Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clogged catalyst

So, my catalytic converter clogged. It was a strange experience. On my drive home, I noticed the car made less power above 4k RPM, and started sounding like a trumpet. Yes, a trumpet. As my commute wore on, it got progressively worse -- to the point where I could barely maintain 80mph (welcome to Chicago tollway speeds). I put my headlights up and my speed dropped. That's how on-the-limit I was with regard to available power.

I should note that the cat had been making a rattling noise for several weeks before this happened. When this happened, the noise stopped.

So I went straight to my dad's place, jacked up the car and dropped the exhaust. Sure enough, the chunks of catalyst remaining in there had rolled into the back of the cat and got lodged in the pipe. We broke it up and got it out.

This is the stuff.

(Never mind the Taz floor mat, we use it on the garage floor.)

Yeah, I figured there would be a lot more, but no. Apparently most of it had already blown out.

So, my car no longer sounds like a trumpet, it has all its power, and a nonfunctioning catalytic converter. I'm technically no longer STS-legal, but I'll worry about that if I ever go to nationals. In the mean time, I don't care.

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On a side note, I picked up a set of tires on 13" Ford Escort steelies today, 175/70-13. (Yes, the 13" do fit over the calipers, though barely). Two are practically new, the other two have somewhat more than half life. Different brands for each pair, but it'll serve. And where else can you get a set of wheels and tires, mounted and balanced for $40? I got a new scissor jack out of the deal too, one from a Saturn. Heavier duty than mine, and it came with a handle. Mine did not have a handle, which made jacking a pain in the ass.

Yes. Jacking.

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