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Catalytic Converters for Mitsubishi Eclipse

Look in many books on auto maintenance from the mid-20th century, and you will find no mention of a catalytic converter. Back in the day, cars and trucks drove merrily down the highway, belching pollutants into the air. But the catalytic converter, which you can replace in your Mitsubishi Eclipse, changed all that.

What is a catalytic converter?

It is a device that turns dangerous hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and nitrogen dioxide into:

  • Carbon dioxide and water, in the case of hydrocarbons
  • Carbon dioxide, in the case of carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen and oxygen, in the case of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide
How does a converter work?

It works by basically re-burning unburned gasoline in the vehicle’s tailpipe. Most metal converters installed in cars are the three-way type, or TWC. They work when the engine runs a bit over what is called the stoichiometric point. This is the point where equivalent amounts of acids and bases have been mixed together in a chemical reaction.

How much does a catalytic converter affect gas mileage?

A converter that is working should not affect your gas mileage performance. However, it can affect gas mileage if it is clogged. Clogging causes the exhaust to build up and for your engine to get less oxygen. The oxygen-starved engine then has to work harder. A sign of this is when the vehicle starts up and works normally for a short time but then starts to cough half-way down the street.

How long does it take to replace a catalytic converter?

How long the job takes depends on whether the catalytic converter was welded in or not. If it was welded, the job may take about two to three hours. If it wasn’t welded, the replacement takes about an hour.

How long does a catalytic converter last?

If it is well-maintained, a metal converter can last as long as the vehicle does. Most experts believe this is about 100,000 miles or so. Everything in this piece of equipment is in a casing. Since it has no moving parts to wear out, your converter may last even longer than 100,000 miles.

What are the symptoms when it goes bad?

Most cars have one converter because they only have one exhaust manifold. Rarely, a vehicle might have two. Symptoms of a converter going bad include the problem mentioned above as well as:

  • A sudden drop in your vehicle’s fuel efficiency
  • A vehicle that won’t start
  • Your check engine light comes on
  • Your vehicle’s emissions are so high that they fail the test

The converter can also fail because the cylinder head in your car is damaged or because unburned fuel is stressing it.