Removal of a catalytic converter is not a task for a novice. It requires the skill of a certified mechanic who is a trained and experienced welder as well as technician. Removing the catalytic converter requires dealing with highly flammable gasoline and a cutting torch that can cause severe burns and damage the eyes retina by way of welding flash. For a certified technician this is a relatively simple procedure involving dropping the gas tank, cutting the old converter out and welding in a new one. For the novice, this is an extremely dangerous procedure that should not be attempted.
Things You'll Need
- Cutting torch
- Welding gloves
- Welding goggles
- Safety glasses
- Car lift or hydraulic jack and jack stands
- Open end box end wrenches
- (Ratchet and socket set) optional
- Drip pan
- OSHA approved disposal container
- Wire cutters/dikes
- Wire connectors
- New catalytic converter.
Remove the fuel filter housing located in the trunk under the carpet. Disconnect both wires going to the filter housing. Remove the filter with the housing and set aside.
Remove as much fuel from the fuel tank as possible. If the vehicle has a drain plug, place a drip pan under the vehicle and remove the plug. Allow all the fuel to drain out of the tank. This does not make the tank completely safe, Gas fumes are the most explosive part of dealing with fuel. Draining the fuel makes the procedure safer but not completely safe.
Remove the drip pan from under the car and discard the fuel in an OSHA approved container. Do not dump on the ground. Fines for this kind of disposal are large and are to be avoided. Replace the drain plug in the fuel tank and find the bolts holding the retaining straps on either side of the tank. Make sure you wear safety glasses throughout this procedure to prevent getting residual gas in your eyes. If you get gas in your eyes, flush with water for five minutes and seek medical help.
Once you have located the bolts holding the retaining straps, use an open end box end wrench or ratchet and socket set to loosen the bolts. (if your vehicle needs to be raised to get under it, use a hydraulic jack and jack stands or a hydraulic car lift). Place a hydraulic jack rated the the gross weight of you vehicle in the center of the fuel tank.
Remove the mount bolts and let the fuel tank rest on the jack. Slowly lower the tank and pull out from under the car with the hydraulic jack. Make sure the fuel tank is in an open air area of the shop so that the fumes can dissipate.
Raise the vehicle and use a hydraulic jack and jack stands or a car lift (preferred), to raise the vehicle high enough that the welder can stand under the car. Measure the length of exhaust pipe coming out each end of the converter. Mark the exhaust line in the vehicle to match the measurement of the new converter.
Tips & Warnings
- Use the cutting torch to cut through the exhaust pipe in front of each end of the exhaust pipe where you marked it previously. Make a clean cut and use a file to clean up the edges if needed. Put the new converter on an extended jack that will be tall enough to reach the exhaust pipes. Put on your welding goggles and fire proof gloves and tack weld the new converter in two or three places with your welder and remove the jack.
- Weld a bead around both ends of the new converter making sure that they leave no gaps in the exhaust line. Use you welding hammer to remove any slag from the welds. Allow the welds to cool and lower the car so that you can reach the grounding straps and gas tank placement. Re-bolt the straps and re-install the fuel filter. Test the new converter by running the engine and looking for leaks. Repair any leaks found with the welder.
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