A catalytic converter (also known as “cat” or “catcon”) is a device, which reduces the pollutants released by internal combustion vehicles. Through chemical reaction, the catcon oxidizes harmful carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, as well as turn unreacted fuel particles to water and carbon dioxide. However, old catcons can be clogged up by residue and can reduce fuel efficiency and power, and while it is not readily removable, gutting it is fairly simple, and requires a little muscle and basic knowledge of the system.
Here are the steps to gutting a catalytic converter:
- Prepare the materials: large screwdriver, three-foot metal bar, hammer, eye protection, gloves, dust mask, light source, and pliers.
- Locate the catcon. It is usually installed in the middle of the car’s underside, near the passenger side. Wait for the car to cool down before working on it, as some parts get very hot during operation.
- Lift the car using jack stands. Make certain that the jacks are stable, as you will be working under the car and jostling parts with a metal bar.
- Check for the presence of any oxygen sensor. If you find one, detach the oxygen sensor from the connector on top of it.
- Remove the oxygen sensor. The sensor cover has two screws with nuts. Unscrew them, take off the cover, then remove the sensor.
- Disconnect the rear clamp and the exhaust pipe. If the clamps are corroded, it may be difficult to remove them and you may have to saw them off with a steel hacksaw. Be ready to replace them with new clamps.
- Remove the catcon. The main component is a brick-like material with a honeycomb structure. Stick the metal bar in the catcon and break the material apart, but avoid damaging the container. Use the hammer to loosen the parts further. Wear eye protection to prevent dust from reaching your eyes. Start the engine from time to time and let the exhaust blow out pieces of the catcon. Smash any leftover chunks into tinier fragments that can escape through the hole. Make sure to clean out all catcon material inside the casing.
- Reattach the exhaust pipe and rear clamp. Reconnect the oxygen sensor, replace the cover, return the screws, then attach the connector.
- Test your vehicle. It should sound louder and drive with more power. Repair any leaks or loose connections along the exhaust system you discover at this point. Finally, lower the jacks, store away all equipment, and properly dispose of the catcon chunks and particulates.
Removing the catcon from the car will result in improved fuel mileage and added power. Because some countries require vehicles to be installed with catcons, however, make sure to replace the device immediately. You may also get away with a catcon-less vehicle if the inspector perceives a seemingly intact catcon casing. Take note that a car with no functioning catcon will release more toxins in the atmosphere and be more odorous, and may harm the environment as well as yourself.