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Discussion Starter #1
The check engine light came on. Code pulled as P0420. They reset it to make sure it wasn't an error. Came back on.
My gas mileage has dropped 1MPG over the last few months.

I was told I'd need to replace the cat.

The repair guy said I could try the "laquer Thinner" technique by mixing it in with my gas tank to try and clean it out.

I did some research on YouTube, and from the bit I saw there it didn't harm any car, but didn't yield convincing results either.

They also showed taking out the cat and soaking it in soapy water and cleaning it out the old fashioned way.

Anyone done any of this? They said a new Cat would be over $1200.

I'd like to try these methods before springing for something new of that price.

I've had both O2 sensors replaced over the past year when those codes showed up.

Thanks for any experience or advice in this.
 

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I assume you have an early Gen1, so which converter are you talking about? The car has two. And RockAuto has them for about $170 each but they are not for sale in California for some reason. Maybe you have a friend out of state that can buy it and ship to you? If you need this for an emissions test, you could try an O2 sensor spacer first. Not sure if the inspection stations are hip to them though.
 

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If you are in California, you dont have to get a new cat, because there is no smog testing on hybrids. If you are doing it to get your 1mpg back, good luck on getting your $1200 investment back, if you are doing it to save the environment, then awesome more power to you. you can always get a cat that is 49 state legal and it will take care of the code but would not the pass visual inspection IF you ever had to smog it in California, I personally dont think that time will come anytime soon tho. Good luck! if it were me, I would leave it be and get yourself a code reader to check the codes periodically to make sure thats the only active code.
 

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learnby:

I can't speak for the laquer thinner technique, I've never read anything like that anywhere. Sounds risky IMO.

I did read here on IC some time ago of an Insighter who recommended 'Browns Recycling' in Alabama. Apparently they can legally do cat rebuilds. The IC member had one done for $160 in 2009 (from my 'good idea list' that I keep).
 

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Tide, Gain, All, which brand? Do you put it in the oil, gas tank or coolant?
Oh god, don't put it any of those places!

Put it in a bucket... and soak the cat in it.
 

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As a car guy and engineer DO NOT PUT ANYTHING WHERE THE GAS , COOLANT, OR OIL GOES!
If you want to "try" to clean the converter take it off the car. Use a solvent, no detergent.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
atikovi--thanks so much for A) letting me know there are two of them, and B) turning me on to RockAuto. Those prices are way less expensive. I wonder why...

I'll have to check with my mechanic about which cat it might be.
 

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Insight for life--I hadn't even thought about the idea of leaving it be. I assumed it would continue to get worse, and cause other problems.
I don't care about the smog test at this point, it's the efficiency and smooth running of the vehicle over the long haul. Does a bad cat start to cause other problems?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I used lacquer thinner successfully to get rid of a P0420. But it was on a '96 Accord, and not on my Insight.
Geocougar--nice to get an affirmative, personal answer. From all I've seen, it seems like there's no harm, so it might be worth a shot to see what happens.
 

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Go to your local Honda dealer (Service Dept.) and see if your vehicle was on the recall list for the named TSB mentioned. You will need your Vin number for that task.

I think you can also go on line for that service, but I forgot how.
HTH
Willie
 

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I assumed it would continue to get worse, and cause other problems.
I don't care about the smog test at this point, it's the efficiency and smooth running of the vehicle over the long haul. Does a bad cat start to cause other problems?
Not likely unless it's clogged, and then you could always gut it if smog tests are not an issue, the code just says it's inefficient.
 

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Geocougar--nice to get an affirmative, personal answer. From all I've seen, it seems like there's no harm, so it might be worth a shot to see what happens.
I followed instructions from this guy

His ratio was 1 gallon of lacquer thinner to a half-tank of gasoline. IIRC I used a gallon of lacquer thinner to about 1/3 tank of gasoline (of my '96 Accord). Then like Willie says, I "drove it like I stole it" for about 10 miles and the check engine light went away. I got the car inspected and it passed; after which I immediately filled my tank with gasoline to dilute the remaining lacquer thinner.

The P0420 came back after about a year, so I did the same procedure again. And again it worked. So far so good, haven't noticed any problems.

If you try it, let us know how it worked out.
 
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