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I brought my 2002 focus svt in for a NYS inspection and the guy looking at it said my cat was on its way out and wont pass emissions soon. He says he knows this because it rattles but I know that one of the brackets that holds it on is cracked and I always assumed that is where the rattle came from. How can I tell if hes full of crap or if this is going to be an issue? any thoughts?
 

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Here are a few ideas. Get the bracket welded/fixed... maybe at an exhaust specialty shop. Lots of small garages would do it for cheap.

A failing or clogged cat should show itself with engine performance problems and bad gas mileage.

4 ways to diag a suspect bad cat; 1- measure and monitor vacuum at intake manifold; 2- monitor 02 sensors; 3- IR Temperature gun to test for cat temps at input verses output; 4- backpressure test.
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/ac...25ll?itemIdentifier=347232&_requestid=2100619

Watch this one first->
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VZ5K8n5jj0

Maybe these too?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-jp1IIJVVk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lafv2c4szZY
 

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Or get the inspection done and see what the report says. Here in Ontario we get a pretty complete rundown of what's coming out the tailpipe.
Depends how expensive the test is...
 

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If the cracked bracket came from cat being struck hard then cat may be bad. The inside matrix brick can often be made of like ceramic, think broken pottery when hit. The pieces then settle and block exhaust flow.

You gotta crawl under car and wiggle things around to see if the rattle is the bracket or inside the shell. The difference should be evident.
 

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NYS just checks codes in the system, no tailpipe check.

Fixing the rattle you know of makes sense, the rest is just a guess though amc is right on the CAT being subject to damage if you see it's been hit.

"Helpful" comments about something "about to go" are of less than no use when based on a guess.
 

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At a pick and pull yard monday it says that they can't sell any Cat's from the yard.
 

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aftermarket cats are not that expensive. rockauto has some in the $200 range, but if I was in your situation I would do a search on "cheap catalytic converter" or "discount catalytic converter" and buy a direct fit model from a place that only sells cats. And I would email them BEFORE buying since some models are legal for NY and some are not.

You also should contact the state and make sure they allow people to replace their old cats if your going to do it yourself, and if so do they require some special certificate, also ask about disposal of the old one. Here in OR the wrecking yards pay for the old cats since they have platinum in them, we are allowed to replace our old cats then sell the old one to a wrecker for beer money.
 

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The cat box usually has the fed mandated 'certificate' in it.
 
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