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Old 09-28-2016, 09:47 AM   #1
harmono
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Dizzy '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

I have a 1998 SL2 1.9L DOHC automatic with a/C in California. I am getting the code that says you need to replace the Catalytic converter (sometimes replacing an O2 sensor works, I'm still looking into it.)
I have just one question.
I see that you can bolt in the Catalytic converter for 48 states, but for the California converter you have to weld it in. Why is this? Can I get an entire exhaust system from a car in the wrecking yard and put it in? What I mean specifically is would it be possible to bolt on a Catalytic converter in any way.
I could not find any diagrams that show the whole exhaust system, and how to replace it in the manual that I have or online search.
I also read thread #207579.
I really can't sink $1,000 into the car. It might not even pass smog with a new catalytic converter, so I'm looking to pull one off hopefully a car that has much less mileage. I have a buddy that can bolt it on, but welding one on seems pretty expensive, and I would have to remove the used one by using a hacksaw? What is the difference between California models and other states? Is it just the laws are different or is the physical parts different? Again I really am trying to keep the expense under $300.00, because this might only last another two years. If it costs more I might not keep the car.

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Old 09-28-2016, 10:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

First from a tech here in the midwest I know well. All cats are to be welded in not just in the people's republic. Also it is against the law for salvage yards to sell cat cons. So yes you will need to have a new one installed. However unless the CA cars are truly that different there is no code or indicator I know of that tells you to replace it. There is a CAT efficiency code however that can be set by nothing more than a pinhole exhaust leak prior to the converter or a bad O2 sensor. Eliminate the simple stuff first

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Old 09-28-2016, 11:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by harmono View Post
I have a 1998 SL2 1.9L DOHC automatic with a/C in California. I am getting the code that says you need to replace the Catalytic converter (sometimes replacing an O2 sensor works, I'm still looking into it.)
What is the exact code you are getting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by harmono View Post
I see that you can bolt in the Catalytic converter for 48 states, but for the California converter you have to weld it in.
No, that's not how it works. The catalytic converter has nothing to do with being bolted on or welded on, get that thought out of your head.

Being in California, you need California Air Resources Board approved catalytic converter for your car, basically, you need a catalytic converter with CARB number that will work for your car. Yes, those CARB approve catalytic converter is more expensive than the Federal emission catalytic converter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harmono View Post
Can I get an entire exhaust system from a car in the wrecking yard and put it in?
No wrecking yard in California will sell you a catalytic converter. It carries huge FINE for doing so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harmono View Post
I really can't sink $1,000 into the car. It might not even pass smog with a new catalytic converter, so I'm looking to pull one off hopefully a car that has much less mileage. I have a buddy that can bolt it on, but welding one on seems pretty expensive, and I would have to remove the used one by using a hacksaw?
If the catalytic converter is indeed the problem, call a few muffler shop around and see what would it cost to replace your current catalytic converter?? They would weld it in and you'll be done.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harmono View Post
What is the difference between California models and other states? Is it just the laws are different or is the physical parts different? Again I really am trying to keep the expense under $300.00, because this might only last another two years. If it costs more I might not keep the car.
Explained above. Your car will NOT pass visual inspection if you don't have a CARB approved catalytic converter!!!

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Old 09-28-2016, 11:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

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Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
However . . . there is no code or indicator I know of that tells you to replace it. There is a CAT efficiency code however that can be set by nothing more than a pinhole exhaust leak prior to the converter or a bad O2 sensor.
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Legally in California before you replace a catcon you are required to perform a cat efficiency test. Basically you take a sniffer reading from the front O2 port and the rear O2 port and there is a formula that says if the cat can be replaced. I suppose if you find a catcon yourself you might skip this but any muffler shop would have to do this first.

Also, be aware that the legal catcons change often. When you buy yours you will get a certification paper that you have to keep forever. That makes the catcon legal. In a few months or so they'll change the approved list and your paper is all that keeps your replacement catcon legal.

When I looked into it it was cheaper to have a muffler shop weld a universal approved catcon than to pay extra for the bolt on, which rare actually successfully just bolt on.

BTW The wrecking yards have to recycle the catcons before parts are pulled. There is a list of things you have to do legally before taking parts from a car including recycling refrigerant, oils, and the catcon. Usually pick-n-pull just cuts them off destroying the pipes before and after

-Robert

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Old 09-28-2016, 01:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

If the existing one is welded in, then yes, a new one would need to be welded in.

Junkyards like cash. I have purchased 2 cats for a from them with $$$( but no receipt).. So it's possble, but( I guess) not legal.

I've never had a smog shop look under the car to check ANYthing. If the sniffer/computer passes it, they pass it. They do look farily hard at the engine bay, though.

If you can get ahold of a good 48/49 state legal cat and get it installed
( and if cat efficiency was the issue for the CEL) I wouldn't worry too much.

My Vue recently had CEL for cat efficiency( my cat bolts in).. But since it's a bit more popular than your older SAty, I have more choices from vendors who can make a buck off of a CAli cat. THeyhave to jump through regulatory hoops/pay mega fees to do this, so it has to be intheir financial interest to do so( cat needs to be in demand by current owners),,, so the price for it wasn't too bad compared to 48/49 state. I think it was about 250$ compared to $150 for other states.

I've also never seen the CARB popo roaming neighborhoods looking for EO numbers. Any CAli legal cat will have one, that if you buy new , will jive with the database here.> https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/afterm...es/amquery.php

It's also possible to get a short term PO box in VEgas that can forward ship packages ( for instance an out of state cat) delivered there -to your home addy in CAli- packages that might not be necessarily legal to mail direct to CAli by the vendor due to hoops being too high, if you know what I mean.

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Last edited by billysvue; 09-28-2016 at 01:51 PM..

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Old 09-28-2016, 01:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
Legally in California before you replace a catcon you are required to perform a cat efficiency test. Basically you take a sniffer reading from the front O2 port and the rear O2 port and there is a formula that says if the cat can be replaced.
DOn't the computer and existing O2 sensors do this continuously? Or maybe just not OP 's year(98)?.. My '05 threw a cat effieciency code...

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billysvue View Post
DOn't the computer and existing O2 sensors do this continuously? Or maybe just not OP 's year(98)?.. My '05 threw a cat effieciency code...

They do but the state still requires the test before replacement.

To the guy who said they don't check the catcon. They don't always check well (every smog station is required to have an undercarriage mirror to look at exhaust). Once you get caught your smog result will not be fail but "tampered" and that will flag any smog station you try to go to. It's scary enough that some smog places refuse the smog tampered cars.

-Robert

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amazinghl View Post
No wrecking yard in California will sell you a catalytic converter. It carries huge FINE for doing so.
Explained above. Your car will NOT pass visual inspection if you don't have a CARB approved catalytic converter!!!
NOt true, while illegal to do so, JY's like cash under the table.

VIsual only covers the engine bay ( reality). In theory , yes, they could look underneath to check for EO numbers on emission components.

Don't dress the part of a "gearhead" when showing up for a smog check and you'll be treated with less suspicion and your car with less scrutiny than someone dressed a bit scruffy or looking impatient/mad or worried. Smile and pretend your Bob the accountant and partime
greenpeace/"glowbull "warming advocate.

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
They do but the state still requires the test before replacement.
CAn you cite that CAli regulation please?
I replaced mine without the test you described and no CArb police were around .. My CEL went away, and I have no worries about an outstanding fine or arrest warrant when I get my next smog in a year.

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:10 PM   #11
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
Legally in California before you replace a catcon you are required to perform a cat efficiency test. Basically you take a sniffer reading from the front O2 port and the rear O2 port and there is a formula that says if the cat can be replaced. I suppose if you find a catcon yourself you might skip this but any muffler shop would have to do this first.
Really? Is that true in every county?? I never heard that before.

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
First from a tech here in the midwest I know well. All cats are to be welded in not just in the people's republic.
If that's true, then why does WALKER sell a CAli CAt with bolt up flanges( EO number checked out) to replace the bolt up cat in my ecotec VUE? Sold through AMAzon and shipped to me in SAn Diego county? This was 4 months back...

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

yes walker and (I think) also magnaflow sell bolt on downpipes+cat assemblies for saturn that are carb legal

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billysvue View Post
CAn you cite that CAli regulation please?
I replaced mine without the test you described and no CArb police were around .. My CEL went away, and I have no worries about an outstanding fine or arrest warrant when I get my next smog in a year.


Specifically it says that the installer needs to see a diagnosis from a licensed smog tech that the cat is bad, not just smog test results. I'll look for the actual procedure but the requirement for the diagnosis is noted here.

"
Q. Should an installer request to see the result from the smog check inspection?
A. The installer should ask for evidence of the diagnosis by a licensed smog check technician that the catalyst needs replacement. The results of a smog check inspection do not, by themselves, provide sufficient evidence that a catalyst needs to be replaced. The installer has to keep a copy together with the repair invoice and other documents relating to the installation."

https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermktcat/
Smog cops aren't all over so it's not surprising you may get away with skipping steps. They're basically relying on shops fearing fines as enforcement.

-Robert

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

More info on the testing procedure.

http://californiasmoginstitute.com/i...Procedures.pdf

-Robert

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
Specifically it says that the installer needs to see a diagnosis from a licensed smog tech that the cat is bad, not just smog test results. I'll look for the actual procedure but the requirement for the diagnosis is noted here.
My "diagnosis" was by my computer when it threw the cat efficiency code.The "installer" ( myself)took that as gospel and replaced it. End of my story.

That reg sounds like it's to protect the consumer from shops that may see $$ by installing cats that aren't necessarily needed.

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lil_buddy View Post
yes walker and (I think) also magnaflow sell bolt on downpipes+cat assemblies for saturn that are carb legal
To clarify, you are correct in the sense that the cat is welded in to the downpipe- that's fitted with flanges on either end. A cheaper option is to buy just the raw cat( to be welded in) but that's not such a "plug and play" option for a driveway wrenchhead.

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Old 09-28-2016, 02:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

I'm not seeing how there is a *legal* obligation to run any conclusive troubleshooting testing.

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Old 09-28-2016, 03:49 PM   #19
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

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Don't dress the part of a "gearhead" when showing up for a smog check and you'll be treated with less suspicion and your car with less scrutiny than someone dressed a bit scruffy or looking impatient/mad or worried. Smile and pretend your Bob the accountant and partime
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:39 PM   #20
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Default Re: '98 SL2 Catalytic Converter for California. Can I install one?

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I'm not seeing how there is a *legal* obligation to run any conclusive troubleshooting testing.
To be sure, this is the Namby Pamby state regulators trying to "protect the ignorant consumer" from being ripped off by a shop that wants to install converters for $$$.

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