Automotive

Exhaust fumes in car Vibe : catalytic-converter replacement

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 10th, 2021 11:46 am
[OP]
Member
Jul 26, 2008
438 posts
477 upvotes
Montreal

Exhaust fumes in car Vibe : catalytic-converter replacement

Our Vibe 2005 has 186 000 KM, recently had the clutch changed as the job was cheaper than expected so I decided to keep the car.

A droning sound has been coming louder recently so has the exhaust smell in the cabin. Now we can't stay idle on red light without opening the windows.

I called a local exhaust place and mechanic on the phone was adamant that the catalytic converter had be replaced just based on millage of the car. I am not getting good vibes about how much this type of repair can cost : https://repairpal.com/estimator/pontiac ... ement-cost

Any guess on how much is can cost ?
22 replies
Deal Addict
Apr 24, 2014
1217 posts
662 upvotes
Need to get the car up on a hoist and inspect for exhaust leaks. How a mechanic can come to that conclusion over the phone is beyond me...
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
15945 posts
17182 upvotes
Oakville
No, it most likely does not need to be replaced. Probably an exhaust clamp is loose or the gasket has deteriorated, letting fumes out and then into cabin.
Maybe mechanic forgot to tighten it up after doing the clutch. Just take it back for him to fix. Worst cast it's $150 for a new gasket.

If CAT was bad you'd be getting engine warnings on your dash from the O2 sensors.
[OP]
Member
Jul 26, 2008
438 posts
477 upvotes
Montreal
engineered wrote: No, it most likely does not need to be replaced. Probably an exhaust clamp is loose or the gasket has deteriorated, letting fumes out and then into cabin.
Maybe mechanic forgot to tighten it up after doing the clutch. Just take it back for him to fix. Worst cast it's $150 for a new gasket.

If CAT was bad you'd be getting engine warnings on your dash from the O2 sensors.
The leak was present before the clutch job , the fumes just became overwhelming this week. I will bring the car in.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36153 posts
10256 upvotes
Ottawa
naimc wrote: The leak was present before the clutch job , the fumes just became overwhelming this week. I will bring the car in.
If you can smell exhaust inside the car, you also may have a hole in the floorboard or somewhere else in the cabin area.
The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.
[OP]
Member
Jul 26, 2008
438 posts
477 upvotes
Montreal
Pete_Coach wrote: If you can smell exhaust inside the car, you also may have a hole in the floorboard or somewhere else in the cabin area.
At 1st I was thinking I might have a leaking heater core as the fumes also come in through the cars vents when the heater is on but its not the sweet smell engine coolant.

If the cat is leaking could the exhaust would make it way from the engine bay into the fresh air intake ? sound's unlikely.

As for holes in cars body I never saw and rust on the body, I used to rust proof it every 2end year.
Deal Addict
May 17, 2012
2562 posts
1396 upvotes
ontario
our corolla's cat died a few months back. same symptoms. i welded in a straight pipe and black tape over the engine light. no e-test and i am running it to the ground.

the replacement cat was ridiculously priced.. even aftermarket units.

it could easily be some other exhaust component on yours, need to put it up on the hoist. but the mechanic is propably right.. the cats seem to go on these around 200k
[OP]
Member
Jul 26, 2008
438 posts
477 upvotes
Montreal
Update : fast turn around , Found a local place based on some positive Google reviews : KOKI SILENCIEUX

It's got the old school aesthetics I dig :
Image

Car went on the lift, some back and forth talk in spanish between the manager and the person doing the work, they were adamant the cat was leaking

Nothing wrong with the inner core , I was surprised it looked this good
Image

The issue is with the leak on the intake side :
Image

Seems to be near the heat shield welds :
Image

Owner told me he changes a lot of these cats the same one fits on a few cars.
Price was $300 for the new cat, gasket kit and installation with a 1 year warranty.
Image

Back in the car it feels great, no more fumes, quiet with the new clutch it's all good for a few more thousand KM's . (crossing fingers)
Deal Guru
Mar 22, 2004
13483 posts
4009 upvotes
RFD
Looks like the area with the hole could have been welded closed if you wanted to save some cost RFD. It looks possible.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36153 posts
10256 upvotes
Ottawa
radeonboy wrote: Looks like the area with the hole could have been welded closed if you wanted to save some cost RFD. It looks possible.
It is only a heat shield...the cat itself does not look bad.
The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Aug 30, 2020
807 posts
1218 upvotes
YEG/YYZ
Agreed... could have been repaired instead of replacement. As long as cat itself isn't clogged.

Hope you took back your cat OP instead of letting the mechanic "throw it out" (Aka sell it for scrap and make good $ back from the valuable metals)
Sr. Member
Sep 4, 2006
939 posts
567 upvotes
Ottawa
Yep, that was totally fixable. And OEM cats are often higher quality than aftermarket.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
15945 posts
17182 upvotes
Oakville
naimc wrote: At 1st I was thinking I might have a leaking heater core as the fumes also come in through the cars vents when the heater is on but its not the sweet smell engine coolant.

If the cat is leaking could the exhaust would make it way from the engine bay into the fresh air intake ? sound's unlikely.

As for holes in cars body I never saw and rust on the body, I used to rust proof it every 2end year.
Most likely the fumes were going into your engine bay, then up through the hood and into the fresh cabin air intake.

I would have just welded that small hole. They should have been able to find the leak easily with a quick smoke test. Anyways, it's fixed now.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 10, 2004
6500 posts
2947 upvotes
This is the kind of thread I like to read - problem + advice + the eventual solution + photos.
Well done all.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 8, 2014
19592 posts
7174 upvotes
Socially Distanced
engineered wrote: Most likely the fumes were going into your engine bay, then up through the hood and into the fresh cabin air intake.
I find that hard to believe.
I would have just welded that small hole. They should have been able to find the leak easily with a quick smoke test. Anyways, it's fixed now.
+1
plymouthhater wrote: This is the kind of thread I like to read - problem + advice + the eventual solution + photos.
Well done all.
Agreed
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
15945 posts
17182 upvotes
Oakville
Quentin5 wrote: I find that hard to believe.
+1
Agreed
Why do you find it hard to believe? The same thing happened with my car when the post CAT exhaust gasket needed replacing. Whenever I stopped, I had to set the air to re-circulation to prevent fumes from being pulled in.
It seems obvious that excessive fumes released in the engine bay could make it to the air intake when stopped.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 8, 2014
19592 posts
7174 upvotes
Socially Distanced
engineered wrote: Why do you find it hard to believe? The same thing happened with my car when the post CAT exhaust gasket needed replacing. Whenever I stopped, I had to set the air to re-circulation to prevent fumes from being pulled in.
It seems obvious that excessive fumes released in the engine bay could make it to the air intake when stopped.
The fumes going from underneath the vehicle into the direction of the cabin air intake which is usually in front of the windshield wipers.
Though obviously that is what happened since replacing the cat fixed the problem but i have had an exhaust break and while it was loud it did not cause this.
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
15945 posts
17182 upvotes
Oakville
Quentin5 wrote: The fumes going from underneath the vehicle into the direction of the cabin air intake which is usually in front of the windshield wipers.
Though obviously that is what happened since replacing the cat fixed the problem but i have had an exhaust break and while it was loud it did not cause this.
Where did the break happen? Maybe it was further back? Or maybe your car had better seals around the hood?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 8, 2014
19592 posts
7174 upvotes
Socially Distanced
engineered wrote: Where did the break happen? Maybe it was further back? Or maybe your car had better seals around the hood?
Near the first muffler (pre catalytic converter) so similar to the OP.
And it was a Hyundai Pony so better seals was highly unlikely!
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people

Top