At the Crossroads . . .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Nostalgia is more than just fondly remembering what was. It is a kind of lamenting what is. Sometimes, it can be both at once, as when what was and what is cross paths, the one arriving – the other, fading away.

Cars you can still realistically screw around with yourself, for instance. These are still around and many people still drive them daily. They are vehicles like my 2002 Nissan pick-up, which I recently relieved of one of its two factory installed catalytic converters. You may ask – why would I do such a thing? Hold that thought a moment. The point is I could do it.

I do not mean just that I could physically do it – though that is part of it. The important part is that I could do it without electronic repercussions. Shorn of the second of its two factory installed cats, the truck’s computer did not sound the alarm. Or rather, flash it. The “check engine” light (which is really a check emissions controls light) did not come on because the computer could not tell I had cut off the second cat, there being no sensor aft of where the cat had been. The one just ahead of it – which is still there – was probably installed where it was to assure that the exhaust gasses passing by had been chemically converted sufficiently by the first cat, snugged up close to the engine.

In any event, what the computer doesn’t know won’t hurt me is the point. I was able to get rid of the second cat without the truck policing me for doing it. The truck runs noticeably better now, too – which brings me to the why I did it.

The cat I cut off was as old as the truck and likely half-choked by accumulated carbon. By removing it, I restored the flow that had been lost and probably at least partially made up for the restriction of flow created by the first cat, still snugged up close to the engine, where it, too, has been accumulating carbon build-up within its honeycomb lattice of platinum and palladium for lo these past 21 years.

I also nixed the probably restrictive factory muffler for a much less restrictive (and much better sounding) “turbo” muffler.

The engine could now breath more freely again – and that redounded to my benefit in the form of peppier response from the engine and a less thirsty engine. I italicize this to salve the apoplexy of some who, upon reading this story, have become apoplectic over my having “defeated” an emissions-control device. Indeed I did. But the truck still has its primary cat and I am willing to bet the exhaust stream is still very “clean” – to use the over-used and never specifically defined word that is so beloved by the “environmentally” apoplectic.

How “clean” is sufficiently clean? The italics being an attempt at obtaining specificity. The “environmentally” apoplectic will say: As “clean” as demanded by the regulations and standards! If that means 97.5 percent “clean” then 97.3 percent is “dirty” – except of course it isn’t actually.

Not meaningfully, at any rate.

Emissions regs and standards in force since the ’90s are similar to China’s “zero COVID” regime. Which is, of course, enforcement for its own sake – at any cost. One person “testing positive” is sufficient to justify the immiseration of tens of thousands (even hundreds of thousands) who’ve caused no harm and present no threat. Similarly, “emitting” a fraction of a fraction more than a standard or reg allows harms none and no one would even know, where it not for Pecksniffian government apparatchiks, who justify their existence by endlessly issuing new and harsher regs and standards because they cannot admit that the ones already issued have solved the problem originally posited to justify them.

“Noncompliance” – rather than material evidence of harm caused – is used to justify what was done to VW. And to all of us, who have been denied more efficient, more affordable and wrenchable (bear with)  vehicles for the sake of complying with ever-more-draconian regulations and standards that must be complied with . . . for the sake of complying with them.

See also “masking” and “vaccinating.”

By unplugging my truck’s exhaust, I materially increased its efficiency. Fuel economy went up noticeably, by about 2 MPG. This is a much bigger difference than the not-noticeable difference between 97.5 and 97.3 percent and the environmentally apoplectic ought to take great comfort in it. By reducing the amount of gasoline my truck uses, I have reduced the amount of gas it emits. Including the gas the “environmentally” (in air-fingers quote marks to call attention to the amorphously scientific but chiefly emotive nature of this “discipline”) apoplectic are most apoplectically “concerned” about.

The one that amounts to 0.04 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. Our fractional contribution to that fraction of a percent supposedly constituting an existential threat to us all.

Like the “unvaccinated.”

The “environmentally” apoplectic will nonetheless be outraged that I didn’t just buy a new second cat – and restore the truck’s exhaust system to factory-spec. No matter how much it cost me to do that. For the sake of restoring 97.5 percent over 97.3 percent (and nevermind whether the amount of gas my truck burns – and so emits – goes up by more than 0.3 percent).

That is to say, in order to be . . .  compliant with the regs and standards.

I decided not to be. Instead, I saved myself a significant amount of money by not buying a new second cat – and by not burning up as much gas. All of which I was able to do because my truck is old enough to allow it.

It is wrenchable.

One can work on it, outside of the box. Try this with a new vehicle and its electronics will sound the alarm. It may even send out the alarm – as many new cars are designed to communicate with the vehicle manufacturer (and the DMV) and via such means impose the necessary correction. I here make mention of the pending remote-control “kill” switch all new vehicles will be required to have beginning with the 2025 models.

Some new vehicles are already so compliance-sensitive that it is necessary to take them to the dealer to change out the battery or a dead headlight. It is all part of the Internet of Things.

And I want no part of it.

The old stuff helps with that.

. . .

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)

My eBook about car buying (new and used) is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.  If that fails, email me at and I will send you a copy directly!


Share Button


  1. “The one that amounts to 0.04 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. Our fractional contribution to that fraction of a percent supposedly constituting an existential threat to us all.”

    Humans increased atmospheric CO2 from about 0.03% in 1850 (280 ppm (estimated) to about 0,042% now (420 ppm).
    That increase caused some of the global warming after 1975.
    That post-1975 warming was also mild and harmless.

    In fact, facts and data support wanting MORE CO2 in the atmosphere, not less.

    C3 plants (90% of about 300,000 species) have optimum growth with CO2 in the 750 (0.075%) to 1500 ppm (0.15%) range. That has been proven by over 3,000 scientific studies, of which I have read about 200 since 1997. There are also many decades of positive greenhouse experiences with CO2 enrichment.

    Higher CO2 levels, at least to 0.075%. will support more human and animal life on our planet because many C3 photosynthesis plants, that all prefer more CO2, are used for human and animal food. Anyone who is anti-CO2 is anti-life.

  2. No matter how much it cost me to do that.

    Ever notice that anything reqired by law is always expensive? Catalytic converters are expensive devices. We’re told that’s because they contain platinum and other “rare” metals. There’s a massive black market for stolen cats because new cost so much. Not because scrap dealers buy them for the metal, but because less reputable garages will.

    When it comes time to replace the exhaust people resent having to pay for a new converter. If they were voluntary very few would install one, at least that’s the regulatory assumption. But as a general rule people don’t like trash in the streets, open sewers or smoky air. If there were a product that could eliminate smoke and smog at a reasonable price it wouldn’t take much to get people to buy it. The market would decide the price and the manufacturer would figure out how to meet it. Catalytic converters have been around for 50 years. You’d think there would be some progress, such as integrating into the muffler or other materials, or just a better way to deal with exhaust chemicals in general. But no, we’re stuck with 1970s tech and all the problems that will never be resolved.

    You want a drink? We have Victory gin. Good enough.

    • Hi RK< As I'm sure you know, a properly tuned engine with throttle body injection and a single cat (four cylinder engine) is extremely "clean" in terms of how little "dirty" exhaust is produced; i.e., the stuff that causes or worsens smog, etc. New cars have been "clean" since the mid-1990s. Everything since is more about compliance for its own sake.

      • Hi Eric.

        I hope you and your partner had a great Christmas and have a Happy New year. That new year is looking more and more “interesting”. I’m wondering how many western Europeans are not going to make it through the winter. The Darwin Awards will have a lot of competition this year. Finally, in regards to your truck; “How Dare You!!”… 🙂

        • Hi BJ,

          What appears to be shaping up is a needless disaster on par with WWI. Something that did not have to happen but which was made to happen by a combination of arrogance, stupidity and the mindless kinetic energy of events. I hope it can be avoided and the coming year is a better one for us all.

  3. Has anyone checked if other nations have catalytic converters on cars? Like Russia, do Russian trucks and cars have cats? Or how about anywhere in Africa, and do the locals remove them? Is there any enforcement to keep them on. (I doubt it)

    I have sincere doubts that outside of the crazy controlled west (Australia, Canada, USA, Europe) that governments are obsessed with pollution control.

    We like to think we are free, but that is not true, just look at how other people live without taxes and regulations. Many nations do not have property tax. Just think about that, you do not have to pay parasites the right to occupy some land.

    • That’s a danged good question(s): “Has anyone checked if other nations have catalytic converters on cars? […]
      Is there any enforcement to keep them on.”

      It’s likely, part-n-parcel, with that whole notion of the floating mass of plastic in the ocean.

      From what I’ve read, If there is such a thing, it’s not floating out from North America, but rather, from China.
      And, somehow, North Americans are responsible for it.

      Cats, are the same way? Idk.

      On my list of, ‘yet to read/watch’:

      ‘Manipulation! Four Ways The Mainstream Media Lied To Us In 2022’

      …I can’t hardly keep up with all the fakery going on around us ALL the time. …And, make sure the chickens got thawed water & good eats. It’s no wonder everything outside the bounds of ‘normalcy’ is head-spinning stuff my old friends who are glued to football, basketball & baseball just want to turn it ALL off.

      The, ‘Blue Pill’. … The, Easy Button. Etc… Just. Take. The. Vax.


    • Yukon – re property tax

      Two taxes that prove we are slaves: income tax and property tax.
      If slavery “reparations” are to be paid – I want my money back.

  4. That reminds me, I need to remove two catalytic converters from my Suburban. Too late to save it except for parts and a lawn ornament in the farmyard.

    You have to have a renewed faith in Trump and his brutally frank words spoken at the WEF in Davos.

    Could be just more baffling with BS.

    Klaus the Maus is speechless.

    Ivan the Terrible, the first Tsar, restricted the travel of peasants. You couldn’t go where you wanted. Of course, Ivan was insane.

    Now Biden the Terrible is on the same path to tyranny for you, you will be controlled… if you let it happen.

  5. Good deal, Eric! You did what you did the very sensible way. Should still have enough back pressure so as not to burn a valve, while increasing performance and mileage! The only “pollution” I’d care about is noise pollution, but it sounds like you have taken care of that as well. Good job!

  6. Eric:

    Excellent point you raise!

    I’ve never considered (nor have I heard anybody beside you consider) the environmental cost of reducing emissions like you’ve done in this article. I think most assume the “cleaner” the exhaust becomes the better things are overall.

    If your modification truly causes emissions to be only .2% “dirtier,” but reduces fuel usage by say 10% (thereby causing 10% less of the “dirty” 2.5% of the exhaust), you truly have an environmentally cleaner vehicle, not to mention the environmental savings of not having to drill, extract, refine and transport the fuel you’re not using, as well as not having to manufacture, transport and install a second cat.

    I’d love to see a detailed, scientific study on your hypothesis.

    • Mister,
      You won’t see it. That’s the MO of the Psychopaths In Charge. If a study does not verify the propaganda, it’s not done, or at least stopped in its tracks, and under no circumstances published. If we learned anything from the Covid psyop, it’s that if information not “approved” is produced, it’s censored.

  7. “By unplugging my truck’s exhaust, I materially increased its efficiency. Fuel economy went up noticeably, by about 2 MPG.”

    And you’re probably enjoying that nostalgic, “rice ricer,” sound track, too. 🙂

  8. I thought Virginia required annual ‘safety inspections’ to get the stupid sticker? Will it escape the notice of the goosesteppin’ parasites?

    • The “safety inspection” only requires visual confirmation of the presence of a CAT, and does not even specify “how many” any given vehicle has or had, to begin with. “Emissions Testing”, which is required prior to vehicle registration (VA Safety Inspections are independent of registration & plates) will be the death of many more perfectly usable automobiles in the near future.
      As a Licensed VA State Inspector, I suspect than many here will already see me as nothing more than your afforementioned “goosesteppin’ paarasite”. For those who know me personally, they know that nothing could be farther from the truth. While there are some elements of the VA Safety Inspection that I myself don’t particularly like, even those things were relegated (and legislated) into cars long before the Inspection Program even addressed or included them.
      Considering the absolute wrecks and garbage I have personally seen driving un-restricted on the roads across this entire nation, I feel relatively good about my chances of surviving on the roads in Virginia. This is especially relevant to the time I myself spend on a motorcycle 2/3 of the year.
      Fortunately for most of us here in rural VA, the “mandatory emissions testing” in VA has been limited to the counties surrounding DC, and Norfolk, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, the VA General Assembly in Richmond is unlikely to let it stay that way for much longer. Al I can tell people is “STOP VOTING BLUE!”

    • Hi Mike,

      Yep – but I haven’t taken my truck to be inspected in years. I inspect it. And I don’t have to pay myself a cent to do it! I also have Farm tags on my truck – which isn’t illegitimate (I hate using that word in any context involving government’s edicts) because I do run a small farm. Anyhow, the point is that Farm-tagged vehicles are exempt from dey inspections. And if I can make it another few years, the truck will be eligible for Antique tags, also exempt from “safety” inspection!

    • Idk how strick Virginia is compared to Jerzy, but here, I had a commercial 5th Gen Ram Rebel, replaced the primary cats with soda can sized High flows, and they didn’t blink an eye (All AFE, Shorties/Y-pipe/Catback)

      Sounded like the neighbors harley’s too, no wonder no one cared about the cold starts

  9. Forget to mention this to you the other day, Eric. If You are not aware, in many Ford vehicles, there are now 2 front wiper motors, 1 per wiper blade. They are therefore NOT linked together mechanically, nor do they have respective mechanical “parking” components. The Body Control Module synchronizes them while running, and parks them. When they get out of alignment from snow, ice, or foreign objects, they have to be re-synchronized using a scanner that controls the Body Module functions. This is also a page-long operation with the warnings that improper set-up will cause serious bodily injury, to YOU!
    I discovered this little “treat” after recently replacing the battery in a 2017 Ford Escape. The Front Wipers were henceforth immobilized. In the “reset” instructions, is a paragraph explaining that the module program intentionally immobilizes the front wipers anytime the battery is disconnected. There did not appear to be any options, at least in the Ford documents, for a retention of “wiper programming” prior to battery removal.

    My customer was not a bit surprised, considering everything else he had to have “re-programmed” over the last 5 years. He was not even upset at this point, just grateful to have me replace the battery and get his car back on the road, INSTEAD OF the “stealer-ship”.
    I printed him a copy of the “wiper re-program” procedure and circled the step requiring the Ford Body Module Scanner, so he could understand what he was going to have to pay them to do to have operational windshield wipers again.
    I have excellent customers who are patient and rational individuals. Its a crying shame they will soon no longer have anything to drive other than this over-nannied, self-disabling garbage the auto industry is shitting out.

    • Hi gtc,
      In the case of the wiper blade being misaligned could you just pop off the arm and align it mechanically, or is the arm somehow permanently attached so you can’t even do that?

      • When the key is of, either wiper blade can be moved freely & independently by hand to any position. It has No mechanical apparatus to align. All alignment and synchronized operation is done by the Body Control Module with each of the 2 motors.

        • Thanks for the info gtc, the term “Body Control Module” sounds like some creepy Orwellian device our overlords want to implant in all of us.

    • ‘the module program intentionally immobilizes the front wipers anytime the battery is disconnected.’ — gtc

      Why in the HELL is this behavior designed into the module? (serious question)

      If one has to replace a dead battery in a rain or snow storm, that’s not even s-a-a-a-a-a-f-e.

      The more I read about the electronic nannying designed into present-day vehicles, the more appalled I get.

      Having the wipers intentionally crap out when the battery’s replaced sounds like a punishment. Maybe Ford could embed a metallic ring in the steering wheel to deliver a mild electric shock as well, as Alexa barks, ‘On your knees, prole! Or next time I’ll jolt your testicles!’

      As far as countering this bloody-mindedness, I’d be tempted to remove the motorcycle battery and clip it to the Ford’s battery cables before removing them, thus keeping a module-preserving 12 volts applied during the hot swap.

      • Ask FORD. And expect a completely irrational answer, as well. It’s intentional Non-Servicability. And, yes, punishment for touching anything without their “permission”.

        Why 2 Wiper Motors and No Linkage? The worst anyone can do to a “normal” wiper system is bend a wiper arm or pop loose a link arm. MONEY, spend More, Charge More.

      • Hi Jim,
        Whenever I have to replace the battery in one of my cars I always clip a 12 volt battery (spare gelcell from my alarm system) to the leads to avoid losing the presets on the radio, resetting the clock, etc.

  10. Eric,
    We are one solar flare away from making your 02 Nissan, your Firebird, and my 97 Tacoma, among the only vehicles that might still work. Or be made to work again.
    My point being, that the “new world order” is wholly dependent upon a system that is inherently fragile, and at the mercy of God.

    • Hi John.

      Gods mercy can not rob justice… Or so I’m told. If you are familiar with whats known as the Carrington event, you can imagine the chaos and havoc such would inflict on the modern world. It could very well lead to the collapse of modern civilization. It would take generations to rebuild the power grid, the internet and all of the related infrastructure. Especially since we’ve shipped most of our manufacturing over to China and other such.

      • Bj,
        I am familiar with the Carrington event, which is one source of my comment.
        I suspect that in such event the internet would be way down the list. We can live without it. I have for over half my life. It’s nice, but not a nutritional requirement. Though no doubt millions would die, perhaps including me. But then again, billions may yet die from the “vaccines”. Not me, of course.
        China would be equally impacted. We would essentially have to start from near scratch. While our mechanical technology is quite up to the task, the means of controlling that tech is now universally digital.
        Goes to my adage that if a new idea doesn’t work, go back to when things did work.
        A thing unfamiliar in modern culture. If it doesn’t work, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

  11. Very cool. Although it makes me nervous every time you start the engine with the garage door closed. Also like the photos and video. Hope Uncle doesn’t see it and decide to conduct a pre dawn raid!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here