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Cleaning Catalytic Converters with Soap and Water

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge The EricTheCarGuy Video Forum Cleaning Catalytic Converters with Soap and Water

This topic contains 18 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Josie Brown Josie Brown 2 months, 1 week ago.

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #612943
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    Given that my last attempt at cleaning a catalytic converter was unsuccessful, I wanted to try an alternative method. I actually consulted with Scotty Kilmer on this earlier this year about this and did some research on my own. This video shows what I came up with.

    What are your thoughts?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
  • Author
    Replies
  • #612947
    Rafael Hedrick
    Rafael Hedrick
    Participant

    At about the 14 minute mark for me the audio shuts off. Not sure if this is happening with other viewers.

    #612964
    apostolis
    apostolis
    Participant

    Hi Eric, as a chemist, if i would try to clean a catalytic converter with soap and water i would use Alconox as soap and hot deionized (or distilled) water and soak it overnight. Also before the installation i would wash off the soap with deionized water and dry the substrate with brake cleaner (or acetone) and compressed air. Most of the commercial cleaning products leave some residues onto surfaces (i learned this the hard way) but Alxonox is a very powerful and residue free detergent. Finally the ideal situation for cleaning would be that the water – soap bath to be carried under ultrasounds (ultrasonic cleaning) but since most of the people dont have this kind of equipment i am mentioning this for educational purposes. By what i saw in that video when you reinstalled the converter it had still some soapy water inside and that way when this mixture would dry it would have left plenty of residues on the active surface of the catalitic converter. I would also like to mention that Palladium and Platinum are highly resistant to corrosive chemicals (as a matter of fact there is no household product that could dissolve or oxidise Platinum) and any other cleaning method would certainly not harm the catalyst substrate.

    Sorry for the long post, keep up the good work and stay dirty

    #613006
    Ang
    Ang
    Participant

    Dipping the catty in bleach (24hours) overnight and then rinsing it off with distilled water should work better. (you’ve got to try in your next video)

    Make sure the catty is thoroughly dryed before installing.

    http://www.preludepower.com/forums/showthread.php?t=336400

    #613018
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    Lots of folks are suggesting that I should have rinsed the converter after I finished with the soap. I will concede that this would have been a better way to go. However, I also believe that the coatings in the inside of the converter have flaked off and that is the true cause of my converter not coming back to life as I had hoped. As stated in the video, some converters aren’t going to respond to cleaning and I believe the one on my Acura Vigor is one of these converters. Your input is always appreciated.

    #613020
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”1999b20″ post=108024]At about the 14 minute mark for me the audio shuts off. Not sure if this is happening with other viewers.[/quote]

    Flash has a new update out today. You might want to check to see if yours is up to date.

    #613058
    Bryan Carter
    Bryan Carter
    Participant

    I’m not saying that a cat can’t be cleaned, but I would think that whatever method that was used would only be good at removing a specific type of contaminant.

    A cat that’s dead, fused, or broken, ain’t coming back. Even if you soaked it in unicorn horn oil and angel tears. The only cat that could be recovered is one that had been “poisoned” by some form of removable contamination. You could soak a cat in soap and water for weeks, or pour gallons of paint thinner through it, and it will do nothing for lead or zinc poisoning.

    Cases where a cat has been poisoned from excessive oil burning, can often be corrected by fixing the oil burning issue. A similar situation if found in coolant contaminated cats. I guess the take-away is that cleaning a cat can prove to be temporary at best, if the root cause of the poisoning isn’t eliminated.

    #613091
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”McWicked” post=108078]I’m not saying that a cat can’t be cleaned, but I would think that whatever method that was used would only be good at removing a specific type of contaminant.

    A cat that’s dead, fused, or broken, ain’t coming back. Even if you soaked it in unicorn horn oil and angel tears. The only cat that could be recovered is one that had been “poisoned” by some form of removable contamination. You could soak a cat in soap and water for weeks, or pour gallons of paint thinner through it, and it will do nothing for lead or zinc poisoning.

    Cases where a cat has been poisoned from excessive oil burning, can often be corrected by fixing the oil burning issue. A similar situation if found in coolant contaminated cats. I guess the take-away is that cleaning a cat can prove to be temporary at best, if the root cause of the poisoning isn’t eliminated.[/quote]

    I agree, in fact I believe I said that very thing in the video. That said, this cat was not damaged by contamination. In fact, the engine runs flawlessly. I believe the issue is that it just got old and lost some of the coating. Without the coating, there is very little cleaning will do as you pointed out. However, on this very forum, there are people that have had success with cleaning catalytic converters. It’s not 100%, but it is possible. I just don’t seem to be able to demonstrate it in a video as yet. I’ll keep trying however.

    Thanks for your input.

    #613095
    Paul
    Paul
    Participant

    While I was in college for chemistry, there was a group that studies how chemicals interact with surfaces, including catalysts, and they typically cleaned their substrates with argon. Argon is inert (unreactive), but it has a large mass, and argon can remove adsorbed contaminants by basically knocking them off with brute force. I wonder if a catalytic converter can be cleaned by feeding argon into the exhaust stream, such as through the hole for the O2 sensor, while the engine is running.

    #613101
    Bryan Carter
    Bryan Carter
    Participant

    [quote=”Hanneman” post=108097]While I was in college for chemistry, there was a group that studies how chemicals interact with surfaces, including catalysts, and they typically cleaned their substrates with argon. Argon is inert (unreactive), but it has a large mass, and argon can remove adsorbed contaminants by basically knocking them off with brute force. I wonder if a catalytic converter can be cleaned by feeding argon into the exhaust stream, such as through the hole for the O2 sensor, while the engine is running.[/quote]

    We use argon as well to remove adsorbed materials during vacuum processes in my line of work. And you are correct, argon atoms are relatively heavy and act like wrecking balls on the molecular level. But I’m pretty sure that the various cat-fouling agents aren’t adhered to the substrate by adsorption. And since argon is quite inert, there would be no chance of it braking up the contaminates through some chemical process. But I like your line of thinking.

    I would venture a guess there are heated gasses that you could purge a cat with, that would be reactive enough to strip out contams… but they probably would be highly toxic, explosive, or both. But I’m not a chemist, so I’d be talking out of my exhaust pipe at this point.

    #613234
    Bill
    Bill
    Participant

    Nice try Eric. I really think the deal is B.S. but part of the problem was that while you were testing all of the exhaust heat was going into the converter. There is a temperature (I believe it’s bout 1500f) before the converter “lights off”. This is the point where your testing would be more accurate.

    A good drive down the road would accomplish that. Bubbles out the tail pipe LMAO.

    #613450
    Lorrin Barth
    Lorrin Barth
    Participant

    [quote=”apostolis” post=108026]Hi Eric, as a chemist, if i would try to clean a catalytic converter with soap and water i would use Alconox as soap and hot deionized (or distilled) water and soak it overnight.[/quote]

    I don’t know about cleaning catalytic converters but I was working as a chemist in a lab when one of the plant employees wanted to wash the company truck. Well, no soap so over to the lab he came and I gave him some Alconox. Pretty soon he was back all smiles and said, “You gotta come see the truck.” It looked like it had just had a profession wax job.

    After that I had to order more Alconox because it started disappearing fast.

    #613755
    pilotvp
    pilotvp
    Participant

    I successfully cleaned my 200,000 mile CAT, which through a P0420 code, with brake cleaner and a strong grill degreaser followed by a heavy water rinse. The sub-strait was intact, and the code has not returned. Also, I switched to Shell gasoline instead of the cheap quick-mart brands. I read that 5% blocked CAT can through the P0420 code. Hope this helps someone.

    #614014
    EricTheCarGuy 1
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    OK. FYI I’ve shot a new video on this, one where I address many of the concerns that have been posted such as the lack of rinsing and also making sure the converter was heated up sufficiently. I also attempted to use the sodium hydroxide to clean it. Look for that video, and the results in a few weeks.

    #614435
    Bryan Carter
    Bryan Carter
    Participant

    I took a look at the MSDS for a couple of off-the-shelf cat cleaners like “Cataclean” and they contain nothing but a witch’s brew of xylene, naphtha(white gas), rubbing alcohol, ethanol, and acetone. So basically the typical formula for breaking up carbon deposits. Which is all fine and dandy if your cat is running sickly due to carbon fouling, but it’d only be a temporary bandage.

    #988344
    JT Marston
    JT Marston
    Participant

    I have just read this entire page and each person with the personal input (lol sorry) was very knowledgeable and i like how you all worked around the problem and came up with so many different ideas with chemistry and all heat which i guess is abig part of chemistry lol its all chemistry.. Anyways, i cant stop figure it out why could itno t be carefully cut in half ad of to not break anything inside id say maybe with a dremel and replace the ceramic material inside? Idk sorry if its just bad idea but would it work? Somebody has obviously got some raw materials and combined them in a spcific order for the end result to be. The material (catalyst) found inside so couldnt i

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)

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