How to Bypass a Catalytic Converter

by Thomas West
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A catalytic converter is essential to your vehicle’s emission system; it functions by transforming "raw" exhaust into less environmentally damaging gases. There are few instances in which it is allowable to remove the catalytic converter and install a bypass pipe. If a vehicle has high mileage, the converter can become clogged, causing the vehicle’s performance to suffer; a bypass pipe then is installed in place of the converter as a troubleshooting tool to see if the vehicle’s performance returns to normal with the converter removed.

Step 1

Pull the vehicle onto a pair of auto ramps and set the parking brake. Place wheel chocks under the rear wheels. Allow the car to cool if it has been run recently.

Step 2

Crawl under the vehicle and spray penetrating fluid onto the holding bolts on each end of the catalytic converter (the converter is located on the exhaust system near the front of the vehicle) and allow it to work in for a few minutes.

Step 3

Unplug the oxygen sensor wiring harness from the converter (if equipped). Loosen and remove the converter holding bolts with an adjustable wrench, in a counterclockwise direction, and set them aside.

Step 4

Lower the converter to the ground and set it aside. Place the bypass pipe into the exhaust system where the converter was removed. Use the original converter bolts to attach the bypass pipe, and tighten them with an adjustable wrench in a clockwise direction.

Step 5

Remove the wheel chocks and back the vehicle off of the ramps. Road test the vehicle. Re-install the original converter or install a new one in place of the test pipe in the reverse order.

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