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Exhaust Backpressure, ur-Q low boost solved.
Regarding the plugged cat converter problem, most exhaust
shops or general automotive repair shops "should" be able
to perform the exhaust back pressure test I mentioned.
Years ago this was a standard test that we did.
Some of the exhaust shops I checked with recently,
indicated that it is a pretty common test they have to do,
they just drill a small hole in the exhaust pipe before
and after the cat converter or muffler and insert a small
pipe connected to a regular low pressure (0-10psi) fuel
pressure gauge. They usually just rev the engine up to
2500-3500 RPM and look for a gradual continuous rise in
pressure. Some experience with this tests helps I imagine.
They weld the hole shut after the test.