Replacement Catalytic Converters

I have a check engine light on a 1996 Ford Ranger 4 cyl 2.3l with 104,000 miles. Today I heard what I thought was a small exhaust leak and had a muffler
shop check for leaks and the Catalytic Converter has a small split which explains the Oxygen sensor DTC. I know very little about catalytic converters but after looking on the internet there are many different options. I am thinking a direct replacement may be the way to go but would like opinions on the so-called universal replacements which require welding to install. The local muffler shop gave me a price of 198.00 dollars plus tax. I didn't ask for details as I wasn't sure what to ask. He said it came with what appears to be the standard 5 year 50k mile warranty. Should I replace the Oxygen sensor or sensors. All opinions appreciated.
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I have only anecdotal information to work with.. but I will forge ahead, anyway.....
The aftermarket offers many replacement catalytic convertors... While these may pass a visual inspection, they may not pass a tailpipe inspection... While an OEM convertor may be spendy, I can't be sure that it is a bad investment....
I'm not saying don't buy an aftermarket piece.... What I'm saying is you shouldn't be surprised if things don't go as planned....

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wrote:

I have used a couple of aftermarket generic cats from the muffler shops over the years. Seems the longest one lasted was only a couple of years before they would again fail inspection. I have used the Walker and Arvin brands direct replacements with results as good as OEM. They are available in the aftermarket. Both brands are suppliers to the manufacturers. There are a couple of other suppliers. As expected they are not cheap but, less than the units supplied by the manufacturer. As I recall, their warranty is pretty decent but, I have never needed it.
Lugnut
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Glad to hear about Walker as I ordered a Walker direct replacement today. It's going to cost about 85 dollars more than a generic which will have to be custom fitted. Lowest price on certain parts may not be very economical. The problem is knowing which parts to not look for the best price on. Thanks for the reply.
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Is welding the split shut an option? I mean, you might want to look around to see if you can find anyone who will do that (or DIY). I mean, it's working correctly except for the leak, right?
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On Tue, 18 Mar 2008 12:52:01 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

A) The catalytic case is probably some exotic stainless alloy to take the high heat - it would have to be TIG welded with the right patch metal, shielding gas and filler wire. Doable, but not for a DIYer.
B) With thin sheet-metal that has been eroded even thinner, it's difficult to weld up one hole without creating three or four new ones. Been there, Done that...
C) And it would be a real pistol to weld that crack closed with the cat upside down and attached to the car. You would have to remove the converter, prop it flat on the welding table, do the repairs, cobble up a test fixture to pressure test it for leaks, fix the leaks, then mount it on the car again....
If you're going through all that trouble on a repair that may or may not work, and for an unknown duration of life left in the converter... It makes much more sense to just cut out the old converter, weld in a new one, and be done with it.
--<< Bruce >>--
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I've used nothing but after market cats (execpt when the car is under warranty,1, 2 , 3, 4 year old Crown Vics, guess that doesn't say much for OEM Fords) and have never had a problem. The ones on my s10 would last 4 years but that thing idled rich all time time so it probably ruined it over that amount of time. You might try a different shop cause 198 sounds a little high unless its hard to get to or something. I found out that Meineke is almost double the price of most places. Depending on the car I expect to pay about $140 installed for a high flow, a little less for a normal one. As for the O2, if its a code for the *rear* sensor the new cat will most likely fix it.

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