gotta address it.
I really appreciate your information, I will give this a try and see what happens, I am slow but I will let you know how it goes.

I didn't know the boots on the coils could be replaced.
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:44 AM   #8
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


@Brainbucket , where you affected by the recent LA rains?
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Old 08-19-2016, 07:06 PM   #9
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


I just cleaned the coil boots and and checked the plugs, the plugs are burning like they should be. All coils are hitting like they should. I changed out the PCV valve and changed out a vacuum line that was shot. I have not checked the EGR valve yet, too hot.

The car is running pretty smooth, just a little vibration. I drove around the block and when I accelerate, it bogs down a little but there is a loud hiss like something is leaking air. When I parked, I put my hand over the tail pipe, there was very little pressure, almost like the exhaust pipe was crushed. Anyone ever hear of anything like this?
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Old 08-20-2016, 08:27 AM   #10
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


Keep and eye on the temp gauge when you are running that car.

If the cat is blocked, she will heat up a good bit.
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:19 AM   #11
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


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Originally Posted by Windows on Wash View Post
Keep and eye on the temp gauge when you are running that car.

If the cat is blocked, she will heat up a good bit.
Thanks WoW, I will check that.
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Old 08-20-2016, 09:02 PM   #12
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


If you take the O2 sensor out (the one right before the Cat) and performance improves, that generally means the Cat is plugged up. Exhaust (a little) will go out the hole where the O2 sensor is located. Don't leave the sensor out any longer than to check if performance improves. All sorts of CEL codes will be triggered.
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:06 PM   #13
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


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If you take the O2 sensor out (the one right before the Cat) and performance improves, that generally means the Cat is plugged up. Exhaust (a little) will go out the hole where the O2 sensor is located. Don't leave the sensor out any longer than to check if performance improves. All sorts of CEL codes will be triggered.
I appreciate the information Big, I went back out there today and realized that the muffler has two pipes for exhaust, I don't know how I over looked that but I did. I checked and it is blowing exhaust like it should.

I checked the codes and there were 8, they had to do with random misfire, the converter but mostly the electronic throttle. Have any of you checked to see all you have to do to program one of those things, unbelievable.

Mechanics today have to be computer gurus and everything else. Not like when I was a mechanic back in the 60s, just a motor and trans to fool with back then, these new cars are unreal.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:16 AM   #14
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


I think it's easier now. You just plug a reader in and it tells you exactly what is wrong. I just did it not long ago, turns out it was the O2 sensor. No guess work.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:32 AM   #15
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Re: Is The Catalytic Converter Shot


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I think it's easier now. You just plug a reader in and it tells you exactly what is wrong. I just did it not long ago, turns out it was the O2 sensor. No guess work.
I wish this one was that easy, this car is running really rough and I think the hissing noise is coming from the electronic throttle unit. This throttle valve can not be cleaned because if you open the throttle manually it will mess it up, don't see how it could mess it up more but it says it will so I will leave it to the younger fellows to fix this one.

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