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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just watched a video where a shop specializing in exhaust components said that cat-thieves don't steal aftermarket catalytic converters because the rare-metal content of aftermarket devices is not easily ascertained, whereas that information can be easily found for OEM devices.
 

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I realize your question is, has one had their aftermarket cat stolen, but I'm chiming in to say mine has not. The theft problem is so bad I figured it was crazy to pay for another OEM one when it will certainly be stolen. What I can offer is that since having installed a $150 amazon aftermarket cat, I have had multiple mornings where I have gone out to my Element and observed that someone had crawled under it but not stolen my aftermarket cat. I know this because of tracks from the snow, and even more obvious the time when someone left their battery powered worklight under my car.

I have also heard that many of the scrap yards and businesses that will pay for catalytic converters will not accept aftermarket cat's simply because there is no OEM part number on the item and they are unable to lookup the value of metals contained within, using some database they seem to have.

My suggestion to anyone who has not had their cat stolen (yet), is to buy an aftermarket one now and install it now. Remove and save the OEM in box in a closet or garage. You can put it back on if you need to do an emissions test in your state, or put it back on when the regulations have caught up to prevent so much theft. Or hell, remove it and sell it to keep the cash for yourself!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I realize your question is, has one had their aftermarket cat stolen, but I'm chiming in to say mine has not. The theft problem is so bad I figured it was crazy to pay for another OEM one when it will certainly be stolen. What I can offer is that since having installed a $150 amazon aftermarket cat, I have had multiple mornings where I have gone out to my Element and observed that someone had crawled under it but not stolen my aftermarket cat. I know this because of tracks from the snow, and even more obvious the time when someone left their battery powered worklight under my car.

I have also heard that many of the scrap yards and businesses that will pay for catalytic converters will not accept aftermarket cat's simply because there is no OEM part number on the item and they are unable to lookup the value of metals contained within, using some database they seem to have.

My suggestion to anyone who has not had their cat stolen (yet), is to buy an aftermarket one now and install it now. Remove and save the OEM in box in a closet or garage. You can put it back on if you need to do an emissions test in your state, or put it back on when the regulations have caught up to prevent so much theft. Or hell, remove it and sell it to keep the cash for yourself!
When I look online there are inexpensive aftermarket ones that are not CARB-compliant and aftermarket ones costing over $800 that are CARB-compliant. Would a CARB-compliant one be at risk of getting stolen?
 

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When I look online there are inexpensive aftermarket ones that are not CARB-compliant and aftermarket ones costing over $800 that are CARB-compliant. Would a CARB-compliant one be at risk of getting stolen?
Sorry I just saw this... While I can't say with any certainty, I think a CARB-compliant one would be more likely to be stolen than a cheapo "high-flow" not-CARB-compliant, simply because the CARB-compliant ones are going to be much bigger, have a heat shield attached, and probably more look like its an OEM cat. If theifs are savvy enough to recognize the difference, they are probably savvy enough to know whether an aftermarket CARB-compliant cat can be sold for scrap. So in that case, the question becomes, are the metal recyclers also buying aftermarket CARB-compliant cats.

Unless you are certain your car will not pass emissions tests without a CARB-compliant cat, I would totally go with a cheap high-flow one. In Colorado I just got my 97 VW through an emissions drive test with a high-flow cat. And Colorado's emissions standards are the 2nd most strict behind California. So by my personal experience, a high flow cat is still effective enough (ignoring all othe other variables that could create bad emissions). By the way I've heard Walker brand is not worth the extra couple hundred compared to the non-brand-name that appear to be the exact same.
 

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My aftermarket catalytic converter was stolen last weekend. They got my original about eight months ago. Insurance covered the cost of both but not with OEM parts. I live in a neighborhood where there are a half dozen Elements within a five block radius. The first time I got hit all the Elements got hit at the same time. This Time mine was taken and they cut on my neighbor’s Ford Focus. A few blocks away someone Spotted a truck with about twenty catalytic converters in the back. Unfortunatel, the Element is known to have a valuable catalytic converter and they’re easy to get under.
I bought the Aerogenics cat cover but I would not be surprised to see it cut on or even defeated if someone is determined enough. I’m looking into cameras and lights on motion sensors.
 

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I just watched a video where a shop specializing in exhaust components said that cat-thieves don't steal aftermarket catalytic converters because the rare-metal content of aftermarket devices is not easily ascertained, whereas that information can be easily found for OEM devices.
There are thieves of all types. Some are smart, some are stupid, and some are just indiscriminate or desperate. I am not going to gamble that I only encounter the first type. I know of two people who had their aftermarket stolen. One had it stolen multiple times before installing a guard.
 

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There are thieves of all types. Some are smart, some are stupid, and some are just indiscriminate or desperate. I am not going to gamble that I only encounter the first type. I know of two people who had their aftermarket stolen. One had it stolen multiple times before installing a guard.
This is just sad


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Thank you for all the great info. My cat was stolen this summer and I've been reluctant to replace for fear of it being stolen again. I have a 2011 EX that as the California vin code. I haven't decided which cat to get yet but need to do so ASAP. I have been driving my E when needed and recently did two 2.5 hour drives. The E seems to run fine just very loud and getting a little lower fuel milage. I plan to purchase Casey H's Cat security if I can reach him or the one from Axion.

My biggest concern is the front collar on the replacement cat pipe that runs up to the engine just in front of the fire wall or so. Does anyone know if it can be accessed without any additional work or tools, the need to remove a wheel for access or any other parts for get at it?
 

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When I change them, I roll the car up on ramps (front wheels), and access is a breeze. The exhaust manifold/cat pipe bolts are a straight shot with a 6 or 12" extension. My tip of the day is to TIGHTEN the nut slightly until you hear it "crack", then loosen it. If you have a torch, heat the nut portion first, it will come loose easier.
 

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When I change them, I roll the car up on ramps (front wheels), and access is a breeze. The exhaust manifold/cat pipe bolts are a straight shot with a 6 or 12" extension. My tip of the day is to TIGHTEN the nut slightly until you hear it "crack", then loosen it. If you have a torch, heat the nut portion first, it will come loose easier.
Awesome, thank you for the info, I don't have a torch so I hope a little PB Blaster and an impact driver will do the job.
 
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