A few weeks back, most of my truck’s exhaust system fell off. I decided to save back some money – a financial survival skill these days – by not replacing all of what fell off. Specifically, one of two catalytic converters my truck originally came with – these being both expensive and restrictive. The latter of which also constitutes an expense, one most people are unaware they’re paying.
Each “cat” by itself costs several hundred bucks, if you get an original equipment/vehicle-specific cat. One can spend less by buying a universal/generic-fit cat, but that may end up costing you in the short and long run. In the short run, because the universal/generic cat you buy may and probably will be low quality, relative to the original. Sometimes, this doesn’t matter as much when the part isn’t functional.
A “cheap” one may fall off (again) sooner – and that isn’t going to save you money. It may also not flow as well, which will also cost you money, even if you don’t notice that you’re spending it. Which brings me back to why I decided to not replace my truck’s second cat at all. Or rather, chose to replace it with a section of straight pipe and a high-flow muffler.
By not buying the second cat, I had the money to spend on the pipe and muffler, plus some mounting hardware. With plenty of money left over, relative to what I’d have spent on just the cat, even a “cheap” universal-fit unit. In fact, I had enough left over to pay for a couple of tankfuls of gas, which saves me a lot in the context of what the Biden Thing is costing me (and you, too).
The cat that fell off was more than 20 years old. Have you ever looked inside a 20-year-old catalytic converter? If you haven’t, here’s what you’ll see: A kind of honeycomb lattice of scores of tiny passages that the exhaust gas must pass through before exiting the exhaust system. Over time, carbon builds up on the surfaces of these extremely tiny passages through which the exhaust must pass. Inevitably, flow is restricted as these passages narrow. Sometimes, the fouling can be heavy enough to plug the cat such that the engine won’t run at all, or doesn’t run very well.
The usual fix is to buy a new cat, which gets things back to where they were when the vehicle (and its exhaust system) were new. I decided to fix it even more, the way we used to do it back in the day – when it was understood that even a new cat was an impediment to both power and mileage. Especially the first generation cats, such as the pellet-type that my 1976 Trans-Am had originally. The poor V8 had to push air through a pair of restrictive exhaust manifolds that fed two pipes that fed into one pellet-style cat before heading back to the muffler and out the splitters (the Trans-Am’s signature exhaust tips).
Merely by replacing the single cat with a pair of pipes – one for each side of the V8 – feeding two low-backpressure mufflers – resulted in a noticeable horsepower uptick as well as better gas mileage.
And that’s why I did the same to my truck.
It is noticeably peppier now, probably because there is significantly less restriction in the exhaust. It is the vehicular equivalent of not trying to go for a jog while wearing two or three Face Diapers. It also uses less gas, which will answer the probable outrage of “environmentalists” reading this account.
Using less gas means “emitting” less gas – especially the dread gas, carbon dioxide, that millions of well-trained neurotics believe – emphasis on the religious aspect – is causing the “climate” to “change.” If my truck goes say 2 miles farther on a gallon of gas than it did before, then I have substantially reduced my truck’s “emissions” of the dread gas, C02. Far more so than the literally fractional reductions achieved by such expensive means as cycling the engine off as often as possible (i.e., ASS – automated stop/start “technology”) and hybridizing the drivetrain, to say nothing of “electrifying” it.
And the truck still has its other cat, the one snugged up against the engine – which was all it needed, probably, to reduce 98-plus percent of the truly harmful emissions, which aren’t C02. Those were all-but-eliminated decades ago, with only fractional gains made since then – though these are always presented as major gains by not explaining to people that a “50 percent” reduction of .03 percent doesn’t amount to much.
I’ve probably done more for the environment than all the “environmental” regulations of the past 20 years.
Plus saved back a bunch of money.
The truck sounds great, too!
. . .
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