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Old 01-17-2016, 12:25 PM   #1
jcapartmentsale
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Default Precat and CA Emissions in NYS

1999 Saturn SL2, 229,XXX miles.

Been getting the code P420, guidance I received from a shop I'm pretty comfortable with is that it is the pre-cat that is bad. The car is a CA emissions car, and has a pre-cat (soup can like object in the exhaust manifold right?) if I understand everything correctly. Trying to figure out what my options are versus replacing with a new OEM part given the car's mileage.

As I understand it in NYS, if a car has CA emissions a shop must install CA emissions compliant parts. At first I was looking for another exhaust manifold that is an exact fit and non CA emissions compliant to install myself, but that seems like it's tough to guarantee an exact fit since many different manifolds were used?

Also, I was digging through some threads and saw some about hallowing out the pre-cat. Is this an option? Does that have any impact on the cat? Logistically, do I remove the exhaust manifold, remove the 02 sensor and ? How exactly do I go about hallowing out the pre-cat?

In either case, (a non CA compliant manifold or hallowing out the pre-cat), am I going to have issues passing emissions in NYS? I'm not sure if the test(s) done during emissions would identify that I should have a pre-cat or the pre-cat was not functioning.

TIA.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:58 PM   #2
tx3nc
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Default Re: Precat and CA Emissions in NYS

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcapartmentsale View Post
1999 Saturn SL2, 229,XXX miles.

Been getting the code P420, guidance I received from a shop I'm pretty comfortable with is that it is the pre-cat that is bad. The car is a CA emissions car, and has a pre-cat (soup can like object in the exhaust manifold right?) if I understand everything correctly. Trying to figure out what my options are versus replacing with a new OEM part given the car's mileage.

As I understand it in NYS, if a car has CA emissions a shop must install CA emissions compliant parts. At first I was looking for another exhaust manifold that is an exact fit and non CA emissions compliant to install myself, but that seems like it's tough to guarantee an exact fit since many different manifolds were used?

Also, I was digging through some threads and saw some about hallowing out the pre-cat. Is this an option? Does that have any impact on the cat? Logistically, do I remove the exhaust manifold, remove the 02 sensor and ? How exactly do I go about hallowing out the pre-cat?

In either case, (a non CA compliant manifold or hallowing out the pre-cat), am I going to have issues passing emissions in NYS? I'm not sure if the test(s) done during emissions would identify that I should have a pre-cat or the pre-cat was not functioning.

TIA.
The only thing I can tell you for sure is if you have a check engine light on with a code, you will fail inspection in NY. I think that any garage will have to repair whatever emissions equipment the car was originally equipped with, but I am not 100% on that part. The point might be moot though as the engine controller software might be programmed for the CA emissions equipment and might throw a code if the car is converted to 48 state.
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Precat and CA Emissions in NYS

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Originally Posted by tx3nc View Post
I think that any garage will have to repair whatever emissions equipment the car was originally equipped with, but I am not 100% on that part.
At least in NY, that's correct. Basically the law here says that if there is CA emissions equipment on the car, a shop has to replace with CA emissions.

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The point might be moot though as the engine controller software might be programmed for the CA emissions equipment and might throw a code if the car is converted to 48 state.
You said it better than me I think. That's one of my big questions, hopefully someone here knows.

Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Precat and CA Emissions in NYS

The po420 code is for the catalytic converter, not the pre cat. Make sure you don't have any exhaust leaks in between that and the engine, if ok then your converter is most likely shot.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:23 PM   #5
jcapartmentsale
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Default Re: Precat and CA Emissions in NYS

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The po420 code is for the catalytic converter, not the pre cat. Make sure you don't have any exhaust leaks in between that and the engine, if ok then your converter is most likely shot.
There's 1 catalytic converter and a pre-cat only right (not a second catalytic converter)? I'm asking because the cat is ~12K miles, 18 months old, OEM bought from dealer.
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Old 01-17-2016, 11:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Precat and CA Emissions in NYS

If you had the cat replaced recently with an oem it should last for years. The pre-cat may need to be replaced,they are easily damaged by a misfire condition. Any air leak between the O2 sensors will give you a p0420 code, very possible on a exhaust that has been worked on. All connections should be welded, no clamps. Check for leaks with a high volume air source, a shop vac on exhaust works well. Tape hose to exhaust and check for air leaks with a soap and water solution sprayed on, but something like this http://www.amazon.com/Oatey-45801-He...EPAW6NBHRAP47C is a much better choice and worth the expense. Pay attention to welds and the flex hose, as well as any flanges, it does not take much to throw a code. Also make sure your air pump is working with no leaks, they can be trouble-some as well.
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Old 01-18-2016, 12:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Precat and CA Emissions in NYS

While this is a tedious process of trial and error, removing the exhaust manifold and examining the precat for damage will allow you to experiment, gutting the precat and reusing the manifold. If all goes well, see how the engine and on board OBD II diagnostics handles emissions. If you have plenty of time before state inspection, drive a day or more and observe for any check engine indicators. It wouldn't be advisable to reset the error as this forces the entire emissions self test to run - readiness monitors fail until the dreaded drive cycle (approximately 50 miles) is run in local and highway conditions to have all readiness monitors pass before your car is ready for inspection. State inspection sees the same info you see on most readers, the ready or not ready status so it's to your advantage to use a reader to be sure your car has a ready status after trying this test without the guts in the exhaust manifold. The downstream O2 sensor monitors the main catcon only so it's possible for the precat to become partially blocked or disintegrated after so many miles/years and pieces travel into the main catcon to cause problems. You won't know until the exhaust manifold is removed to examine it.

Best case scenario is gutting the precat and the emissions system accepts out without an error code. Please don't quote me on this but as I see it, NYS emissions inspection would be, presuming the check engine light is off, the inspector plugging in the state computer to the OBD II port and retrieving the same info we all see when using a reader - either a ready or not ready status is displayed. One major flaw here is if a person were trying to fool inspectors by resetting the cel and immediately going for inspection. This doesn't work as the OBD II system goes to a not ready status as mentioned and will be seen on a reader or state computer. Automatic fail.

In the course of inspecting the car for any safety defects that would make a car unsafe on the roads, a cursory inspection of the exhaust system may be all that's done. My guess is NYS isn't as anal as California's stringent emissions regulations but again don't quote me on this. If I were in your shoes I would check with your repair shop you trust for guidance.

Worse case scenario is replacing the exhaust manifold with any replacement that meets the requirements of having a precat and not necessarily a California approved one. Again, check with your repair shop.
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