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Old 28 Mar 2013, 05:19 pm
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Default Is my Honda catalytic converter under warranty?

I have a 1999 CRV and paid a lot of money in 2010 to get my catalytic converter replaced at a certified honda dealership. My engine light recently went on with code 420, meaning the converter, and I gave it to the dealer. Now the dealer has said that my warranty has expired, even though it was only two years and about 7,000 miles, when I thought that it was usually about 5 years and 50,000 miles. Can this possibly be right if they used a certified honda part? I would think that warranty on factory made parts is a little more robust than this...

*Well I recently had an inspection (last 2 months), and replaced the timing belt within three years. I always change the oil as well, so I'm hard pressed to believe that something is wrong aside from the cat, which makes an awful rumbling sound because the screen has broken. Also, I'm not an idiot. I have tried to look up information online; all I know is that they used a factory part not aftermarket. All the factory parts I have seen offer a 5 year, 50,000 mile warranty, as do most of the aftermarket parts, and this is an independent warranty on the catalytic converter. Should I bring this info to the dealer? Is there a honda number that I can call to speak to some authority? It doesn't seem right to pay the premium honda price for a part replacement only to not have that part guaranteed...if this is the norm then why doesn't everyone just get aftermarket parts. I would have been better off going to the local Midas...not bitching just saying it doesn't really make
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Old 28 Mar 2013, 05:31 pm
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The clock on this part goes by the age of the vehicle, not the age of the part that was replaced by warranty.

Besides, a failed catalytic converter is usually a symptom of another problem, not the cause. A catalytic converter is intended to last the life of the vehicle. When they fail, it is usually something else that caused them to fail. Usually a rich fuel air mixture, unburned fuel in the exhaust, oil in the exhaust, coolant in the exhaust, etc. You may have other issues that existed when the original catalytic converter failed that were never addressed. Failure to address these issues would be your fault, not Honda's.
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Old 28 Mar 2013, 05:49 pm
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punch it out and put in a magnaflow
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Old 28 Mar 2013, 06:04 pm
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Ironically, I not only have never seen a P0420 caused by a bad converter but I have never seen a bad converter produce a P0420 code. P0420 means "catalyst system efficiency below threshold [bank 1]." That means something is causing the free oxygen level after the catalytic converter to fluctuate. (The loose heat shield is a separate matter - it can be welded back in place.) The cause is almost invariably not that the converter is inadequate but because it is being fed indigestible exhaust.

Many mechanics will replace the catalytic converter; even a very competent mechanic in this section has insisted P0420 is always the result of a bad converter. Sure enough, the code goes away (as you have experienced) because the brand new converter is slightly better than the old one. Then the condition gradually gets worse and/or the converter gets a bit old and the code comes back (again, as you experienced). Replacing the converter again helps for a shorter while, then the code returns. Recently a SUV owner was asking why they had to replace their catalytic converters (a pair of them!) three times in three years! That's why.

Repairing it for good requires a technician with a 5 gas (CO, HC, NO, CO2, O2) exhaust analyzer and the skill and willingness to use it. When the source of free O2 is found and fixed the code will go away. A competent emission tech will also notice the high NO that comes with free O2 entering the converter and will chase the problem for both reasons. I don't have an exhaust analyzer so I have to do it by checking the exhaust and intake manifold for leaks, ensuring the fuel injectors are clean, and replacing the upstream O2 sensor if it is more than 100K miles old. So far I'm hitting 100%.

Not exactly focused on your question, but the first source has great info about how catalytic converters function.

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