Question about 1996 Ford Explorer

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My check engine light is on & a diagnostic code check says it could be the catalytic converter (140,000 miles on vehicle), a vacuum leak, or O2 Sensor. What in your opion would be the most probable call. I have noticed a decrease in gas mileage.

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The catalytic converter being bad will definitely cause a drop in mileage and also a loss of power. Do you hear a rattling type sound when the vehicle is started cold or just when the ignition is shut off? Also if you bang on the converter with your hand, you may be able to hear the loose material rattle inside if it is bad. I think your Explorer has four catalytic converters also. What are the specific codes you received?

Posted on Mar 25, 2011

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What was the exact code? The O2 sensor after the Catalytic Converter, or Rear O2 Sensor, could be faulty which would cause the computer to think the Catalytic Converter is not working efficiently. The code can be reset at the auto parts store with the same code reader they used the first time. P0420 is the most commonly thrown OBDII code pertaining to catalytic converter efficiency below threshold. I would replace the O2 sensor after the Catalytic Converter and reset the computer to see if the code comes back. If it comes back you may have a bad catalytic converter, exhaust leak, damaged exhaust pipes, damaged O2 sensor wiring/connectors, plugged catalytic converter, etc.

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