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Old 02-25-2011, 02:05 AM   #1
bountyhunter
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Default Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Since my 1992, SL2 is failing kali's ridiculous smog test for HC emissions, I had the engine diagnosed and it is in perfect running order. Big shock..... and the cat converter replaced in 05 only has about 20k miles. But, the shop says the converter is wimpy. I went back to Midas (who put the new converter on in '05) and the guy says something like:

"Oh, yeah.... back then it was legal to put in any converter. That was a universal. Now you have to buy an OEM equivalent and they are REALLY expensive."

OK, which explains why it barely passed smog with a brand new converter in '05 and fails now that kali cut the emission limits by 40%.

How much does Midas charge for an OEM equivalent cat? Well.... $375 for the cat and $100 to install. So I ask him:

"But is it a really good one?

HIM: "Yeah, it's a magnaflow."

ME: "Can I have the manufacturer's part number?"

HIM: "NO!"

Well, I found it anyway and here is where you can get one for about $155 with free shipping (slightly less than $375). From what I read, the Magnaflow is better than the Walker cat sold at Pep Boys for $170 and WAYYY better than the $100 cheapie universals all over the net.

If your Saturn is failing smog, here's the web site for cheap prices on CARB compliant magnaflow:

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sk...rain&intcmpid=

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Old 02-25-2011, 08:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

The trick is to get them to ship one to California. You can always claim it is for an off road only vehicle.

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Old 02-25-2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Hint. Hint.

Someone from outside California could have a nice little side thing going shipping catalytic convetrers to members in California.

Hers my solution though. I had a parts car with a fairly new catalytic converter. I unbolted the entire exhaust system, sealed the ends with a plastic bag and I store it under my deck. If myself, family member or friend ever has an issue with a S-Series not passing because of the cat, we can swap in my spare, get it tested and swap the "bad" one back.

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Old 02-25-2011, 12:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

The web site says that it is legal in 50 states, so they should be able to ship to Kalifornia...unless they don't consider Kalifornia a state.

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Old 02-25-2011, 02:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The trick is to get them to ship one to California. You can always claim it is for an off road only vehicle.
The one I posted is 50 state legal. It's already on it's way. It's also the same one that Midas installs right here in kali. magnaflow has a line of CARB approved cats that are really good (list price over $400). I was shocked to find one so cheap.

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Old 02-25-2011, 04:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Saturn View Post
Hers my solution though. I had a parts car with a fairly new catalytic converter. I unbolted the entire exhaust system, sealed the ends with a plastic bag and I store it under my deck. If myself, family member or friend ever has an issue with a S-Series not passing because of the cat, we can swap in my spare, get it tested and swap the "bad" one back.
Had an old boss who used that trick on his commercial fishing boats. Once a year when coast guard inspections were due...

I have yet to find a situation where this would come in handy except for windshield wipers, but that isn't worth the bother. State inspections around here LOVE to make you get new wipers and sell you the ones at their price. I always make sure to carry spares with me before going in.

In your case, in makes perfect sense...

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Old 02-25-2011, 04:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Walker Exhaust has a Cal State legal converters for $65 for the S-Models from Summit. Bought and installed one a few months ago, passed smog no problems.

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Old 02-25-2011, 06:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

State Inspection = Extortion {The crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority.}

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Old 02-25-2011, 06:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSmokybear View Post
Walker Exhaust has a Cal State legal converters for $65 for the S-Models from Summit. Bought and installed one a few months ago, passed smog no problems.
Pep Boys sells the CARB approved Walker cat for about $170. My problem is this: my SL-2 got a new "universal" cat which has less than 20k miles on it. Even new, the HC emissions were too high but passing. Now with lower limits, it's failing. Smog diagnostic center says the engine is perfect and the cat is not good. The mechanic says his "pooled" sources for info told him the old Saturns often fail HC with aftermarket cats. So, I wanted to get the best cat I could since a new "universal" like I have now will fail again for sure. I have the test results from '05 when this cat was new (passed then) and they would fail today. Hence my desire to get the best cat around which I think is magnaflow. Walker may be OK too, but they are cheaper so I assume they have less $$$ internals. The internal metals (like platinum) are super expensive so I figure you are going to get less in a cheapie converter.

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Old 02-25-2011, 06:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
State Inspection = Extortion {The crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority.}
I think it's murder since they are arbitrarily lowering the limits to levels that are sending cars with engines in perfect running condition and working emission systems to their death.

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Old 02-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #11
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Roll Eyes Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

You can probably get an oversized "universal" converter shipped to here, but as a previous poster said, don't specify a particular vehicle or state that it is for a conversion on a very old (non pollution controlled vehicle), basically anything prior to 1977. Be certain however that it is still an OBD-II/CARB approved type of converter because they are built to higher standards (reportedly) and carry longer warranties.

As for the ever tightening standards, CARB and the BAAQMD have let it slip repeatedly that they really, really want to get all the older cars scrapped, particularly those horrible nasty outlaw pre-1977 "hot rods" that (according to them) clog our roads and pollute our lives. They have tried again and again to re-regulate them to present day smog standards and thankfully have failed, so far.

Support your local SEMA chapter, they are often the only people fighting this utter insanity, and yes- extortion.

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Old 02-26-2011, 05:12 PM   #12
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Will the last person leaving California please turn out the lights.

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Old 02-26-2011, 05:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Quote:
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Will the last person leaving California please turn out the lights.
From what I read here, its worse in other states. At least all we have is emissions testing. And thats pretty easily passable. And I believe starting next year, if it hasnt already been started, emissions testing is going to get easier and cheaper.

At least we dont bring what we think is a passable car and get a laundry list of nit picking items that have to be replaced before we get out registration.

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Old 02-26-2011, 05:59 PM   #14
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

That is called the Safety Inspection rip off, predates emission checks. Emission checks were just added on top.

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Old 02-26-2011, 07:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

my county was half way installing sniffer stations for e-checks when the population got high enough to warrant it and the state legislators halted and re-looked at the hole testing thing.

Now it uses the on board diagnostics. if the check engine light is on it fails. it will pass with a pending code. The gas cap must pass the pressure test, and must pass a visual emissions inspection. I.E. everything is there.

They tried to get our state to be the same as cali for their standards. But do not remember if it passed or not.

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Old 02-26-2011, 07:52 PM   #16
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Happy Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Many, many moons ago, I was a teenager in northern Texas and worked weekends in a gas station that also did safety inspections and was happy to participate in them in a minor way. My part of the testing was aiming headlights. Got pretty fast at it. I'd guess that one in three cars I tested actually had headlights that were aimed properly/legally upon arrival for testing.

I soured pretty quickly though when I saw that people were failed for things like not having loud enough horns, or too loud (very arbitrary, as if that is a true safety item in the first place) and that brake tests were quite arbitrary as well. Basically if the tester could lock up all four wheels after accelerating across the lot, it passed.

Presumably they are more precise nowadays, and minimal safety standards are to be applauded, but I have heard horror stories from Mid-Western relatives whose cars were failed for merely having oil stains on the undercarriages for example (multiples of those, actually).

So, you know what? At least we can usually anticipate the eco-nazis moves, usually. P.S.- I was told by a CARB official a couple of years ago that they were considering a smog test like the previous poster said. If so, it would be great. But then there's too much lovely money to be made with the treadmills that are used now. But of course how realistic are they for real world driving conditions? Not very, I'd propose.

BTW, it snowed at our house today. First time in the 15+ years we have lived at this particular house. But then it melted within 10 seconds of hitting the back porch, so I guess it's OK. I took pictures of it!! I hate snow. My profound sympathies go out to those who must endure it.

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Old 02-26-2011, 08:36 PM   #17
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
That is called the Safety Inspection rip off, predates emission checks. Emission checks were just added on top.
It existed in kali, it was called PVI (passenger vehicle inspection) and I had it done to me many times in Sacramento in the 60's and 70's. And FYI, when they couldn't find something on a car to ticket they would put down "headlight alignemnt". Didn't matter where they were pointed, if you were a young guy you would get a fix it ticket for that.

I had a '66 Charger with the rotating headlights and the bulb was recessed into the unit. The cop could not get the "alignment tool" onto it. It had a suction cup that had to attach to the lamp lense and it wouldn't fit into it. Didn't stop him from giving me a ticket for it.

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Old 02-26-2011, 08:43 PM   #18
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

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Will the last person leaving California please turn out the lights.
And take that one last handgun that is still in the state. I think it is a 50 year old .22 pistol with the cylinder rusted tight, but finally our state will be free of gun violence when all those pistols are gone... at least, that's what Feinstein keeps saying.

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Old 02-26-2011, 09:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

Someone will have to explain to me how passing another law will cause a criminal to follow the new law.

This is a concept of criminal behavior I have never understood.

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Old 02-26-2011, 09:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: Upgrade Catalytic Converter For California

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Originally Posted by 1996SL11.9L View Post
my county was half way installing sniffer stations for e-checks when the population got high enough to warrant it and the state legislators halted and re-looked at the hole testing thing.

Now it uses the on board diagnostics. if the check engine light is on it fails. it will pass with a pending code. The gas cap must pass the pressure test, and must pass a visual emissions inspection. I.E. everything is there.

They tried to get our state to be the same as cali for their standards. But do not remember if it passed or not.
sounds like you just may have calibofornia emissions my friend...

http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/states/.../news_id=10285

Seriously, who gave them the right to start policing things? UGH!!!

oh well, at least I live in kentucky.

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