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Old 06-22-2013, 11:15 AM   #1
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Need Help ASAP....

We bought a 2003 Suburban which ran beautifully but the check engine light came on earlier today. No oil leaking.

We went to Auto Zone and they ran a test and a P0420 code came up.

Basically, the catalytic converter is bad. Our neighbor who is a mechanic said the engine may need replacing.

Here's what the report says:

Probable cause:

Catalytic converter defective (failure possibly due to 2, 3 or 4)

2. Engine misfire or running condition
3. Large vaccuum leak
4. Engine oil leakage into exhause - valve guide seals, piston rings.


My neighbor seems to think we may need a new engine which means scrapping our RV and plans.

The guy we bought it from won't take it back.

Any advice appreciated.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:22 AM   #2
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Take it to a real mechanic.
Could also be bad sensor, or bad cat, not just a bad engine.

I see no reason the prev. owner should take it back, it's a used vehicle.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:23 AM   #3
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I would have it towed to a auto repair shop for them to look at. If it can't be repaired then buy another truck and sell this one a a fixer upper.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori Meyer View Post
We bought a 2003 Suburban which ran beautifully but the check engine light came on earlier today. No oil leaking.

We went to Auto Zone and they ran a test and a P0420 code came up.

Basically, the catalytic converter is bad. Our neighbor who is a mechanic said the engine may need replacing.

Here's what the report says:

Probable cause:

Catalytic converter defective (failure possibly due to 2, 3 or 4)

2. Engine misfire or running condition
3. Large vaccuum leak
4. Engine oil leakage into exhause - valve guide seals, piston rings.


My neighbor seems to think we may need a new engine which means scrapping our RV and plans.

The guy we bought it from won't take it back.

Any advice appreciated.
How long after you owned it did the light come on? Most used vehicles are sold as is.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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We bought it 2 days ago from a private seller - someone who buys, fixes and sells vehicles. The car looks and runs like new except for the check engine light and the sensor code associated with it.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:30 AM   #6
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I don't think it is as bad as you think. Look at the code here.
P0420 Error Code: Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesilvas View Post
Take it to a real mechanic.
Could also be bad sensor, or bad cat, not just a bad engine.

I see no reason the prev. owner should take it back, it's a used vehicle.
X2. There are many relatively inexpensive possibilities, including stale fuel causing a misfire. Engine would be an absolute worst case possible.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:31 AM   #8
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The mechanic who is a neighbor was stumped that there is no misfiring with the car and said that P0420 could be an old code that was not reset, but that doesn't explain the check engine light.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:32 AM   #9
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Idk where you're getting your info.
Let me google that for you

P0420 Error Code: Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
Causes A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened: Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for A damaged or failed oxygen sensor (HO2S) Downstream oxygen sensor (HO2S) wiring damaged or connected improperly The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / muffler / exhaust pipe Retarded spark timing The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings Leaking fuel injector or high fuel pressure Cylinder misfire Oil contamination

Read more at: P0420 Error Code: Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
Copyright OBD-Codes.com
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:54 PM   #10
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I'm going to have to wait until Monday to take it to my mechanic and figure out what's going on.

I just realized that it says "Rebuild Salvage" on the title, but the seller didn't tell me about that. He did say it has a new transmission but nothing about the rebuild salvage.

The car looks and runs like new except for this damn check engine light and P0420 code.

Guess I'll know more on Monday.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:40 PM   #11
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Well first I'm sorry to hear of your situation.

Truly the only way to know what's wrong is to have it diagnosed, but it could be a bad oxygen sensor, Catalytic Convertor, exhaust leak around Convertor oxygen sensors.

I have never seen a "bad" engine cause a p0420.

The salvage title has me wondering why the title?
If it was flood damage it may be many different things, wiring faults and engine control module come to mind first.

If you can, research the reason for the title. It would be good to know why. If you can't find out why, maybe look for signs of water damage or perhaps pull off a door panel and check for any stains. Hopefully it was not flood damage.

It's nice to have all running well, but as long as you don't have an emission test to pass a p0420
won't likely cause any drivability issues and can be driven with little to no issue.

Good luck and hope things turn around
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:48 PM   #12
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Going from a bad catalytic converter to a new engine is a pretty big leap. I'd get the thing to a shop for a complete check.

Ken
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:02 PM   #13
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The , Rebuilt/Salvage , may be part of the problem , if the exhaust system and sensors on the cat. convertor are not original to the chassis, from another year the Engine Control Module may be looking for signal values that the sensors can't produce, or the wiring to the sensors may have been improperly repaired.
Be sure anyone checking your problem out is aware of the rebuild, could really speed up diagnosing .
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:10 AM   #14
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Thanks guys. I'm going to bring it to a mechanic tomorrow morning. He's done work for us before on another vehicle and he's very good.

I doubt there's water damage - no musty odor or stains. Really, the vehicle is beautiful in and out. Just a few surface scratches and scuffs.

The previous owner just took it to Georgia and back, 2,300 miles and said it ran beautifully with no problems (he got back last week). He purchased it at auction. He told us that the transmission is new so maybe a part that was not OEM was put in and that's where the problem is coming from.

So, it's a mystery until tomorrow.
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