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Toyota Camry Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter



  • tmoney4tmoney4 Posts: 8
    Thanks for the info...i will definitly keep an i on it. Its funny u said that about the sensor. I replaced the downstream sensor9by the converter) and thought that was the problem and scared to take to the dealer cuz i no they r going to charge me an arm and a leg! lol If it goes on of course i will ck the code...if it is the converter approx how much is it from the dealer, i am in NY and dnt hav CA standards. I am a little handy...can i do it myself or is it too hard?Thanks again for the info
  • toptechtoptech Posts: 11
    It is Are u stitting down. The rear converter is aprox 1200. The front is aprox 400? Both are monitored by that rear 02 sensor. sometimes changing just front will do the trick. It sucks to change either as far as the cost. The labor is quite simple to change either. Metal gasket where the manifold bolts the head and ring gaskets at either end of frt pipe/converter assembly. Sometime the studs that are in the manifold can be a problem u may or may not need a torch. I know of no other fix other then factory cats as of yet. I am looking into one other alternative but am not sure of what the outcome would be.
  • tmoney4tmoney4 Posts: 8
    Thanks again 4 the info...I will definitly keep that in mind if I get the P04020 code and probably end up replacing either 1 or both cat. conv.
  • grizz17grizz17 Posts: 1
    I am having this exact same issue with my '01 camry 4cyl. Somehow I was lucky enough to purchase a "California" model in colorado...lucky me. I have just replaced the back cat 2 weeks ago, I figured it was going bad for a bit because it smelled extra rich and then the light came on. The guy I took it to replaced it for about $400. The light has been flirting on and off since then, I took it in last Friday and he tells me that this is a California model and that he had no idea and that this is the cat that is throwing the code. His quote is $600 for the cat plus labor. My question is, how the heck can you not notice that there is a cat on the exhaust manifold when you're under the car putting the rear cat on? At this point, I'm opting for a second opinion, but is it conceivable that someone could just not notice this? It sure doesn't look like a normal exhaust manifold to me.
    My question is this; is this the cat that I should have worried about in the first place and the second one is just redundant since it's a California model? I live in colorado and I don't even have an emissions test to worry about, what I am concerned about is performance and possible ramifications down the road if I don't pony up to fix this in the next couple weeks? Will this cat going bad affect power because I have noticed as well these past couple of weeks that it is more sluggish tackling hills and I get a whiff of exhaust through the vents when it kicks up a gear.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also, I noticed one post asking how difficult this is to replace, if necessary, and I ask the same question since two sets of mechanics out here have missed the fact that this thing was even installed in the first place? Why throw good money after bad people?

    thank you for your help, I greatly appreciate it after all I have been through with this car I really would like to do it the honor of driving it until it drops :)
  • toptechtoptech Posts: 11
    First question to u would be, Did that mechanic put on a factory cat from the dealer? I think I can even answer my own question And that is gona be a big no. It is roughly 1200 dollars for that rear cat from toyota. and if u use a aftermarket cat inplace of the factory, the light will be back on very shortly. On the california emission camrys Toyotas fix is to replace both cats. Sometimes putting on one new one will get u by for a period of time if the other is borderline. But i cant stress it enough that if u use aftermarket cats u will not get rid of this code and if it does it will be for such a short period of time if u got it for a 100 it would still not be worth it. The cat should not be making is smell rich U may have other problems causing ur car to run rich or lean that would cause damage to ur converter possible melting and u would notice power loss. To ck for a restricted converter u would need to ck the backpressure through the frt air fuel ratio sensor. And to see if ur fuel mixture is correct u would need to monitor ur fuel trim data with a scan tool. My best suggestion is to take it to someone that has had experience with this code on this model car. U may even want to concider taking it to a dealer.Even in colorado I would say u have a 50 50 chance of having a vehicle that has california emissions they are very common. The mechanic should have know it has 2 cats and should of know u dont use aftermarket on these california emisson cars. .If u did not have power related problems and a smell I would say drive it because generally the 420 code will not cause problems just polute a lil more then it should but in ur case where u notice it to be low on power I would have it looked at.Any other questions post here or e mail me I will give the best advice I can
  • Hi Folks, Long time since I made my original post. I went through many cat converters before I got it right. Bottomline - be careful about aftermarket oxygen sensors. The dealers replaced the CATs but never even looked at the O2 sensors. When my mechanic changed it, it would not work well with the computer system in the Toyota, causing it to run rich, thus burning out 3 more CATs. (All replaced by my mechanic at no charge.) I finally took it to a dealer who knew how to fix the problem (3rd try). That was over a year ago and (knock wood) no problems since. I have had my Camry for about six years and the engine light was on for most of the first 4 years. Watch out for those O2 sensors. Good luck to all!!
  • sunporch or anyone. Any South Chicago suburbs master toyota mechanics you can pass on?
  • I also have a 2001 camry 4 cyl with catalytic converter issues. The car has 91000
    miles. The exhaust pipe in front of the catalytic converter broke off, requiring the
    replacement of the rear catalytic converter. My mechanic did the replacement with
    what I would think is an aftermarket replacement, since the total bill was about $600.
    ( I am only learning now of the the problems with non-Toyota replacement converters.)
    The converter was replaced 6-8 weeks ago. A few weeks ago, the engine light came on. My mechanic said that the code came up that now the front converter needs to
    be replaced. Based on what I've been reading, this may not be a final fix since the
    back converter is aftermarket. I have asked the service people at my Toyota dealer
    if they can determine if the replacement rear converter will work adequately if I go
    ahead and replace the front converter with a Toyota converter. They told me that there really is no way to determine that. I am looking at at least $660. for the dealer
    to replace the front converter. If the rear converter does not work adequately, then I am looking at an additional $1,325 to replace the rear converter with a Toyota
    converter. If both air sensors are bad, there is the chance that the repair bill could
    be even $400 higher. I'm trying to determine if it is time to cut my losses. The worst case scenario is that these repairs could add up to about $2,400. Potentially
    another $2,400 into an 8 year old car??? The choices seem to be prepare for the
    possibility of $2,400 in repairs, or take my chances and just drive it the way it is.
    Any experience with how long I might be able to continue driving it if I do nothing?
    Or risk the $660. to replace the front converter? Thank you for your thoughts.
  • Wow what a Catalytic problem.

    First, air sensors should be easy to change, and about $25.00 dollars each. You're check light is coming on? I would not get to concerned about the light. It could be improper installation on the rear converter.

    Not much could go wrong here though. I would get an Emissions test to check for exhaust pollution levels. I think converters reduce NOX's gases.Then go from there.This is only the exhaust and dosn't effect the engine at all only the atmosphere.
  • I too have a check engine light question. I just purchased a used 1997 Toyota Camry from a private party. The condition of purchase was that the seller would get a current California smog certificate and replace the plug wires before I would buy it. So the next day, the seller had a completed smog certificate from that day and new plug wires under the hood. I completed the purchase. About six miles out the door, the check engine light comes on. I have in my hand a legitimate smog inspection report stating that the car passed date today, and there are brand new plug wires under the hood.

    My question is: Is there something either the smog check or tune up technician could have done, or forgot to do, to make the check engine light come on?
    Is there some sort of code that was supposed to be reset and possibly forgotten?

    It is difficult to believe that there some failure so soon after a passed smog check.

  • wenhqwenhq Posts: 14
    Could anyone help me on this?

    I bought a used 2001 Camry CE in year 2005. I had no idea about the separate emission warranty until now. I failed my state inspection in MA last year (Setp. 2008, around 70K miles) for the bad catalytic converter. However, i never got the check engineer on. I went to Toyota dealer and replaced the catalytic converter, which costed me $1300. I remembered that i asked the service manager if this is under warranty, and he said no.

    Now (7 months later), I realized there is a emission warranty, which is for 8 yrs / 80K miles. Could anyone confirm this for me since i don't have the owner's warranty booklet? I just checked my repair receipt last night, and it stated as Exhaust System (Front). It didn't say Catalytic Converter. Is the Exhaust System (Front) same as Catalytic Converter.

    Tomorrow, I am going to the dealer and ask for the money back. Is there any chance I can get my money back since the catalytic converter is under warranty?

    Thanks and any inputs are appreciated.
  • toptechtoptech Posts: 11
    25 Dollars for an air fuel ratio sensor? lol some people are not even on this planet. And it only has one if it is california emission. It has afr in the front and ho2s in the rear.
  • toptechtoptech Posts: 11
    There is no good way to determine wich one is causing the light to come due to how they are tested is by looking at the rear o2 sensor and that sensor is monitoring both converters! But from experience aftermarket converters on these cars DO NOT WORK OR WORK FOR A VERY VERY SHORT TIME AND ARE A WASTE OF MONEY.Amazing how many garages have no clue and waste hard working peoples money. Take it back to the guy that put the aftermarket cat and let him fix it the rite way.
  • I replaced mine just for laughs. $31.99 Autozone. 1987 Corolla. 4 cyl.

    The new models have gone up. Does anyone go to junk yards? You can find cheaper prices and sometimes you get lucky and find a new part. A sensor should be easy to remove, (search blog 1990 Q-45, a trip to the junkyard). Although converters are sold for scrap and missing most of the time.
  • cbayhoocbayhoo Posts: 2
    The check engine light came on about 600 miles into an 850 mile trip. Everything was OK and had it checked at dealer upon arrival. $101 for diagnosis and $767 estimate for new cat converter (code p0204). Let me chew on that!! My son called his trusted mechanic and was told $300 total. Then called my mechanic at home---he said drive it! I'm home in VA and light is still on but car runs OK. So, what's next? State inspection is in Sept.
  • toptechtoptech Posts: 11
    U can drive it with no problems. But u may not get a sticker depending on or states emissions testing. Lol that suposid trusted mechanic is gona cost u alot more money in the long run. He is stupidly giving u a price on an aftermarket cat! I will give u 300 if it works because i know it will not! good luck with that. 767 is a good price from a dealer. And the code should be po 420 cat effeciency low bank 1.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Do you know that you're one of the reason's aftermarket catalytic converters, perfectly good catalytic converters, can be purchased so cheaply..??

    A lot more profit/markup for factory converters so of course aftermarket, possibly from the exact same supplier but absent the factory logo/#, converters are a lot less expensive, inordinately so.

    Supply & demand.
  • toptechtoptech Posts: 11
    Ur wrong. If u could read, u would see that this is the main problem people putting on aftermarket converters and having the same problem. Keep it up with the bad advise, U will be in the same boat as many on this thread. U must be like many other mechanics that put them on, and then when they dont work u have no clue what to do. Or how to propperly check one. Most aftermarket are not teir1 or lev complient.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Compliant or not if the downstream oxygen sensor is "happy" then I'm happy.
  • toptechtoptech Posts: 11
    Well I have a pile of like new aftermarket converters,If u are intrested in them. No one pays more then 5 bucks for a used aftermaket converter. U get 5 to 10 times more for a used oe converter. I know why that is, do u?
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