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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2012, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Cataclean

At 175,000 miles, my OBD2 bird was throwing 420 and 430 cat efficiency codes. In the interest of not buying new cats, I've been doing some research on a product called Cataclean. Anyone familiar with it? I'll share my experience with it so far.

I ponied up the $30 for a 16oz bottle and tried it, according to the directions. It successfully cleared the codes.

For 20 miles.

The light was back on, due to the same codes, so I did some hunting and finally found the MSDS for the stuff. It even lists the approximate percentages of the chemicals. So I bought some ingredients and made my own. I'm no chemist so I welcome any comments.

Cataclean MSDS:
Acetone 10-30%
Petroleum distillates 5-10%
Propan-2-ol 10-30%
Xylene 30-60%

Homemade catacleaner cocktail:
Acetone 3.5oz
Naphtha 1oz
Isopropyl alchohol 3.5oz (the 99% isopropyl stuff, not the 70%)
Xylene 8oz

So far it's keeping the light off, but I only have a couple of tankfulls on record since clearing the code, so I don't have complete results on how well it's working. Due to the bird's transmission issues, I'm driving my OBD1 Mustang instead.

1996 Thunderbird LX (4.6), previous daily driver

1995 Mustang GT (5.0), daily driver
1995 GMC C2500 (5.7), alternate daily driver
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2012, 10:12 PM
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Well arent you just a chemist?! Sounds interesting. I have always wanted to try the paint thinner thing to see if it works, but I never have owned a car with a bad catalytic converter!

-Rob
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2012, 11:45 PM
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You cant fix a bad catalytic converter with chemicals, you need to replace them with new.

The OBD2 codes 420 and 430 specifically point to catalyst efficiency. The PCM uses the rear o2 sensors to verify the air/fuel mixture has been converted from hydrocarbons to h2o and co2. There is a threshold and Ford standards are pretty lax since the cats are so big, so yours may be borderline, not completely bad and this may be why the chemical solution is temporarily working by fooling the sensors.

Bottom line, you need to replace your cats, get some MIL eliminators if you dont have smog inspection, or turn off the rear o2 sensors by re-programming the PCM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 07:44 AM
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I tried cataclean & immediately felt like an idiot for spending $25 on a bottle. It didn't do anything at all. I would have been irritated for wasting $3 honestly. From my experience, stay away.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 01:46 PM
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I think it would probably be a waste, myself. I never though of it, but that crazy guy on youtube who rigs up cars all the time has a clip on how to clean a catalytic converter. I LMAO for real when I saw him cut it out and wash it in a 5 gallon bucket of soapy water. Then he suggested running lacquer paint thinner through the tank. I figured that might be worth a try much more plausible than washing it with soap and a sponge, lol.

-Rob
RIP '94 Amber Fire Pearl Metallic Thunderbird on Bullitts [email protected]
96 Sport '02 Explorer PI with ported heads, 90MM LMAF, DirtyDog Marauder TC, Lasota tune, Jmod, Magnaflow mid-mount with X, no cats. Urethane drivers motor mount. HIDs!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 01:52 PM
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If you're trying to rejuvinate an old cat, you'll need to strip the surface off (where the catalyst is still good, but is coated or has reacted with something else that binds it to where it can't be a catalyst anymore).

There's not much that's NOT surface on today's catalysts ...

RwP
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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So, an update on my homemade catacleaner. I am still using it from time to time; it seems to keep the CEL off for longer periods now. I can go several weeks between treatments. Cataclean is advertised as a maintenance item, to be reapplied every three months.

Home depot ingredient pricing:
-Acetone 128 oz $12.44
-Naptha 32 oz $6.78
-Xylene 128 oz $18.98

I'm having a hard time finding 99% isopropyl alchohol lately...
Walgreens:
-Isopropyl Alchohol 91% 16oz $2.29

Cataclean 16oz bottle ~$24.99 each
homemade, $2.25 per 16oz dose

I found a similar project taken on more thoroughly on another forum: Cataclean: My Findings
Though he didn't seem to be trying to turn off a CEL, he reports a disappointing increase in pollutants. I wonder if these pollutants could be contaminants still in the process of being purged...
Also, I see he used mineral spirits instead of Naphtha for "petroleum distillates" and IsoHEET instead of isopropyl alchohol for "propan-2-ol". I might have to dig back into my research and consider these ingredients for my next batch. His mix is still less than $3 per 16oz dose.

1996 Thunderbird LX (4.6), previous daily driver

1995 Mustang GT (5.0), daily driver
1995 GMC C2500 (5.7), alternate daily driver
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 07:54 PM
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Are cats really that much?

I haven't had any issues with my 2000 Grand Marquis that would cause a cat to go bad (no misfires, stuff like that) but started getting a P0430 at 250,000 miles.

At 256,000 I broke down and bought a passenger side set of cats (2 per side on that car) so I can pass the mandatory bi-annual emissions testing. I did get nearly the cheapest ones, but at 123 bucks, didn't break the bank. Are they as good as the OEM ones? Not a chance. The non California/NY cats have a fraction of the precious metals of OEM, but for 120 bucks, and 20 minutes of my time (gotta love rustless southern AZ cars) I should have done it sooner.

I would say in the last 8,000 miles I had the same experience as using "Cataclean", about 80% of the time the CEL was off, but had a pending P0430.

I didn't replace the O2 sensors, which would have been very easy with the exhaust/cats dropped, and I am sure at mileage they should be changed. I need to decide if I want to drop the money on it, and make it a money pit, when other than a couple intakes it has been a non money pit.





--
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 09:18 PM
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97 Mark VIII LSC/Silver/Gray leather
97 Cougar 4.6 Sport/White Opalescent Tricoat Metallic /Gray leather down but not out?
89 Cougar LS 3.8/Oxford White/Gray velour/HG need replaced AGAIN
00 Grand Marquis LS/Vibrant White/Gray velour
63 Falcon 302/black and rust/shed isn't moving
82 F-150/Oxford White/dumb VV carb doesn't pass emissions
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2014, 12:04 PM
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If there is still cat material to be recycled and you are swapping them all out, you might want to consider selling them off.

IIRC, sellyourcatsdirect.com bought all three of my cats from my 5.0 tbird setup for $146.
-g

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