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Old 03-21-2018, 09:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default SX4 Catalytic Converter

Hello all!

I have a 2007 Suzuki SX4 AWD hatchback (blue!) and I absolutely have loved it since I bought it used in 2009.

Recently, my check engine light would come on when my gas tank was half empty. I read the manual and it said that it could be a loose gas cap. I would fix the gas cap and, by the time I refilled the tank, the light would go off.

This worked for two or three random times, but then, last week, the light came on and stayed on. I took it to Pepboys and they did a diagnostic and said I need a new catalytic converter and oxygen sensor.

I remembered from my Sidekick days (my first car) -- that's an expensive fix. But I love my car and it only has 113k on it, so I don't want to give up on it.

However, Pepboys told me their usual parts contact company no longer manufactures the part, and basically I can see if a muffler shop would somehow rebuild the catalytic converter.

I live in California and we have very strict emissions laws here. All of the catalytic converters I've found online (eBay, various auto parts sites, etc) are all legal in 48 states -- and NOT in California. I can't seem to find one that would work. Suzuki's site has an OEM one for $1600 but it doesn't say if it's legal for use in CA. (https://suzukicarparts.com/parts/200...&siteid=214820)

I just had my smog check last year, so I don't need one until next year. I don't want to ruin the car by continuing to drive without a new catalytic converter and oxygen sensor, but I don't know what to do. $1600 is a steep price to pay to find out it isn't legal in my state at my smog check next year. Any advice?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-22-2018, 06:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Failded O2 sensor would keep the fuel management in default mode..that is, not turn to closed loop mode. THis usually means the fuel economy would worsen much and you can measure it easily . Can you detect that ?
Loss of catalytic efficiency by itself does not normally damage the engine...it just pollutes the atmosphere more. A clogged catalytic would lower engine performance though.
By the way...there are 2 O2 sensors...one ahead and the other after the catalytic. .which was revealed as failed? Failed O2 sensor ahead of catalytic fails fuel control...leading to failure of catalytic usually by overheating it.
Possessing a code reader...really inexpensive ..is IMO the first thing one should have.
Sad to see all catalytics on Rock AUto list are not legal in California....
Hve you seen these ? https://www.autozone.com/emission-co...ter-california
I'm unable to see the price though since I lack a ZIP code for CA.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LMP View Post
Failded O2 sensor would keep the fuel management in default mode..that is, not turn to closed loop mode. THis usually means the fuel economy would worsen much and you can measure it easily . Can you detect that ?
Loss of catalytic efficiency by itself does not normally damage the engine...it just pollutes the atmosphere more. A clogged catalytic would lower engine performance though.
By the way...there are 2 O2 sensors...one ahead and the other after the catalytic. .which was revealed as failed? Failed O2 sensor ahead of catalytic fails fuel control...leading to failure of catalytic usually by overheating it.
Possessing a code reader...really inexpensive ..is IMO the first thing one should have.
Sad to see all catalytics on Rock AUto list are not legal in California....
Hve you seen these ? https://www.autozone.com/emission-co...ter-california
I'm unable to see the price though since I lack a ZIP code for CA.
Thanks so much for the fast -- and helpful! -- reply. I'm hopeful for the Autozone ones you sent.

Pepboys' notes said that "catalyst efficiency below threshold, recommend replacing catalytic converter and oxygen sensor bank 1 sensor 2 to continue checking." I didn't even see that they had included the code: P0420.

Also, I had no idea that code readers were so inexpensive. I've always thought they were a couple hundred bucks and never bothered to look into owning one.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The engine computer relies on the O2 sensor(s) to control fuel mixing to control emissions. The O2 sensor lives in a harsh, hi-temp environment, and will degrade before outright failure. I would replace the O2 sensor(s) before replacing a cat.
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Old 04-02-2018, 06:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The engine computer relies on the O2 sensor(s) to control fuel mixing to control emissions. The O2 sensor lives in a harsh, hi-temp environment, and will degrade before outright failure. I would replace the O2 sensor(s) before replacing a cat.
Does it hurt the O2 sensor if I replace that before I replace the catalytic converter? Is it better to just replace both at the same time?

My check engine light is not lit up anymore. I know it's probably just temporary, but I'm waiting to hear back from the mechanic to make sure they can work with one of the 3 options from AutoZone that are legal in CA.
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Old 04-02-2018, 06:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The first O2 sensor (before catalytic) regulates fuel control. IT ensures an ideal ful mix, but will not repair (nor damage) the catalytic if it is already damaged.
The 2nd O2 sensor just monitors the catalytic performance (assuming the fuel control is already correct).
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Old 04-11-2018, 02:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi. I just bought a used 2008 JLX and the previous owner had a WO from Midas for a new O2 sensor, but also a bill for the code read which I am guessing was P0420, and an estimate for a new Cat. It didnt give the estimate $ amount, just the code. I called them and they want $1400 (Canadian) to replace it. You can get it cheaper from auto stores. Try NAPA down there. Walker makes new cats, but I am not sure which states they are allowed in. Then take it to a true exhaust shop (not FRANCHISE) and get them to install it. If you want to improve power and fuel economy a bit get the second cat taken out and have a straight pipe replace it. Doesnt affect computer but may not be allowed where you are. I did it and it has improved power.efficiency a bit. Only slightly louder.
Replacing the O2 sensor will help, but if the cat is plugged and worn out it needs to be replaced. Emission will be high if you don't. Make sure air filter is clean and clean the MAF when you replace the air filter if it has never been done. Throttle body too if you can and run some fuel system cleaner through a full tank to clean injectors, preferably by flooring it a few times to get full pressure blasting through. New Iridium plugs too if it is due.
But basically, you should do the O2 sensor and put in a new cat together, ideally.
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