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Old 02-19-2010, 10:03 AM   #1
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Catastrophic Cat failure

So I just got my car back from McNews, Ray did a great job on my timing belt job and put in a new Spec stg 2 clutch for me and replaced the friction plate on my Al flywheel.

They told me my stock cat was pretty much shot (111k miles), and after a quick search online and a laugh at Ford's price of $1900 for an OEM cat, I just bought the RT high flow cat they had in stock at the shop, figured it was easy and price was pretty good, plus Ray had put all new bolts on for me so I could do an easy swap at home.

Drive home from Dillsburg, PA to Bowie, MD; fine, next morning to work is fine. Lunch time the car sputters and looses power a bit, weirdly intermittent, sometimes i have no power, sometimes i am fine. On the way home from work it was awful, no power, flooring it and down shifting my revs still dropped and i ended up dropping from 50 mph down to 10. Ray happened to be in the shop late so he was really great talking to me helping me diagnose it while I am trying to limp my car home.

I threw 2 O2 sensor codes, both the "too lean" and "too rich". I get the stock cat off, looking in the front end the honeycomb looks fine. Get the O2 sensors out my back O2 sensor is coated in sprayed melted metal! I look in the hole and the back half of my cat had broken off and lodged sideways against the O2 sensor!! It was choking the hell out of my exhaust.

Anyway, figured that was a crazy enough cat failure to warrant sharing

Put the new high flow cat on and its running fine now. I am really glad I bought that from McNews!


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Old 02-19-2010, 12:45 PM   #2
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When I bought my SVT newe a few years back it wasnt just a few months and my cat was shot all to hell..... when I took it off the guts looked like a pile of hamburger (literally)

I'll post up a pic tonight so we can compare.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:37 PM   #3
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I am taking mine home to my Dad's house this saturday to cut it open with a reciprocating saw. The front side of the cat looks ok, the back is destroyed and in a big chunk!

In other news my car is much better but still once in a while has a weird fuel cut. When the cat failed I got both OBDII codes for Too Lean and Too Rich, and I had to scrape molten metal off my rear O2 sensor. The entire upstream side of the sensor was coated in metal, any readings it had were only from the downstream side. So I suspect it is a sensor issue that's sending weird info and confusing the ECU some. The lack of fuel and any power has happened a couple times, usually withing 5 minutes of starting the engine, not right away but still cold. And its happened maybe on the order of 1 minute out of every hour of engine run time, so not debilitating like the Cat failure was, but not good.

I'll be replacing the rear O2 sensor and taking apart the IMRC this coming weekend to service the limit switch, clean it up and grease the gears. If that doesn't fix it worst case I'll buy a new one.

But I'll get pics of the busted cat when i do the sawsall autopsy
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:50 PM   #4
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Damn... I knew I was forgettting to post something.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:04 PM   #5
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Once the CAT is fixed , If you have a flasher you should be able to see what the issues is and address it

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Old 02-24-2010, 04:03 AM   #6
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Good grief $1900 for a new OEM cat? no thank you..
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:05 AM   #7
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Yeah, I laughed at that $1900, I was calling for a IMRC price and asked out of curiosity, I was expecting stupidly high, but that's was nuts.

I have 2 new O2 sensors in transit on 2nd day air UPS, so maybe tomorrow but for sure by Friday.

I think its been narrowed down to the O2 sensors drifting and slow response, kind of a weird transient failure. I disconnected both O2 sensors last night and wrapped the plugs to keep contacts clean till new sensors arrive, have been running the sucky conservative factory tune for no O2 sensor input. But its better then the super rich I was running. I was getting total loss of power, dangerously so, like dropping from 65 mph to 10 mph on the highway. It was sporadic, for instance limping home from gas station i was WOT in 1st gear and revs would not climb above 1500, then it was fine and I started flying in my neighborhood.

Since I unplugged the O2 sensors, no issues driving aside from little rough and lack of power obviously. My last tank I had a 25% reduction in MPGs so I think the O2 sensor were really confusing the ECU.
Tom my brother and I share an OBDII scanner, I was getting two O2 codes, 1 for too rich, 1 for too lean.
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:17 AM   #8
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Will the aftermarket high flow cats still allow one to pass emissions? Also, Am I right in assuming that high RPM driving may result in a premature cat. converter death?
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:25 AM   #9
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Lol isn't it cause there's like TWO left in all of Ford??
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spvensko View Post
Will the aftermarket high flow cats still allow one to pass emissions? Also, Am I right in assuming that high RPM driving may result in a premature cat. converter death?
a high flow cat should still pass emissions fine. In MD we only have an OBDII code read and a gas cap check. which annoyingly if you have a CEL/MIL lit they fail you. So we get off easy on using whatever exhaust we want, but are limited to factory ECU. The SVTF being cracked and tunable is awesome. My '05 mazdaspeed miata, you cannot re-flash the ECU, so any serious mods like a bigger turbos and bigger injectors to match require a new stand alone ECU which unless its fully OBDII compliant is not legal.

I don't think high RPM driving will have any issue killing your cat. what kills the cat is too much fuel. I have a suspicion that my O2 senors have been going for a bit and it progressively made the cat worse. Then the cat was shot and it still ran, but dropping the cat for service to replace my clutch was enough to dislodge the FUBAR cat chunks, leading to my navel orange sized chunk of cat rotated perpendicular to the flow and stuck against the rear O2 sensor, which periodically/randomly choked my exhaust severely.

Others can chime in here, but my presumption is that as long as your O2 sensors are functional and the mix is being adjusted properly by the ECU, then you could run at redline all day and not kill the cat. It's when your O2 is fouled and your dumping way too rich exhaust through the cat that it will die quicker.
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