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Unread 04-26-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
HenryKrinkle
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Replacing catalytic converter yourself=illegal?

I just read a post claiming that working on/replacing your own cat. is illegal. Person claims the work needs to be done by a shop and documented. Is there any truth to this. I can see how eliminating the cat. could be illegal, but simply replacing it yourself? That sounds kind of nuts...

Anybody know??

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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:08 PM   #2
robsjeepxj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whammy
i have gotten pulled over with no cat. i dont have emissions and the cop didnt mention anything about being a federal law. Does your lawn mower have a cat on it?
Whether a local cop is familiar with the Federal side of it will be hit-or-miss (it's not as if they don't have enough local and state crap to keep track of. Legislators think they need to keep passing new regs to justify their getting paid.

(The simpler solution is to stop paying the fools, methinks...)

However, I believe you'll find it in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (I don't have my index handy, or I'd give you more.) It's not under FMVSS, it's under EPA regs - which is why it's so goofy to track down.

However, road vehicles made since the early 1970's - 1971, 1972? - are required to have catalytic converters and are required to maintain the presence of the catalyst bed as long as they're registered and operated on public roadways. Period.

Punching out or removing the cat is illegal. Talking about it is illegal - and if you get a Federal attorney who wants to be difficult, it's easier for them to make the "conspiracy" charge (just talking about it) stick than anything else. There are loads of people in Federal lockup that are there on conspiracy charges - while this isn't something that's likely to get you locked up, Federal fines aren't anything to sneeze at, either (an example would be running a "footwarmer" - a linear power amplifier - on your Citizen's Band radio. Those radios are limited to five Watts output - go to six, and you're subject to being fined. The fine typically starts up around $100K.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whammy
i have gotten pulled over with no cat. i dont have emissions and the cop didnt mention anything about being a federal law. Does your lawn mower have a cat on it?
The EPA will soon be requiring emmissions devices on lawn equipment, so yes, your new lawnmower will likely have a cat.

Here's the Federal law, straight from te code book.
Quote:
Originally Posted by the man
Violations.-Any person who violates sections 203(a)(1), 203(a)(4), or 203(a)(5) or any
manufacturer or dealer who violates section 203(a)(3)(A) shall be subject to a civil penalty of
not more than $25,000. Any person other than a manufacture or dealer who violates section
203(a)(3)(A) or any person who violates section 203(a)(3)(B) shall be subject to a civil penalty
of not more than $2,500. Any such violation with respect to paragraph (1), (3)(A) , or (4) of
section 203(a) shall constitute a separate offense with respect to each motor vehicle or motor
vehicle engine. Any such violation with respect to section 203(a)(3)(B) shall constitute a
separate offense with respect to each part or component. Any person who violates section
203(a)(2) shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 per day of violation.
_________
So take it off, and find that one state trooper having a bad day and get fined 2500 bucks.

Also, to the OP, You've got an OBDII ecu, taking the cat off will freak it unless you O2 stim it, in which case you could have just bought a cat and been done with it.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:08 PM   #3
Mighty Thor
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If you did the job right, how would anyone know you did it, or that it was done at all? The answer to your question is, Depends. There is no federal law that makes working on or changing your vehicle illegal. You can remove any or all parts and do with them what ever you want. There is no federal law with regard to driving a modified vehicle on or off the road. In your State, county or city there may be lots of different rules on what you can do with a vehicle once it has been modified. California is regarded as having the most restrictive rules. Alaska may have the least restrictions. It is not likely that you are breaking the law by fixing your own vehicle, but then again, in Oregon it is supposedly illegal to pump gas into your own car at a gas station.

And with regard to the post above, the likely hood of ever running into a federal law enforcement officer giving out traffic tickets for no catalytic converter is about the same as getting hit with a snow ball in Miami. Note that the Penalty Listed above is a CIVIL penalty, not criminal. the Cops are not involved in civil cases. Your question was about fixing the Cat, not removing it and then driving on the public roads.

Last edited by Mighty Thor; 04-26-2010 at 10:19 PM..
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:13 PM   #4
1990JEEPXJ
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i dont see how replacing it yourself could be illegal. if that were the case, they wouldnt sell them. only places that could install them would be able to sell them
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Yea, and I thought it was one of the 11 Commandments:
11) Thou shalt love, cherish, and honor till death, thine square headlights above all other earthy things sayith the Lord.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:23 PM   #5
robsjeepxj
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Catalytic Converter Laws
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:24 PM   #6
nrpalmer32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mighty Thor View Post
...but then again, in Oregon it is supposedly illegal to pump gas into your own car at a gas station....
It actually is, I like to take my gas cap off myself because the gas guys always watch what you are doing. But it is nice when it is raining to just sit in the car. It really sucks though when I go up to WaRshington and sit there at the pump looking like and idiot while I am waiting for someone. Then usually about 5 minutes later I realize that I have to pump it myself.

On the whole cat thing though, I am pretty sure you can replace it on your own. From what I've been told is that you can't alter the location, or actual internals of the cat. So you can buy a performance on and install/replace but you can't take yours and and use the "hammer/pipe method" to make it "hi flow".
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:35 PM   #7
Mighty Thor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robsjeepxj View Post
Well, not to quibble, but that site link is not a reference to actual laws, and EPA regs are not enforced criminally either.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:45 PM   #8
robsjeepxj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mighty Thor View Post
Well, not to quibble, but that site link is not a reference to actual laws, and EPA regs are not enforced criminally either.
What do you mean of course they are actual laws? The fact that it states the the EPA requires it means it a law and yes EPA regs are enforced criminally everyday, that's just silly. If you got caught you will be prosecuted believe me. Secondly if you fail inspection for a bad or missing cat they will not pass you unless it was fixed by qualified mechanic and you can prove it in writing.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:53 PM   #9
robsjeepxj
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See pages 4 and 7
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/factshts/catcvrts.pdf
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:55 PM   #10
Mighty Thor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robsjeepxj View Post
What do you mean of course they are actual laws? The fact that it states the the EPA requires it means it a law and yes EPA regs are enforced criminally everyday, that's just silly. If you got caught you will be prosecuted believe me. Secondly if you fail inspection for a bad or missing cat they will not pass you unless it was fixed by qualified mechanic and you an prove it in writing.
Sorry bud, but I can't fail an inspection cause we don't have them. That site is not the EPA site and it does not set forth the text of the Regs, and there is a difference between criminal laws and things like epa regs that are enforced if at all buy civil law suites. that is not to say that a business cannot end up paying money if it looses a civil law suit, but we are talking about an individual who wants to fix his own vehicle here. EPA regs do not apply to him. If you think otherwise I would welcome your citation to the specific CFR that you believe applies. I could always be wrong, but I don't think so this time.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robsjeepxj View Post
they will not pass you unless it was fixed by qualified mechanic and you can prove it in writing.
proof? i see no reason why you have to prove it was done by a qualified mechanic. you have a cat, you have a cat. you pass emissions, who cares how the cat got there? you think if you pass smog after installing a cat yourself they are make you prove a mechanic did it, thus failing inspection? doubt it
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Dillard View Post
Yea, and I thought it was one of the 11 Commandments:
11) Thou shalt love, cherish, and honor till death, thine square headlights above all other earthy things sayith the Lord.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 11:03 PM   #12
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Do you both have trouble reading it's right there in black and white how much clearer can it be. The law speaks for itself and it's blatantly clear. You must have a legitimate reason for needing to change it and it must be legally documented. If your having a hard time admitting that your probably wrong on this one that's fine but it doesn't change anything, the law is still the same. Sorry man.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 11:18 PM   #13
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The CA website says for OBD2 vehicles you must use either the converter from the dealer, or choose one from the list on the site that is approved for your vehicle. It does not say that you must have it installed by a shop. It is illegal to remove the converter and replace it with a pipe, but does not say, unless I missed it somewhere, that you cannot take it off and replace it yourself. Phil
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Unread 04-26-2010, 11:20 PM   #14
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x10 on it being legal to replace yourself. just replace it right.

the key to most vehicle laws is it generally says "operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway that ________" but as long as you have a cat before you operate it again then you should be in the clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mighty Thor View Post
It is not likely that you are breaking the law by fixing your own vehicle, but then again, in Oregon it is supposedly illegal to pump gas into your own car at a gas station.
Yea, sorta. Hehe. Motorcyclists are allowed to assist in fueling but us Jeepers are relegated to letting the pump attendant do it.

It gives our ex-cons something to do besides break into houses.

I do always have to stop them from washing the windshield though. They don't seem to understand that the dirt is a structural component.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 11:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robsjeepxj View Post
Do you both have trouble reading it's right there in black and white how much clearer can it be. The law speaks for itself and it's blatantly clear. You must have a legitimate reason for needing to change it and it must be legally documented. If your having a hard time admitting that your probably wrong on this one that's fine but it doesn't change anything, the law is still the same. Sorry man.
My bad, there are scores of EPA agents roaming the neighborhoods of America, looking for shadetree mechanics who may also be eco-terrorists. Once they find them the EPA burst in wearing their black camo gear and they seize all of the Simple Orange they can find so that they can clean up the mess left by the neophyte who would dare to try to work on his own machine. After whisking the evil jeep owner off to the Gulag, they prepare for an inquisition type interrogation so that they can identify exactly which Pep Boys may have assisted the evil offender.

If folks can't understand the difference between criminal laws and regulations that are enforced civilly against regulated businesses I can't help them much. Class is dismissed
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