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Can you clean a catalytic converter with any type of spray cleaner while its off?

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Old 05-24-2010, 11:21 AM   #1
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Question Can you clean a catalytic converter with any type of spray cleaner while its off?

While I have my exhaust off the truck I was checking the condition of my magna flow cat. I can still see light through it but its definitely dirty compared to when I put it in. Is there any way of cleaning it with say carb cleaner by hosing it down through the comb or do you think this would probably make it worse?? I was trying to find some info on this and found a site where a guy suggested pouring gas through it from the back to the front to flush the carbon and crap back out but before I take the chance of ruining it I thought Id ask what you guys think! If nothing else Ill just bolt it back in!
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:54 AM   #2
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If you spray any kind of hydrocarbon in there (like any carb-cleaner) it probably would glow red hot trying to convert it. At least that's what happens often with Seafoam treatments or the like. Getting red-hot would probably damage the converter. 'Course, you might try spraying a teensy bit in there to see what happens, but I've never tried it, so that's at your own risk. I've toyed with the idea of using citric acid - that's used in many kinds of industrial cleaning applications. But I haven't tried that either. Whatever you pour in there, it seems there would be some risk to either your or the cat's health.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:29 PM   #3
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This is how I clean a dirty cat

Step 1

Locate the catalytic converter under the car's chassis. Most manufacturers install it at a point below the front seats. The exhaust pipe from the car's exhaust manifold enters the front of the catalytic converter and then exits at the rear before continuing to the muffler. It's connected to the exhaust pipes with clamps at both ends.
Step 2

Test the catalytic converter with the engine off by loosening the front clamp and disconnecting the exhaust pipe at the front end of the unit. Separate the exhaust pipe from the converter. Start the car and listen to the engine. It will be very loud because it is disconnected to the muffler. If the engine smoothes out and runs steadily while disconnected from the system, the catalytic converter is plugged.
Step 3

Turn the car off and remove the rear clamp and the rear exhaust pipe. Shake the catalytic converter unit once you have it out. If you can hear rattling noises inside, this indicates that high heat has broken down the ceramic material inside. If it doesn't rattle, it means the ceramic material has become "poisoned" and clogged with oil, unburned fuel or additives. Either way, the unit has failed and cannot be restored.
Step 4

Gut the converter by inserting the hose of a shop vacuum into the rear opening and sucking out any loose debris and ceramic brick dust. Wear gloves and a dust mask to protect your hands and avoid breathing in any of the dust. When the small, loose material is removed, push the pry bar into the opening. Use the pry bar and a hammer to break up the larger pieces inside until they are small enough to pass through the rear opening of the converter. This takes plenty of force, but be careful not to puncture the metal housing. Be sure to remove all the ceramic material until the unit is completely empty.
Step 5

Re-install the gutted catalytic converter and re-attach the front and rear exhaust pipes. Start the car and drive it a short distance to be sure it operates properly. If it does, you know the converter was the problem. Replace it with a new one as soon as possible. Without a functioning catalytic converter, the car's emission levels will be significantly higher.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:48 PM   #4
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My cat is off the truck sitting on my bench! I was going to try to blow it out or rinse it out with some type of cleaner while it is off the truck and cool, I dont want to gut it, its a good MagnaFlow cat and I dont want to ruin it or pollute more than my 3.0 already does I think Ill try some compressed air backwards through it and bolt it back on! I was thinking if I spray cleaner down through the comb its going to just break the carbon funk up and relocate it further in or make it worse! If all else fails Ill replace it with another new cat!
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