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I am loking at purchasing a 2002 Sedan with the ZETEC engine. Has 115,000 miles on it. Needs rear shocks, crank seal, timing belt, oil pressure switch, rear drivers side electric window does not roll down (hear motor running), front pads and rotors and it also has the CEL on.

The garage pulled the code and it was PO420 (Cat Insufficient).

Anyone know what that might mean? Catalytic converter plugged maybe?

Not sure this car is worth all the problems it comes with for the $3,500 they want for it.........
 

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I am loking at purchasing a 2002 Sedan with the ZETEC engine. Has 115,000 miles on it. Needs rear shocks, crank seal, timing belt, oil pressure switch, rear drivers side electric window does not roll down (hear motor running), front pads and rotors and it also has the CEL on.

The garage pulled the code and it was PO420 (Cat Insufficient).

Anyone know what that might mean? Catalytic converter plugged maybe?

Not sure this car is worth all the problems it comes with for the $3,500 they want for it.........
This code means the downstream 02 sensor switch rate is at least 1.5 times the emission standard. In other words, the cat isn't doing what it should and your vehicle is no longer emissions compliant. Cats can become plugged as well.....but this typically results in a vehicle that has a severe lack of power and not necessarily in efficiency codes.

Unless you get smog tested, want to sell the car soon or simply CANNOT live with the check engine light - I'd frankly recommend you just ignore the code. Cats are full of precious metals so they are quite expensive to manufacture. They also usually require some welding to replace with a non-OEM part. OEM parts are generally going to be more expensive but require less labor. Either way - they are not cheap to replace. I'd highly advise against getting an aftermarket cat for a few reasons:

First, you get what you pay for. Precious metals cost the same no matter who buys it. So, if you buy a super cheap aftermarket cat it is likely made with a lesser quantity of these precious metals. This means it's probably not going to last very long at all. I'm sure it will have a warranty but that warranty doesn't cover the labor - just the junk part. A junk part warranty is about as convenient as an ejection seat in a helicopter IMO.

Second, aftermarket cats tend to be problematic when they DO work because by welding in a piece that has different demensions than the original, you change the placement of the 02 sensors. They sometimes read inaccurately and make the light come on when there really isn't a problem or they actually accelerate the wear on the sensors causing a domino-effect part failure down the road.

No matter what road you choose, it will be expensive. Sorry for the bad news.
 

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I have to disagree with Grinders opinion you should just ignore it. Not a good idea, IMO. If the cat is bad and is clogging you will loose power and fuel economy. Plus doesn't Maine require emissions testing? it might not pass with the check engine light on.

It could be cheap to fix because its not necessarily the cat. It could be the O2 sensor itself.

If it is the cat you can replace it with an Off road pipe or high flow cat, which would delete the cat and give you more power at the same time. You would still have the P0420 code because there is no cat any more. after deleting the cat you can trick the computer by adding a MIL eliminator inline with the o2s. Or get a tune and turn off the diagnostic code. I got $80 from a scrapper for my old cat, payed for most of the used off road pipe.

as to the 3500 price tag, that seems a little steep for a car with that many problems it was clearly not taken care of very well.
 

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I have to disagree with Grinders opinion you should just ignore it. Not a good idea, IMO. If the cat is bad and is clogging you will loose power and fuel economy. Plus doesn't Maine require emissions testing? it might not pass with the check engine light on.

It could be cheap to fix because its not necessarily the cat. It could be the O2 sensor itself.

If it is the cat you can replace it with an Off road pipe or high flow cat, which would delete the cat and give you more power at the same time. You would still have the P0420 code because there is no cat any more. after deleting the cat you can trick the computer by adding a MIL eliminator inline with the o2s. Or get a tune and turn off the diagnostic code. I got $80 from a scrapper for my old cat, payed for most of the used off road pipe.

as to the 3500 price tag, that seems a little steep for a car with that many problems it was clearly not taken care of very well.
Are you serious?

First off, a cat that doesn't store oxygen is completely different from a cat that is restrictive. Two completely different failures here. P0420 means it doesn't seem to store o2. It doesn't mean it's about to become restrictive.

Second, if they have emissions testing in Maine an ORP, tune and a cheater isn't a great idea. If the tech is worth his salt he'll see that it has an ORP and fail it regardless of his MIL status. If he HAS to get it fixed for smog testing, the only PROPER way to repair it is to replace the cat.

Third, there is absolutely no way whatsoever a bad o2 sensor can set this code. If you can suggest a manner in which the rear o2 can fail but yet send a signal to the PCM that is comparable to the .1-.9v switchrate of the upsteam sensor I'll shit a 10lb brick. Actually, the presence of this code means the downstream 02 IS working properly because if it wasn't, there would be no switching at all and he would set a P1137 or P1138.
 
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