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Old 07-17-2009, 06:38 AM   #1
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Cat replacement on a 97 SE

Hello all,
I recently purchased a used 97 Wrangler SE with 101k miles on it. The vehicle runs great, except I was told I needed to replace the catalytic converter. I took it to serveral shops, and all gave me an average price of $600 to replace it.
I've found plenty of cats online for about $200 (give or take) with free shipping, and was told by at least two of the shops that the job shouldn't take more than 1.5 hours to complete. The average charge for labor in my area is about $85p/h. Given those numbers, I would think I could get it done for about $325.
When I questioned the shops about this, they all told me that if they didn't use a specific oem direct fit cat (that costs about $400), that there would be issues, mainly the engine light constantly coming on.
I guess my questions are, does anybody have any experience replacing their cats, what did they use, what did it cost, and should I just purchase one on my own and have a shop install it for me?

Thanks for any help/responses in advance!

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Old 07-17-2009, 07:38 AM   #2
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Why does it need replacing?
How is jeep running?
Does your state/county /city have inspections?

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Old 07-17-2009, 08:12 AM   #3
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I have the direct fit magniflow on mine it works fine. Jeeps arnt to picky about there cats. But on a lot of newer cars like Honda,Toyota and most German cars are really picky about aftermarket cats and weather they will throw a p0420 or not.
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:15 AM   #4
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For $600 they better be putting on a complete stainless steel exhaust and header!

That is an outragous price.

You can pick up or order a cat and have a small shop weld it on most of the time for under $100.
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:17 AM   #5
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:34 AM   #6
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I was just talking to levinoss about this, but i believe that my state does not do inspections. That means that I can just straight pipe it from the headers to my muffler, right?
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:49 AM   #7
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Auto Parts & Accessories - Car Parts & Accessories - Truck Parts & Accessories - Cheap Auto Body Parts at Discount Car Parts Stuff you can buy a universal cat 2.5" etc... for around $48-$100 depending on the diam. Eastern Catalytic makes a descent one, they come with Flange pieces gaskets clamps etc. you can get one shipped to you for around $80 ide say and have the shop put it on if you are not comfortable, you shouldn't be charged more that 1 hr. at the most.

hope this helps.

Im buying a cat from car-stuff.com in a couple weeks. Just a universal 2.5" the body is about 12" total length. I weld so i'll install it my self, it'll cost me about $65.00 and my time. no reason to replace with OE

Banks Monster cat back with a universal cat to the Banks Header! sweeeeeet
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:34 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the quick responses! I put 97 Wrangler SE, but meant Sport.
The vehicle appears to be running fine. MPG's appear to be lower than what they should be, but I'm just learning to drive stick so it could be attributed to that.
I heard a clanging sound from underneath the vehicle, which appeared to me to be the tailpipe rattling against the hitch, but when I got the vehicle inspected, they told me in addition to that, there was also a similar noise which was coming from the catalytic converter.
I'm going to get a second and third opinion tomorrow morning.
It's funny that the MagnaFlo 23227 was mentioned because that was the exact one I was looking at.
We do have emissions inspection where I live.
I would love to try the replacement myself, but as tech savy as I am, I'm affraid I'm not mechanically inclined enough to perform this repair, nor do I have the tools.
I just want to educate myself as much as possible before moving forward with the repair. There's many things I'd like to add-on/touch-up, so overpaying for this particular repair is something I'd like to avoid.

Thanks again to you all.
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:49 PM   #9
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simple solution get a hack saw cut the cat off inbetween the flanges. go buy your new cat, 2x exhaust "Band Clamps" (eliminates the welding for ya) clamp the new cat in and ur done i did mine about 2 years ago still holdin strong no leaks.
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:53 PM   #10
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Look at your cat before purchasing any aftermarket cat. If it has an 02 sensor screwed into the top of it as most do, you need to make sure the cat you buy is 50-state compliant. The non-50-state compliant cats have no provision (a threaded bung) for the 02 sensor that yours may or may not have. If it has an 02 sensor for the cat, it has to be screwed into the catalytic converter or you'll get a constant Check Engine light.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:01 PM   #11
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Many of the after-market cats I've looked at (even non-CA cats) state they have an O2 sensor port. Forgive my ignorance on the subject, but is that the same thing?

As always, I appreciate the feed back and help.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:08 PM   #12
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I've yet to see a non-50 state (non-Calif.) compliant catalytic converter that had the required 02 sensor bung (threaded hole) in the cat. If your current cat has an 02 sensor screwed into it, I believe you'll need a 50-state compliant cat so you can reinstall your 02 sensor into it.

When I ordered a new cat from Magnaflow, they sent me a 49-state compliant cat and it did not have the 02 sensor bung I required. I had to return it and get the 50 state cat so I could reinstall the 02 sensor.

But if your current cat does not have an 02 sensor screwed into it, you do need the 49 state (non-Calif.) type of cat.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:24 PM   #13
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:27 PM   #14
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Here's an example of one I found. It states in the description that it has an "oxygen sensor port". Is that not the same thing?

Magnaflow Front Catalytic Converter Direct fit product, High Flow OE Replacement

Yet again, thanks for ultra-fast responses!
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Tuff_Mudd View Post
Here's an example of one I found. It states in the description that it has an "oxygen sensor port". Is that not the same thing?

Magnaflow Front Catalytic Converter Direct fit product, High Flow OE Replacement

Yet again, thanks for ultra-fast responses!
That'd work, that is the old 50-state compliant cat with the 02 sensor bung that is now only 49 state compliant due to California's recent toughening of its cat requirements.
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:00 PM   #16
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I just had mine done at Meineke- they installed a generic High-Flow cat, punched a hole in it and installed a new Bosch 02 sensor- $280... not bad at all.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:14 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by BrokenWallet View Post
I was just talking to levinoss about this, but i believe that my state does not do inspections. That means that I can just straight pipe it from the headers to my muffler, right?
I was wondering the same thing.

Would I need to add a bung for the 02 sensor?
Will the computer throw an error code without the cat?

Does anyone know if the stock o2 sensor is a wide band or narrow band sensor?
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:01 AM   #18
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Would I need to add a bung for the 02 sensor?
Will the computer throw an error code without the cat?
If your Jeep has an 02 sensor in its cat, yes it'll throw a code if that 02 sensor isn't seeing what it expects like if the cat wasn't there or if you cut the wires to the 02 sensor. While I guess it's possible to weld a bung into the cat, it'd likely be tricky since it could burn up if you inserted it in the wrong area. Plus I'm not so sure about welding a steel bung into a stainless steel cat.
If your cat has an 02 sensor in it, it'd just be a whole lot easier to buy a replacement cat that already has the bung in the right location.
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:52 PM   #19
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If your Jeep has an 02 sensor in its cat, yes it'll throw a code if that 02 sensor isn't seeing what it expects like if the cat wasn't there or if you cut the wires to the 02 sensor. While I guess it's possible to weld a bung into the cat, it'd likely be tricky since it could burn up if you inserted it in the wrong area. Plus I'm not so sure about welding a steel bung into a stainless steel cat.
If your cat has an 02 sensor in it, it'd just be a whole lot easier to buy a replacement cat that already has the bung in the right location.
I highly doubt the o2 sensor is going to "burn up"... For example most motorcycles have the o2 sensor oh the header of the bike which is going to be much hotter than the cat will ever get. Yes, I know bikes and Jeeps, apples and oranges, but o2 sensors are fairly universal by my understanding. Just depends if you are using a narrow band or wide band sensor.

Is the o2 sensor up stream, or down stream of the catalytic converter?

It would stand to reason if the o2 sensor is upstream of the catalytic converter, then you could bypass the cat, put the o2 sensor in the bypass and have normal engine function with much better exhaust flow.

Welding the bung should be a piece of cake. Stainless bungs are available on-line, but you could also use a stainless nut to do the job.

Or am I smoking crack????
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:04 PM   #20
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The cat's 02 sensor is on the rear of the cat, with another one (or two) upstream 02 sensors mounted onto the exhaust header. The cat's 02 sensor is there to monitor the cat, nothing else.
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:53 PM   #21
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had to replace my cat two years ago ('98 TJ 4.0L), all clogged up and rattled, bad engine performance resulted

i got a Walker direct fit cat, and a dynomax cat back exhaust.

cost was $400 installed
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:32 PM   #22
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Went to Midas this morning for a free estimate. They told me that it'd be $453.00 to replace the cat with a universal cat. That cost includes the cat, labor, taxes, and some miscellaneous fees.
I think I'm going to take 4.0l sahara's advice and go with the Magnaflo 23227cat mentioned earlier, then take distortedj's advice and find a small shop to install it. I'd love to attempt the install myself, but I'm not that confident yet in my skills. If I can get my brother-in-law to help (he's mechanically inclined), I might take a shot at it.
Anyway, you've all been a HUGE help, and I really appreciate it. I'll post again once the job is complete.
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Old 07-19-2009, 10:15 PM   #23
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Excuse me for my ignorance, but, what would happen if you took off the cat, replaced it with a pipe that had a bung welded to the straight pipe. Would it still throw out a code since the sensor is still being used? Like I said, I'm not a mechanic, but, it's just a thought.

Thanks,
Chuck

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