Gary Stamberger – Training Director
MagnaFlow Exhaust Products
As a shop owner, service manager or technician, you get this question all the time. When it comes time to replace a catalytic converter you are faced with many choices to offer your customer. The number of choices including original equipment, various grades of aftermarket and re-manufactured (illegal in some states) can leave you bewildered as to what to recommend. A look at today's vehicles and how OBD II engine management technology has evolved can help shorten the list.
In the '70s and '80s, with fuel control at a minimum (due to fairly unsophisticated engine management systems), converters were basically the only line of defense against high tail pipe emissions. Today's engines run cleaner and more efficiently than anyone ever thought possible. The technological advances in engine management, fuel control and other emission components have been astonishing. In many cases the engine-out (before the converter) emissions today are far less than what we could have achieved at the tail pipe (after the converter) years ago.
This might lead one to ask "then why can't we get away with a cheaper converter?" The answer... the same technology that allowed us to create much more efficient power plants has also created a completely different working environment for the converter. As we strive to meet stricter emission and fuel mileage standards the engines are running leaner. This creates higher operating temperatures. The advances in On-Board Diagnostics, has affected the chemical make-up of the converters. The use of Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Ceria and other proprietary components are constantly being modified to meet the new standards of today's environment conscience consumers.
MagnaFlow's "OEM Grade" Catalytic Converter was created as a direct result of all the changes mentioned above. It became evident that we could not solve today's aftermarket emission problems using yesterday's technology. In the real world you still repair a wide range of vehicle technologies and we must have a product line that meets all your needs, however, that world is shrinking. OBD II is going into its 15th year and CARB is looking to introduce LEV III standards in 2012. CAUTION! Don't fall into the trap of thinking this is just a California problem. CARB certified vehicles have been available on the East Coast since 1994 in the form of NLEV and TLEV certifications. More recently car manufacturers have begun to develop vehicles that meet both EPA and CARB standards (50 state) resulting in CARB certified vehicle sales nationwide. Regardless of what state you are in, the next car you work on could be a CARB-certified vehicle.
MagnaFlow understands its responsibility to be on the cutting edge and bring to market a converter line that our customers can rely upon. The new car dealer is not the only option to "keeping the light off". Our OEM Grade converters are engineered to meet the strict emission standards as designated by CARB and designed to be compatible with the most advanced on-board diagnostic systems. Together with the correct converter for your car and our expert Tech Support system, we have the solution to your most difficult diagnostic issues.
Cleaning up the environment...one converter at a time