How to Replace a Direct Fit Catalytic Converter

Written by dan ferrell
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How to Replace a Direct Fit Catalytic Converter
Replace the direct fit catalytic converter on your vehicle. (Photo courtesy of Ahanix1989 at Wikipedia.org.)

The most common problem for the catalytic converter in your vehicle is a clogged passage. Contamination, overheating and worn out elements may block exhaust gases from going through and increase system backpressure. In addition, high backpressure will reduce engine power and, in extreme cases, cause a fire. You can only solve this problem by installing a new unit.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Floor jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • Penetrating oil
  • Ratchet, ratchet extension and socket
  • 2 new O-ring gaskets

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Instructions

    Remove the Catalytic Converter

  1. 1

    Raise the front of the vehicle using a floor jack and support it on 2 jack stands.

  2. 2

    Apply penetrating oil to the converter flange, clamp bolts and other mounting hardware to make removal easier. Let the oil soak in and apply the oil a second time if necessary.

  3. 3

    Remove the converter heat shield from underneath the unit using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket, if your particular model is equipped with it.

  4. 4

    Loosen the air hose clamp at the converter using the ratchet and socket, if your vehicle model is equipped with this hose. Then detach the hose from the converter.

  5. 5

    Detach the engine ground strap at the catalytic converter using a ratchet and socket.

  6. 6

    Release the converter support bracket using a ratchet and socket or the support hooks from the rubber mounts using a screwdriver.

  7. 7

    Unscrew the bolts from the front flange of the catalytic converter. If the header-inlet pipe is an integral part of the catalytic converter on your vehicle model, unscrew and remove the bolts attaching the inlet pipe to the exhaust manifold. If your converter has a double header pipe, remove the mounting hardware the same way.

  8. 8

    Remove the bolts and nuts from the back flange or the back U-bolt of the catalytic converter.

  9. 9

    Remove the catalytic converter from the vehicle and discard the O-ring gaskets located at each end of the converter.

    Install the New Catalytic Converter

  1. 1

    Install the new catalytic converter in place along with new O-ring gaskets and start the bolts and nuts at the back flange or U-bolt of the converter but do not tighten them yet. You might need the aid of a helper to hold the converter in place.

  2. 2

    Start the bolts at the front flange of the converter but do not tighten them yet. If your converter has a double header pipe, install the mounting hardware following the same procedure.

  3. 3

    Attach the converter unit to the mounting bracket. Do not tighten the bolts yet or install the unit support hooks to the rubber mounts.

  4. 4

    Tighten the bolts and nuts at the back flange or U-bolt and the mounting bolts at the front flange of the converter using the ratchet and socket.

  5. 5

    Tighten the bolt to the converter-mounting bracket using the ratchet and socket, if your model is equipped with it.

  6. 6

    Connect the engine ground strap to the catalytic converter using the ratchet and socket.

  7. 7

    Attach the hose to the converter and tighten the clamp using the ratchet and socket, if your vehicle model is equipped with this hose.

  8. 8

    Install the heat shield to the catalytic converter using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket, if your vehicle model is equipped with it.

  9. 9

    Lower the vehicle.

  10. 10

    Start the engine and check for exhaust leaks.

Tips and warnings

  • The exhaust system on your vehicle may reach temperatures as high as 760 degrees C (760C) in a matter of minutes. Make sure the exhaust system is cool before you start replacing the catalytic converter on your car.

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