Car Repair and Maintenance

How to Unclog a Catalytic Converter Without Removing It

how to unclog a catalytic converter without removing it

Is your cat converter clogged? This publication explains how to unclog a catalytic converter without removing it. An essential component of the exhaust system is the catalytic converter, it is a component of cars that stops all engine exhaust before it can be released into the atmosphere.

Before they burn out, the hazardous exhaust is converted into harmless gases through several chemical processes. However, the catalytic converter sometimes malfunctions or becomes blocked after extensive use.

how to unclog a catalytic converter without removing it

Why is your cat converter clogged?

Let’s look at some important considerations before we explain how to repair a catalytic converter without replacing it.

Purified Catalyst

Another scenario is when the catalytic converter has undergone internal cleaning and pieces of it may have blasted out of the exhaust pipe. So that you can verify, you must delete it. Even professional drivers struggle to resolve this common situation.

Over Clogged

The first instance when a catalytic converter cleaner would be ineffective and you would need to remove it and replace it with a new one is when it is too blocked. If this happens to your car, removal is required. You may need to use specialized equipment or replace the whole catalytic converter.

Oil Consumption

One of the numerous probable causes of your catalytic converter being blocked is internal oil. Oil enters the cylinders, where it burns and combusts within the scorching catalytic converter.

If so, you should stop the internal oil leak before using these techniques for cleaning the catalytic converter without removing it. If you don’t address it, the issue will return quickly, clogging the converter once again.

Clogged crankcase ventilation, fractured valve seals, or damaged piston rings are typical signs of an internal oil leak. Drivers must thus always start by checking the crankcase ventilation.

You should be aware of the information we just provided before learning how to clean a catalytic converter without removing it.

Look for any loose parts

Can a catalytic converter be cleaned? Can you check for any looser components then? You can, of course. You can hear whether there are any loose bits within your catalytic converter by gently hitting it with a hammer. Remove the catalytic converter and give it a thorough inspection if you hear any loose pieces.

If you don’t examine it carefully, the loose bits might get much looser and completely block your exhaust pipe, which can cause your car to halt while you’re driving.

How To Unclog a Catalytic Converter without Removing it

Before we discuss how to unclog a catalytic converter without removing it, let’s first examine what the catalytic converter accomplishes to keep the vehicle functioning.

Catalysts have also been employed by the car industry to lower the emission of certain dangerous substances. A regulated combustion reaction must take place within the car’s engine for the internal combustion engine to run efficiently. The reaction also results in the production of toxic gases that pollute the air.

A component known as a catalytic converter is already installed in your automobile to reduce emissions. It may block the catalytic converter, and some people may wonder whether they can clean one.

The steps:

There is a limitation to this approach. Only when the catalytic converter is not severely blocked does it function. A catalytic converter cleaning is required. Your fuel, exhaust, and oxygen sensor systems may all be cleaned using this procedure. Follow the steps below:

1. Purchase a catalytic converter that is compatible with your vehicle. Follow this video guide to select a compatible catalytic converter for your car.

2. Check that your tank has roughly 15 liters of gasoline.

3. Adhere to the guidelines for using catalytic converter cleaners. Make sure you particularly those about the fuel/catalytic converter cleaner ratio.

4. Fill the petrol tank with the catalytic converter cleaner.

5. For at least 30 minutes, run your automobile at 2500 rpm. Driving for a sufficient amount of time will allow the catalytic converter/fuel combination to circulate throughout the vehicle and clean the system. However, watch out for the automobile overheating throughout this excursion.

6. Reread the catalytic converter after calibrating the OBD code.

You may have cleaned the catalytic converter if you notice after the trip that the vehicle accelerates rapidly and emits less black smoke. It is among the least expensive methods for fixing a catalytic converter.

How to find a clogged catalytic converter

a. Engine problem

The engine starts difficult or accelerates slowly. It is assumed that your catalytic converter is blocked if you see these symptoms.

The engine’s exhaust is obstructed by clogs as it leaves the engine. A blocked catalytic converter damages the engine and stops it from releasing air pollutants.

Then, when your catalytic converter becomes blocked, you may smell sulfur. The name of the gas is “rotten egg” gas. Hydrogen sulfide is being produced as a result (H2S). When a catalytic converter malfunctions, it is unable to remove impurities and might emit this gas.

Additionally, an ammonia (NH3) odor is an indication of a dysfunctional catalyst.
Pay attention to the casing of the catalytic converter. If it is discolored or distorted, it may have internal leaks or overheating.

b. Noise is a red flag

If you hear noise upon starting the engine, the catalyst may be damaged. You won’t know if there are issues if the catalytic converter isn’t frequently examined. Conducting yearly or semi-annual emissions testing is an excellent idea to identify problems as soon as feasible.

c. Check the warning light

Use your car’s warning lights to see whether the catalytic converter is malfunctioning. You pay close attention to the on-bright check engine light (CEL) or malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) to determine whether it displays a catalytic converter DTC (DTC).

Can a clogged catalytic converter be cleaned?

Yes, but it all depends on how clogged up the system is. It is simple to clean a catalytic converter that has moderate to mild clogging. When this happens, the obstruction is moderate and is readily cleared by gasoline additives or by hand-washing the catalytic converter.

In severe circumstances, a catalytic converter that is excessively blocked should be changed since it can be irreparably obstructed. You will discover that in this case, the exhaust has heated the catalysts to the point of melting, rendering them incapable of catalyzing the emissions from the exhaust.

Another circumstance is when the catalytic converter’s internal components have separated due to heat or physical force.

What Are the Three Most Common Catalytic Converter Failures?

Failure of the catalytic converter may cause problems for both you and the vehicle. It makes driving less enjoyable and may also be expensive.

If you don’t handle it right away, it may also result in engine failure. Here are the top three reasons why a catalytic converter fails:

  • Mechanical Injury
  • Damaged or overheated catalytic converters
  • Coated Substrate

Can I hit my catalytic converter with a hammer?

You can, indeed. You will need to evaluate the structural integrity of the catalytic converter with an unblock catalytic converter hammer as part of the diagnostic procedure. Every catalytic converter has a substrate, which is susceptible to breaking down through physical damage or overheating.

However, you should replace the catalytic converter rather than clear the obstruction if you hear rattling when you tap the device with the hammer since this indicates that the substrate has broken down.

For the finest result for starters, adding Cataclean to a tank that is already full will result in an overflow. Second, the Cataclean and gasoline combination won’t be “strong” enough to remove the contaminants. You shouldn’t use a Cataclean catalytic converter cleaner with a full tank of petrol for the greatest results. About 15 liters of gasoline is suggested for the greatest outcomes. Cataclean can be used with the exact concentration needed to clear your catalytic converter in 15 liters of gasoline.

Final Words

We believe that the question of how to unclog a catalytic converter without removing it has been answered. Before engine damage occurs, the blocked catalytic converter must be cleared.

Even though a catalytic converter is blocked, it is still functional. To save money, you can repair it. It is also critical to routinely inspect and fix your car.


Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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