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Question: Can driving on a "bad cat" cause harm the engine? Or is it just an emissions issue?

About 3 months ago, after a DE at VIR, one of my catalytic converters started rattling. On the drive home from the DE, the Check Engine light went on. Fortunately, still under CPO warranty - but they would only replace the rattling one - left the other cat to fail... which it sounds like it's doing now. When the engine's nice and hot, you can hear a rattle - opening the engine lid, you can't really hear it, it's obviously coming fom underneath. Furthermore, knocking the tailpipe with the heel of my hand can change the sound, or stop it for a sec - just like the first cat that went.

Anyhow, I'm heading to another DE next weekend - and I'd guess this one's going to go, light up the check engine light, and I'll need to drive home 200 miles with it. However, since the CE light isn't on, I doubt the dealer's going to do a warranty replacement for a simple rattle.

Any thoughts, suggestions, and assessment of potential harm from driving hard with a bad cat?

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Let the dealer check out the cause of the rattle, he can decide if the cat. needs replacement in warranty or not.

This is "exactly" what happened last time when the cat failed, except it was on the driver's side. This time it's clearly on the passenger side. I am not one to often jump to quick diagnosis - but I have enough confidence in myself to bet on this being the other cat. (2002 w/39k miles, go figure) I Have an appt Monday morning at local dealer - we'll see what they do - but they're not the most responsive bunch. I used to drive 60 miles to the next closest dealer 'cause they were so great to work with... but with this economy - they closed down in December - they're no longer in business....

Thx for the thought - if they choose to wait for it to fail and set off the CEL, I'm still interested if anyone has any thoughts about whether there could be any issues with running hard, at a DE with a CEL on from the cat.

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Let the dealer check out the cause of the rattle, he can decide if the cat. needs replacement in warranty or not.

This is "exactly" what happened last time when the cat failed, except it was on the driver's side. This time it's clearly on the passenger side. I am not one to often jump to quick diagnosis - but I have enough confidence in myself to bet on this being the other cat. (2002 w/39k miles, go figure) I Have an appt Monday morning at local dealer - we'll see what they do - but they're not the most responsive bunch. I used to drive 60 miles to the next closest dealer 'cause they were so great to work with... but with this economy - they closed down in December - they're no longer in business....

Thx for the thought - if they choose to wait for it to fail and set off the CEL, I'm still interested if anyone has any thoughts about whether there could be any issues with running hard, at a DE with a CEL on from the cat.

eDoug,

I believe it is hard to say as to wheter there could be some damge to the ECU as a result of the CAT on one side being bad, especially when you are driving the car in a DE event and pushing it hard. The down-stream O2 sensor from the CAT will be working hard to let the ECU know there are excessive emissions ( which sets the CEL). Not sure what state you are in, but here in CA the cats are mandated to be under warranty for 7 or 8 years and 70K miles so you may just under the wire here. Other states are different , but I do not beieve under 7 years warranty.

My $.02

Good Luck with the dealer!! Demosan :cheers:

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eDoug,

Here's a link to the (1996) EPA fact sheet concerning "Emissions Warranties For 1995 and Newer Cars & Trucks":

http://www.epa.gov/oms/consumer/warr95fs.txt

Major emissions control components are warrantied for 8 years or 80,000 miles. From the EPA fact sheet:

"What Are Specified Major Emission Control Components?

There are three specified major emission control components,

covered for the first 8 years or 80,000 miles of vehicle use on 1995

and newer vehicles:

* Catalytic converters.

* The electronic emissions control unit or computer (ECU).

* The onboard emissions diagnostic device or computer (OBD)."

Take a copy of the fact sheet with you when you visit the dealer.

Hope this helps,

Bill

Edited by whall
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eDoug,

Here's a link to the (1996) EPA fact sheet concerning "Emissions Warranties For 1995 and Newer Cars & Trucks":

Bill

Appreciate all the good info - car is still under CPO warranty - so I'm good either way. Thanks again - hopefully they'll just replace it this week before I go to the track.

On a side note, dealer says 3-4 days for replacement parts, wtf??? We're 3 hours from the distribution center in Atlanta. Don't like this dealer...

Thx again.

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