Different Types of Catalytic Converter Function in Different Ways
A Catalytic Converter is commonly referred to as a “Cat” and works by causing unburned fuel to be chemically altered, helping to reduce the overall harmful emissions released. This is done through the use of a catalyst, normally a precious metal. The most common material used today is Platinum. Other metals and combinations of metals can also be used as a catalyst, such as Nickel, Copper, Iron or Manganese. Platinum and Rhodium used in combination form a reduction catalyst, while Platinum and Palladium form an oxidation catalyst. The difference in which types of material used depends on the end result desired. A Catalytic Converter on a diesel engine has a completely different function than a Catalytic Converter on a gasoline engine or even an engine using E85.
Cars first started using Cats in 1975 when the EPA introduced limits on car exhaust emissions. The first Catalytic Converters used were called two way Cats. They had 2 distinct functions;
Converting unburned hydrocarbons to water and Carbon Dioxide
The conversion or Carbon Monoxide to Carbon Dioxide.
In 1981, most cars started using what is called a 3 way Cat. Three way Converters have 3 distinct functions;
Conversion (oxidation) of unburned Hydrocarbons to water and Carbon Dioxide
Conversion (oxidation) of Carbon Monoxide to Carbon Dioxide
Reducing Nitrogen Oxides to Nitrogen and Oxygen
A Catalytic Converter is made up of specific metals and other materials designed to produce a chemical reaction to accomplish the specific function desired. The Catalyst is supported within a honeycomb design made up of either Ceramic or Stainless Steel. There are screens on either end to prevent the catalyst from leaving the Cat and clogging the muffler. As the exhaust passes through, cold air is sometimes injected to assist in the chemical reaction.
When functioning properly, a Catalytic Converter will get very hot. If the fuel is contaminated and excessively high levels of hydrocarbons occur, the Cat may glow red hot and failure from melting will occur. The best way to prevent this is to always use a good quality fuel. Other ways the Cat can fail are from the introduction of leaded gas, silicone (from anti-freeze) or excess Manganese (from the additive MMT). All these contaminants will cause the catalyst to stop functioning and eventually become a solid mass and restrict the flow of exhaust.
A sulfur smell (rotten eggs) is not a sign that the cat is starting to fail, but rather a sign that the Cat is working very well but the fuel you are using may have an excessive amount of organic sulfur compounds. When these compounds build up under lean conditions, they eventually burn off, especially under a heavy load or rich condition and cause that undesirable odor.
Direct Fit and Universal Fit Catalytic Converter
You have a few choices with the selection of a replacement. A “direct fit” replacement, which will be almost identical in size and configuration as the original, or a “universal fit” which may require some cutting or other modifications. Companies like Walker, Bosal and Eastern sell both types and have a large selection for most vehicles on the road today. Whether you own a Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Ford, Lexus, Infinity, Honda or most any other model, you can usually find a replacement Catalytic Converter.
It’s an Easy Task to Replace Catalytic Converter
If you find yourself needing to replace the Catalytic Converter, it is a fairly simple job, only requiring a few wrenches and sockets. A rotary cutting tool is often required too. The easiest way to remove the old Cat is by cutting it out with a cutting tool. The bolts will almost always be almost impossible to remove unless you can use a torch to heat them. Even if you can get them hot enough with a torch, it is often easier to simply replace them. If using a universal type Cat, you will normally need to cut the pipe and then use clamps to install the new one. The hardest part of the job is often figuring out how to twist and turn the pipe assembly to get it out from under the vehicle. Always be sure you order the replacement gaskets if required.
If you order an OEM cat from a dealer, there is often a core deposit until you bring the old one back. This is an attempt to get the internal pellets back for recycling. If the pellets are not in the catalytic converter, you may not receive your core deposit back!Visit www.theautopartsshop.com/auto+car-usa+parts/eagle+summit+catalytic-converter.html to buy catalytic convrters
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