Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Idiot "o it urselfer"needs serious advice!

OK so lets see if anybody wants to touch THIS topic with a ten foot pole!

BTW, just in case… Big fan of the show here!

So I have this Grand Cherokee with a measley 211,000 miles on it and the reoccurring mechanical problems are really startin to get on my nerves! lol

Seriously though, I have been systematically working my way from one part and system to the next to try and keep this thing on the road. Most recently I decided to eliminate the catalytic converter as a source of poor engine performance. AND I MEAN ELIMINATE! I was bragging to some buddy’s about what a fine job I had done replacing the converter with straight pipe (no small feat I can tell you) and was informed that what I had done was a federal offence! OK so I’m not going to lie and say that I had no idea exactly. I mean I certainly knew that your “not supposed to” remove a converter and that technically the vehicle will be a little harder on the environment for the fact. But a federal offence? Gimme a break already!

So now what? I hear that to replace a converter costs big bucks that I don’t have… and I can’t reinstall the old one cause I had to cut it out! (little booger was in there!)

I don’t know if I am brave enough to drive it around knowing that I run the risk of an eventual 15 hundred to 20K fine for tampering with an emmisions system! (numbers there are a little shaky… Thats what the internet is good for you know?Lots of DIFFERENT onformation!)

Cartalk is a soothing presence in my garage on sundays when I am ready to throw a hammer through the windshield. So advice from the folks on this forum will be much appreciated. ANY ADVISE!

Quit worrying. The Feds are not going to kick the door in and haul you off. The only issue you face would be if you have to go through a state inspection.

If the Jeep feels that it’s lacking a bit of power I would consider running a compression test on it as the first step. At 211k miles a weak engine is at least possible.

If you do want to get back into compliance (opinions will certainly vary but I think you should, law or not), yet cats are big bucks but there are generic aftermarket parts you can put in without breaking the bank. Just search the web a bit. And if you managed to do the straight pipe replacement then you can manage to get one in there.

Here’s what can happen if caught putting in a catalytic converter test pipe.

So what you have to think about is, don’t post this type of stuff on the internet. Because if I can forward this information to the EPA, anyone can.


LOL call me paranoid but I actually started to worry about the straight pipe I bought… purchased with a debt card (easily tracable)and just a long enough piece to replace the converter!

Thanks for the advice though. State inspection is not a problem… not done in OK anymore.

I’m pretty sure the old engine is fairly sound. It came out of a wreck after I lost the original engine due to a blown head gasket. The jeep it’self has the 211K on it but the engine milage is anybody’s guess. I recently replaced the head, water pump, manifold, and stat housing gaskets and the cylinders,at least when viewed from the top side, were shiny and clean. Having lost one engine to a leaking head gasket, I emmediately replaced this one at the first sign of moisture in the oil this time.

“Poor engine performanance” is really the wrong term. It’s more like poor “sounding” engine. It has recently begun to make a very low frequency “growling noise”. This only happens “on-power” and “in-gear”. Then at times, usually at speed when I start up an incline, the whole jeep will start to vibrate violently. I would tend to think suspension or allighnment but I can make it stop by punching the gas. I am wondering if it could be a failing sensor of some sort… but which one! lol

Yeah thanks! I actually already found some on Fleebay for like 60-70 dollars. That ain’t too bad i guess.Just wish I’d have known all this before hand.

And thank YOU for your advice, but your sort of missing the point here. I am knowingly and freely admitting to an honest mistake, and I am only here seeking advice to help resolve the issue. I never said that I would operate the vehicle in it’s current condition.

Forward this information to whoever you want… it doesn’t change the facts.

It has become very clear that the proper thing to do is replace the converter. Consider it done!

I live in an area where there is no emissions testing. My Mustang has an off-road H-Pipe , and single chamber mufflers, the stock H pipe with 4 cats on it was removed when I did the exhaust. I still have it so if they do start doing emissions testing I can put it back on. My Bronco has a set of shorty headers, no cats and no mufflers. Cars here do get inspected for saftey once a year, but there’s no emissions testing. If you live in an area with emissions testing you’re going to have a problem. But if there is no emissions testing then I wouldn’t worry about it. If you have an OBD-II equipped Jeep, you can look into getting some MIL eliminators to get the CEL to turn off.

You’re pretty safe with this, it’s not like law enforcement goes around looking under people’s cars to see if a cat is present or not.

Like I said, I knew you aren’t supposed to do it but I thought it was more like a personal choice, like recycling.

Anyway hopefully no one has turned me in just yet! hint, hint! and I really think I should replace the cat. My luck just don’t run all that great. I’d be the first guy you ever heard of got the book throwed at him over a converter…

As far as the sensors go I’m pretty sure they don’t matter if they ever did. There was a return pipe coming out of the old cat that had been capped off. Let me repeat that for everyones benefit… ALREADY CAPPED OFF… as in I didn’t do it… it was that way when I bought the jeep.

Actually it sort of makes me wonder if it would run better if the missing parts were reinstalled. But as I said I’m not so sure they were ever there. Could have been capped by the manufacturer for all I know. I don’t really know if it is OBD equipped. Maybe it’s not and thats why the return is capped?

Actually, if you install an aftermarket cat and hook the O2 sensors back up, it may very well run better.


There’s not enough info to make much of a guess here about what is wrong with your vehicle.
Wild guessing out of the blue, this is not a matter of seriously retarded ignition timing it it?
Retarded timing can cause poor performance and some strange engine noises due to the engine laboring so hard.

I’m not going to to get into a lecture about whether you should or shouldn’t run a good converter or not. It’s preferred they be in place and operating but as far as the Feds hauling you away it will never happen.
It’s also against the law to sell used converters but apparently no one told the PullaPart place here or any of the countless sellers of used converters on eBay. Look at the number of 200 dollar used converters being sold on eBay as “recycling material”. Does anyone think that someone is going to cough up 200 bucks for a converter to recycle; plus the shipping charge?

Heck, the town I live in has dumped raw, untreated sewage into the creek for over a dozen years. I even turned them in to the state DEQ and the EPA. Neither one of them care; not one iota.
So if you live in OK along the Arkansas River basis and the water supply winds up with a high coliform count… :wink:

Wouldn’t there be some signs though if it was out of time that bad? At least like a fouled plug or two? I keep checking them but they all appear to be firing just fine…

It IS a federal offense…If you get caught they have the right to IMPOUND your car and levy hefty fines. But…getting caught may be tough. If you have a state inspection then they’ll find it there. I also wouldn’t try selling the vehicle as it is.