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Re: HCL too high, did not pass smog check.
Ok well this might be a hard one . from what i can gather by the co reading and the o2 reading is that we are running fat. a couple things can cearte this one how many miles do we have on this mtr, two do we have a vacuumn leak? three is the vech going into closed loop? some how we need to get are hands on a scanner so we can look at a data, other wise you are going to be throwing parts at this vech , and thats not the way to fix your problem. the odds are that you may have some lazy o2 sensors you are close. have you tryed running the vech down the road before you go in for the test. the converter is like a hot water heater you have to bring it to operating temp before it will operate correctly. keep me informed
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Unfortunately, there is no way for anyone here to know if your mechanic is correct or not without manually testing your car.
Its easy to say that if it just passed smog, then the cat cannot be bad. Very likely it wasnt bad when it passed smog because bad cats do not usually pass smog, period. HOWEVER, I have seen a brand new car melt its catalytic converter from a misfire caused by a rodent chewing a wire (Car was 3 months old!) and the cat was destroyed in less than 100 miles from the 1st time it ever ran poorly.
Is it possible your mechanic is wrong? Yes. Is it possible he is RIGHT? Yes. We just dont have enough info to accurately say.
However, a catalytic converter doesnt make noise unless its bad, and doesnt suddenly start making noise by itself generally unless there is a hole of some kind for some reason. What can cause that is between the car and the enviroment. (Cars in Hawaii or FL can in fact suddenly rust out exhausts and make new holes...its humid there. Texas or Califoirnia....not so much). If you trust your mechanic, then take his word for it. If you do not, then absolutely take the car to another mechanic and have his most recent invoice reviewed and verified (as best they can, its not always possible to see the past after a car is repaired). Or you can call the Bureau of Auto repair and ask them to get involved and do an investigation (it is free to the consumer to request such an investigation).
Mechanics are no different than doctors or dentists, its a personal relationship based on experience and familiarity that determines satisfaction and quality. If you are not satisfied and you wonder if he is cheating you, you need to find a new mechanic. Period. The right shop for you will not leave you wondering. But also be prepared, not all repairs are cheap or easy or perfect, and just because one trip your formerly good running car starts to become a lemon...it may be because of a bad mechanic, bad luck, or simply your car just decided to become a headache this week. Its not always the fault of the mechanic.
First I recommend changing spark plugs, air filter, and change the oil & filter. If these are dirty or fouled up it will kill your millage and help to fail smog.
You can reduce both NOX and CO emmissions by adding denatured alcohol to the gas tank. Run it down to a bit under 1/4 tank and add 1 1/2 gallons. It makes the engine run a bit rough, but really clean.
If you still fgail SMOG then you need a new catalytic converter.
I used to "trick" my 86' with alcohol, but just rebuilt the engine so I put a new Cat on it. It passed emissions with WELL BELLOW numbers.
Because of lack of information (data) about your inspection, it is hard to tell where the failure is.
For more information about changing catalytic converter. The price can be 10 times different.
The highest quota I got was over $1400 (the golden smog station), the lowest was below $200 (found by state division where I asked for compensation due to old car -- since I cannot go there directly, I paid $325 fro an agent to do it). Dealer was asking for $700.
After changed a home genie catalytic converter, which worked better then the original manufactured till car is dead in another 10 years, I brought it back to the golden smog station for free re-test. The technician did not believe that is a new, and inspected to verify that is true.
This homegenie catalytic converter passed a number of smog tests till car is dead after another 10 years.
BTW, the original manufactured catalytic converter failed on the very first smog check at year 6 or 7 after can was bought, so it is possible you had a failure catalytic converter, but inspection result may tell.
Are you burning oil? Does this car still have a catalytic converter? Have you changed spark plugs or air filter recently. There are many causes for a high hydrocarbon reading: burning oil due to rings or valve stem seals; catalytic converter malfunctioning or missing; vehicle in need of a tuneup or air filter replacement. Poor combustion results in high hydrocarbon levels. Good luck with it.
To review - - after you disconnect the battery you need to drive the vehicle at highway speed for 20 - 50 miles to allow the computer to "re-learn" the data parameters. This means getting the engine up to operating temp and speeds of at least 50 mph. If the engine does not reach operating temp some of the sensors will not be active yet.
Most modern vehicles have 2 catalytic converters, there may be one located at the exhaust manifold, or be what's called a resonator. The resonator will look almost like a cherry bomb muffler, this is a crucial part of exhaust emissions.
did you fail a smog test? if you did... i always pass smog because i always have a new catalytic converter installed .if i was a little over the test, this usually gets me down a little lower and that's passing!
We had to have the calatic converter replaced. We did this after doing an oil change, air filter change, and new spark plugs and still hadn't passed smog. After changing the calatic converter it passed smog with scores of 25.