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How to install a Universal Fit catalytic converter

The steps below describe how to install a universal fit catalytic converter and apply to the most common bolt-on type design, where the catalytic converter is located on the underside of the vehicle.

The parts your need, and their installation process, may differ from vehicle to vehicle. The bolt-on instructions and the specific steps to follow to replace your universal fit catalytic converter may vary as well. It is always best to follow the instructions provided with your universal catalytic converter.

Here is the equipment and tools you need to install a Universal Fit catalytic converter:

  • Set of wrenches
  • Jack and its jack stand
  • Penetrating oil
  • Set of ratchets, sockets, ratchet extensions, and joints
  • Safety glasses and work gloves

Step 1: Let the exhaust cool down. To reduce the risk of painful burns on a hot catalytic converter, give your vehicle, and its exhaust system, the opportunity to adequately cool down before working on it.

Step 2: Raise your vehicle. Follow the vehicle’s manufacturer recommended instructions and secure it on jack stands. Ensure you raise the vehicle high enough to have the space necessary for working under the vehicle.  Set the parking brake and use wood blocks or stoppers under the tires to prevent the vehicle from rolling.

Step 3: Locate the universal fit catalytic converter. It is located on the underside of the vehicle, typically towards the front half of the vehicle, usually behind the exhaust manifold. Some vehicles have multiple catalytic converters: note which bank catalytic converter needs to be replaced.

Step 4: Remove the oxygen sensors. If required, remove any oxygen sensor that may be mounted directly in or near the direct fit catalytic converter. If no oxygen sensor is mounted in the catalytic converter, or need be removed, proceed to step 4.

Step 5: Spray penetrating oil. Spray penetrating oil on the exhaust flanges and hardware. Because of their location on the underside of the vehicle and exposure to the elements, exhaust nuts and bolts are especially prone to rust and seizing. Spraying with penetrating oil will allow nuts and bolts to break free more easily and help avoid stripped nuts or bolts. Allow the penetrating oil to soak for a few minutes. 

Step 6: Prepare your tools. Identify what size sockets or wrenches are required to remove the universal fit catalytic converter flange nuts or bolts.  Sometimes various extensions or flex joints, or a ratchet and socket on one side, and a wrench on the other side are required for removal.  Take care to make sure the tools are properly in place before attempting to torque the hardware loose. Exhaust hardware is especially prone to rust and therefore extra care must be taken not to round off or strip any nuts and bolts. Remove the hardware and the catalytic converter should come free.

Step 7: Replace the catalytic converter. Follow the arrow that indicates the specific direction of the exhaust flow.  Replace the universal fit catalytic converter with the new one. Replace any exhaust flange gaskets to prevent exhaust leaks.

Step 8: Finish the installation. Follow the steps 1-5, in reverse of the removal procedure.

 

How to install a Direct Fit catalytic converter

The steps below describe how to install a direct fit catalytic converter and apply to a catalytic converter design that is built into the exhaust manifold. Such a design bolts directly to the exhaust heads and leads down into the exhaust system. These direct fit catalytic converters are very common, and in many instances can be installed using a basic set of hand tools.

Here is the equipment and tools you need to install a Direct Fit catalytic converter:

  • Set of wrenches
  • Jack and its jack stand
  • Penetrating oil
  • Set of ratchets, sockets, ratchet extensions, and joints
  • Safety glasses and work gloves

Step 1: Allow the vehicle’s exhaust to cool down. If your vehicle hasn’t had a chance to cool, its exhaust system can still be quite hot and increase the risk of painful burns. So, give your vehicle the opportunity to adequately cool down before working on it.

Step 2: Locate the direct fit catalytic converter. For vehicles that utilize catalytic converters that are built into the exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters are located under the hood, bolted directly to the engine cylinder heads on a V6 or V8 engine.

Step 3: Remove obstructions. Remove any covers, wiring, cables, or intake pipes that may be in the way of accessing the exhaust manifold. Also remove any oxygen sensors that may be mounted in the manifold.

Step 4: Spray penetrating oil. Spray with penetrating oil any exhaust manifold nuts or bolts and allow them to soak for a few minutes.  Remember to spray the hardware at the head, as well as the hardware at the bottom flange leading down to the rest of the exhaust.

Step 5: Raise the vehicle. Depending on your vehicle’s design, the bottom bolts may only be reached by accessing underneath the vehicle.  In these instances, you need to raise the vehicle, and secure it on jack stands to access this hardware.

Step 6: Identify the tools needed. Once the vehicle is raised and secure, identify what size tools are required, and loosen the exhaust manifold hardware at both at the flanges and the head. Ensure that the tools are properly seated before attempting to loosen the nuts or bolts to avoid stripping or rounding off any hardware.  Once all the hardware has been removed the manifold should come loose.

Step 7: Replace the direct fit catalytic converter.  Replace with the new catalytic converter. Replace any manifold and exhaust gaskets to prevent exhaust leaks or engine performance issues.

Step 8Finish the installation. Finish installing the new direct fit catalytic converter using the reverse steps of the removal procedure.

Ready To Replace Your Catalytic Converter?

For the best performance and a longer product life, we recommend maintaining your engine and your catalytic converter on a regular basis. Shop our premium brands including Magnaflow, Bosal, Walker, and more, at unbeatable prices.

Need help picking the right catalytic converter? Our mechanically trained experts are ready to help you every step of the way. Our customer service team is available through phone, chat or email Monday – Friday 5 am – 5 pm (Pacific Time).

Call us today at: 855-592-9378.