Vibe with ODB2 Code

Hi All,
I have a 2004 Vibe, base model that all of a sudden started sputtering last night flashing SES light and quit. It restarted and smoothed out after
a while and when I got home I checked the codes, showing P0420 which is a generic code "Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)". Any more info or ideas as to what this could be? This has been a very trouble-free car until now (76,000 kms).
Thanks.. Snoopy
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Is your code reader just a reader or can you look for secondary codes. Sounds like it got momentary flooded with fuel. Check O2 sensors. Reset codes and wait for another failure.....

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Hi..
It' an Equus 3100 Code Reader, can read secondary codes. I reset it and after a few minutes it shows it "pending". That is the only code it shows. I could understand the flooded with fuel thing as it was spitting and sputtering, had the pedal to the floor to get out of traffic on the highway. Also, was very wet here last night with big puddles and I went through one a while before this happened. I know I read a procedure to check the O2 sensors but do you think I could find it?? Not a chance. Would you be able to point me to that please.
Many Thanks.. Steve

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When it happened to me, my reader can read multiple codes but I only had the one. I had done just what you suggested to this gentleman but my code eventually came back.

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A agree the catalyst could be bad but that won't cause rough engine performance. It could be a result of poor engine performance. O2 sensors should be checked. If the tester can graph them it is a way of checking. For information on how they work read here: http://www.autotap.com/articles/Catalytic_Converters_and_O2_Sensors.html and here http://www.autotap.com/articles/Understanding_Oxygen_Sensors.html

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Hi All,
Thanks for the replies, helps me quite a bit. I took the car to the dealer today and on the way, put the scanner on and it showed a P0420 code. When the dealer scanned it, nothing showed, not even in the history!. He even showed it to me..weird. Has anyone ever had a problem with the scanner I have..3100 Equus? The car drives fine but that sudden missing and engine shutting right down still concerns me. Is there a better scantool I can get or what do you guys/gals think of the AutoTap system with my laptop? Is it worth it?
Again, thanks for the replies and ideas, MUCH appreciated and keep them coming if you can.
Steve

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Going by what you've written, I would say it sounds like you accidentally had your scan tool actually CLEAR the codes. That may be why the dealer found nothing because you wiped it. Scanners should read and optionally clear, but the clear process should be very deliberate. As to Autotap. Looks like a great product but I couldn't justify the cost vs. how I would actually use it. I started looking at it years ago and kept telling myself I needed it. Then the analytical side of me kicked in and said, no I don't. I think if you are a pro mechanic, or even can do most work on your own vehicles, or if you are a serious tuner/racer, then Autotap type stuff is THE way to go. If not, a unit that can read codes (primary and pending) and clear them for a good price is the way to go. I bought one at Walmart for like $70 I think. It's the Innova 3030 (might say something different on packaging but the unit is that). Do a Google for it see if it meets your needs.
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Hi.
I forgot to mention that after I got the car back, I plugged my scanner into it and the code P0420 was there right away. Kinda makes you go Hmmmmm doesn't it. I showed the mechanic, still no code on his. The scantool I'm using is an Innova 3100 made my Equus. I'll drive it for a bit and see if it sets a hard light, light isn't on as of yet.
Steve
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Yes, that does make you go hmmm.
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Not long ago I had a P0430 on my LS1 engine. Same code but for bank 2. Turned out to actually be a failed catalyst. It was replaced under warranty, as the warranty on that is much longer than the main 36 monts/36K miles. Replaced a about 2 - 3 months ago and no more SES, which pretty much proves that the catalyst was the problem.
That being said, there are things that can kill a catalyst. Hopefully those things generate codes of their own but, not always. I still wonder if some Sta-bil I used caused my problem. I followed the directions for mix. Mixed it in a half full tank then filled on top of it etc. And the product is said to be safe for emissions systems. Yet.... I still wonder.

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Hi All ..
Further to my 2004 Vibe giving the P0420 code, it finally set hard so I took it back to the dealer and it actually IS the catalytic converter. This is all under warranty. Seems they are doing a survey of what brand of gasoline we use as well and there seems to be some supporting data that PetroCan gas (in Canada) is the one people are using that have premature catalytic converter failures. I should also mention the dealer didn't charge me for the first time when they couldn't see the code. New converter is coming from the US and apparently this is happening more often now although he said I'm the first Vibe in the area to have this happen. Thanks for all your input and I'll keep posted any developments.
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