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Catalytic converter question 04 Ford Escape

August 2015 I purchased a 2004 Ford Escape from a dealership (was supposed to be road worthy but that story is for another time). I had this vehicle in my possession for under one week before the engine died completely on the interstate. We were towed to the closest mechanic. Bad news… full engine needed to be replaced. We paid them a 1k deposit and were told that it would be mid-end September before it was completed. From the end of September until the beginning of JAnuary I called the mechanic at least three times a week. FINALLY two weekends ago, after borderline harassing the shop, we were told the Escape was finished and we could come pick it up. Just over $2200 total. It is currently 100 miles from home, in a different state.

So my husband had our good friends drive him up there to pick it up. He made it not ten miles from the shop before he started losing pressure and had to pull over. He got out of the car, looked under neath and saw a piping hot cylinder. Neither my husband nor I are very knowledgeable when it comes to cars at all. He called the mechanic and explained the situation, the mechanic said it sounds like the catalytic converter and that he would come and tow it back to the shop.

Now he is quoting us an additional 1k to fix it. I am not comfortable having this mechanic complete it, nor do I have the time to wait another three months for him to. A tow here will be, minimum $650 and then still the price to fix the converter. Our best friend’s brother is a mechanic and willing to do the work for a 1/4 of what the original mechanic will charge but I cannot afford the tow and the work.

I am wondering if there is anything I can do for a quick fix, JUST to get it the 100 miles home to our friend’s brother. I have heard of running a straight pipe but am wondering if this is something that my husband can do by himself. I realize this is not good for the environment and probably not the best decision but it will only be for 100 miles. Or if there is anything else we can do? I am pretty much at my wits end with this vehicle, and I don’t have any idea how to proceed.

Please, any and all advice is seriously greatly appreciated

Piping hot cylinder - taking a wag a this…is the catalytic converter. There are several things that can cause this…one is the timing is off…or raw gas being dumped into the cat because of a ignition issue.

I don’t know of any quick fix…but I’d seriously consider getting it towed someplace else.

I agree with MikeinNH so get your vehicle to a real garage.

If the vehicle has the V6 engine, there’s three catalytic converters.

There are pre-cats at each exhaust manifold, and then the main cat in the exhaust pipe.

So if the garage is quoting $1,000 to replace all three cats, jump on it.


$2200 for a replacement engine is a pretty good price. I mean if they select a good engine for you and they do a good job on the install. Are the problematic cat(s) original w/the car, or did they come along with the replacement engine?

You’re sort of between a rock and a hard place at this point. You’re one place, the car another. In the future, should something like this happen, it’s usually best to have the car towed or trucked to a shop near where you live.

hmmm well, if I were in your current situation, either I’d cross my fingers and have the same shop do the exhaust system repair, or if I just wanted to be rid of the problem, I’d see if the same shop would like to buy the car from me.

I don’t fault the shop that replaced the engine. If by piping hot cylinder you actually mean exhaust pipe then the likely cause of that is a clogged converter. This could also be what killed the first engine although you have no elaborated on whether that engine died due to lack of oil or overheating.

The price on the engine replacement is fair and the price quoted on the converter replacement is fair also. Your best option would be to just have the engine shop do the work.
Hell, tell them you’ll throw in another 50 bucks if they do it Johnny On The Spot and get it out the door.

I also surmise this engine you got is a used one so you should get in the habit of checking the fluids regularly; especially the engine oil.

I would not have been happy over 3 months on an engine install though. Maybe there’s a good reason for that delay but if there was this should have been explained to you if and when a problem surfaced.