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E36 /7 Z3 (1996-2002)
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  #1  
Old 07-19-2011, 03:50 PM
rmehuron rmehuron is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 BMW Z3
1996 Z3 catalytic converter problems

In November of 2010 the check engine light went on, and in having a reputable BMW repair shop diagnose the problem, I was told it needed a new converter. They said an after market type would cost less and probably do as well.

I went to a muffler shop and had a Catco converter installed. After a thousand miles the check engine light went off again, and once again I took it to the repair shop. Again, I was told the converter was faulty. I asked whether the oxygen sensor could be the problem, and they said no; there was no code indicating that the oxygen sensor was faulty.

I went back to the muffler shop for a replacement converter. The service technician said what caused the first catalytic converter to fail had not been remedied. I want to honor what the repair shop told me while also satisfying the service technician at the muffler shop. I do recall that the engine light went on almost immediately using the engine for grade control. The RPM in both instances went up to a little over 3,000 for a short time. I drive the car very moderately, and I can't imagine causing the converter to overheat, especially considering that the engine temperature gauge has never risen above the half way point.

Does anyone have any insight into this problem?

Thanks,
Ron

Last edited by rmehuron; 07-19-2011 at 03:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2011, 05:06 PM
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IgotBMW IgotBMW is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 1.9L M44
What codes are you getting?
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  #3  
Old 07-19-2011, 08:55 PM
friscomike friscomike is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 2.8
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmehuron View Post
In November of 2010 the check engine light went on, and in having a reputable BMW repair shop diagnose the problem, I was told it needed a new converter. They said an after market type would cost less and probably do as well.

I went to a muffler shop and had a Catco converter installed. After a thousand miles the check engine light went off again, and once again I took it to the repair shop. Again, I was told the converter was faulty. I asked whether the oxygen sensor could be the problem, and they said no; there was no code indicating that the oxygen sensor was faulty.

I went back to the muffler shop for a replacement converter. The service technician said what caused the first catalytic converter to fail had not been remedied. I want to honor what the repair shop told me while also satisfying the service technician at the muffler shop. I do recall that the engine light went on almost immediately using the engine for grade control. The RPM in both instances went up to a little over 3,000 for a short time. I drive the car very moderately, and I can't imagine causing the converter to overheat, especially considering that the engine temperature gauge has never risen above the half way point.

Does anyone have any insight into this problem?

Thanks,
Ron
I had a similar problem on a 2.8 '98 model. The previous owner had run overt a brick or concrete block which hit the converter. The interior honey comb broke down and eventually plugged the exhaust. Replacing it was not cheap.

My shop in Fort Worth said they quit using after market converters because of that very problem. He said 75% have the check engine light on in less than a year. The standard 2.8 converter is pricey, probably around $1500. It has the head pipe connecting Y and several sensor ports included, but that may be the best way to go.

Good luck,
mike
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  #4  
Old 07-20-2011, 07:20 AM
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Mpire Mpire is offline
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Mein Auto: S54 M Coupe x2, M52 Z3
Paying $1500 for emissions equipment seems completely insane to me.

Just get a simulator and do without.

Or get a cat from a junkyard.
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  #5  
Old 07-20-2011, 07:28 AM
rmehuron rmehuron is offline
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
 
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Mein Auto: 1996 BMW Z3
The code the muffler shop indicated on the invoice in November was PO420. I don't know what the code was that showed up three days ago. The technician just told me it was the converter.


Thank you.
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  #6  
Old 07-20-2011, 11:23 AM
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amancuso amancuso is offline
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Mein Auto: 128i, 330i, Z3 2.3, R56
TBH I'm really thinking your post cat 02 sensor is bad, not the cat.
check out this link
http://www.p0420.com/

Good luck!
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