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#2610452 - 04/26/12 01:38 PM Cleaning Catalytic Converters?
Loobed Offline


Registered: 07/20/07
Posts: 3742
Loc: Northern California, USA


I was reading somewhere (?) that it is possible to clean a catalytic converter (cat) by getting it hot enough to boil off any metallic contaminants. Lead is not a problem because there isn't any lead in gasoline. Zinc and Phosphorus contaminants are what I would like to remove. A modern cat's running temperature is 1200 to 1600 *F. Phosphorus boils at under 600*F, and Zinc boils at under 1700*F. Both of those boiling points are for the substance in their elemental state; In compound form (ZDDP) them may have a higher boiling point.

Does anyone know what I could do, or maybe add to gasoline, to raise the temperature of the cats, temporarily, above 1700*F? I know running the engine hard under load can do it, but I don't have an area (open highway) available where I can do that. I read that increased amounts of fuel in the exhaust can cause the cats to get very hot (and melt). I was wondering if I could set up a propane torch, not lit, near my smog air pump inlet, and then turn on the air pump manually to pump unburnt propane into the exhaust system and into the cats? Propane seems like the cleanest fuel to add to the exhaust. will Acetone, MEK, Toluene, or some other chemical added to the gasoline make the cats run hotter?
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#2610454 - 04/26/12 01:41 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
OVERKILL Online   content


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 26376
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Significantly retarding the timing will do it.
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#2610459 - 04/26/12 01:46 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
ahoier Offline


Registered: 02/03/10
Posts: 1720
Loc: Cocoa, FL
What are you trying to achieve....? I've heard great stuff about the CRC product "Guaranteed to Pass" apparantly it's got a high concentration of PEA to burn up and clean anything that should be cleaned, resulting in better emissions.....or would that be "lower" emissions...? :P

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#2610472 - 04/26/12 01:58 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: ahoier]
Loobed Offline


Registered: 07/20/07
Posts: 3742
Loc: Northern California, USA
Originally Posted By: ahoier
What are you trying to achieve....? I've heard great stuff about the CRC product "Guaranteed to Pass" apparantly it's got a high concentration of PEA to burn up and clean anything that should be cleaned, resulting in better emissions.....or would that be "lower" emissions...? :P


I am trying to boil off any metalic crud like ZDDP on/in the cats. PEA is a detergent that works on carbon. It cleans the injectors, valves and rings. PEA does not clean the cats (AFAIK).

OVERKILL, I can't retard the timing, my truck is a 2001 with a crank censored computer controlled ignition.
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#2610477 - 04/26/12 02:07 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 5070
Loc: MA
Lacquer thinner. Laundry detergent bath.

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#2610545 - 04/26/12 03:08 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
CourierDriver Offline


Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 3117
Loc: Tennessee
Now it appears that some of us have way to much time on our hands when doing metallurgy. at a plus 1700 degrees u might just find a wad of melted metal for cc, imho. I could be wrong, it has happened before, I think.


Edited by CourierDriver (04/26/12 03:10 PM)
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#2610549 - 04/26/12 03:15 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
ARB1977 Offline


Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 4498
Loc: North Texas
Don't want to run it too long under load. When I moved 1500 miles away I towed and ran my Tacoma in third gear the whole way. By the time I got to Texas I melted an exhaust rubber hanger, lol. My cats should be nice and clean.
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#2610571 - 04/26/12 03:39 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33776
Loc: New Jersey
Ever think about what temperature Pt, Pd, Ir, Rh boil at?

Might just knock them off too...

The best you can do without a lot of (nasty) chloride chemistry is to burn off the sulfides.

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#2610604 - 04/26/12 04:17 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
dailydriver Offline


Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 7065
Loc: Bucks County, Pa.
Originally Posted By: Loobed
OVERKILL, I can't retard the timing, my truck is a 2001 with a crank censored computer controlled ignition.


You actually could with a hand held tuner, BUT, this would have a cost at least approaching (if not more than, depending on your vehicle) a set of brand spanking new Cali-spec catcons! crzy
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#2610633 - 04/26/12 04:47 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: dailydriver]
antiqueshell Offline


Registered: 03/02/12
Posts: 4220
Loc: chicago, Illinois
Actually you can pretty easily change the timing by disconnecting the MAF sensor and physically adjusting the distributor body to retard timing.

Actually with my car if you simply disconnect the MAF the car will run in open loop mode and this causes it to run rich..just enough to heat the cats up above normal and burn off contaminates. Maybe disconnect the MAF drive it this way for few hours and then reconnect. You can actually smell the cat running hot with the open loop mode in effect.

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#2610717 - 04/26/12 06:39 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: antiqueshell]
TFB1 Offline


Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 2622
Loc: VA
Originally Posted By: antiqueshell
Actually you can pretty easily change the timing by disconnecting the MAF sensor and physically adjusting the distributor body to retard timing.



That ain't happnin', because few vehicles of the last 15 years even have a distributor... If they are crank triggered as the OP mentioned his is, moving the distributor only changes the position of the cap tower in relation to the rotor... Makes no change in timing at all...

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#2610744 - 04/26/12 07:06 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: TFB1]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 6899
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: TFB1
Originally Posted By: antiqueshell
Actually you can pretty easily change the timing by disconnecting the MAF sensor and physically adjusting the distributor body to retard timing.



That ain't happnin', because few vehicles of the last 15 years even have a distributor... If they are crank triggered as the OP mentioned his is, moving the distributor only changes the position of the cap tower in relation to the rotor... Makes no change in timing at all...

Yes, a GM 5.3 is a distributorless ignition, it has one ignition coil per cylinder.

Reprogramming the computer would be the only way to retard timing.


Anyway, I saw a product at Pep Boys that was called "Catacleen" and it said it was to cure catalytic converters. I don't know if it actually works.
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#2612237 - 04/28/12 03:08 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
There is not much we can do to clean cats. Partially, because there are so many ways they can be faulty or restricted.
You could try a cat clean product, but don't expect miracles.

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#2612295 - 04/28/12 04:47 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: mechtech2]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 5070
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: mechtech2
There is not much we can do to clean cats. Partially, because there are so many ways they can be faulty or restricted.
You could try a cat clean product, but don't expect miracles.


You dissin my link? spank
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#2612328 - 04/28/12 05:26 PM Re: Cleaning Catalytic Converters? [Re: Loobed]
GMBoy Offline


Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 6656
Loc: Texas
What symptoms or codes are making you want to "clean" you cat. converters??? This is not a maintainable or cleanable part. As long as your car is running correctly and no damage is done - you do nothing. If it has been damaged - you replace it.

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