PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement??? - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

I started my 2004 Sienna AWD Limited and there were two indicator lamps: VSC and Malfunction Indicator Lamp. I brought it to a Toyota dealer who said they he read two codes off the car: PO420/PO430 and that they indicate that the catalytic converter needs replacement. I asked if there was any other diagnostics to be sure, and he said that it was unambiguous: those indicator symbols and the codes mean that the catalytic converter needs replacement, immediately, to ensure no damage to the car. Is this correct? Should he have done any other diagnostics. Could these codes mean anything else?

THANKS.
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 05:10 PM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

Wow, lots of code questions this week. A change in the weather, maybe? Seriously, gas blends change with the season, and you might be a victim of the wrong fuel for the conditions.

OK, so you logged two codes - Catalytic converters functioning below normal threshold on both sides (bank 1 & bank 2). I could be that you simultaneously lost both cats, but I'd sure want to know why!! If there is an underlying problem, like a coolant leak, you are likely to wipe out the new cats in time. It could be a bad tank of gas (or the wrong blend) with contamination that dulled either the cats or the sensors. Sometimes this is reversible with a few tanks of premium. It could also be an ECU issue, and the cats are just fine.

Did they scope the outputs of the lower sensors thru the OBD port, or manually at the sensor terminals? Does it show a normal waveform, just displaced in voltage? Way out of spec, or just slightly? Did they try a tailpipe sniffer to see if it is rich in unburned hydrocarbons? Did they try clearing the codes to see if they immediately come back, or stay out for a while? From what you report, I wouldn't know if you should be changing cats or sensors!

If the upper sensors were throwing codes, this could spell real danger for the engine. The lower sensors are merely tattle-tale tellers, designed to prompt you to fix something that is causing an increase in pollution. Change the cats immediately? I think that's a bit rash!

Will they guarantee in writing that this will fix the issue? You are looking at $2k, with a reasonable likelihood that you'll be back there again because they didn't take the time to figure it out.

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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 09:57 PM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

If the 2004 is anything like the 2001-2003 models, I'd suspect your oxygen sensors are degraded. That's not to say your cat is not degraded--it probably is less efficient at this mileage, exacerbated by colder ambient temperatures. But combine less responsive sensors and a degraded cat and you might just trip the P0420 logic quicker.

On my 2002 Sienna, I've had all these codes (P1135, 1155, 0420), which are now essentially gone after replacing my 3 sensors myself. The P0420 returns now and then, after multiple local trips where my cat doesn't heat up as much as on highway trips. When it does, I clear the code, and then have been ok ("ready" monitors). I have passed OBD emissions, haven't spent $1000+ on a new cat, and haven't seen P0420 since last June. Just my experience...

I agree with fibber. You deserve a guarantee fix if you get your converter replaced.

Someone else posted that VSC also lit with their P0420. Maybe this is a failsafe state.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 05:32 AM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

I would also like to add , I think there is an extended federal warranty for the emissions system maybe 100k and or 6 yr or longer ?? It may say in the manual . For your sake I hope it is longer and hopefully your under the mileage.

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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 06:59 AM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

Good point! From the EPA site:

There are three specified major emission control components, covered for the first 8 years or 80,000 miles of vehicle use on 1995 and newer vehicles: * Catalytic converters. * The electronic emissions control unit or computer (ECU). * The onboard emissions diagnostic device or computer (OBD).

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 05:20 PM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

I think the part about immediately getting it done or you will cause damage is baloney, unless the catalytic converter is breaking apart internally and blocking exhaust flow. If the vehicle is running fine, you will not cause damage with an inefficient cat.

+1 on seeing if it is still covered under the federally mandated warranty.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

Thanks for everyone for their input. Based on what I learned from the forum, I called back the dealer and asked the service manager for more information, and raised the possibility that the cc did not need replacement, and the codes could reflect one of the many possibilities discussed above. He was adamant that the cc needed replacement. I asked him to double check with the mechanic who worked on the car, and send me a written report. He said he would. I have called back several times, and he doesn't return my call and never sent the report. I have since take the car to another dealer, and they said it may be the cc going bad, but no rush to have it replaced, and that in the short term I should, as suggested on this forum, clear the codes and hope for the best. They said they could find no problem with the censors. The codes have not returned after a week of use. I am hoping for the best. I would like my $80 back from the first dealer, and was thinking of calling Toyota to complain about the rushing to a $2000 repair and the poor service I received.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

I started the car today and the check engine/VSC lights were back on. is it surprising that the codes did not reappear for 10 days? One thing I was wondering is whether changing the spark plugs would help. I have never changed them and the car has 115,000 miles. If not, I am afraid I may not have any option at this point but to bring it to the dealer and shell out the 2K. Any further advice is appreciated.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 10:23 PM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

Step one is to get a new reading and see if it is the same codes, and to download the snapshot / freezeframe data to see exactly what the operating conditions are at the time the code is set. A good mechanic might be able to make some sense on what might be the true cause with this data in hand. At this point we're still guessing as to whether it's the cats or sensors. You need proper diagnostics before plunking down $2k!

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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 10:32 AM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

8 years back when I had the Dodge Caravan, I got similar code at 135k. In fact teh Dealer Service Manager was nice told me to do it outside as he would charge about $600. Ended up replacing the Cat convertor at a regular Muffler shop for $100 or less. The light went out after a few starts.
The Dodge had some cylinder seal problem where it would burn oil and so I guess that was the problem causing the CC to fail.
Is your gas mileage down or do you smell fuel from the exhaust. Another thingsto consider is try to change teh main O2 sensor and see if it helps.

Good Luck

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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

Thanks again for the excellent suggestions. I will definitely follow up. The big challenge is finding a high quality mechanic who is both honest and interested doing the careful diagnostic work, not just reading a couple of codes and pushing forward with major surgery. This dilemma is just like finding a good doctor, and seems just as elusive and expensive. But, I will persist and let you know what I find after asking them to to download the snapshot / freezeframe data.
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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 11:07 AM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

I'm not sure how much you want to get into the DIY aspects of diagnostics, but perhaps you have a knowledgeable friend who could help you. This probably isn't the best of breed, but for $30 it might tell you enough to either confirm or dispel the need to spend $2000.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002PYBZJO/...920_pe_vfe_dt4

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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 12:06 PM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

I have a 2000 Toyota Sienna MiniVan and my check engine light has been coming on and going off. The problem started about 8 months ago when I still lived in California. I took it to my Mechanic and he hooked up a little hand held monitor to it which indicated that my gas cap was
lose. It was one of those locking gas caps that I purchased many years prior. He suggested that I toss it and purchase a new regular gas cap in which I did. The light went out and stayed
out for many months. I moved to Henderson, Nevada about 9 months ago and the check engine
light came back on about a week ago. I remembered about the gas cap and made sure it was
on tight. A day or so later, the light went out. I also took my Van to 3-different repair shops for
them to give me a free diagnostic check with the little hand held monitor and all 3 places said
that it was my Catalyst Converter performing under threshold, Bank 1 Code: P0420 - I was also
told that it could just be my sensor going out since I've never changed any of my sensors or
Catalyst Converter since I've bought my Van back in 2000. I have several questions below.

Questions:

Where is the Catalyst Converter - Bank 1 located? Is it in the front of the Van "bolted down"?
Where is the Sensors located? Is it a quick fix if I just needed to change out the Sensors?

Over the years, I've never had serious problems with my Van. Back in 2005 Toyota had a recall
on my Van due to the Oil Sluge problems which effected my Van. They completely cleaned out my engine, keeping my Van for 2 months since they had a back log of Vans and cars at the
Dealer ship Service Center. However, they did provide me with a new 2005 loaner car "free"
until my Van was ready for pick up. Once they did this repair, my Van seemed to run like new
for many years. Over the years I've been blessed not to have any major problems. But now
since the check engine light has been coming on, it's worrying me sick.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-22-2013, 11:54 PM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

I have a Sienna 2002 minivan and I too need a new Cat. The last SMOG report showed CO emissions at the max. My warning light comes on every 6 months right about when the gasoline mixtures are changed at the pump. I have not dealt with the issue yet but know that I wont pass smog without doing something. One muffler place told me they can cut out the last cylinder and weld on a new one for $800.00. That is the least expensive option I am aware of. ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS? I have $185000 miles on the car.
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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 05:21 PM
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Re: PO420/PO430 Catalytic converter replacement???

I just had the same thing happen on my 2006 Sienna AWD, same message, etc. I was told that 2 catylic converters needed replacing and probably three. Cost - $6000 in parts alone. Car runs fine. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. My research tells me that sensors can send faulty signals. Let me know what you find out and any further advice is appreciated.
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