Catalytic Converter Failed at 102,000 Miles - Honda CRZ Forum: Honda CR-Z Hybrid Car Forums
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question Catalytic Converter Failed at 102,000 Miles

Hi All,

First time poster, long-time lurker! I bought my CR-Z in December of 2010 and have been coming here for years for tips on various modifications. I couldn't have replaced my fog lamps or done half of the interior installation work on my car without the indirect help of all of you great folks! I'm in the process of doing some new audio and lighting work, and intend to make a few posts of what I've been up to when I finish

But I digress-

My car's CEL came on Sunday night with the "Check Emissions System" message. Monday morning I took it to my mechanic, and he told me the code coming up is for a failed catalytic converter. I did a bit of Googling, and found some people suggesting that it is uncommon for a catalytic converter to fail, and that its failure may be a symptom of a larger problem.

My car is pretty much stock. I've had a Black Label Fabrications cat-back exhaust installed since late 2013 (love it), and dropped a K&N filter into the stock intake about 6 months ago. I know enough to understand how internal combustion and IMA systems work, but not well versed in mechanics beyond general theory. The only other issue I've had with this car was needing to replace the gearbox a few years back.

So I guess my questions are:
- Has anyone else out there had to replace the catalytic converter on their CR-Z?
- Is it true that catalytic converters don't generally fail, and that this could be a symptom of a larger problem?
- Anybody have any other emissions related issues come up with their car past 100,000 miles?


I'm supposed to drive from New Jersey to Maine next week for my sister's wedding, so I'm hoping this isn't the sign of a larger issue. Thank you!
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 03:47 PM
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- Is it true that catalytic converters don't generally fail, and that this could be a symptom of a larger problem?
Yes and no. Catalytic convertors can last a long time but failure is not as uncommon as the google results have led you to believe.

The failure could be the result of a lot of things. Driving style i.e. frequent short trips can shorten the converters life, bad batch of gasoline, spark/fuel ignition problems (unlikely if you never threw a CEL for that) just to name a few. Obviously some of these are completely out of the owner's control including short trips.

Looks like New Jersey follows the 150,000miles/15year emissions warranty so Honda should be replacing this one free of charge?
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 03:50 PM
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I would check your wired on the o2 sensors of both your cat converters. It could be likely some road debri hit the o2 sensor on the second pipe. Also make sure the are fitted tightly. Even if you have to replace both o2 sensors it is cheaper then get new cats. If you happen to need a second cat though pm me and I may have a used one to sell you if you want.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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I would check your wired on the o2 sensors of both your cat converters. It could be likely some road debri hit the o2 sensor on the second pipe. Also make sure the are fitted tightly. Even if you have to replace both o2 sensors it is cheaper then get new cats. If you happen to need a second cat though pm me and I may have a used one to sell you if you want.
Thanks for the tip! Definitely wouldn't hurt to inspect/reseat those before taking the next step. I'll let you know if I end up needing the cat, but hopefully Koala is right and warranty will cover a replacement.

Is it a bad idea to drive 1,000 miles to/from Maine on a bad cat or O2 sensor, i.e. will it strain the engine due to bad emissions reading? Or am I just going to lose the driving mode selection until it's fixed?
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Koala Yummies View Post
Yes and no. Catalytic convertors can last a long time but failure is not as uncommon as the google results have led you to believe.

The failure could be the result of a lot of things. Driving style i.e. frequent short trips can shorten the converters life, bad batch of gasoline, spark/fuel ignition problems (unlikely if you never threw a CEL for that) just to name a few. Obviously some of these are completely out of the owner's control including short trips.

Looks like New Jersey follows the 150,000miles/15year emissions warranty so Honda should be replacing this one free of charge?

Thanks for the information! For its first 60,000 miles or so I was delivering pizzas in it 6 days a week, so it took a ton of short trips. That definitely could've done it. I'll call my local Honda to find out more about the warranty.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 04:48 PM
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Depends on the "bad". Cataclysmic diverters run hot to begin with, and if heated much more can and will catch fire. Couple of hundred for a rental (if it's even that much) would be a cheap investment, and I think one I'd make.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Update, called my local Honda:

Honda's warranty is 8 years, 80,000 miles, so I'm past mileage on that. They gave me some insane ballpark pricing, that I'm sure my mech will come under.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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I see some aftermarket solutions out there, like this one from HKS. It's more cost-effective than buying both OEM parts, which I imagine I'll have to do eventually since I intend on keeping this car until it's good and dead.


Anybody out there have good or bad experiences with aftermarket converters, or am I better off getting an OEM piece?
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 07:23 PM
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I see some aftermarket solutions out there, like this one from HKS. It's more cost-effective than buying both OEM parts, which I imagine I'll have to do eventually since I intend on keeping this car until it's good and dead.


Anybody out there have good or bad experiences with aftermarket converters, or am I better off getting an OEM piece?
All articles I have read about Catalytic converters say to always get an OEM but what do I know. All emissions parts eventually fail. That is a long life for a catalytic converter and you live in NJ where salt is used how do you know that you did not have corrosion from the salt which caused the catalytic converter to fail?
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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That is a long life for a catalytic converter and you live in NJ where salt is used how do you know that you did not have corrosion from the salt which caused the catalytic converter to fail?
My father's Volvo C30 has 220,000 miles on it and its converter is running strong- then again it IS a Volvo... But you're right, corrosion certainly could've played a hand in its failure, at least if its the lower one and not the upper one. This winter was mild but we had a few rough years I drove it through.

I'd get an OEM over some aftermarket universal piece one might find at AutoZone, for sure. But a purpose-built one like HKS's seems like it would be a cost-effective upgrade.
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