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Just installed new calalytic converter

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I just finished installing new catalytic converters on my 02 Targa. It took longer than expected but I am very happy with the results and I thought I'd share.

I was replacing the cats due to a rattle that developed after a track day, although I'm pretty sure they were on their way out well before then.

After digging through options and reviewing past experiences on this site I settled on getting 200 Cell X-pipe cats form Maxspeed Motorsports in Montreal.

The options that I had were:

1) Replace my driver's side cat (the once that was rattling) with a used one. Price somewhere between $500 and $800 but no guarantee it would solve my rattling

2) Replace with Porsche parts from local dealer (something like $1800 each)

3) Replace with Porsche parts from an online dealer. I find them as low as $1200 (at least that was the price listed online)

4) Fabspeed X-pipes between ~$1700 and ~$1800

5) FVD - Not sure but likely the same or more than Fabspeed

6) Maxspeed 200 cell cat in the same format as stock (~$1200)

7) Maxspeed X-pipes with 200 cell cats (~$1400)

My primary goal was to replace the stock cats with something with higher quality and would prefer a little more throaty exhaust. I'm not convinced the claims of significant HP improvements although ~10hp seems reasonable. Also it had to run without throwing CELs and ideally without requiring extensions for the O2 sensors.

Both Alex from Fabspeed and Nello from Maxspeed seemed very honest, knowledgeable, and professional.

I ended up ordering from Maxspeed and had the cats in a few days since they met my goals. They looked great and the quality was exactly what I was hoping for. Some of the minor things that help persuade me was the size was slightly adjustable to accommodate any slight variances in sizing, and the fact that Maxspeed was in Canada which made shipping simpler.

I've included a picture of the cats before I installed them.

Installation took me almost 6 hours spread over the weekend but that included time to sand the rust off all of the clamps and the exposed pipes to the mufflers, clean the MAF, and clean most of the other parts I had to remove.

I ended up shearing off one of the bolts on the old cats when trying to remove them, so I soaked the remaining bolts overnight before continuing. It wasn't a problem at all though since my cats are done anyway. The rest were pretty simple.

Some of the tips I'd recommend for anyone doing this include

- I was worried that getting the O2 sensors removed from the cats would be a challenge. It turned out to be very easy and could be done with an adjustable wrench. I didn't use any heat or penetrating oil.

- have a small sanding drum handy if you'd like to claps to look as new as the rest of the exhaust. It only took about 15 minutes but the clamps ended up looking like new and was well worth the effort. I used a small sanding drum on my drill as well as my dremel with a fine grade sanding drum.

- I should have ordered new bolts to go on the clamp holding the muffler to the cat pipe. They were quite rusty and could have used a replacement

- I wasn't sure whether or not the cats could be installed without removing the muffler. Well they definitely can't. So plan on removing one of the two mufflers. Removing the muffler is probably possible without removing the wheel, but having access from the wheel well makes the job simpler. I didn't see the need to remove the bumper

- soak the bolts between the cat and the manifold over night as well as the bolts on the clamp between the muffler and the cat. I used PB Blaster (here: http://www.blastercorporation.com/PB_Blaster.html). They had it at my local parts store. I didn't have any problems getting any nuts/bolts separated after soaking.

- it probably makes sense to clean out the MAF at the same time. You have to disconnect it and remove the airbox anyway

- the O2 sensor positions aren't quite the same on the Maxspeed cats. No extensions were necessary for me, however the wires were too tight to fit in all of the clips. I didn't consider this a big problem but it took an extra few minutes

- having a breaker bar definitely helped

Some of the parts that I bought or needed for the job

- MAF cleaner

- PB Blaster

- High temperature anti-seize compound (copper)

- O2 sensor socket (~$15)

- 6 point 13mm socket with 1/2" drive (just in case the bolts weren't going to cooperate)

- breaker bar

I finished the job tonight and took the car for a good test drive. The rattling is gone and the exhaust sounds great even at idle and low RPM. I think it is slightly louder and deeper than stock but I'm not sure anyone else would notice. But I'm very happy with the improved sound.

For performance it seemed to rev a little better at the top end but it also feels like it might be missing a little torque below ~3000 RPM. Obviously it is very hard to tell though and there is a theory on this site that the computer has to re-learn its curves after changing the cats. I'll get a better impression after driving it a few days.

Overall I am very happy with the result and I'm proud of myself for getting it installed and not breaking anything :-)



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