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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all! My family just became proud owners of one of the coolest vehicles out there. To say the least, we're really enjoying the Element's overall design.

We just purchased a 1 owner '03 Element from a lady who has serviced the vehicle at the dealer since day one. All of the dealer recommended maintenance and even oil changes have been done at the dealership she bought it from. We got a really good deal on it, so I could live with the fact that it was going to need a catalytic converter replacement. She just bought a brand new '10 Element instead of paying the $1259 job to replace the cat converter at the dealer.

About 95% of the miles on it are highway, coupled with the fact that it has always been serviced by Honda certified techs and with genuine Honda parts and fluids, the Element runs exceptionally well. We actually thought it died at the first stop light we came to because the smooth running engine is undetectable at idle.

I'd really like to see this Element hit the 300k mileage mark and feel that with the way it was driven and the religious maint. it's had over it's life, it has a high probability of meeting and hopefully exceeding this goal.

My question is regarding aftermarket high flow catalytic converters. Does anyone with a highly technical background know if the replacement of the OEM cat with an aftermarket high flow cat will have any detrimental effect on the reliability of the vehicle afterward? Could it cause other parts to prematurely wear (O2 sensors, pistons, etc.) and possibly fail due to the out of original Mfg. specifications air flow and/or engine pressures?

We're a young, but well established family with two small children that really need to have a reliable family vehicle and if I absolutely have to, I'll pay the crazy amount the dealer is asking for the cat converter job if there's any notion that there's a potentiality of a negative impact on the reliability of the Element by using an aftermarket out-of-mfg.-spec cat converter.

Thanks in advance for any help that can be provided on the matter!

JD
 

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Welcome!:)

How many miles are on this E? What's your location?:|

If there have been other cat converter failures reported here it's passed my notice.:?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the welcome IRV! :)

173k, Knoxville, TN

btw - I did search the forum before posting this topic and found just a couple of other threads regarding the cat converter, but neither addressed the question of whether the reliability of the E would be negatively impacted by using a non-oem product. Hopefully the information collected in this thread will be of value to someone else who experiences the same issue and has a similar question.

Thanks! :)
 

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A few people have used the aftermarket converter. I don't believe any have had them in long enough, to be able to give you an Idea on longevity.

I hope one of them will chime in for you.

Dom
 

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Discussion Starter #8
aftermarket cat will be fine & much cheeper.
Any data, direct experience or experience from another Element owner who has tried an aftermarket cat converter to supplement this statement? Until I finish school, this will be our primary family vehicle so I need some assurance on this.

Any difference in gas mileage performance and/or power after installing a hi-flow cat converter?

Thanks! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
how do you know the cat is bad?
I had the service dept. at the dealership it was serviced at print out the diagnostic report where the previous owner had brought the Element in to be checked due to the illumination of the check engine light.

I also had the service dept. print out two pages worth of the complete service history, every single maint., repair visit and even the oil changes. The oil changes were even done at a 3000-3500 mi. frequency, instead of the mfg. suggestion of 7500 mi..

I cross referenced the mileage indicated on the individual diagnostic report to the full history report to ensure that the exact mileage matched with each other as well.

From driving the vehicle, there are no indicators that the cat converter is malfunctioning other than the check engine light.

The service advisor at the dealership stated that the converter is programmed to periodically flash burn away any build-up that becomes deposited on the gate, but over time loses its efficacy to adequately remove all deposits. When this happens, the increased back pressure off balances the O2 content of the air passing by the O2 sensor, which then sends an error code to the computer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
You need to know the error code. It could be anything.


Did the dealer service advisor or tech really say this?

Someone once reported using one of these, but I only have the link, not the original thread.
I've got the diagnostic sheet detailing that the catalytic converter and O2 sensor are malfunctioning. There are error codes that are detailed on the sheet along with it.

Can anyone chime in that has has direct experience with this issue and has used an aftermarket cat converter. I need to know if a variance in design or performance will have a negative effect on the engine or other components and if the computer will have any issues with the change. Will the check engine light come on afterward due to a fluctuation in pressure or gases?
 

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The problem with the cat on the E is that it is built into the front exhaust pipe. I don't recall seeing a bolt on replacement fron the aftermarket yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Which means if a person were to choose to use a high flow aftermarket cat converter then it would need to be installed by a competent welder, correct?
 

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Bingo....................
Plus there are two sensors plugged into the cat. and the pipe just if front of the cat. that are wired into the engine management system (at least on the 08). Not sure how an after-market installation would deal with these. When some yahoo tried to sawzall off my cat and steal it, damaging the cat and the exhaust pipe, I called around to a few indy shops, to see if I could get a cheaper replacement. As soon as they looked it up in their books, they all said no, take it to Honda.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Plus there are two sensors plugged into the cat. and the pipe just if front of the cat. that are wired into the engine management system (at least on the 08). Not sure how an after-market installation would deal with these. When some yahoo tried to sawzall off my cat and steal it, damaging the cat and the exhaust pipe, I called around to a few indy shops, to see if I could get a cheaper replacement. As soon as they looked it up in their books, they all said no, take it to Honda.
This is good to know and I'm sure to others as well. I appreciate your reply with this direct experience included.

So at this point it looks like I'll probably have to go with a Honda genuine cat converter.

Has anyone ordered from this place? They sell Honda genuine parts much cheaper than all of the local dealerships. http://www.hondapartscheap.com/southbay/jsp/home.jsp

The labor is $65 of the $1259 job, so if I can save some money on the parts that would be great. The parts locally are $1194 and the site above has them for $850. That's $344 saved if they're legit.

Any other sites that could be recommended that sell Honda genuine parts, for price comparative purposes?

Thanks again to all who have been helpful on this matter!

JD
 

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You got a nice car; I am the fella from Los Angeles who was interested in flying out there and driving it back.
I believe it is the Eternal Blue manual from Rusty Wallace Honda...........it all works out. I found one out here locally, not as good of shape but one owner and clean Carfax as well with 153K miles on it and they let it go for $4900
Everything I heard when I researched indicated you want to buy the original Honda part.
Enjoy your ride...........I think you got a nice one!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You got a nice car; I am the fella from Los Angeles who was interested in flying out there and driving it back.
I believe it is the Eternal Blue manual from Rusty Wallace Honda...........it all works out. I found one out here locally, not as good of shape but one owner and clean Carfax as well with 153K miles on it and they let it go for $4900
Everything I heard when I researched indicated you want to buy the original Honda part.
Enjoy your ride...........I think you got a nice one!
Wow! Small world eh? :) Glad to know you really exist, heh. We weren't sure at the time if you were a fictitious character fabricated by the salesman as a clever rouse to expedite and close the sale or not. The salesman turned out to be a great guy, but I didn't know him from Adam initially, so the story he was telling us about a guy from LA wanting to cut a check over the phone without ever seeing the E seemed a bit odd at the time.

Yeah, it seems to be a really well cared for E, but it sounds like you got a great deal in the end as well, so it all worked out. I hope you enjoy yours!

JD
 
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