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Volkswagen Eurovan Catalytic Converter

Volkswagen Eurovan How-to: Troubleshooting a Catalytic Converter

Been trying to start your car for the past hour? There are a multitude of possible reasons why you are finding it difficult to start your Volkswagen Eurovan-from faulty wirings to a damaged ignition system, there are plenty to blame for this problem. However, the most common reason for a car to become nonresponsive is a malfunctioning catalytic converter. A catalytic converter breaks down faster than the parts mentioned above, mainly because it is always exposed to toxic chemicals. Regardless if you are driving or parked in idle, the catalytic converter works non-stop to process these chemicals to less noxious exhaust. It might be that the catalytic converter is simply clogged-in which case, it is easily repairable by cleaning it out. Below are some helpful tips on how you can diagnose a failing catalytic converter:

Visual inspection

Make sure the catalytic converter and its surrounding parts are in good shape. It should be free from rust and cracks. Rusted clamps, flanges, and screws attaching the converter to the exhaust pipes are repairable by sanding. However, if the main converter unit is rusted or cracked, you will need to replace it the soonest you can. There is no way to repair a catalytic converter because its internal structure is complex and very toxic.

Sound test

By hitting the catalytic converter with a rubber mallet-controlled force is, as always, crucial-you can diagnose its internal condition. Are you hearing rattling noises every time you hit the unit? If so, it is very likely that the ceramic block inside is broken to smithereens. Again, you will need to replace the unit if this happens.

Odor test

Does the catalytic converter produce a lot of smoke when you are parked in idle, more so when you're driving? Take note of how the smoke smells. If it gives off a strong acidic odor, it means that the catalytic converter is leaking. If it gives off a strong burnt smell that is not exactly out of the ordinary, it means that the converter is clogged. If this is the case, you can clean the converter when the engine cools down.

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  • Volkswagen Eurovan How-to: Cleaning the Catalytic Converter 27 February 2013

    Acid rain as an environmental problem still exists at present, but its frequency and intensity is mitigated partly by the introduction of catalytic converters. And since the job description of the converter mainly relies on its ability to handle toxic chemicals, particulate buildup is a big no-no. In no way possible can these particulates be kept from accumulating and cultivating inside the unit; there is, however, a way to clean the unit up when the need calls for it. Below are simple tips you should follow to help you maintain the catalytic converter on your Volkswagen Eurovan in top working shape:


    Removing ceramic dust


    Remove the catalytic converter from its mounts to begin the process. Through the rear opening of the converter, insert the hose of a shop vacuum and suck out loose debris and ceramic brick dust. When small, loose particles are removed, push a pry bar into the opening and break up the larger pieces until they are small enough to be released from the opening. When you have assured that the unit is completely free of ceramic debris, you can now reinstall the converter back to its mounts. You might have to use a hammer when breaking large ceramic particles, but controlled force is still imperative. You wouldn't want to puncture the metal casing of the converter, else, you will be obliged to replace the unit entirely.


    Replacing the oxygen sensor


    When you experience engine misfires when driving on the highway, chances are your catalytic converter is clogged, and it can no longer work double-time to compensate for the blockage. A quick fix to this engine misfire if you are not yet ready to replace the catalytic converter, is by cleaning the oxygen sensor. If you uninstall the oxygen sensor from the car, you will notice that it is covered with soot and other black deposits. Remove the grime by using lacquers thinner and laundry detergent, and you should be good to go. It will solve the engine misfires for quite some time until you can purchase a new converter.