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  #1  
Old 08-15-2013, 01:58 PM
Boydness Boydness is offline
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Default Exhaust questions and advice needed

All,

My '05 RAM 1500 Crew Cab 4x4 has 128K miles.

Recently the truck started hesitating from a stop and would then surge, with the engine light flashing. I had the dealership look at it.
This is from their write up (minus the all caps):
"Owner states on take the engine/truck would shake...check engine light is on. Has acted up on hard acceleration. * Tested and verified the following codes P0157-oxygen sensor 2/2 voltage low, P0300-multiple cylinder misfire, P0132-oxygen sensor 1/1 voltage low. Tested all 3 sensor circuits and all the circuits test good. Replaced the 3 failed sensors and the owner requested to replace the 4th one as well. Cleared codes."

They installed 2 each 56028994AB and 56029049AA.
I also had them do a tune-up and cooling system flush at the time. Because the wife insists that the dealership maintains her car and the truck, especially as I am away on business quite a bit and she drives both vehicles (the truck during the winter).

The next day the check engine came on again, but it was not acting the same as it was previous. The thought was it might have thrown a code from the sensors previously having an issue. The code was cleared.

A few days later the truck started acting the same as before, this is their write-up:
"Check engine lamp comes on again. see history ** code P0402 for catalytic convertor efficiency. **Need to replace the catalytic convertor est of $1635.00 to replace catalytic convertor."
They charged me $80.62 to tell me the cat(s) needed to be replaced...

So, my questions are:
Was the issue with the cat or cats the issue from the start?
Should they have recommend the cats be replaced when they did the original work on the O2 sensors?
Should I decline to pay for the "inspection" or could legitimately trained technicians really not have identified the cats were the issue during the original work?

On a separate not, I have no plans to have them replace the cat(s). I am thinking that this is an opportunity to replace the entire system with something that is an improvement over stock.
I live in the country, do not have an emissions test, I occasionally tow with a trailer/tow dolly, the truck has enough power for our needs, and an increase in noise is not an issue.

What is a recommendation for an exhaust system that improves fuel economy?

If I decide to replace just the cats, are there inexpensive cats that will not cause the engine to throw codes? All of my older vehicles with O2 sensors are just a single pre-cat sensor near the manifold, so I have no experience with a system that needs post-cat sensors.

Any thoughts?


Boydness
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  #2  
Old 08-16-2013, 12:07 PM
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mb power wagon mb power wagon is offline
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you need to keep your cats the ecm measures the emissions before the cats and after. if your bent on removing them completely you would need a custom tune to keep the computer from reading the o2 sensors. it would be much cheaper to go with high flow cats that can get the job done and put in a good muffler to let the engine breathe better. if your going with a whole new exhaust and money isn't a big concern headers would give you more power.
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:19 AM
Boydness Boydness is offline
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I want to keep the cats, I just need to know which of the cheaper or high flowing cats would cause the system to throw codes.

Would the Eastern ECO II 49-State Catalytic Converter work fine or would those throw codes? Are there cheaper cats that would work for the truck?

Is there anyone selling a header back system? I could not find any other than off-road systems.

If I can only find header back systems without cats, I would like to find the best value cats that I could add to those systems.
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:48 AM
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snrusnak snrusnak is offline
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That's incorrect. You CAN remove the cats with no running problems. The only issue is you will get a check engine light. There are ways around this that are cheap/easy (and you don't necessarily need custom tuning, although that is one option). The O2 sensor after the cat only measures catalytic efficiency(emissions), it has nothing to do with performance or mpg.

Those codes can be tricky. It can be either the cat, the down stream(post cat) O2 sensor, or some less common things like a coolant leak into the engine(coolant causes O2 sensors to fail), etc. Many mechanics, especially "old school" mechanics, don't fully understand how to read OBD 2 engine codes. Just because the code says "catalytic efficiency below threshold", doesn't mean the cat is bad. It could be other things causing it to be picked up on that sensor.

Usually any non oem cats will throw a code.
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Last edited by snrusnak; 08-17-2013 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:48 AM
Boydness Boydness is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snrusnak View Post
That's incorrect. You CAN remove the cats with no running problems. The only issue is you will get a check engine light. There are ways around this that are cheap/easy (and you don't necessarily need custom tuning, although that is one option). The O2 sensor after the cat only measures catalytic efficiency(emissions), it has nothing to do with performance or mpg.

Those codes can be tricky. It can be either the cat, the down stream(post cat) O2 sensor, or some less common things like a coolant leak into the engine(coolant causes O2 sensors to fail), etc. Many mechanics, especially "old school" mechanics, don't fully understand how to read OBD 2 engine codes. Just because the code says "catalytic efficiency below threshold", doesn't mean the cat is bad. It could be other things causing it to be picked up on that sensor.

Usually any non oem cats will throw a code.
What are those options for non-cats or non-OEM cats? Simulators?

And how do I rule out if the code is not actually the cats?
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:21 PM
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snrusnak snrusnak is offline
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The easiest/cheapest way is to take two spark plug non foulers and drill one out, then thread the O2 sensor into the drilled non fouler, then thread that entire thing into the other non fouler, then thread that whole thing into the exhaust pipe. This spaces the O2 sensor out of the exhaust stream. USUALLY, this works. I haven't done it on a late model ram though, but would bet it'd work. Then if it doesn't, you're out a few bucks and an hour, and can look at other options(simulators, tuning, etc).
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