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I have a 2004 Infiniti G35 and the bank 2 catalytic converter has triggered the check engine light. If I replace it with a universal Magnaflow catalytic converter (approximately $100) will the check engine light come back on? According to the mechanic who diagnosed it, the existing cat is CA compliant. The universal cat is 49 state compliant, no CA. I live in CO. Also, Magnaflow has an exact cat replacement (approximately $600) which is also only 49 state compliant. I asked around a few mechanics and didn't get a good answer. I just don't wanna replace it and still have the check engine light on, since that will automatically fail the emissions in CO.

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What's your mileage? – Mark Johnson Jul 9 '13 at 22:05
Junk/scrap yards, Craigslist, and make/model specific online forums are a great way to find slightly used parts. – MooseLucifer Feb 16 at 23:06
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Newer cars (1996 and later) have additional catalyst agents than the old cars had. $100 sounds like one of the old car cats. $500-1000 is more in the ballpark where the newer cats are typically found. Will an old cat keep your light off? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Is it a legal replacement, no, not from what I remember of the federal code.

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According to Magnaflow description and auto stores the universal one ($100) works with my 2004, but will turn off the light? – slybloty Jul 9 '13 at 13:11
@slybloty It will if it makes the O2 sensors report what the Powertrain Controller wants to see. – Mark Johnson Jul 9 '13 at 22:03

What's the return policy? If it doesn't work, can you get a refund? If so, you might give it a shot, if you're not paying anybody to put it on. If you are, shop around for the cheapest estimate where they'll guarantee the repair. You don't want to pay for labor to find out the cheap cat doesn't work. A factory part should be guaranteed to work, but that will probably give you sticker shock unless you can get it wholesale.

Before you start messing with replacing the cat, are you sure your O2 sensors are good? Did the mechanic scope them? If it was me doing driveway diagnostics, I'd be tempted to swap O2 sensors between banks and make sure the fault didn't hop to the other bank.

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In my experience, yes. Unfortunately, these cheaper alternative catalytic converters are often not efficient enough for the modern systems in cars.

One of the important elements for catalyst efficiency is platinum - that is why good ones are often expensive.

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