Glowing catalytic converter

A friend of mine showed up at my place the other evening to show mw her “new” car. It’s a well used '95 Probe. It was running poorly, I think on three cylinders. Frankly I wish she’d showed it to me BEFORE she plunked down $800 for it, but it was too late. Anyway, it was after dark, so the glowing cat was noticable. I know the cat is supposed to burn any unburned gasoline in the system to clean up the emissions, Does a glowing cat indicate anything other than unburned gas due to a fouled plug or whatever? Is it also plugged?

Yes the unburned fuel can do it along with far too advanced ignition timing.

If you think it was running on 3 cylinders, the glowing cat would certainly support that hypothesis, as you have raw fuel from 1 cylinder getting dumped into the cat. She should get that fixed immediately, before driving it again.

Raw gas or plugged up and she very well may have given 800 dollars too much for the car.

A glowing converter can barbecue an engine so what I would do is run a compression test before spending one dime on this car, other than a compression test of course. It’s possible that the header pipe may need to be disconnected when performing this test in order to obtain an accurate reading but odds are any readings would be accurate enough to make an educated stab at things without dropping the header pipe.

This is also a safety matter as the vehicle could possibly catch on fire due to this kind of problem.

“Raw gas or plugged up and she very well may have given 800 dollars too much for the car.”

I agree completely. The seller agreed to fix it, but I don’t know how well he can or will. He has a reputation of being a cobbler.