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Catalytic converter Ford Taurus 2000 SW

My 2000 Ford Taurus station wagon with 12-valve OHV V-6 Vulcan engine (I believe)has engine light on for a while and it reads as code 0420. This morning I took my car to a local car repair shop and I was told I need to pay about $2100 for the catalytic converter (both front and rear) replacement. I was told that there were no universal parts for my car, so the cost is about $750 each plus 5 hr labor. But I can see a lot of selections from many online auto part stores that I can buy both at a price range of $600-$700. My question is can I buy the converters and let the local store install them? Do I need oxygen sensors? and gasket? Thanks!

There is a chance that a aftermarket catalytic converter won’t work as efficient as a OEM unit. Thus Triggering the check engine light on continuously.

This scenario has already been played out with a past poster of a Taurus

There is no code that says “replace catalytic converter.” The problem with the cat may be caused by something else, like O2 sensors, and you may not need to replace the cats.

Get another opinion from another shop.

I, too, think that they are trying to scam you. I doubt that ANY troubleshooting was done. I consider this criminal negligence.
Catalytic converters don’t just go bad. If b[/b] they are bad, they were made that way by problems in the engine and the way it runs (a smooth idle is not an indicator of good engine health).
The “reporters” (the oxygen sensors), may themselves be sick and may be mistaken (happens often).
Take your car to a decent repair shop for proper troubleshooting and repair. Search, there are a few.

Thanks for your inputs.
My 2000 Taurus has 152K M on it and I saw the new code was p0430 from a local Meineke Car Care Center. I agree that most of the shops will likely to replace the cat converter without checking the car throughly. Do you guys have any ideas how much I am looking at here for a complete test to identify the real problem for a decent repair shop? Thanks!

The code P0420=Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)

How this is determined is, the computer measures the amount of oxygen that O2 sensor before that catalytic converter(s) measures. It then takes that value and compares it to the amount of oxygen that the O2 sensor after the catalytic converter(s) measures. There should be no oxygen, as it should be all used up during the catalyst process. If there is oxygen after the cats, the catalytic converter(s) are no longer functioning and it sets this code.

I’ve installed aftermarket/universal type catalytic converters on all kinds of vehicles. And never had a problem with any of them. And you must also remember, aftermarket/universal type catalytic converter manufacturers must meet the stringent requirements set by the EPA before they can be certified and sell their products to the public. And the EPA can demand from the manufacturer at any time samples of their products to be sent to the EPA for testing in order that the manufacturer retains this certification. Besides, the company that makes these aftermarket/universal type catalytic converters probably made the catalytic converters that originally came on your vehicle.


Your car has it’s converters in the front pipe, and there is absolutely no way to make universals fit on this car. If there were a way, I would have figured it out by now! They should not cost “$750 each,” there should be one part with one price. I would definitely get a real diagnosis instead of throwing the most expensive and least likely suspect at the car to cure the code. I have replaced several of those Taurus front pipes, but never to make a code go away. They usually start to tear away and leak at the brace that holds the two sides together.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, yes, you can get the parts elsewhere cheaper. Shops mark up their parts, usually anywhere from 50% to 300%, depending on the part. It’s not unusual or the least bit unethical, and nobody should be at all shocked or upset by this. Mechanics and shop owners have to eat too, you know! It’s the same thing as paying an electrician working on your house $15 for a wall outlet you could have gotten at Menard’s for $3.

Thanks to all your messages. Back three month ago, when my engine light was on for the first time, I visited a small garage to have it checked. The owner told me it was about the catalytic converter, at that time I did’t ask for the code, but he said my car was too old for the repair cost and he just cleared the code and the light was gone for a while. After it turned on again days later, I got the code read by AutoZone and it was P0420. I did not do further check until the past Sat and the guy from a local Meineke Car Care Center said I need to replace both the front and rear Cats for more than $2000. This time the code was P0430. From last time, Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1) changed to this time Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 2). I got very confused. A guy from AAA car care center check my car today and read the same code as P0430, and he said 99% was because of a bad Cat. And this guy said a aftermarket cat replacement may do the fix. I guess I need to pay them $89.95 to go through a completed check. Do you think they are competent? Any suggestions? Thanks.

Another question: Rebuilt Cat or aftermarket cat if I have to do the replacement?

I got a quote saying that he found a rebuilt (used OEM part) cat with 6 month warranty for $330, he can install it for me for $200 labor. I saw that there is a new “Eastern Front Catalytic Converter - High Flow Direct FIT OE Replacement”
for similar cost but with 5 yr/50,000 mile warranty, which one should I go with? Any experience or advices? Thanks.

A scan tool, which takes more expertise to use than a code scanner, can be used to look at the sensors and see what the engine computer sees. Other tests can, more directly, check the oxygen sensors. You wouldn’t be happy if the catalytic converters were replaced, and that didn’t fix it. So, proper troubleshooting is essential to prevent costly mistakes.

Put the repair shop on the hook. If they say that replacing the catalytic converters will fix the problem, tell them to put that guarantee in writing, and that guarantee will include (also, in writing) oxygen sensors, and other sensors. They will either troubleshoot, or do a song and dance for you.