CAN I USE AN AFTERMARKET CONVERTER TO REPLACE A DEFECTIVE CONVERTER ON MY CALIFORNIA REGISTERED VEHICLE THAT HAS OBD II?
Yes, providing the replacement converter has been approved for use on the vehicle by the California Air Resources Board. The converter must be listed for replacement on the specific vehicle and engine size in the manufacturer’s application catalog. It must also have the required markings and E.O. number on the converter body.
CAN A GOOD CATALYTIC CONVERTER BE REMOVED FROM A VEHICLE?
No. A good or functioning converter may never be removed from a vehicle. It is a violation that can cost the technician who does so a $2500 fine for each occurrence.
CAN PRE-CATALYSTS BE REMOVED FROM A VEHICLE?
No. Pre-cats are treated like any other catalytic converter and should not be removed unless they are defective. Pre-cat elimination converters can only be used when the pre-cat and main converters are bad. They must be approved for this type of use, and should be used in accordance with the aftermarket catalytic converter manufacturer’s instructions.
CAN I REPLACE TWO CONVERTERS WITH ONE AFTERMARKET CONVERTER?
No, California does allow the consolidation of two converters into one. It must be a one for one replacement.
CAN I INSTALL DUAL EXHAUST OR DUAL CATALYSTS ON A VEHICLE?
No. This should not be done unless the vehicle originally came with a dual exhaust or dual catalyst configuration from the vehicle manufacturer.
THE VEHICLE HAS AN ENGINE THAT IS OLDER OR NEWER THAN THE VEHICLE OR A LARGER ENGINE HAS BEEN INSTALLED. WHAT TYPE OF CONVERTER, OR DOES A CONVERTER NEED TO BE INSTALLED ON THIS VEHICLE?
Engine changes present a problem and challenge to car owners and technicians. Contact your local Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to make sure your vehicle is compliant to the Standards. A general guideline can be found http://www.bar.ca.gov/80_barresources/07_autorepair/engine_change_guidelines.html
CAN I REPLACE A TWO-WAY CONVERTER WITH A THREE-WAY CONVERTER?
Yes, provided it has been tested for this type catalyst by the manufacturer in compliance with CARB aftermarket converter procedures.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHAT UNIVERSAL CONVERTER TO USE?
When installing a universal converter, it must still meet the emission requirements of the vehicle and cannot be chosen by size alone. By looking up your specific vehicle in the catalog or web site, you will find the recommended universal converter with the appropriate loading. If a universal converter is not listed for your specific application, a direct fit must be used; if a direct fit is not listed the only alternative is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part.
WHAT MAKES A CONVERTER BECOME RED HOT AND/OR MELT THE BRICK (THERMAL MELT DOWN)?
Converters will get red hot when excess fuel is introduced directly into it, along with sufficient oxygen to burn the fuel. This is not a problem with the converter itself, but the result of a problem with the fuel system or ignition that allows unburned fuel to pass through the engine and then travel down into the converter. If the root cause is not corrected, the new converter will melt as well. Common causes of a melted converter are: 1) A three-way plus air vehicle running rich, and when the air is injected into the converter, the rear brick will melt as the excessive fuel now has enough oxygen to burn inside the converter, 2) Vehicle is running rich with an exhaust leak, and when the air is drawn into the exhaust pipe and is combined with the excess fuel, it will burn in the converter, 3) The vehicle has a misfire. When the air-fuel charge leaves the combustion chamber without firing, it will travel through the exhaust pipe and burn in the converter.
WHAT HAS CAUSED MY CONVERTER TO BECOME PLUGGED (LOSS OF POWER)?
If a converter is operated too long at a high temperature, the substrate may “melt down” and turn into a solid mass inside the converter. The vehicle may seem sluggish as if there was a loss of power. Other causes might be: 1) upstream converter has broken up and the debris has clogged a downstream unit, 2) the support mat may have become damaged and no longer retaining the brick in the correct position, allowing the brick to shift and block the exhaust flow.
WHAT IS CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION OF A CONVERTER (POISONING)?
If a replacement converter fails after a short period of time, then the root cause of the original failure has not been addressed. Some causes are contamination by silicone based sealants, coolant leaks, oil blow by, high sulfur fuel, and/or rich fuel mixtures forming carbon deposits can quickly coat the substrate preventing it from working effectively.
WHAT IS A THREE-WAY CONVERTER?
A three-way converter (also known as oxidation/reduction converters) is designed to control levels of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen. Some three-way converters are equipped with an air injection tube, this additional air, which comes from the air pump, assists the chemical reaction in the oxidation catalyst. Our converters all utilize three-way catalyst technologies, and will operate in a two-way mode (controlling hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide) on older vehicles requiring a two-way converter.
HOW DO I DETERMINE IF I HAVE A CALIFORNIA EMISSIONS VEHICLE?
To determine if a vehicle has California emissions, check the emissions sticker on the vehicle, which is located in the engine compartment. If the sticker states the vehicle meets California requirements, then the vehicle is equipped with California emissions. Click Here For Engine Family Number Information.
CAN I USE A STANDARD UNIVERSAL TYPE CONVERTER ON A VEHICLE WITH A DIESEL ENGINE?
No. A diesel engine has different emission requirements and a gas engine converter will not function on a diesel engine.
IS THERE A DIMENSIONAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 49 STATE LEGAL CONVERTER WHICH SHOWS FEDERAL OR CALIFORNIA OPTIONS?
Vehicles licensed outside of California, but built to California emissions standards, may have a physical difference from a vehicle built to Federal emissions standards. (If your vehicle is manufactured to California emissions standards, it cannot use a converter that is cataloged as Federal only). You need to reference your vehicles emissions sticker before purchasing a converter. A vehicle licensed in the State of California must use a CARB approved converter.
THE INTERNALS OF MY CATALYTIC CONVERTER HAVE MELTED DOWN AFTER A FEW MONTHS OF BEING INSTALLED ON MY VEHICLE. WAS MY CONVERTER FAULTY FROM THE FACTORY?
No. Converter meltdown is primarily contributed to an engine misfire. The unused air and fuel resulting from an engine misfire will cause an intense fire inside the catalytic converter damaging it internally. Normal operating temperatures of a converter are 500-800° F, and up to 1200° F when the vehicle is under heavy load. To melt the catalytic converter’s substrate, the temperature inside the converter would have to exceed 2000° F.
WILL REPLACING MY CONVERTER WITH A NEW ONE ELIMIATE THE PO420/PO430 CODE FROM COMING ON?
There is no guarantee that replacing the converter will keep a fault code from coming back. If an engine performance issues exist, and it has not been repaired, the P0420/P0430 fault code may recur.
WHY DID MY CONVERTER FAIL?
Typically converter failures fall in to one of the following categories: Physical damage due to corrosion, or from the converter contacting a large object on the road surface.
Contamination – due to excessive oil consumption, internal coolant leak, or excessive carbon build up.
Melted substrate – due to engine misfires which lead to excessive converter temperatures.
Thermal Shock or Cold-quenching – hot converter is suddenly cold quenched when driving through deep water or into deep snow.
Sudden drop in temperature forces the converter housing to contract, which can cause cracks or breakage of the ceramic substrate.
Converter aging/lack of engine maintenance – cycles of damaging engine conditions will eventually deteriorate converter performance.
WHY IS MY CHECK ENGINE OR MIL LIGHT INDICATING THAT I HAVE A PO420: LOW CONVERTER EFFICIENCY
A P0420 low efficiency code does not always indicate that the converter needs to be replaced. On newer vehicles a low efficiency code will can occur if the exhaust feed gases are not of the proper balanced to allow the converter to operate efficiently. An experienced emissions technician may be able to identify and resolve this concern with a scan tool, the most effective way for most technicians to diagnose this condition is through the use of a 5 gas analyzer, performing the switch-ratio scan tool test, and Oxygen Storage Capacity (OSC) scan tool test.
ARE THERE ANY STEPS MY TECHNICIAN CAN TAKE TO PREVENT MY NEW CONVERTER FROM FAILING PREMATURELY?
Yes, since converters are designed to last the life of the vehicle the technician should identify and correct the root cause of the original converter failure.– The technician should make sure any other codes are corrected prior to installing the new converter. This is especially true for misfire, mass air flow, rich/ lean conditions, and O2 response rate codes.– Pressure checks the cooling system to test for leaks which will contaminate the new converter.– Repair any exhaust leak that may be present. A stethoscope or a smoke test is successful ways in detecting an exhaust leak. However a smoke test can not only find escaping exhaust, but air that is being sucked in. An exhaust leak may affect converter and O2 sensor operation.– Check O2 operation: The front sensor should have good frequency, amplitude, and response rate and average 450mv. The rear should be fairly steady at idle and above 450mv (typically 650-850mv).– If both of the above O2 sensor readings are not present, the vehicle should be checked with a 4 or 5 gas analyzer and repairs should be performed.
ARE MILLER CAT CONVERTERS APPROVED FOR NEW YORK STATE AFTERMARKET CATALYTIC CONVERTER (AMCCs) REGULATION CHANGES?
Yes. All of our converters are California Air Resource Board (CARB) compliant. Beginning January 1, 2014, replacement catalytic converters must either be original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, or new AMCCs certified as meeting CARB emission standards.
CAN I INSTALL A USED/RECYCLED OR SALVAGED CATALYTIC CONVERTER ON VEHICLES IN NEW YORK STATE?
No. It is now illegal to sell, offer for sale, advertise or installed used, recycled or salvaged catalytic converters in New York State.
AS AN INSTALLER OF A NEW CARB CERTIFIED AFTERMARKET CATALYTIC CONVERTER (AMCC), WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES?
- Complete a warranty card in triplicate with the original going to the customer, one copy to the installer, and one copy to the manufacturer of the converter.
- Retain a copy of the warranty card for a minimum of four years from the date of the installation.
WHO CAN I CONTACT FROM NEW YORK ABOUT COMPLIANCE ISSUES?
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Air Resources / Bureau of Mobile Sources.
625 Broadway Albany, NY 12233-3255
Telephone: (518) 402-8292
IS MY VEHICLE MANUFACTURED FOR CARB OR FEDERAL?
The best way to determine this is to look at the vehicle’s emissions system label. The label can usually be found on either the front radiator support, the strut tower plate, or under the engine hood. If the vehicle is California Emissions Certified, the label will reference “CARB,” “California,” or “ARB.” Once the emissions certification has been found, the “Engine Family Number,” or sometimes referred as “Test Group Name,” “Engine Family Code,” or “Group Number” must be determined. This number can be found on the Emissions Control Information Label.
HOW TO INDENTIFY A CALIFORNIA AIR RESOURCE BOARD (CARB)-COMPLIANT CATALYTIC CONVERTER?
Every CARB-compliant replacement converter must display a certification stamp or label on the converter shell that includes:
- CARB Executive Order approval number
- Manufacturer Part Number
- Date of Manufacture
- Exhaust Flow Direction