Plugged Catalytic Converter?

saturn
catalytic-converters
rpm

#1

I went to the Saturn Dealer for a Sticker, and because the check engine light would take about ~1 minute to go out after starting the engine. The engine had no power, and did not rev over 4K rpm, and at higher RPM it will start to choke off and actually loose RPM. The Dealer’s diagnosis was a bad Catalytic Converter at 91.4K, and the cut rate price of $1500, which I declined. They indicted that they “reset” the I changed the oil, installed an air filter, and a new main fuel filter, and that did not solve anything.



I called Midas, and for a more reasonable price of $300 they would install the item.

When I took it to Midas, they put the pyrometer to it, and pronounced the Catalytic Converter ok >110 degrees inlet to outlet.

I am now confused. If the Cat is ok, why will the engine not rev, sputter, stutter and loose RPM? I live in Texas, and am running fuel that indicated that it could contain up to 10% ethanol. What could be causing this issue?


#2

First of all that $300 Midas (Rip off headquarters) was going to charge you was for a converter by-pass pipe. Unless you actually can hear a difference in the sound that comes out of your exhaust then it isn’t anything to do with the exhaust. If you have heard a difference then there is a restriction in the exhaust somewhere…not a blockage. Do you realize how hard it is to plug an exhaust system?
Not sure what you mean by 'Sticker." This sounds more like an engine problem like fuel or air restriction. It is obvious you have spark because it is running. Those are the three main necessities to make the car run: fuel, air and spark. I’m surprised the dealersip didn’t put the car on a diagnostic computer. Or if they say they did, they didn’t. Go to another dealership or reputable shop (Other then Midas, or Pep Boys, etc) and have them run a diagnostic ONLY (Any good shop will wave the diagnostic fee after they fix the problem). Even taking the car to a different manufacturer (Chev, Ford dealer) will be better then the Saturn shop. If you have no other option then the Saturn dealer, ask for the contact information of the factory representative. I’d do that anyway because the dealership is supposed to be an extension of the factory and if they can’t properly diagnose the problem then what does that say for the manufacturer?
Sounds like you are being taken adantage of in the long run. The only way you can stop that is by takeing a basic aotu class at the local community college.


#3

JMHO, but checking for a clogged converter should be done with a vacuum gauge although it seems many shops and techs don’t use them for some reason. They’re cheap, easy to install (seconds), and can tell someone a lot about what is going on with the engine. Another option is to unbolt the header pipe and see what happens but that can be a bit noisy and is more time consuming.

The high price at the dealer is because they would be using a factory OEM converter and these are pricy. The Saturn factory is charging the beejeezus out of the dealer for it too. The Midas one is probably an aftermarket. These are much cheaper and will work fine; just make sure it is OBD II compliant.