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Catalytic Converter - Need Advises


Ek3 Ferio
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Hi Guys,

I owned a Civic Ek3 96 JDM which comes with a Catalytic Converter. Now it's indicator in meter panel is randomly turned on and off.

It seems it comes on if I drive the car in high RPMs, and I noted that the engine is rev hard but car is not moving much and ignition sound also hearing. Once the light comes on again it goes off if I drive the car smoothly in low RPMs in about 10-15min.

This is happening now quite a some time. And most of the time after having a drive in high RPMs, next day morning once I turned on the ignition switch, Catalytic converter indicator and Battery indicator don't turned on no matter how many times i turned off and on the ignition switch. But the car starts as normal, then for next time all the bulbs are turned on as normal for whole day.

And other thing I noticed was if the car is drove in high RMPs, lets say two three days continuously, engine oil level is dropping in considerable amount. (suspect bad valve oil seals, if so how to get it confirmed that before opening engine?)

Before going to do anything thought to get ideas of you guys.

How to check the condition of catalytic converter?
If it is bad is it available to replace and cost and where can i find it?

If it is not available to replace, is it ok to remove it?

What are the pros and cons of not having a catalytic converter?

Many Thanks,

Edited by Ek3 Ferio
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Not an expert but I will give you answers for your last question from experience. The rest you could just google and see except for the prices in SL.

Pros,

You will see a marginal increase in power

Better acceleration

Fuel economy??

Cons,

You might fail the emission testing

In other countries its illegal

Sound of the vehicle exhaust will also change

Originally my car came with a catalytic converter but since a maybe a year after it landed on our sunny shores it was removed and some mods to exhaust system, gearbox and engine management. I got to know about the mod on catalytic converter only recently when one of the forum members gave me a list of what he had done (he was one of the first users of the car). It has done more than 250,000kms with no major issues, never failed the emission test, still good on fuel and the mid range power is also really good.

Word of advice because of the above dont go removing your catalytic converter, ask for expert advice from the Honda owners who know Honda's inside out as to whether it will be bad for the engine and the environment.

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There are some generic catalytic converters available with elcardo nawala in various pipe diameters. Was 8K when I bought one about 2 years back but Sacha @WEPR was the one who installed it during an exhaust system upgrade. Still going strong!

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I'm thinking its something to do with the sensors/electronics related to the indicator since the battery indicator also acts funny. The cat-con is basically a filter.. The only thing that could go "wrong" with it is that it could get choked up. If this happens the engine wont rev up, cos the exhaust cant flow freely. And if its really bad the engine will simply stall or not start at all.

As for your statement that " and I noted that the engine is rev hard but car is not moving much and ignition sound also hearing.", from my thinking the only reason the car wouldn't move when the engine is revving hard, is if the power is lost somewhere between the engine and the wheels. So this could be a clutch that's slipping (if its a manual transmission) or a torque converter converter issue (if its an auto).

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I'm thinking its something to do with the sensors/electronics related to the indicator since the battery indicator also acts funny. The cat-con is basically a filter.. The only thing that could go "wrong" with it is that it could get choked up. If this happens the engine wont rev up, cos the exhaust cant flow freely. And if its really bad the engine will simply stall or not start at all.

As for your statement that " and I noted that the engine is rev hard but car is not moving much and ignition sound also hearing.", from my thinking the only reason the car wouldn't move when the engine is revving hard, is if the power is lost somewhere between the engine and the wheels. So this could be a clutch that's slipping (if its a manual transmission) or a torque converter converter issue (if its an auto).

I dont think it is the clutch as new clutch + pressure plate done only 20k kms only. Recently I did an engine scan as well it doesn't had any error codes as well, A few months back after de-carbonizing the engine Catalytic converter came permanently on. Then waruna kesbewa told me that earth wire has been fallen off, but I dno't know how de-carbonizing fells that wire. So then he re fixed the wire and reset the ecu and light went off. But now it is turned on and off in high RPMs.

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I dont think it is the clutch as new clutch + pressure plate done only 20k kms only. Recently I did an engine scan as well it doesn't had any error codes as well, A few months back after de-carbonizing the engine Catalytic converter came permanently on. Then waruna kesbewa told me that earth wire has been fallen off, but I dno't know how de-carbonizing fells that wire. So then he re fixed the wire and reset the ecu and light went off. But now it is turned on and off in high RPMs.

Your explanation is somewhat confusing. You once said the car is not moving when engine is revved up. But I get the feeling what you mean is that it does not rev up when you floor the gas pedal. Am I right?

BTW how did you de-carbonize the engine?

Do you know which earth wire fell off? There are quite a few - some in engine bay and others under the dash.

Edited by Rumesh88
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Your explanation is somewhat confusing. You once said the car is not moving when engine is revved up. But I get the feeling what you mean is that it does not rev up when you floor the gas pedal. Am I right?

BTW how did you de-carbonize the engine?

Do you know which earth wire fell off? There are quite a few - some in engine bay and others under the dash.

Actually it revs up (as soon as I floor the pedal, it takes a few seconds to rev up) engine sounds loud, but it has no much torque, it feels really well in hill climbing and can hear ignition noise as well.

Engine de-carbonizing chemical which connected to fuel line was used to de-carbonize.

It was some wire in engine bay (near the CC)

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Actually it revs up (as soon as I floor the pedal, it takes a few seconds to rev up) engine sounds loud, but it has no much torque, it feels really well in hill climbing and can hear ignition noise as well.

Engine de-carbonizing chemical which connected to fuel line was used to de-carbonize.

It was some wire in engine bay (near the CC)

This is getting confusing by the minute!

So you mean even when the engine revs go up the car's speed does not proportionately go up?

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This is getting confusing by the minute!

So you mean even when the engine revs go up the car's speed does not proportionately go up?

Yes that's what happens, along with the ignition sound. If I drive like that in 15-20 min, cc light comes up.

Sorry about the confusion.

Edited by Ek3 Ferio
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OK, I understand your car's a manual.

And on a manual car, on any single gear the engine Rpm should be directly proportionate to the vehicle's speed. If this is not so, your clutch is slipping. Simple as that.

Example: On gear X @2000rpm if your car is doing 20kmph then @3000rpm it should be doing 30kmph and @4000rpm it should be doing 40kmph.

I really feel you're looking at the problem from a wrong angle, or there's a discrepancy between the what you're saying and what we're hearing..

Edited by Watchman
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OK, I understand your car's a manual.

And on a manual car, on any single gear the engine Rpm should be directly proportionate to the vehicle's speed. If this is not so, your clutch is slipping. Simple as that.

Example: On gear X @2000rpm if your car is doing 20kmph then @3000rpm it should be doing 30kmph and @4000rpm it should be doing 40kmph.

I really feel you're looking at the problem from a wrong angle, or there's a discrepancy between the what you're saying and what we're hearing..

huh... I replaced the clutch + pressure plates last year. Now only 20k kms done in new clutch. So what is the connection between clutch and the cc indicator? why it comes up? I don't think clutch is wrong, anyway thanks for your help.

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I think its 2 different issues.

You mentioned that the Cat-Con light as well as the battery light are lit up right? which is why I initially presumed some electrical bug. The engine revving and the car not moving seems different to me.. Let's see what the other guys think too.

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As opposed what you are trying to say I believe the problem is the lack of pulling power at high revs. If so it could very well be a clogged up catalytic converter now that you have done an engine de-carbonizing. I do not think you had a real reason to de-carbonize it but this is what happens when this kind of clean ups are done to an otherwise running engine. Pls correct me if I am wrong. However, there are two ways to check the converter - either check the pressure difference before and after the converter (not recommended except for academic purposes) or remove it and visually check for deposits. You have already been advised on how to go about finding replacements and pros and cons of removing the converter.

If you want to diagnose the issue with oil consumption, you can get a compression test done.

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For me it seems like a clogged up CAT, why don’t you get it fixed (remove it)

Best DIY way is remove the CAT get a broom stick and hammer it from one end and get the pellets out and refit it.

You will get bit more power/ economy, of cause on the down side higher emissions (if everything else is ok I don’t think you will have an issue passing the emission test)

And as for the oil consumption your assumption could be true, best tell-tale sign is blue smoke coming out of exhaust when you rev.

You could also remove spark plugs and see for any burned oil / deposits.

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If I remove it, so what will happens to the O2 sensor readings? My machanic said car has only one O2 sensor.

And cc is located in very next to the exhaust manifold AFAIK, and there is another small barrel under the car which right under the gear leaver. What would it be? It seems no sensors there ( no wires connected to it ) Can that also be blocked?

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If I remove it, so what will happens to the O2 sensor readings? My machanic said car has only one O2 sensor.

And cc is located in very next to the exhaust manifold AFAIK, and there is another small barrel under the car which right under the gear leaver. What would it be? It seems no sensors there ( no wires connected to it ) Can that also be blocked?

Nope! You must have two O2 sensors one mounted on the exhaust manifold before the CC and another just after the CC. (Is your CC mounted vertically or horizontally?) Although I do not advise anyone to remove a CC but if you have only one O2 sensor there is no effect on readings because it is always located before the CC even if you remove it.

Small barrel is a pre-muffler very unlikely to be clogged.

Edited by Rumesh88
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Hows the smoke coming out of the exhaust? Does it look different when you are losing power as in does it smoke up or smell oily?

After considering the symptoms I could deduce a few things. the decarbonizing may have broken away carbon particles in areas that are worn out and are susceptible to leaking oil. It could be the exhaust valves with the oil coming through the heads. just a hunch.

leaked oil might be covering up the O2 sensor(s) in the exhaust. As you said this happens during high revs so it could definitely be more oil seeping through.

Subsequently the faulty signal coming from the O2 sensor might make the ecu believe there isn't enough oxygen being drawn in and cut down fuel to keep the ignition lean.

My guess is your cat is ok but if this actually is an oil leak it could most probably mess it up. As for removing the cat it shouldn't cause any problems as long as there isn't a secondary O2 sensor after the cat.

Anyway observe the exhaust during this scenario. you can tell a lot from the colour and the smell.

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Nope! You must have two O2 sensors one mounted on the exhaust manifold before the CC and another just after the CC. (Is your CC mounted vertically or horizontally?) Although I do not advise anyone to remove a CC but if you have only one O2 sensor there is no effect on readings because it is always located before the CC even if you remove it.

Small barrel is a pre-muffler very unlikely to be clogged.

It is mounted vertically.

Hows the smoke coming out of the exhaust? Does it look different when you are losing power as in does it smoke up or smell oily?

After considering the symptoms I could deduce a few things. the decarbonizing may have broken away carbon particles in areas that are worn out and are susceptible to leaking oil. It could be the exhaust valves with the oil coming through the heads. just a hunch.

leaked oil might be covering up the O2 sensor(s) in the exhaust. As you said this happens during high revs so it could definitely be more oil seeping through.

Subsequently the faulty signal coming from the O2 sensor might make the ecu believe there isn't enough oxygen being drawn in and cut down fuel to keep the ignition lean.

My guess is your cat is ok but if this actually is an oil leak it could most probably mess it up. As for removing the cat it shouldn't cause any problems as long as there isn't a secondary O2 sensor after the cat.

Anyway observe the exhaust during this scenario. you can tell a lot from the colour and the smell.

If I rev high like 4000 RPM when the car is in neutral position, it comes out blue smoke with oily smell. And in the morning just after starting the engine in RMP like 2500 there is a white smoke coming out.

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If valve seals would have to be replaced how much cost would to be spend, it has 16 valve seals to be replaced right? And what else to replace along with it?

And please let me know a good place to get a compression test done near wellawatta area.

Edited by Ek3 Ferio
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It is mounted vertically.

If I rev high like 4000 RPM when the car is in neutral position, it comes out blue smoke with oily smell. And in the morning just after starting the engine in RMP like 2500 there is a white smoke coming out.

In that case you should have two O2 sensors visible from the top. I do not understand why your mech thought there was only one. In any case for your PGM to show a CC fault then it must have readings of two O2 sensors to compare.

If you get blue smoke with oil smell then you need not waste time on a compression test for it is obvious you have a issue with oil seals (and perhaps with rings too) as Jadey says. However, given the condition of the engine I would not rule out a clogged up CC but first attend to the obvious issue.

Edited by Rumesh88
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In that case you should have two O2 sensors visible from the top. I do not understand why your mech thought there was only one. In any case for your PGM to show a CC fault then it must have readings of two O2 sensors to compare.

If you get blue smoke with oil smell then you need not waste time on a compression test for it is obvious you have a issue with oil seals (and perhaps with rings too) as Jadey says. However, given the condition of the engine I would not rule out a clogged up CC but first attend to the obvious issue.

hmmm my one is Civic ML not Mi, may be it is having only one o2 sensor. Blue smoke comes only if it revs like 4000rmp, machanic said it is ok to smoke in that much rmps if the vehicle is not moving. I have no idea if it smokes when moving.

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hmmm my one is Civic ML not Mi, may be it is having only one o2 sensor. Blue smoke comes only if it revs like 4000rmp, machanic said it is ok to smoke in that much rmps if the vehicle is not moving. I have no idea if it smokes when moving.

It should not give out smoke even at 4000 RPM.

And another thing Bad Valve seals will be a reason for the ignition sound as well?

I assume you refer to knocking sound here otherwise known as pinging. In fact when you have worn out valves seals etc the knocking is more audible but is not the cause of knocking sound.

Edit: Wait a minute! Did someone advised you to de-carbonize the engine as a solution to ignition sound?

Edited by Rumesh88
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