Catalytic converter help

mizzat

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Urgent help needed guys.

On the way to today's GTG I noticed some rattling from underneath the car. I diverted to the nearest garage (HL Gorner in Wigan) to investigate. The very helpful service chap now tells my the catalytic converter on my exhaust is failing ("on the inside and on both sides" his words). He suggested I drive home immediately and do not drive the car again untill it is replaced as it may damage the engine. He also quoted mr a price for the replacement. Wait for it: £1200 plus VAT plus labour (2 hours). I took his advice and drove back home immediately. After a good cry and several stiff drinks I phones Bowkers (BMW dealers in Preston where I purchased the car in April). The car is supposed to have 12 months approved BMW warranty. It now appears the their warranty does not include the cat. A quick review of the BMW web site and in their description of the warranty they claim: "The BMW Approved Used Car Warranty even guarantees the battery and exhaust system for 12 months". They now claim that the cat. is not part of the exhaust.

The car is a 1999 W220 (S320 petrol) with 50K miles and full MB sevice history.

Serveral questions now spring to mind:
1. Is this a standard price for the part.
2. Can I still drive the car or will it knacker the engine?
3. Would you expect the cat. to be included in a full warranty.:( :(
4. Is the Cat part of the exhaust system?

Any further ideas, comments or large shoulders to cry on would be most welcomed.
 

pluggers

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Sorry you couldn't make it to the GTG.It a pain in the ar+e if the cat goes.It happened to me this year on a 95 c-class and I found out the hard way as well with the warranty not covering the cat.The dealer quoted me £650+vat for the cat plus about £120 to fit and that is just a single cat :crazy:

When mine went it went in style it completly broke up and pieces got lodged in the exhaust tube and partly blocked it so acceleration was non existant but once at speed wasn't too bad.It stayed like that for about a week of driving till a new one arrived.

I dont think cats will be come under any warrantys due to the nature of them (expensive and easly broke by sudden cooling ie deep puddles or even speed bumps)

I remember reading somewhere that the life expectancy for a cat is between 50000-100000 miles but not in all cases.Mine went about 90000 miles.

I will check if I have still got the address of the guy who got mine for me he got the price down to £250 inc vat and delivery.
 

pluggers

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This guy was the cheapest that I found.Bearing in mind that cat was a part of the down pipe as well, isn't too bad for the price. Also the down pipes were made of stainless steel if this helps?

LINK
 
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mizzat

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Thanks

Thanks Guy and Pluggers for the reply. I will call Cats & Carbs UK on Monday and ckeck out the prices. Do you think it is safe to drive the car on short journey while I'm waiting for repairs?
 

pluggers

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It doesn't sound to bad from what you describe.Mine started like that as a rattle for about a month or so then it started to break up thats when I began to realise it wasn't going to get better:( Should have known really.But even driving around with a blocked exhaust hasn't caused me any lasting problems (apart from an empty wallet)hehe
 

Dieselman

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Keep driving to a minimum.
Now that the cat is mounted closer to the engine there has been a tendency for the cat to break up and spit back into the engine causing scored bores.
 

Robbo

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But what is the reason for them breaking up? Surely there must be some underlying problem that needs to be addressed too.
 

pluggers

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Originally posted by Robbo
But what is the reason for them breaking up? Surely there must be some underlying problem that needs to be addressed too.

The only reasons I can think of is the possibility of the lamda sensor not working correctly.Unburnt fuel in the exhaust,Wrong fuel rating,Sudden change of temperature ie going thru deep puddles, speed bumps.
But I think the best one is lack of quality in the materials used causing premature failure and the need for joe blogs too dig deep into his pocket thus lining the pockets of big corparations who use crap materials:mad:
 
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mizzat

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Thanks

That made me feel so much better. Would you pay the extra dosh my a genuine BM replacement or shall I save myself £££ and find a third party replecement (if they exist)?
 

pluggers

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Id go for the replacement part.Mine was a third of the price,made of stainless steel and come's with a 2 year warranty.By the time the warranty is out I might not even have the car,and if I did have it, another cat would only cost about £250-£300 should it dare to break again.
 

white190

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I've just bough a cat from 'cats-direct' and its seems very good quality.....its even made from stailess steel not like my old one that rusted away.

I have also made a cat guard to stop my new cat from being dented my speed bumps and the like.
 
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PJH

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Originally posted by mizzat
Urgent help needed guys.

On the way to today's GTG I noticed some rattling from underneath the car.


I noticed a rattle from mine this evening when I was putting it in the garage, you've got me worried.


A quick review of the BMW web site and in their description of the warranty they claim: "The BMW Approved Used Car Warranty even guarantees the battery and exhaust system for 12 months". They now claim that the cat. is not part of the exhaust.

Maybe this warranty is BMWs only. I do know that 2nd hand warranties are not the same as new warranties. My wife's car failed to start about 2 weeks after purchase. The fault was a chaffed wire where it passed through the bulkhead. The wiring loom was not covered by the warranty. But it was only £78 to fix.
 
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mizzat

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Good news

Excellent news today. The BMW dealers phoned to confirm that the cat. is indeed part of the exhaust and as such he authorised the replacement. Called the AA and had the car hauled over to MB of Preston. Parts are now on order from Milton Keynes and hopefully will be installed by Wedensday. :bannana: :bannana: :bannana:

I really expected a fight with them but they were superb. Even the dealership (who had a two week wait for routine service) proved to be excellent.

As for Cats & Carbs UK, they were ever so helpful. Still the part would have cost me £900.00 (including VAT and delivery). Unfortunetaly I could not use them as BMW insist on doing the reapirs at the MB dealers. Fine by me, its their money not mine. The other company recommended never answered the phone though their web price were a tad cheaper.

Many thanks to all who rallied to my help.

For the next two days I will commuting in my wife's SMART. Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Cheers all.
 

Koolvin

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Should have spoken to Jimmy! I got my replacment CAT of him!
 

MainMan

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The CAT on my SLK320 went a few months ago - I posted about the problems I had getting it changed. The Merc dealer said there was no problem at all driving the car. The performance might be a bit diminished because of the exhaust being partially blocked, but apart from that there was no problem. If this was not true I will be seriously annoyed, as it took them over a month to get the part. The reason for the problem was a bad batch of CATs. The mechanic said this.
 
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mizzat

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Problem solved

Less than 24 hours after contacting MB of Preston, I had a call to say the cat is fitted and car is ready to collect. Total cost £1641.43 which I will get back from the orginal BMW dealer where I bought the car initially. Car collected this afternoon and they even have it a valet. Top marks for MB of Preston for service excellence.

As for driving whilst the cat is suspect, the AA man who hauled the car to the garage yesterday would not even allow me to turn on the engine. Similar response from the MB engineers, it a definte no no.

Again many thanks to all. You are the best.
 

MainMan

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I ran my SLK320 for a good 2 months with the catalytic convertor rattling like a bag of nuts and the engine still runs like a dream. The dealer said there was no problem with driving with a duff cat. If a broken cat can damage the engine it's a bad design fault because it's bound to happen and, judging by the various BBs it happens a lot to Merc 320s.
 
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mizzat

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"judging by the various BBs it happens a lot to Merc 320s"[/B]

That is not the news I wanted to hear. Where did this information come from?
 

Robbo

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I dont think that you can really read too much into this. It could just be that there are a lot more mercs/merc owners on BB's with 320 engines, and so you hear of their problems more. Statistically, they may not be more problematic than any other engine.

Thats what I am hoping, anyway!
 

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