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Cautionary Note on Catalytic Converters


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Wayne Boncyk

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 11:17 AM

I don't usually badmouth any aftermarket parts companies, because I figure they, like everyone else, can have a bad day from time to time. But, in this case since the crappy workmanship incorporated in the replacement set of cats that I got for my '96 OBW cost me both the price of a new O2 sensor AND use of my car for the next five days, I feel that I have the right to vent.

Based on my experience -- DO NOT under ANY circumstances order a set of "direct fit" cats from Eastern Catalytic! I went to my local Pep Boys for replacement cats, and the drone behind the parts counter found this direct fit pair for me but he couldn't tell me who the supplier was. I figured what the heck, I'll try 'em. How bad could they be? And anyway I needed to get the car up to passing the Colorado emissions test before I could get it re-registered here, and since I just moved back from SoCal to Colorado, I was delighted that I could do the swap myself instead of having to go to a "licensed" shop where my choice would have been limited to OEM, at a cost to me of nearly $2400! So, to make a long story short, I had to destroy the old cats in order to get them off (cutting the pipe from the front of the front cat in order to have enough room to break the old bolts free). Then I opened the box to my "new" aftermarket cats. That's when I saw, under the orange Pep Boys order sticker, that these were from Eastern. I remembered reading bad things about those guys on this site before, but I was at the point of no return in the disassembly of my exhaust, so I started to bolt 'em up in place of the originals. All went reasonably well UNTIL I went to install the front O2 sensor. I should say that the weld job done on this set was so bad, that if I were teaching a welding class in High School, I'd have flunked the kid who did this job, but anyway the rig looked like it would hold together at least as long as needed to pass inspection. What I didn't count on, and didn't check for, was that the idiot who jigged this assembly up didn't cut a large enough hole for the O2 sensor fitting in the front. Bottom line -- the O2 sensor element got caught on the metal shard left behind by Eastern's crack assembly team, and it broke! &@$%!!

So, I removed the assembly from the car, took it back to Pep Boys, this time spoke to the manager, who told me that the guy who placed the order should have told me that the piece of @#!$ they sold me was coming from Eastern, and by the way they also can order a set of cats from Walker... but they'll take another week to get here and they'll cost me a few more $$. <SIGH>

The Walker cats are on order -- that piece of scrap steel from Eastern is on its way back to the factory -- and I now join the ranks of those who say for all the world to hear -- DON"T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH EASTERN CATALYTIC products!!

#2 Jerry DeMoss

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 11:31 AM

That really sucks.I will keep that bit of advice in mind and tell it to friends as well.Thanks and I hope the new cats work better.

#3 2X2KOB

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 01:32 PM

Thanks for the tip, Wayne. With that pesky P0420 code some of might be in the market for cats sooner rather than later.

#4 a97obw

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 02:41 PM

Wow. And I've been looking at ordering that same "direct fit" replacement from one of the net vendors to replace the OEM stuff on my 97 outback. Thanks for the heads up. Let us know what the Walker stuff cost you and where/if you bought it at Pep Boys (not around here in MS).

Interesting enough, I had "searched" this message board using a query of "Eastern Catalytic" and found no threads. Just searched again and this thread is the only one that shows up?

#5 Wayne Boncyk

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 04:56 PM

I remember reading a note about the Easterns here on the forum back when I was still in California and whining that I couldn't do the job myself -- of course who knows if "Eastern" was spelled correctly in that post? :rolleyes:

Anyway, I did get the Walker replacements (or ordered them, anyway) at Pep Boys. The trouble with any of the "discount" parts places is in many cases you can't tell where a part really comes from. I think the large chains want to keep it that way; it avoids direct comparison shopping!

Walker, as I understand it, never really sells parts for retail consumers. They are mostly wholesale to the trade. So many of the retail muffler shops that you see around actually use Walker components, unless they have deals with overseas suppliers. The only reason that I know I'll be getting Walker from my Pep Boys order is that the manager of the store told me that's where these are coming from.

The price differential is certainly a consideration. That all-in-one assembly from Eastern cost me $349. The Walker set (front and rear as two separate pieces) will cost me about $250 more. Still, that's cheap compared to OEM, and from the online research I've done, the Walkers meet EPA guidelines for new equipment, which means they are certified to last at least 80,000 miles. In general, replacement cats are not required to meet that spec. So, the Walkers should last as long as my OEM units (provided I take care of the vehicle), whereas the others might work for the first emissions test, but who knows how long after that? I think it's worth the extra couple hundred $$.

#6 Wayne Boncyk

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 05:06 PM

Well, it wasn't here after all that I saw the warning about Eastern Cats. I found the original message thread on the Google newsgroup alt.autos.subaru. I think those Google groups are just images of the old Usenet newsgroups -- which you internet old timers will remember! My mistake....

#7 nipper

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 11:59 PM

i always got mine from JC whitney as they were name brand and always fit and worked. i'll share that information. A lot of times pepboys have pissed me off, just another reason to avoid them.

nipper

#8 2X2KOB

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 12:53 AM

i always got mine from JC whitney as they were name brand and always fit and worked. i'll share that information. A lot of times pepboys have pissed me off, just another reason to avoid them.


Never been to Pep Boys (not in my neighborhood) but their website design is stupid enough to piss off the Good Humor man.

#9 nipper

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 02:49 PM

More then once they have said they had a part in stock, just to find out they dont have it....


GRRRRRRRRRRRR


nipper




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