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Old 07-31-2010, 07:57 PM   #1
BigDaddyGuns
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Default Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

I have a 2002 L300 that is suffering with a major loss in power. The car can get up to highway speeds 60+ mph albeit over an extended time period by careful applying the throttle. The SES light in on due to one diagnostic code P0420 which is a catalytic converter efficiency code.

These signs lead me to conclude to cat converter is clogged. I am having a tough time figuring out what parts are in the exhaust chain. From what I have read in this forum, in my Haynes repair manual, and elsewhere the v6-3.0L engine has two cat converters a front and rear. I called the recommended service replacement department (local Chevy dealer) and the parts guy told me there is only one cat converter for this model. I told him there are two but he said no there is only one which lowers my confidence in having the dealer service the car (at least for this problem). I'm looking for confirmation that there are indeed a front and rear cat converter and not just one.

Now on the the hard part, figuring out what to replace and where to buy. I went to the usual suspects Pep Boys, Autozone, O'Reilly's, etc. and nobody has parts or can get cat con parts for this model. I know someone who works in a Buick/GMC service department and he pulled two part numbers off the computer for the L300, a front converter (GM# 22708166) and a rear (GM# 22708166). I googled those part numbers which led me to tinyurl.com/3936sl4 . I can't make too much detail off the image. It appears the front cat con may be included with the y-pipe assembly but I'm not sure. Also I'm not sure where the rear cat con would be. My Buick/GMC contact is going to try and pull a parts list for the exhaust chain on this model to try and get some detail on the parts.

The GM suggested retail prices for front cat con 22708166 $460 and rear 22708167 $930 have me concerned. With no apparent local third-party parts availability I'm leery about ordering parts over the internet and getting the wrong parts or getting things to fit right. I don't feel like creating customized exhaust system parts.

My main question is identifying the necessary parts for a clean replacement and a reputable place to purchase them from. Buying the parts from a GM parts department is a last resort. If anyone has any suggestions or past experience with these issues I would really appreciate hearing your comments.

Thanks.

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Old 07-31-2010, 08:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

Try getsaturnparts.com for their OEM parts and diagram. Here's one from the FSM. Also read Admiral Brown's posts about this issue and diagnosing converter problems. I think he stated that we have two (pre?)converters he diagnosed as part of his problems. This should give you some ideas of which way to go. Another way to test a faulty catalytic converter is to bang on it for rattles, the signs of loose cat guts and possible clogging/constipation in the exhaust system.

The picture isn't very clear and only shows one (pre)converter. It also only shows the rear O2 sensor and not the front O2 sensors. I believe the mid and rear section are the resonator and muffler. Here's the other picture of the front O2 sensor. It shows the one next to the oil filter and the other side has the same set-up, making ours have two front and two rear sensors.
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File Type: jpg L81 eshaust system.jpg (72.7 KB, 94 views)
File Type: gif Precat O2 sensor.gif (37.8 KB, 89 views)

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Old 07-31-2010, 10:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

As an FYI, I had a P0420 on my LW300 and it was an o2 sensor. I replaced it about a week ago and so far so good, but my car was otherwise running fine...yours sounds like a plugged converter.

If you look at eBay, there are aftermarket catalysts available there for the L300 that match the OEM. As best I can tell, there are two converters, the front/drivers side and the rear/passenger side. Both have extended tubing and/or mufflers/flanges...there are pictures there and they should help you. Just search on Saturn Converter and then narrow it by L300 and L-series. Davico makes them, so does Catco, and Maremont likely does as well, at least the front one. They are not cheap, but the Davico and Maremont are less than the OEM parts.

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Old 07-31-2010, 11:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

First fdryer thanks for the exhaust system diagram, that is a big help! I marked up that diagram with my understandings of the locations of the front and rear cat cons in that lineup. I think I understand the layout now. Also thanks TVCCS for pointers on where to find parts. I marked up where the Maremont parts seem to fit on the diagram.

Let me know if I made any errors in the markups. Otherwise I start looking into buying the parts for installation. I'll report back after it is complete. Thanks again for your prompt replies, I do appreciate it.
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File Type: jpg saturn_l300_exhaust.jpg (154.1 KB, 98 views)

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Old 07-31-2010, 11:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

Ahhhh...Maremont does make the front and rear...around $500 for both shipped on eBay. I also just found another vendor (link below) that sells the same pieces for a little less...around $450 shipped. You can input the part numbers and they come up as available. I should also add that Advance Auto Parts has a Web sale going on and does have the o2 sensors (Bosch) available if needed. Good luck.

http://www.performancepeddler.com/

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Old 08-08-2010, 02:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

I just recently had the same problem with my '02. I had to determine if it was the front or rear cat. (almost a misnomer because both cats are actually toward the front.) I unbolted the rear cat and let it drop to the garage floor. The flexible coupling will allow it to droop. There was almost nothing coming out of the cat and when I reved the engine the cat actually lifted up a bit telling me it was that one that was clogged. I saw no need in paying the outrageous price at the Saturn parts counter and got a cheap generic cat the right size and a flex coupler from Auto zone. A friend paid off a favor by welding things up for me and everything bolted right up. Car runs great, gas mileage is better than before. Don't pay the high price everyone wants for cat repairs. The fact that a recycler only pays about $25 bucks for a used Saturn cat tells me that how overpriced these things are. Where is the expense in manufacturing Saturn cats?

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Old 08-08-2010, 03:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

Quote:
Originally Posted by the hankster View Post
... I saw no need in paying the outrageous price at the Saturn parts counter and got a cheap generic cat the right size and a flex coupler from Auto zone. A friend paid off a favor by welding things up for me and everything bolted right up. Car runs great, gas mileage is better than before. Don't pay the high price everyone wants for cat repairs. The fact that a recycler only pays about $25 bucks for a used Saturn cat tells me that how overpriced these things are. Where is the expense in manufacturing Saturn cats?
I'm guessing the costs are high due to the model being out of production for years and Saturn make being defunct. I don't have much access to the tools and time to retrofit a generic cat. I'm looking for OE swap out. The local Chevy dealer wanted $930 for the rear cat, the tax alone here in IL would have been close a $100. Thanks to TVCCS I ordered the part from performance peddler ($266 including shipping + tax) and received it Friday. Waiting to get some time this week to swap out the parts. Hopefully this fixes the problem.

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Old 08-09-2010, 10:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

I'm glad to hear Performance Peddler had the parts and got them to you quickly...I'll have to keep them in mind when my time arrives.

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Old 08-09-2010, 01:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

Well, the expense in making catalytic converters is in the catalyst, which is platinum. OEM cats meet OEM specs which includes the proper amount of catalyst for the requisite number of years wear for the specific engine output. You can certainly find cheaper cats that will fit and remedy the problem, but the only real place to cut costs in building a cat is to reduce the amount of very expensive platinum, which will impact the effeciency and number of years service you'll get from the replacement.
If you're only going to keep the car for a couple years, a cheap cat may fit your needs, if you plan on keeping it longer, it may be cost effective to get an OEM spec cat.

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Old 08-16-2010, 11:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

The rear cat part was replaced and it was the problem. All computer codes are now cleared and it runs like it did prior to the problem.

Thanks for the information and support on getting this vehicle out of sick bay and back into operation.

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Old 08-16-2010, 11:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

Glad to hear that worked out...and a helluva lot less than a dealer.

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Old 08-23-2010, 01:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDaddyGuns View Post
I'm guessing the costs are high due to the model being out of production for years and Saturn make being defunct. I don't have much access to the tools and time to retrofit a generic cat. I'm looking for OE swap out. The local Chevy dealer wanted $930 for the rear cat, the tax alone here in IL would have been close a $100. Thanks to TVCCS I ordered the part from performance peddler ($266 including shipping + tax) and received it Friday. Waiting to get some time this week to swap out the parts. Hopefully this fixes the problem.
I'm in the same boat and need the same part. What is the part number you ordered online? I was looking at the Performance Peddler site and couldn't find the catalytic converter.

I've got a 2003 LW300.

Thanks!

Peace...

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Old 08-23-2010, 03:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Catalytic Converter Problems on L300

If you look at the illustrated post by Big...you'll see the Maremont part numbers...the front cat is 652525, the rear is 652536. Performance Peddler doesn't have them in their catalog, but if you input the part number, they come up as available, and pricing is the lowest I could find. Big got his delivered quickly, per his post, and it worked fine - he ordered the rear converter.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/att...1&d=1280636107

http://www.performancepeddler.com/de...T_ID=MAR652536

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