Basic Catalytic Converter Installation Guidelines

Basic instructions for replacing a catalytic converter

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Catalytic Converters Online offers helpful guidelines for do-it-yourself catalytic converter installations. Installing your own catalytic converter can save you a lot of money and buying the catalytic converter from can save you even more.

A failed emission test is usually the event that causes you to become aware of a catalytic converter failure. Of course, you may also be notified by a instrument cluster indicator light (check engine light), or a sluggishly performing engine, or poor fuel mileage.

If after reading the general guidelines below you feel that it may be more of a job than you can handle, order a converter and bring it to an exhaust shop and have them install it for you. Tell them where you got it from and recommend they buy from us too!

  • Remember, always be extremely careful when working on a car.
  • Make sure the car is in park and if possible apply the emergency brake. Also disconnect the negative battery. It is always a good idea to disconnect the negative cable when working on a vehicle.
  • Use a jack to raise the vehicle. Always rest the vehicle on jack stands before getting under it. Make sure it is on flat ground. Make sure the jack stands are under the frame of the vehicle. Always test the vehicle is resting stably on the jack stands.
  • Let the car cool down. Catalytic converters get very, very hot. After all, you are not working in a shop. You can take a break and have a cool drink and a sandwich.
  • Locate the converter under the vehicle and determine where it connects to the exhaust in the front and back. Examine the new converter to determine where the disconnection points are. Coat the bolts connecting the catalytic converter to the exhaust system with WD-40 or any other popular penetrating oil. Let it set and penetrate for a little while (5-10 minutes) and attempt to loosen with a wrench or ratchet/socket. Have a cookie for dessert while you let the penetrating oil do its job.
  • First, remove any heat shields that get in the way of removing the converter. Keep them handy, you must reinstall any and all heat shields to protect the interior of your car from fire, and excessive heat.
  • Next, look for any Oxygen sensors that may be attached to the converter assembly. Looking at the new catalytic converter should help you determine if there are any oxygen sensors in the old catalytic converter. Disconnect the wires from the oxygen sensors, and remove them if possible to prevent damaging them.
  • Also look for AIR tubes on the converter and disconnect any hoses to the AIR tubes. Again, examining the new converter will help you determine this.
  • Use the ratchet/socket and or wrench to remove the fasteners. Remove the catalytic converter. You may have to use a hammer to loosen it from the exhaust system. Be careful not to damage the exhaust.
  • Clean up any rust at the connection points. Install the new converter. If possible, get an assistant to help you hold it up. Offer him/her a sandwich and a root beer of their very own. Install all necessary gaskets and bolts and connect to the exhaust system. Tighten the bolts evenly and make sure any gaskets stay in the proper place. Make sure you have the converter and exhaust held in the proper place as you tighten the fasteners.
  • Reinstall any oxygen sensors and AIR hoses and reconnect the wiring.
  • Reinstall any heat shields you may have had to remove.
  • Make sure the car is in park with the emergency brake on if possible. Start the engine and inspect to make sure you have no exhaust leaks. Shut the engine off after your inspection.
  • If all is okay, jack the car back up and remove the jack stands. Lower it down and you are all set.