Catalytic converter

My dealer wants to install a catalytic converter for $1100. He says the after market ones are no good. I googled catalytic converter and found them from $90 to $495 for my Acura TL (1999). Any thoughts on aftermarket CC’s? Do I need to look out for fittings, oxegen sensor location, etc.?

Aftermarket converters are just as good as the originals provided you get a “direct-fit OEM replacement”. If your converter has the bung hole for the oxygen sensor in it you may end up getting a new sensor too, only because they can permanently fuse themselves to the converter.

Price the job out to a reputable independantly owned and operated shop. You’ll likely save gobs of money.

If you plan to do the work yourself, the “exploded view” drawing in a repair manual will show you everything you’ll need. Typically there’ll be a “doughnut” at eiethr end compressed between flange fittings that’ll need replacement. With flanged joints I always bought some stainless steel bolts and nuts also and used them with a touch of antiseize. It makes the job much eaiser the nexk time around.

You have 3 choices. 1. dealer converter: Big bucks; good quality.

  1. Aftermarket converter, (but designed for your specific make model, year, etc): moderate bucks; still good quality. Can be installed properly by an exhaust shop, since they specialize in exhaust work.

  2. Universal converter installed by exhaust shop. Maybe not the best choice for a vehicle with under, say, 75,00 miles on it. (I’m speaking in approximate numbers here.)

I have a '96 Chrysler Cirrus w/200,000 miles on it. A year ago I paid $169.00 GRAND TOTAL,parts and labor, including tax, for an exhaust shop to install a universal converter. It hasn’t set any codes or given me one bit of a problem since then.

Mountainbike has a good point about the job being more involved if they have to remove an o2 sensor. If I would’ve gotten an aftermarket converter instead of a universal “one size fits all” converter, they would have had to wrestle with removing one O2 sensor.

Since the O2 sensor was on the neck of my converter, as it is on many converters, and since the universal converter is small, with no neck, they were able to just cut the middle part of my old converter out, leaving the necks at each end, IOW, they never had to touch the O2 sensor! On the other hand, the universal converter isn’t as good quality as an aftermarket one. Your descision it’s a trade-off.

Thanks. very useful information.


Are you in California? If so, then you’re paying for a CARB cert regardless of who makes it.

That is, there may be no alternative to the high priced cat.

Did the dealer fix the engine faults that made the catalytic converter go bad (if it is)? You wouldn’t want a new one to fail for the same faults.

I’ve yet to find a dealer say that ANY aftermarket part is any good. According to them ALL aftermarket parts are junk. I even had a dealer tell me that the Honda plugs were far superior then any aftermarket plug you could buy. But Honda doesn’t make their plugs. They are made for them by NGK. And there’s a LARGE portion of the buying public who believe every word.