Catalytic converter - Lexus ES300


#1

I have a 1998 Lexus ES300 with about 255,000 miles on her.

Recently I started hearing a loud noise when idling and driving. I thought it was the muffler, but it’s at the front of the car. I’ve been told that it’s the catalytic converter…actually the flexible exhaust pipe. The car won’t pass inspection in April so I have to get the problem resolved.

Here’s the problem:

  • The dealer will replace the entire catalytic converter for $2000 installed
  • Muffler place #1 will cut out the flexible exhaust pipe, replace it and weld it into place for $550-$600 or replace the entire catalytic converter for $1500-$1600 installed
  • Muffler place #2 says the car has 2 catalytic converters (required for California even though I’m in New England) there’s not enough room to cut out the flexible exhaust pipe and replace it. They have to replace the entire catalytic converter for $1000 ($800 parts and $200 labor)

Here’s the question…well, questions:
I’m not sure which option to select…well the new catalytic converter from the dealer is too expensive!
I searched online and don’t see catalytic converters for my car that cost as much as $800.
Can the flex pipe be cut out and replaced with a new one or do I have to have the entire catalytic converter replaced?
Has anyone had this type work done on their car?

Thanks,
JRD