Need new Catalytic Converter Fed in CA


#1

My car is Federal. I have a federal sticker under the hood. It was purchased in California in 2002. I now need a new catalytic converter. What do I need to purchase? The Muffler shop said I could buy a CA legal cat for $500 or buy an OEM Fed cat for $900. I am so confused and the BAR And DMV websites don’t talk about this. Please help.
My sticker says: SFI/EGR/HO2S/TWC


#2

Go to www.bar.ca.gov all the rules are laid out. Just make sure your cat has the correct stamps and you will be fine. I prefer factory cats since they are usually better quality.


#3

Do not go to a chain muffler shop. Their business models are just barely on the legal side of fraud. We’ve had numerous threads on the subject, so I’ll skip the dissertation.

You only need to get a direct-fit OEM replacement cat converter. Find a reputable independently owned and operated shop, have the CEL light interpreted and the cause diagnosed, and go from there.

By the way, I have no idea what the label “federal” has to do with anything. It isn’t a car manufacturer name, nor a model name, and unless it’s specially equipped, like with a special pursuit package for the FBI, it has no meaning when seeking parts that I’m aware of. The year, manufacturer, model, and mileage are far more meaningful that the “Federal” designation.


#4

Thank you for your responses. I went to an independent shop that focuses on mufflers. They are the ones that pointed out to me that my cat. is a “fed cat”. Which sounds fine, being that the car used to be a rental car in South Dakota before I purchased it.


#5

Also, I’m sorry, I thought the boards automatically post what your vehichle is. I have a 2000 GMC Jimmy SLE 4x4


#6

I think “fed” means that it’s a 49-state car not meeting CA-specific standards.

At risk of asking the obvious: you said you purchased the car, in CA, in 2002. Are you still in CA? If not, you can save some $$$ by using a universal cat…if you are still there, you’re out at least twice as much $.


#7

Yes, Fed means 49-state. Yes, I am still living in CA.


#8

In regaurds to fedral or California it matters on emissions components. Since your car was originally a fedral car it will only need a fedral approved cat. Sorry I posted the wrong link before www.smogcheck.ca.gov


#9

If your vehicle was built to only meet the 49-state Fed emission standards, then installing a California approved cat will not make it meet California standards. There’s far more to those standards than the cat.

Your vehicle should only need a 49-state cat.


#10

As TSM said; "You only need to get a direct-fit OEM replacement cat converter. Find a reputable independently owned and operated shop, have the CEL light interpreted and the cause diagnosed, and go from there. "

This muffler shop is trying to upsell you a cat that is their top of the line for a big price, yrt that cat is probably no better than the one at the autoparts store.

Yosemite


#11

What makes you think you need a CAT?? How many miles on this vehicle?


#12

I don’t have a check engine light on. I have a rattle noise that two different companies said that it was the honey comb inside. I also have minimal power. I have a Single Cat also, not the traditional 3 way? in CA.


#13

A blocked cat can cause a loss of power. If it was only rattling, I would not worry about it, but it its causing a loos of power you need to replace it and an after market legal cat should be good enough.


#14

I’m not a smog tech, but here are a few thoughts, based on my professional experience and years of working in California . . .

Universal cats are almost impossible to legally sell in California

I think a reputable exhaust shop is a good option. I’ve run into a few that install decent quality parts that meet the stringent regulations

Bring the truck to a reputable shop . . . not Meineke or Midas . . . and ask them for their opinion. Make sure to tell them from the get-go that it’s a 49-state truck


#15

@Caddyman is right. There have been THOUSANDS of perfectly good catalytic converters replaced over the years because of either inept mechanic or shady mechanic.

How did the mechanic determine you need a new cat. Many times the ECU throws a code saying Catalytic converter…but in reality it’s an O2 sensor. A GOOD mechanic will run some further tests to determine what the real culprit is. It could be the converter…but could also be one or more bad O2 sensors. O2 sensors are a lot cheaper then a new converter.


#16

“I have a rattle noise that two different companies said that it was the honey comb inside. I also have minimal power”

Sure sounds like a monolith that’s broken free of the shell

To me, anyways

That could strangle the vehicle

This should be quite easy to verify. Rack the truck. Give the cat a few good whacks with a rubber hammer. If the monolith is loose, it should be fairly evident

By the way, the tap test is a valid test for a loose monolith


#17

Both mechanics banged on the cat and muffler a lot.
Should my OEM cost more than a CA cat?
I currently have a single cat.


#18

@SMHDB‌

if your truck came from the factory with a single cat, then a muffler shop can only replace one single cat

OEM means original equipment manufacturer

CA cat means a cat that is approved for use on California emissions vehicles


#19

“I will pay you to do this repair only if you guarantee that it will cure my problem…” An exhaust system back-pressure test is fairly simple to perform… If the ceramic material is broken up and rattling around inside the converter housing, there should be little back pressure caused by that…If anything, I would think back-pressure would be reduced…But who knows??


#20

unless the OP is planning on moving and registering the vehicle back in California again, there is no need for the California cat. With an OEM cat he can still travel to any of the 50 states with the vehicle legaly, including California without any problems. The only problem would be if he tried to register it as a auto that resides in California.

I 't know why everyone keeps mentioning California cats and clouding the issue.

@SMHDB; check out the prices of cats online at NAPA, Rock Auto, Advanced, Auto-Zone etc. etc…
I’
ll bet you can find one much cheeper than the placve that quoted you.

Yosemite