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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I drove my element up from Florida to NYC and somehow went four months without my catalytic converter getting stolen, even with other elements in the neighborhood getting hit left and right. Finally the reaper came for my cat right after Thanksgiving despite the car being parked on a well lit street with security cameras.

I don't want to pay for a replacement cat for two reasons: #1 I just can't afford it, my deductible sucks and #2 even if I could afford it, it would just be a matter of time before it's stolen again. So I'm considering just connecting the engine exhaust directly to the muffler with aluminum tubing.

I'm as ecologically conscious as anyone but I'm not interested in the ethical concerns about emissions in this case. I'm a working person and need my car to travel to and from jobs, and more importantly for an upcoming move. I won't be worrying about inspections either, since it's a Florida car with Florida plates and won't be needing an inspection so long as I resist naturalizing to NY (from what I understand -- feel free to correct me).

Anyway, I've attached some pics of the thief's work. I'm no mechanic but I can see at least that the engine side oxygen sensor is still there. I will greatly appreciate any advice concerning the installation of a tube here or other fix. I'm aware it's not the ideal solution and may cause other issues but right now I just need to car to run and not sound like an airplane doing it.

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2007 EX AWD AT; 2008 LX FWD AT
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Aluminum isn't going to hold up very well, you would need a steel tube. With no catalytic converter, you're going to get check engine lights and codes probably all the time. Your tube will still need places to install the O2 sensors. If you're light on funds, you can get converters with hardware for as little as about $125 on eb*y.
 

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You will get really bad gas mileage with the codes it will throw. Your car will start dumping in extra fuel to try to self correct the 02 sensor fault. Get the cheap eBay


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Use steel exhaust pipe, not aluminum. Aluminum won’t stand up to the heat, it’ll crack with the vibration, and there will be corrosion between the steel and aluminum - look up dissimilar metals and galvanic corrosion.
 

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You can replace your cat with a straight pipe or eBay "test pipe". Your check engine light will come on for something like "catalytic converter efficiency below threshold." It is my understanding that it should not impact fuel economy because the upstream O2 sensor is the one used for measuring stoichiometry. The downstream O2 sensor measures catalyst efficiency, and may be used to compare the reading with the upstream sensor to ensure proper function of the two sensors. Don't quote me on that, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the helpful tips. Upon looking at aftermarket converters it's a relief that they're not too pricey. Big question: is there a difference between "front" converters and "rear" converters?
 

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You have only one converter, that second can is a resonator. But to answer the question, yes; the closer to the engine, the more precious metals the converter uses, and therefore the more expensive.
 

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You will need a good fabricator, consider getting a de-fouler installed along with your steel 'test pipe'. You will want at least a steel pipe for noise and fumes.
 

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When my cat was stolen I had to drive from Las Vegas for 2 1/2 hours back home. No replacement cats were available. The gas mileage plummeted. It ran rich.
 
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