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How to Clear Catalytic Converter Codes Without Replacing Your Catalytic Converter

by Contributor

With some basic automotive know how, you can permanently clear your catalytic converter error codes without changing your catalytic converter. This 3 dollar fix will save you hundreds of dollars.

Error codes thrown by your cars computer that indicate a bad catalytic converter, actually originate from the oxygen sensors. Typically, a car has an oxygen sensor upstream and downstream of the converter. The upstream converter is used to feedback information to your cars computer, allowing it to make sure that your engine is running optimally. The downstream sensor's only use is to test how well your converter is working. If your converter is shot, it may still be possible for you to create a condition that makes your downstream oxygen sensor think that it is actually working. This fix requires that your oxygen sensor is in working condition.

Disconnect your cars battery. This will reset the computer and clear the existing error codes. Locate the oxygen sensor that is downstream (closer to the tailpipe) of the catalytic converter. Remove the sensor, and take to your local car parts store. Find the part called a spark plug defouler. The threads on your spark plugs match the threads on your oxygen sensors, thus the sensor will be able to thread into the back of the defouler. Buy 2.

Measure the diameter of the tip portion of the oxygen sensor that extends past the threads. Select a drill bit that is slightly larger than this diameter, but still smaller than the defouler threads. Put the defouler in a vise, and drill it out until you have removed enough material to allow the sensor to screw all the way into the defouler. Be careful not to drill through the end of the defouler, as you do not want to increase the size of the small hole in the end of the defouler.

Now, thread the drilled out defouler into the exhaust pipe where the oxygen sensor was removed from. Install the oxygen sensor into the defouler, and reconnect the wiring and reconnect the battery. Your car is ready to start, and will no longer throw any error codes related to the catalytic converter.

Tip

  • If the error code comes back, you may have to add the second defouler that you bought at the store to further reduce the amount of exhaust flow that the sensor is exposed to. This is simple, just remove the drilled out defouler from the exhaust pipe, screw the unaltered defouler into the pipe, and then screw the drilled defouler into the back of the unaltered defouler.

Warning

  • This eHow article is for informational purposes only. Do not attempt this technique if it is prohibited by your states regulations.

About the Author

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