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Old 03-15-2012, 09:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Diagnosing a Failed Catalytic Converter

Howdy - recently, the cats in my 2006 Taurus failed. The good news is that, since it is under 8 yrs/80,000 miles, it is covered under federal warranty, and we are now waiting for the parts to arrive at the dealership.

But, I kind of would like to figure out if there is something else wrong with the car that may have caused the cats to fail in the first place. I've heard that misfiring and bad exhaust valves are two likely culprits. Is it possible for mechanics to do any diagnostic tests to find a problem? If it fails again, I won't have this awesome federal warranty to cover me.

Thanks!

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Old 03-15-2012, 09:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have a check engine light? If yes, what codes are stored in the computer? Too much unburned fuel (rich mix) or antifreeze contamination (leaking head gaskets) are common failure causes. Bad oxygen sensors can also cause unnecessary Cat replacement, since it's codes generated by O2 sensors that lead mechanics to tell people their Cats are bad. 80k miles is too soon for a Cat to be worn out in a properly functioning system.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks. Sorry, I should have said that the code was P0420. Does that rule out o2 sensor problem?
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nope, that's the typical code I posted about earlier. A good mechanic can watch real-time O2 sensor switching on a scanner and tell you if your O2 sensors are good or not. A stealership will change out good Cats under warranty even if not needed 'cause they are getting (over)paid by the factory to do it.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanB View Post
Thanks. Sorry, I should have said that the code was P0420. Does that rule out o2 sensor problem?
google " ford code 420 " it will tell u all about it....
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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So you mentioned faulty O2 sensors, leaking head gasket, rich mix. What would cause a rich mix?
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would make sure all 4 of your O2 sensors are good first. You can't diagnose a rich mix problem if you don't actually have one. As for causes of a rich mix, how much time do you have? (there are MANY)
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I see. Checking the sensors sounds like a good first step. Sounds like you're saying that a good mechanic can at least do that. Basically what I'm trying to avoid is a P0420 as the signal that something is wrong. I'm hoping that there are ways to find the problem before that happens again.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, your Cats are being warranty replaced and this usually includes 4 new sensors as well. The best thing you can do is not ignore the check engine light when it turns on.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hopefully it won't. Thanks very much.
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