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Discussion Starter #21
Install something to tell you when you are in LEAN BURN as sometimes the FCD is misleading.
A good tool that I always monitor is a boost/vacuum gauge. You can learn a lot just by watching that.
There is a window of about 4 In. of vacuum on the engine ........where it is jumping out of lean burn into assist (between 8-4 In. vac.) in most circumstances.
Thanks. TBH I'm not familiar with these tools and parameters. Maybe I need to be. Just trying to diagnose and fix this with my limited skills, I've never delved into this type of stuff. You guys did warn me before I bought the car.

So after neglecting all other important things in my life to read for 2 hours on the forums about "O2 sensor" and "jerky" and other random searches, I have found a few folks that seem to say that they had my exact problem - seeming jerkiness when going into lean burn - and that they solved it by replacing the top O2 sensor with a good quality one.

The BOSCH 15394 or the NTK 24301 both seem to work for people.

This thread, post #13:


The people in this thread have the exact situation as me - cleaned EGR plates but still have jerky when lean burn starts, but not when cold only when hot...unfortunately, everything was discussed here from O2 sensor top to O2 sensor bottom to coils to EGR valve to EGR plate to spark plugs to both cat converters and there was never any resolve:


This poor guy in post #1 also has my identical problem except his won't smooth out at all...then by post #15 the lights start turning on...then in post #19 his problem is resolved by replacing the EGR valve itself...but then others can't fix it, post #34 is hilarious ("I'VE ACCEPTED THAT THIS WILL NEVER BE FIXED"):


So, it seems that this exact problem has been fixed for others by either (1) replacing the EGR valve (2) replacing the upper O2 sensor with a quality one (3) replacing the lower O2 sensor with a quality one. But then again, people with the identical problem can't get it fixed by doing the 3 things above. The threads are never resolved.

Ergghghh...I hate throwing parts at this car....anyone have spare working parts lying around you'd sell me? Would be awesome to swap in a working one just to find out of that's the issue before buying expensive new stuff and possibly wasting my money. We need a "G1 Insight working parts swap loaner program" or something.
 

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^ I'm not sure this will work for your specific situation, but generally you can just pull the plug on the EGR valve to test whether that's causing your jerkies. And, can't remember but I thought you said you had an off-brand upper O2 sensor. If so, then getting the right one would probably be...prudent... As I recall NTK 24301 is usually the one. At one time I think they were only like $75, so, I don't know, if they're in the $200-300 range now I think I'd just pass, try an 'anti-fouler' washer or something like that...
 

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Well, it isn't unusual for it to hesitate a little when it's going into and out of LB. I wouldn't worry about it. Again every Insight owner really needs an OBDIIC&C gauge. And a grid charger.

Sam
 
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Discussion Starter #24
It's really good that some of you guys are helping give me ideas, I appreciate it.

^ I'm not sure this will work for your specific situation, but generally you can just pull the plug on the EGR valve to test whether that's causing your jerkies. And, can't remember but I thought you said you had an off-brand upper O2 sensor. If so, then getting the right one would probably be...prudent... As I recall NTK 24301 is usually the one. At one time I think they were only like $75, so, I don't know, if they're in the $200-300 range now I think I'd just pass, try an 'anti-fouler' washer or something like that...
I have a plan in my mind and you pretty much addressed what I'm thinking. First I was gonna pull the EGR plug actually tomorrow and see what happened. If the jerks remain that eliminates the valve being the problem, I suppose. Next plan was to get the NTK24301 which is $134 on Amazon or the Bosch 15394 which is $60 on Amazon. Not sure which...heard good things about both.

The previous owner did put new O2 sensors on it recently but just from looking at them they are obviously the $20 "fits all Honda" versions which isn't what this car needs. I read about the defoulers and actually have a couple in my parts bin but most of what I read said that they actually made the jerks worse. But it is something to try maybe, perhaps someone else will speak into this.

Bottom line unless I get some more wisdom here in the next few days I will likely get the NTK24301 as most of what I'm reading points to that being the strongest fix for my issue.

Well, it isn't unusual for it to hesitate a little when it's going into and out of LB. I wouldn't worry about it. Again every Insight owner really needs an OBDIIC&C gauge. And a grid charger.

Sam
Yeah if I can't resolve this it's not a huge deal. I'm just type A and like to sort things out when financially possible and reasonable to do. If it becomes a money pit or never ending chase for perfection I'll stop at some point. I'm probably near that point as the car is running super well. Just trying to chase down a few more things, if possible. I hear you on the gauge....haven't looked into that but perhaps at some point.
 

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Well, it isn't unusual for it to hesitate a little when it's going into and out of LB. I wouldn't worry about it. Again every Insight owner really needs an OBDIIC&C gauge. And a grid charger.

Sam
That's the same advice Sam gave me. He was right then and I believe he is right now. The Perkins "little black box" OBDIIC&C gauge is a necessary tool. Having the information it provides will ease anxiety, too. And that grid charger is worth its price. I do my battery at least twice a year, three full charge-discharge cycles followed by a full discharge. The reason it is common practice here is that it is a good idea and good preventative maintenance.
 

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Check your plug gaps/plug condition if you haven't already. Small differences in gap can make a noticeable difference in transition from normal to lean burn, and back. Same with dirty plugs. It only takes maybe 20k miles or so for carbon/whatever build-up to make a difference.
 

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You can have the same amount of vacuum both in and out of lean burn. I think this gauge can give context but I'd rather just read AFR.

I have a spare factory O2 sensor both primary and secondary. The secondary should not cause this, all it does is decide if the catalyst is working properly and throw a CEL if it isn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Check your plug gaps/plug condition if you haven't already. Small differences in gap can make a noticeable difference in transition from normal to lean burn, and back. Same with dirty plugs. It only takes maybe 20k miles or so for carbon/whatever build-up to make a difference.
I just called the previous owner (we're on good terms and have had a few chats since purchase)....he said he did NOT use the indexed plugs.

So, in order of easiest/cheapest to hardest/priciest, here is my plan, I'll try each of these and if the jerkiness remains move on to the next:

1, unplug the EGR and drive like that to rule out that possibility
2, remove the 2nd cat and make sure there's no material from the first cat clogging it up
3, change the plugs to the proper ones
4, try a new (correct) O2 sensor
5, reconsider my life

Maybe I'll add a defouler at some point but I don't know that that's really going to accomplish anything as I don't see that helping anyone with this issue, only hurting.

You can have the same amount of vacuum both in and out of lean burn. I think this gauge can give context but I'd rather just read AFR.

I have a spare factory O2 sensor both primary and secondary. The secondary should not cause this, all it does is decide if the catalyst is working properly and throw a CEL if it isn't.
Are you willing to sell me the spare? Please message me if so.
 

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I've spent quite a bit of time a looking at LAF sensors. These are good for maybe 100,000 miles and then quietly degrade without throwing codes until they get really bad. They are basically untestable and unfixable. (The only test I could think of involved a double-bung setup next to a known good sensor - which means you have to buy a good sensor - which you could just install.)

My advice is buy the proper LAF (upstream) sensor now, and do not look back. Even if it does not appear to make much of a difference.

I explain why, and what you are looking for, below.

Don't bother borrowing a "good" sensor. It's likely the one you get is used and doesn't throw codes but is degraded and affects performance.

The previous owner had the car in gas only mode for some time with a gutted front cat. The sensors are cheap aftermarket ones (I can tell by appearance) that he put on there.
1. Before you spend any money, pull the upstream sensor and post multiple high quality, high resolution, well lit pictures with the lettering clearly visible. Include a picture of the connector so that we can see the pins. DO NOT CLEAN THE SENSOR - let's see what it looks like.

There is no reason the cats should be melting down. If they are there could be a problem with the engine, like excessive oil consumption or a coolant leak that will also take out your brand new expensive sensor.

You can buy proper O2 sensor wrenches anywhere. I would also highly recommend - no, must - get a borescope camera (cheap ones about $25 on Amazon for use with a cell phone will do) so you can look into the LAF sensor hole and see for yourself a clean honeycomb or a plugged/molten mess (as opposed to pulling the cat). This can also be used to look for the degree of carbon on the piston heads. @KLR3CYL, please step in and discuss what you typically see when you pull a head - are these usually clean, or light deposit, or? (photos?) But I digress (see point 3).

You are going to still buy an upstream LAF sensor, but this way you will have a good idea of what you are starting out with.

If your car is a 2000 to late 2001, the sensor should say NTK JAPAN around its neck. This does not guarantee that it is the right sensor, but it's a start.

If your car is a late 2001 to 2006, the sensor should say Denso. Again, this does not guarantee the sensor is the right one - in fact, odds are higher that it is not, because the CVT, which has no lean burn and uses a sensor with less range, looks very similar.

Numbers on the sensor won't positively identify it, but will help. The hole pattern may be the best way to identify the sensor. Actually, the best way is to take measurements.

It kinda stinks, OEM O2 sensors are like $300 online. The cheap versions are $20-$60. I wonder if the $60 Bosch is good enough.
2. DO NOT SKIMP ON SENSORS. I guarantee that you will be throwing away your money. More on the Bosch sensor below.

Repeat: buy the only the sensors that we know work with these cars.

premium fuel makes a difference at really low RPM (about 1100) and liberal assist usage; with regular I can't drop RPM quite as low and get the engine to feel smooth when transitioning into assist
I think what's going on here is that the knock sensor is sensing detonation under this heavy load on the lower grade fuel and dialing back the power. Which brings the next point:

3. These cars degrade very gracefully without throwing codes. In other words, you can have multiple systems operating suboptimally that take a few MPG here, a few MPG there, etc. To fix these cars, you need to look at one system at a time and bring it up to snuff. You may not notice the difference but as multiple systems are brought back to their original operating condition, the car will run better and better.

So, for now, ignore the knock sensor and EGR valve and the rest of the exhaust and focus on getting the LAF sensor taken care of. Understand one system at a time, how it should behave, find a way to measure how it currently behaves, fix it, and measure if you can to see if there was a change.

The BOSCH 15394 or the NTK 24301 both seem to work for people.
The Bosch sensor is the WRONG SENSOR for the MT. More on that below.

The NTK 24301 is the LAF (upstream) sensor for 2000-late 2001 MT.
The Denso 234-9013 is the LAF (upstream) sensor for the late 2001-2006 MT.

I don't know the part number for the CVT but I think the Bosch 15394 is a CVT sensor (more on that below).

4. These sensors are NOT interchangeable because there was a change during the 2001 model year that significantly changed the LAF sensor and its sensing circuit inside the ECU. It is easy to tell which is which. The NTK goes in the 2000-late 2001 MT cars and has five wires (do NOT confuse this with the term "five wire sensor" bantered around outside IC) and a connector with eight positions. The Denso goes in the late 2001-2006 MT cars and has a 4 wire sensor and four position connector. The CVT also uses a Denso but it is a DIFFERENT MODEL that cannot measure the high air fuel ratios the MT can reach and WILL cause lean burn to fail miserably. (I have a whole thread on this somewhere.) The ECU has a module inside whose job is to read the sensor. The module inside the later ECUs is marked Denso.

Bosch 15394 which is $60 on Amazon
Maybe, if you have a CVT...

5. The Bosch 15394 is a MISAPPLICATION and multiple sites like Rock Auto and Amazon show it as MT compatible and it is not. I bought this sensor because I found one new dirt cheap and was willing to invest in this experiment. My pain, your gain. The car will try to enter lean burn, but reads the sensor and thinks it isn't lean enough, tries to lean the engine out more by pulling back on the injector pulse, the car is actually getting less and less power, it decelerates, you are slowly pressing on the gas to get whatever power you can without dropping out of lean burn, then snap it falls out of lean burn and suddenly gives you all the gas that you are demanding.

In fact, when you pull back the sleeve, the Bosch sensor really is a - wait for it - Denso! Repackaged!

I eventually bought a brand new Denso for my 2004 MT and found the hole pattern does not match the "Bosch" Denso sensor.

When I finally got a CVT I pulled the CVT's LAF sensor and it is an exact match of the "Bosch" Denso. Bingo! The logical explanation is that the Bosch sensor is a less sensitive (and probably cheaper to build) sensor intended for the CVT.

Install something to tell you when you are in LEAN BURN
So, this is easy. A cell phone, the Torque Pro app, and a Bluetooth OBD2 adapter will give you what you need. In another thread is the formula you need to plug into Torque to get it to properly display the air fuel ratio. This will tell you without question whether or not you are in lean burn.

The trick, then, is learning how to get into lean burn.

With a new sensor, you're not going to have miracles, but you should be able to ever so gently accelerate in fourth on very slight inclines at 45-55 MPH while in lean burn - something that is not possible with a 150,000 mile LAF sensor and certainly not with a LAF sensor that isn't able to measure ratios the Insight is capable of.

There is one thing that you should do when you replace the sensor, and that is force the car to relearn the fuel delivery map. To do this, warm up the car, then pull the 12V battery for about 30 seconds. When you reconnect it, it will erase all codes (it might put some into "pending", so YMMV) and it will erase the fuel map. You will then want to let the car idle until you hear the cooling fan come on twice, so that it learns the map at idle correctly before you hit the road. Then, you will drive the car. The car can take as many as several tanks to experience all the different sensor and RPM readings to rebuild the map.

When it does not have an entry for the map it will use default values. You might find, as I did, that performance is better right after an ECU reset. The solution is NOT to continually reset the ECU but to find the problem that is causing the degraded performance, as sometimes that problem is an early warning of what might become a major failure. So, when a component which impacts the air fuel ratio is changed or adjusted, this reset will help the car learn the new settings.

Once you have the LAF sensor sorted out (assuming that some engine leak is not fouling the one already in there, which is a distinct possibility given the purported exhaust issues) then the rest of the onion can be peeled, one layer at time.

Welcome to the land of Insights (and old cars in general). You'll really be happy with your car once you've sorted it out, and taking the time to understand what you are doing and why will make that victory that much sweeter.
 

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As a last resort (#5) you may have to change your driving style.
 

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I've spent quite a bit of time a looking at LAF sensors. These are good for maybe 100,000 miles and then quietly degrade without throwing codes until they get really bad.... My advice is buy the proper LAF (upstream) sensor now, and do not look back. Even if it does not appear to make much of a difference.
You really seem to know your LAF sensors. Mondo post. This should probably be a sticky.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
As a last resort (#5) you may have to change your driving style.
Aha, if I do nothing it would just mean either deal with this subtle jerkiness or stop attempting smooth lean burn transitions and just give it >40% throttle when calling on assist to avoid the herky jerky.

I've spent quite a bit of time a looking at LAF sensors...

Once you have the LAF sensor sorted out (assuming that some engine leak is not fouling the one already in there, which is a distinct possibility given the purported exhaust issues) then the rest of the onion can be peeled, one layer at time.

Welcome to the land of Insights (and old cars in general). You'll really be happy with your car once you've sorted it out, and taking the time to understand what you are doing and why will make that victory that much sweeter.
OK first of all, this might be the most helpful informative post I've ever read on a forum, so thank you. If we were close it would be time to buy you your favorite beer/coffee or help you paint your den or whatever. Many thanks.

It seems that you folks who've been doing this awhile each have some non-negotiables. From @Natalya I learned the #1 rule of Honda Insights (and I quote) "...Unless the IMA battery has a warranty it is almost certainly dead or mostly dead..." Great advice. Scott is the Herald-Of-Buying-OEM-Only. More great advice. Now this - more great advice. Were money no object it would be easy. Truthfully money is less the issue than my conscience - I don't want to get upside down in the car when I compare worth to investment. But I'm about to tip the scale in that regard. Oh well, it's worth it.

So, a few thoughts on this very helpful post:

1, NOTE, the lean burn jerks did not happen before my new top cat (Davico brand) and IMA (Bumblebee brand)...when I was in gas only mode it was very smooth, and that was with the cheap O2 sensors that the previous owner installed....does this mean that the O2 sensor isn't the issue?
2, I unplugged the EGR plug and drove it tonight, still jerky, so that rules that out I think.
3, I will get pics as you described hopefully tomorrow...and I will post them here for your evaluation. Like I said previously, they look like cheapos and the previous owner was honest with me and told me he did all this stuff on the cheap...O2 sensors, plugs, etc.

So @Sean please tell me what you think about #1 above and thank you again very much for your help.

Final note part I, I love your "one system at a time" approach. I've done so much to the car in just 4 weeks of ownership, I've covered so much ground and improved it so much. But it's time to slow down and follow your advice.

Final note part II, once I post pics and the build date and you guys help me determine which of the two top sensor options discussed in #3 above I need, I'll likely bite the bullet and just buy one.

Final note part III, this is half the fun for me. I have restored many older cars over the years but never anything as particular as the G1 Insight. It's usually way more straight forward than this. But I really enjoy this car and it's a project, not my main car, and it brings me a lot of fulfillment. And even with this hiccup the car is running so well, and is so fun to drive. So the journey will continue.
 

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Thanks for the compliments!

Were money no object it would be easy. Truthfully money is less the issue than my conscience - I don't want to get upside down in the car when I compare worth to investment.
Yep, let's just say one of those LAF sensors cost about 1/4 of what I paid for my first car and 50% more than I paid for the second!

One of the main reasons I did this research was to find the least expensive way to solve problems that seemed to require expensive parts without wasting money on cheap parts bound to not work (or, finding that the cheap parts are just as good). In many cases the fixes are cheap (grab a feeler gauge and set the valve lash yourself) and other times they are not, but way better than dealer list (keep an eye out for the best deal on various sites and go for it. example: Amazon warehouse returns are usually great deals.)

Seriously, though, once you get on top of them you won't have problems for a long time and can let the car "degrade gracefully" (I haven't really done any work on mine for a year!) until you find enough time to run through whatever tune-up regimen you develop or address the smaller issues which aren't causing enough of an issue to drop everything and fix.

1, NOTE, the lean burn jerks did not happen before my new top cat (Davico brand) and IMA (Bumblebee brand)...when I was in gas only mode it was very smooth, and that was with the cheap O2 sensors that the previous owner installed....does this mean that the O2 sensor isn't the issue?
Since you made a change that can affect your fueling (back pressure) you should consider performing the ECU reset.

Also, we're making assumptions that the problem is related to lean burn, or that you were even entering lean burn when these other issues were present.

Sometimes peeling the onion exposes rot that was hidden by the previous layer. More specifically, the systems can interact in different ways. Let's say (and do not assume this is what is happening to your car - this is just an example) that back pressure in a clogged exhaust system was requiring so much throttle that the car never entered lean burn (throttle position and rate of change do impact entry and exit) but now with free air flow, lean burn engages, but the LAF sensor is unable to read the upper limits and the car becomes gutless while entering lean burn until it falls out with a jolt (like mine did) then peeling the onion actually HELPED with the diagnosis by making the problem more accurate and easier to pinpoint.

If it's found that your LAF sensor is different from the sensor that's supposed to be in there (and it is not contaminated) then that investment could help a lot. Or it may not necessarily help in the short term if it refocuses the problem on another components.

As for the LAF sensor, remember that once it is in there, as long as the engine is not burning oil or coolant, it should be great for another 50K miles at least and probably well over 100K. I replaced one with 150K with a new one and it gave me a little bit more power in lean burn that I did not have before (I could slowly climb light grades in lean burn where this was not possible before, and I got another 5 MPG at least.)

Torque Pro + the Bluetooth OBD2 reader letting you know when you've entered lean burn might be the first thing you do, actually. The OBD2 readers are very inexpensive, and I think Torque Pro is $5. It will tell you IMMEDIATELY if you are having this problem when you are entering lean burn. It should also give you other information that may pinpoint the problem to another system.

I've done so much to the car in just 4 weeks of ownership, I've covered so much ground and improved it so much.
My first Insight had fender, bumper, hood, door, windshield and roof damage from a deer strike. Ugly! but largely cosmetic. Mechanically it was solid and I thought I had a few months of work on my hands. I got fairly decent at working aluminum and pretty good at feeling how much to sand down Bondo and how any humidity can destroy a paint job. I learned SO MUCH about paint and body work that I never knew before.

I have restored many older cars over the years but never anything as particular as the G1 Insight. It's usually way more straight forward than this. But I really enjoy this car and it's a project, not my main car, and it brings me a lot of fulfillment.
It makes a HUGE difference in enjoyment when it is not 11 PM and the work has to be done before its time for work in the morning.

I was so thrilled after working on the car in the garage for nine months and driving it to get inspected and it passed. It was like I built the thing myself. Good luck with your endeavors.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Good luck with your endeavors.
OK I will take these things into account and do an ECU reset in conjunction with your other advice.

Now, here are the pics you requested, below. The upper O2 sensor is a 5-wire NTK made in Japan 16S4. My car's build date was 10/2000 being a 2001 model. Please tell me if this is the same as the NTK 24301 or different, or which of the two O2 sensors mentioned above I need, and I will proceed to purchase.






 

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^ fyi, Looking at some old images I took of one of mine, yours looks like mine, but mine has "L2H2 : LZA-14 H1" stamped above the "NTK." I can't tell if there's any number stamped in the base, I don't recall one...

86467
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Once @*sean* advises me on my upper O2 sensor I'll order the correct one. Several forum members have pointed toward the wisdom of this purchase so I've decided to do it once I'm informed.

A couple of new updates aside from what I posted this morning:

1, I tried the defouler on the upper O2 sensor, it did not help at all, so I removed it.
2, I removed my lower cat as someone suggested to look for debris. Lo and behold the cat has been gutted. Not sure if that is part of the equation now but that is new data. Pic below. I reinstalled it.

So, to sum up, here are the things I can possibly do:

  • NEW PLUGS, the correct ones - planning to order tomorrow, need to see which letter I am
  • NEW O2 SENSOR, the upper one - planning to order once I hear from sean
  • NEW CAT, the lower one - might order once the two things above are installed if the issue persists and I have reason to believe it might help
 

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Don't waste your money on CATS. Run what you got. The spacer, defouler, should be installed on the 2nd 02 sensor not the first.
My LRR was also mfg. in Oct. 2000, sold as a 2001, number 000902.
The 24301 is the correct sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Don't waste your money on CATS. Run what you got. The spacer, defouler, should be installed on the 2nd 02 sensor not the first.
My LRR was also mfg. in Oct. 2000, sold as a 2001, number 000902.
The 24301 is the correct sensor.
OK thanks so much. I trust you guys, and I like what I'm hearing. Can you speak a bit more to why not to get the CAT?

Yeah my car ran like poop with the spacer up high, I must have misread something as I was obviously wrong. It threw a 1163. I removed it, I'll put it on the low one tomorrow. From your experience what will that accomplish...does it address the jerks or what? And also, I have a 1" spacer and a 2" spacer...which would you recommend me using?

Thanks much.
 

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Well, your sensor looks just like the new-in-box NTK 24301 I have on my desk, down to the numbers and the holes in the end. So I would recommend you NOT replace it. It looks like it is new, and in terrific shape. If you want to test it, you might want to try it in another Insight that is already running well.

Regarding the downstream sensors and catalytic converters: this is an area that has not been a problem for me and I have not studied it yet. I'm not really prepared to comment on it, because this is an area where I want to understand how the system works to know what fixes are likely to be effective, which are not, why, and how other systems upstream affect or are affected by such a change. The best I can say about this is that if you put everything back to stock with new OEM sensors all around, you will have a baseline that still might not be working, but has the "gutted cat" onion layer removed. It may make performance better or worse but the gutted cat can be eliminated as a variable. (And the car will be street legal.)

To help diagnose the problem you are experiencing, it will help to know for sure whether or not you are in lean burn when it happens. If the problem persists, or returns within two tanks of the ECU reset, use an Bluetooth OBD2 reader and a smart phone with Torque Pro to help determine if you really are entering lean burn when this happens. Putting the phone in a dash mount will give you a display showing air fuel ratio, and you'll know immediately if you are in lean burn. You will also be able to read ECU codes with it.

You need to provide Torque Pro with a formula to convert from raw values to air/fuel ratio. The formula in the link below is easy to enter, and may work for you. Here is the link to the formula you need to enter, and how to enter it:

Torque Pro lean burn conversion formula #1

Several people including myself found this was not giving correct numbers for our cars. It may be that the old vs. new style LAF setup also produces different raw values in stoichiometric burn versus lean burn. I worked out a different formula that is more complex, and requires driving around to figure out two car-specific values that you need to plug into the formula. But once you find those values, the app will give you a reading specific to your car:

Torque Pro lean burn conversion formula #2
 
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