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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a month. My E has been sitting waiting for me to do something. Shops see me coming and graciously give me their outrageous bids. I'm a natural born carpenter like you all are natural born auto mechanics but I can sort of envision what I could do to get this done my own self

A guy on a mountain biking forum told me (on a thread I started there) he got the parts needed at Rock Auto, him and a buddy got it all swapped out in 45 minutes, no welding required, easy peasy

But, of course, his DIY repair would not be my DIY repair, for any number of reasons. Here's what I'm thinking:

Get a Walker CARB-rated cat/con assembly (from upper flange that mounts to the exhaust manifold to lower flange that mounts near the resonator) (pardon me if I don't use the correct terminology!) but...and this is a big but...try to use what was leftover on the motor end to avoid the potential disaster of trying to remove that from the motor. I can just imagine all the things that could go wrong (that didn't for the guy on the mountain bike forum but just might with me)

My cat/con thief cut just after the 1st O2 sensor leaving some pipe to work with but cut the flange at the back end leaving not much pipe at the hanger

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To keep this a no welding job, I see cutting off the front part of the cat/con assembly and somehow attaching it near the 1st 02 area: a piece that fits inside what's left over that I could then attach the front end of the assembly (flangeless it's true). I'm keen to leave the piping from the 1st 02 sensor to the manifold to avoid problems in the disassembly. Would that work?

Then slide another piece of pipe that fits inside the end near the resonator that has a flange already attached to it (am I dreaming?) Maybe re-use the flange I cut off on the other end of the Walker assembly if it's the same size as the flange on the other end. Put in a new Denso downstream 02 sensor and hope the CEL light eventually goes out

This would work (at least in my mind) if in fact there are 6" or so lengths of pipe I can buy at some auto parts store of the proper diameter to slide into the original pipe and one with a flange already attached
 

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I don't see how you can fix it with no welding. I guess you could but in my opinion that would be harder and more work in the long run. You can straight pipe with small Maganaflow cat but you will still need to provide access for O2 sensors. You should also consider a protective cat shield so the same thing does not happen again. I would call exhaust shops and start getting quotes/ options. They see this stuff all the time. Below is a pic of my custom exhaust setup with small magnaflow cat.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I appreciate the replies so far but can someone specifically address the way I'm thinking of doing this? I don't weld and want to do this as cheap as possible which means me doing all of the work myself, like I outlined in my first post
 

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They cut out what is in the green rectangle. You still have the front of the catalytic converter pipe on your car. This can be unbolted (#2 in blue rectangle) and a new OE style cat can just bolted on. I would start spraying the bolts with penetrating oil now to make the job easier. They cut the front flange (red rectangle) off you muffler assy, so if you want a bolt on fix, the muffler assy will also have to be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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They cut out what is in the green rectangle. You still have the front of the catalytic converter pipe on your car. This can be unbolted (#2 in blue rectangle) and a new OE style cat can just bolted on. I would start spraying the bolts with penetrating oil now to make the job easier. They cut the front flange (red rectangle) off you muffler assy, so if you want a bolt on fix, the muffler assy will also have to be replaced.
I was floating the idea of leaving the front of the cat/con pipe attached so I wouldn't have to hassle removing it. To a non-auto mechanic that sounds like a prudent move. I'm suggesting I buy an assembly that is 2 to 8 in your diagram, , not just a cat/con, so it has front and back flanges that are supposed to bolt right on...except I don't have a flange on the resonator side (if that's what that is, it's not the muffler which is behind it). I floated my idea of connecting both the front end (just past the first 02 sensor) and how to connect it to the cut pipe near the resonator

That way the muffler assembly doesn't have to replaced, right? And I can leave the existing pipe that connects to the exhaust manifold, right?

It looks like this:

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The fine print says one specific to the Element does have a hole for the second 02 sensor and believe it or not this assembly is cheaper than buying a separate cat/con alone
 

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As a non-mechanic, I think it would be easiest to completely replace the entire cat plus the muffler. Going for an aftermarket Walker direct fit CARB cat ($500) plus muffler pipe ($200) plus miscellaneous parts and shipping from rock auto seems like a good deal compared to a shop.

Sure you could do it your way, and you would save more money… but you would probably double or triple the time needed to fix up the car. Do you want to do it the easier way or the cheaper way?
 

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As a non-mechanic, I think it would be easiest to completely replace the entire cat plus the muffler. Going for an aftermarket Walker direct fit CARB cat ($500) plus muffler pipe ($200) plus miscellaneous parts and shipping from rock auto seems like a good deal compared to a shop.

Sure you could do it your way, and you would save more money… but you would probably double or triple the time needed to fix up the car. Do you want to do it the easier way or the cheaper way?
This is what I was trying to communicate also. I think the answer is cheaper and with no cat shield you remain vulnerable to it happening all over again.
 

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I happened on this thread after my wife got home....with the catalytic converter missing from her 2008 SC. Just ordered a replacement at RockAuto. Also gaskets front & rear. An oxygen sensor wrench. I think I still need some hardware though.
 

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I suppose to do it on the super cheap and straight pipe it with a defouler for the downstream sensor would be the cheapest way to at least temporarily fix it, perhaps there are some universal exhaust piping that you could even clamp together with exhaust clamps so there is no welding involved but you would have to find the right diameter pipes or have a muffler shop do it cheap like that, though most of them of course want to do it the expensive way
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
More reading on this subject:

 

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It seems like you are pretty firm on the “piece it together” Method. You might head to an aftermarket exhaust website like Walker Auto Exhaust Systems, Parts & Kits | Walker Exhaust Systems and take a look at all your options. They make all sorts of pipes, flanges, clamps that can be used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, I have more time than money (or desire) to replace entire exhaust systems on an E with 240k and a bright orange arrow pointing down at it wherever I park "Steal this cat!!" I've got a Walker catalytic converter (only, no other piping) coming next week then I can begin gathering up the proper sized clamps and such to put it all together. It's not going to look professional but hopefully it just works
 

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On Palm Sunday at about 2-4 am my converter was stolen, I just had a local shop put on a straight pipe, it's a bit louder and the dash light is on but I can live with those things until I get a deal on a regular replacement.
The boys in blue (actually a girl) made an arrest and requested an estimate of complete replacement/repair so they can make the appropriate charges....$3700 estimate.
 

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My wife's cat was stolen on Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon I ordered a Walker CARB-approved cat from RockAuto. Also the bolts with springs for the back, two oxygen sensors, and gaskets front & rear. Total bite was about $850, including Fedex. The new cat arrived yesterday, I immediately installed it. The O2 sensors came in this morning, I installed them, and my wife got her car back. I also called my insurance agent and upped the insurance to full-comprehensive ( $100 deductable if it gets stolen again ). And I also ordered a sheetmetal cage on Amazon - that's coming this Saturday. Hopefully it will work with the Walker cat.
 

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Hmm. this seems like too much effort. I understand having time to diy and save expense. I have done may repairs myself on my two Elements. However going to a muffler shop not a dealer is best for many reasons. $3700 is spot on for dealer original replacement with sensor. The muffler shops aftermarket cat they buy wholesale is typically $825 retail, and they make $300 on it at least. They make the flanges, add the missing length of pipe, and an aftermarket O2 sensor for another $35. Thats about $1000-$1100 and the best part is the aftermarket cat has nothing in it the thief wants unless they are noobs. They climb under see the aftermarket cat and move on. There is no value in them to the salvage buyers. I would even recommend anyone parking outside pull their old one now and put an aftermarket in for safety, to save the down time, and to help with piece of mind. While they are in there the aftermarket is smaller in most cases so have them extend the pipes so if a low life cuts it out is doesn't affect the the O2 sensor making for quick cheap replacement.
 

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I think shops are really taking advantage of this. THREE GRAND? The most expensive cat I could find was $1500. And a competent shop with a lift should be able to do it in an hour. It took me - maybe - an hour and a half. I don't have a lift, I'm old, out of shape and out of practice.
 
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