200q20v Cats

martinkuetzing at att.net martinkuetzing at att.net
Tue May 12 10:38:56 PDT 2009

I thought I'd pass on my catalytic converter saga.

Starting in calendar year 2009, California's CARB law requires "Pre-OBD-II, California Legal" catalytic converters, which of course, are different than those for the rest of the planet.  In order to prove compliance, a special EO (Executive Order) number must be laser-burned onto the bottom surface of the cat so that it's visible to an inspector.  (Even if these cats were still available from the dealer, I suppose that they wouldn't be compliant??)

A place in Van Nuys, Ca, Diversified Environmental Catalysts lists a set (Pass Side AU81313 and Driver Side AU81314) that include the flanges, mounting brackets and pipes.  I ordered a set for about $425 each and took 'em to a muffler shop.  (ref http://catalog.deccats.com/fmi/iwp/cgi?-db=DECWEBCATALOG&-loadframes)

The DEC pipes were bent using the types of mandrels you'd see at Midas - that is, causing non-uniform diameter at each bend.  (I don't really know how serious this really is.)  But more importantly, the 2 1/8" diameter tubing did not match my Stebro exhaust diameter.  Apparently, metric tubing is slightly smaller.  The OEM cat pipes were still perfect, so I decided to have the shop cut out the old converters & install new ones, rather than use the DEC assemblies.

The Magnaflow 36035 converters the shop used were identical to the ones on the DEC provided assemblies.  The new cats are cylindrical as opposed to the "flatter, pancake-style" originals.  By the time I was done, I was out $700 and still I have to pay shipping to return the DEC ones.  (I can buy a Starbuck's coffee with my savings, if I can only find one.)

I assume that the Magnaflow 36035's are all fifty-state legal, but I am not sure about this.  That damn EO number is very expensive.  The muffler shop charged me $275 each for them, although one place listed 'em for about $165 each. (http://www.simpleautosports.com/product_info.php?products_id=12029).

Of course, now I feel very pious as I drive in sunny San Diego surrounded by all the cross-border traffic from Mexico.  Just the plume from many of those cars and trucks would probably screw up a test being conducted at a Smog Test Center just by driving by....

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