How To Install A Universal Catalytic Converter? Best Recommendation

The catalytic converter is a crucial component of a vehicle’s exhaust system. Its purpose is to transform toxic pollutants produced by internal combustion engines into less dangerous substances. 

The vehicle’s catalytic converter, which is in charge of cleaning the exhaust gases, is a crucial part of the emissions control system. They can result in a variety of issues, such as subpar engine performance and glaring check engine lights if they are malfunctioning or damaged.

The car will also emit more pollution, operate more slowly, and have lower fuel efficiency. You can save money by replacing a catalytic converter with just a few hand tools and jack holders, even if the cost can be high.

We demonstrate how to install a universal catalytic converter in this article since we know that every one of them can change the converter on their own. Additionally, we offer essential facts about this subject that you should bear in mind. Please carefully read the text and adhere to our step-by-step recommendations.

What Is a Catalytic Converter and What Does It Do?

A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that catalyzes a redox reaction to convert toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust fumes into less toxic ones (an oxidation reaction and a reduction reaction). 

Catalytic converters are used in gasoline or diesel-powered internal combustion engines, including clean combustion engines and kerosene burners.

Catalytic converters were first widely used in the automotive market in the United States. Most gasoline-powered vehicles beginning with the 1975 model year must be equipped with a catalytic converter to comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s more stringent emissions regulation. 

These “bidirectional” converters produce CO2 and water by combining oxygen with carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons. 

Two-way catalytic converters were phased out in 1981 in favor of “three-way” converters that also reduced nitrogen oxides; however, bidirectional converters are still used in internal combustion engines. 

This is due to the fact that rich or stoichiometric combustion is required for three-way conversion devices to reduce nitrogen oxides successfully.

Catalytic converters are commonly used in car exhaust systems, but they are also used in generators, forklifts, mining equipment, trucks, buses, tractors, as well as motorcycles. 

This technology is especially useful in gasoline engines, which have an operating temperature of about 1472 degrees; in diesel engines, the temperature is only about 932 degrees, and the catalysts barely work. 

They are also used to control emissions on some stoves. This is frequently done in response to either direct environmental or health and safety regulations.

How To Install A Universal Catalytic Converter? 

There are two processes taking place in this installation. It must be removed first and then replaced. Please follow the detailed instructions below.

1. Remove

Place the car on jack stands, jack up all four wheels, and park it in a level area. Instead of just lifting one corner of the car off the ground, you’ll need to do it all. Finding a level location to perform this maintenance on your car is crucial. 

You run the danger of serious harm or perhaps death if your jacks fail if your automobile is not steady.

This is another legal technique to lift your vehicle when changing the catalytic converter, provided you have access to a hydraulic lift of professional caliber and are aware of how to use it securely.

Allow the exhaust from the car to cool. Your car’s exhaust system may still be fairly warm if it hasn’t had time to cool down after running. Before working on your car, give it time to sufficiently cool down to lower the danger of painful burns. 

This normally only takes a few minutes, depending on your car’s exhaust system.

Put on a pair of thick mechanic’s gloves and gently brush the exhaust tube with the back of your hand to check the exhaust system’s heat. You can cautiously try this test without the glove if you are unable to detect any heat.

Track down the catalytic converter. Locate the exhaust system tubes, which should extend all the way to your car’s rear exhaust, by sliding beneath the vehicle.

The converter will often be located in the middle of your exhaust system as a rectangular or rounded box. Some types may resemble a cylinder in shape.

Verify the converter’s connecting points to the rest of the exhaust system to verify if they are bolted or welded. If it has previously been changed and welded back into place as opposed to bolt, you might need to take it to an auto shop to get it fixed.

If you have access to a Sawzall and a welding machine and are familiar with their safe use, you can still repair a welded converter, but most amateur mechanics lack these specialized instruments.

Take off the catalytic converter’s oxygen sensor. The majority of contemporary catalytic converters come with one or more oxygen sensors that continuously track the effectiveness of the vehicle’s exhaust system.

Use an oxygen sensor socket and a ratchet wrench to detach the oxygen sensor from your catalytic converter if it is attached before continuing.

When finished, relocate the sensor so that it won’t obstruct the remaining steps of the procedure.

Apply penetrating oil to the bolts if they are fastened. Bolts holding in catalytic converters may occasionally be rusted, just partially corroded, or stuck in their nuts.

Apply penetrating oil to these bolts to loosen them up because they can be difficult to remove. Before attempting to remove the bolts, give the oil time to lubricate and absorb into the bolts.

First, remove the bolts on the back, then the ones on the front. Before you start removing the bolts, start by loosening each one with an appropriate-sized wrench.

Remove the rear bolts first, then the front ones, once all the bolts have been loosened. When you’re finished, remove the converter. Once you’ve taken the converter out, you might need to brace the exhaust.

2. Installation

Always adhere to the directions included with your new item or get help from a skilled mechanic. The direction in which converters should flow is indicated by an arrow, as is the direction in which exhaust should flow.

Any gaskets that came with the new catalytic converter should be inserted. Some converters, particularly those that must be bolted into place, include tiny, oblong gaskets that fit within the pipes leading to the converter and improve its fit.

Install these gaskets in accordance with any installation instructions if your replacement converter included them before continuing.

Install the new catalytic converter. The catalytic converter should now be held in the location where it will ultimately be installed. Make sure it is pointing in the appropriate directions and that the appropriate side is facing downward by checking twice.

For the following few steps, it can be helpful to ask a willing friend to keep the converter in place while you work or use a stand to hold it up in place because it can be challenging to work on the converter with one hand while holding it in place with another.

On the bolts, finger-tighten the nuts. Installation is typically simple if the original catalytic converter in your car was bolted in and your replacement converter has bolt holes that match those in your exhaust system.

Start by replacing your bolts and physically tightening them with your hands. As a result, it is simpler to line all of the bolts accurately because there is some room to make tiny modifications as necessary due to the looseness.

Bolts should all be tightened. With a suitable-sized wrench, tighten the bolts beginning at the front of the converter. When you have finished tightening the bolts on the front, move on to the back end.

Keep your bolts very tight at all times. Make sure your bolts are extremely tight right now because loose bolts are the main source of exhaust leaks.

If you’re not a skilled welder, don’t try to solder your converter back into place since you could hurt yourself or damage your car.

Carefully attaching your converter to the exhaust system pipes at either end will allow you to weld it into place. At every weld, make careful to seal the joint tightly and airtightly. You might need to heat up and flare the pipes if they aren’t broad enough to fit. 

You might need to weld in an additional extender pipe if your pipes don’t quite reach one end of your converter. Sometimes it’s necessary to weld only partially before lowering the exhaust to complete the upper portion of the weld.

Before continuing, make sure your welds have had time to cool to a safe temperature.

Final Thoughts

We have provided an extremely detailed guide above. I hope they can assist you in resolving your issue at the lowest possible cost. Follow along, but if you don’t want to wreck your car, we still recommend hiring a professional.

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