Can a grommet clog catalytic converter?


#1

I saved a great deal of money by purchasing an after-market PCV tube (Dorman) for a 97 Pontiac Grand-Am 3.1 L (I know, I should have just gotten rid of the car, but it’s not mine, PTL) . Unfortunately this was penny wise and pound foolish. The tube in question has three ports: one to the PCV valve, one to the vapor purge solenoid valve, and one to the throttle body. Well wouldn’t you know it, the silicone (?) grommet to the throttle body got sucked in to the intake manifold. I quickly went out and bought the AC Delco part, took off the upper manifold, and tried to vacuum and /or blow the grommet out, but to no avail. Well, we drove it to Tucson a few weeks later (about 100 miles), where it just suddenly died. It was as if it had no fuel pressure. So we had it towed the next day to a repair shop, and to my amazement the pressure was fine, and the car started but sounded like crap, with a large decrease in power. Once it warmed up, however, it seemed to be fine. So we drove it home after paying the man $175 (all he did was test it, scratch his head and put in some Seafoam – I had failed to mention the grommet). At any rate, we did one rest stop for about 5 minutes, and sure enough it again sounded like crap until it ran a few minutes. We got home OK, and then a few weeks later the car started just fine, but it died after about 5 minutes of so. After a few days, same thing (I’m assuming it would have started once it cooled off, but of course I didn’t try this…I was too PO’d) For awhile, it would run longer and longer each trial before quitting, but this last time the run time was noticeably shorter (50% or so).

So here’s my thought…it’s a plugged catalytic converter. I called a mechanic, however, and he wasn’t buying this diagnosis. Not knowing the converter’s configuration, I don’t know if this is possible.

My question to you folks is, do you think this grommet can plug the converter? Any other thoughts?

Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.


#2

Just spitballin’, but could the grommet be stuck in an intake valve?

It’s possible the grommet got to the cat, and it wouldn’t melt if it did because silicone’s melting temperature is about 50% or so higher than the temperature inside the cat, but I doubt it would plug it enough to really screw anything up.


#3

I doubt the problem is a plugged cat if it runs good when it warms up. Is the check engine light on? If so, can you post the codes? Have you looked at the data stream from the PCM to see if everything looks kosher?


#4

How big is this grommet? I’m thinking around the size of a quarter? I think maybe a compression test is in order to spot any engine damage caused by the grommet-piston-valvegear interplay…


#5

I’m with the others. I doubt the grommet could get past an intake valve intact.