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Toyota Camry Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter

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  • My Camry has 84,500 miles on it. Recently Check Engine Light went on. Mechanic (service station) said it was my cat. converter. I just had it replaced in June of 2009 - warranty for Bosal was 2 years so mechanic said I would have to buy a new one. The reason mechanic replaced it in 2009 was "flex pipe was broken." Mechanic said I didn't have to worry about it until I'm due for an emissions test (Illinois) which will be coming up in March of 2013. But he said I'll have to drive with my CEL on all the time and I wouldn't know if something else was wrong. So this was yesterday.
    Today car didn't have the CEL on. Went to the mechanic and asked him why the light went off? He couldn't offer an explanation.
    So now I don't need a new cat. converter? What is this ???
    The Bosal cost me $430.69, Front Flex-Catayltic Converter Pipe $19.46, plus $96.00 labor, plus $3.60 shop supply/haz mat, and sales tax of $44.24, for a total of $593.99.
  • Only replace the CAT as a last resort! It is very rare that the issue is the CAT itself but another underlying emissions issue. Remove and clean your PCV valve with throttle cleaner or just replace it. Then add a pint of Seafoam fuel treatment to your next full tank of gas. Also check for any vacuum hoses that are loose, cracked or clogged. Majority of the time this CEL can be resolved inexpensively. Good motoring!
  • starwhite2starwhite2 Posts: 2
    Thank you, tech jack. CEL is still off so I'm not doing anything. Still mystified why it went off. Will follow your advice once it comes back on.
  • sydneyjanesydneyjane Posts: 1
    Hey, starwhite. That same thing happened to me with my 2001 Camry and it went on for a few years. The CEL would go on and off, on and off. When I had to get my emissions tested in Maryland, I just waited around for the CEL to go off and passed the inspection with no problems, which led me to believe it wasn't really the cat converter to begin with, or at least the problem wasn't that bad. I figured I could go on like that forever.

    Except now I've got this awful noise and found out it's the pipe connected to the converter that's rusted and has a hole in it, so the car is very loud. Darn. So, now I have to get it replaced since the pipe and converter are all in one piece. They said charcoal canister needs to be replaced, too. And, now, the CEL stays on all the time.

    That's what brought me to this board (my first post!). I've got 210K on my Camry and everything else works well. Not sure if I should spend $2.5K (which is what the dealer quotes me) for cat and canister. I've always felt if the engine and transmission are good, stay with the car and I usually drive my cars until they die. But, $2.5K is a lot of money. What do do???
  • tdt5150tdt5150 Posts: 1
    How's the car? I have a 2002 Camry and last year the CEL was going on and off for no reason too. I also was fortunate that it turned off before inspection last sep. Then next day it came on and hasn't gone off since! Now it's time for inspection again. I just took it to an auto parts store that ran the free diagnostic. Said it was the CC or some other exhaust problem. Said it's a very generic code. I'm glad I found this post!
  • I have a 1999 Camry CE 5 speed with 85,000 miles on her - the check engine came on 6 months and had my mechanic diagnose it and turns out I need to replace the catalytic converter. He quoted me a price of $1070 for parts and labor. Since I live in Virginia the next emissions test due on her is May 31st 2013 and f I don't repair it by 5/13, she'll fail inspection. Since the car does 4,000 miles per year I can't justify is spending $1100 on a 13 year old car. She's had previous work done on her in the last 3 to 4 years.

    I'm thinking on either buying a new car or certified used in the Spring. Is it worth getting repaired and is the estimate too high?

    I welcome your comments and suggestions.
  • tristan8tristan8 Posts: 2
    edited August 2013
    I have a 2002 Camry XLE 2.4L with 130K miles. The check engine light came on and off during the past six month. It sometimes turned on when I drove a long way like 3 more hours and it turns off when I did not use car often.

    I have the car for a diagnosis with one trusted mechanic. He said the front cat converter is not working and the rear one appears to be lazy (it does not change much with an increasing RPM). He suggested me to change the front one first to see if it can fix the problem with a quote $770 including front cat converter and labor fee.

    He said he will use an original new converter and I have no idea where he can get an original one.

    After reading all the posts above, I think he may find the right problem. But I am not sure if he will use an authentic OEM part.

    My next inspection is still one year from now. But I also suspect this problem could affect the lifetime and power of engine, which is why I tend to fix it soon.

    Anyone has a suggestion for this?
  • Not sure what the light going on means.
    I will say that one time a few years back the engine light went on and my brother figured it out that I had something weighty sitting on my passenger side -- which the car "sensed" and it wanted the seatbelt used!
    Once I moved the object to the trunk, I was set to go again!

    I have a 2002 XLE Toyota Camry with 97,000 miles and it has been an absolutely wonderful car!
    All I have done to maintain it is put in new front brakes, new tires as needed, and lots of ROUTINE oil changes.
    I am going to have to have something done with a wheelbearing this fall, and they have advised me ahead so we can budget accordingly (but who can complain about something like that for a vehicle this age/mileage?)
    It has no rust whatsoever on the finish.
    I would love to be optimistic and think we can get 130,000 out of our car, too.
  • I am the 4th owner of the car. No idea how previous owners maintained the car. TO me, I always used the best oil and best gas.

    Some revision:
    I called the mechanic again, and he said his quote includes only OEM part. The Toyota original one will cost $1400 for front cat converter. I called a recommended dealer later, which confirmed the price for the original one.

    I did not replace it today anyway. The light is off now and I wait to see how soon it will come back again:)
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