2006 Pilot P0420 Catalytic Code Please Help. - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums

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Old 12-26-2010, 09:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2006 Pilot P0420 Catalytic Code Please Help.

Hello Honda Friends,

I'm looking for a little help here.

My 2006 pilot with 95,000 miles triggered a check engine light a few weeks back. Twice it went off on it's own after a few days and now it's back on.

A trip to AutoZone revealed a P0420 code from the OBDII. Specifically it says "catalyst system efficiency below threshold bank 1". Probable causes include "air leak near HO2S (Heated Oxygen Sensor) Bank 1" and of course a faulty catalytic convertor (lets hope not).

I'm two hours into investigating this online and I have learned a couple things:
1 - Catalytic converters are super darn expensive
2- My pilot has three of them (front, rear, and under floor) and only 2 of them are monitored...the front and rear which I think are located near the engine block.
3 - The rear converter is called bank 1? (is this correct??)

Questions:

1 - Has anybody had experience with this code that could help? I'm hoping it's simply a $100 sensor vs. a $1500 converter but I知 thinking if it was a sensor then a different code specific to a failed sensor would have been triggered and not the P0420?

2- I would like to start by replacing the sensor (s) for bank 1 - where would I begin to locate the sensor(s) ? and are there more than one? (see below) Anybody have a part number that might make short work of locating the correct sensor?


3- According to AutoZone I have 4 sensors ( 2 upstream and 2 downstream) Is this true and how do I know which one is bank 1? and then which of the 2 bank 1 sensors might I need to replace? Is there a way to test the sensor after it's removed without specialized dealership equipment?

Any help is much appreciated.
Thanks

Kyle
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have the same code and it comes and goes. I was just searching on here and I have found all the information you have already posted. Is there any sort of test to make sure its the converter before i drop $400 on a converter? Here is a link to the article where i found all my info. hope this helps someone.

http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/p0420/A080100.pdf
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Gergwheel,

A call to my Honda dealer revealed a $392.00 price tag on a converter (part 18290RGLA00) and two heat shields, gasket(s) bolt(s)

I also check a local parts store and found the converter at $240.00 without the other parts I may or may not need?

Since the code specifically addresses the converter (or a leak at a sensor) I知 leaning toward the problem being the converter and not a failed sensor. If the sensor was bad, I assume I would be getting a code telling me it's a sensor..right? There is a code specific to the sensors..right?

My next step is to get under my car and physically look at the thing..looking to see how it's installed (bolted vs welded?) and if there's signs of a hole that could be drawing oxygen into the exhaust line can causing the sensor to get a false read. I'm assuming the converter bolts on, which would make it easier to remove for a novice like me. (does anybody know for sure?) My next question is can I access the bolts without losing a knuckle or two and how hard of a job is this?

I'm also curious if the O2 sensors are mounted in the converter or separate from it and if I should replace them or not ($200 more)

Anybody have any knowledge of these things?? The more wisdom the better.

Thanks
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A visit to Majestic honda parts site breaks out all the parts associated with the cats, and associated parts. Take a look, its educational. If you are determined to go ahead with work on your car, a copy of the print out on your service advisor's desk will help negotiate costs.

That the error code comes and goes points towards a sensor issue not a cat issue. If the car is running ok, and the code goes way, sweet. But it the code comes to stay then its time to have some work done.
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I thought emissions components had a 100,000 mile warranty. I don't have my warranty book handy. Did anyone check this?
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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On honda emissions are covered till 90,000.I had the same code took it to the dealer and had the rear cat replaced under warranty ,luckily.The po420 also came and went as it pleased.After they replaced the cat no codes has come up.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So much for warranty coverage. Pull the cat out, knock the catalyst out and reinstall. Just kidding (or not).
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cali510 View Post
On honda emissions are covered till 90,000.I had the same code took it to the dealer and had the rear cat replaced under warranty ,luckily.The po420 also came and went as it pleased.After they replaced the cat no codes has come up.
According to my '06 Warranty book, the O2 sensors and converters are covered for 8 Yr/80 k under Federal Emissions Coverage. So Hetch3 in Ohio is way past the mileage limit.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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you are right KKL it is 8yr/8k,mine took a crap at 81,000 but the dealership still covered it.Hetch3 watch out for after market cats some will have you fail smog and the light will continue to stay on.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah - I pretty much gave up on the warranty idea.

I cleared the code today - will see it if comes back on, which i'm sure it will.

I crawled under the Pilot today and wished I had a lift. The rear cat is so tightly packed in there I left scratching my head wondering how in the heck this is a 1 hour job according to the Honda tech I spoke with. I'm wondering if I can access it from the engine compartment?

Where might I find a service manual that might give detailed instructions how to replace this? Anybody know? If it's a 1 hour job per the dealer, it can't be overly complicated and there must be a way to access the bolts without pulling the engine out!
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I would suggest investing in an OBDII reader box or software that allows you to monitor the behavior of the O2 sensors and try to correlate the voltage outputs to the occurrence of P0420. I would not rush into replacing the converter. If you want to do it by trial-and-error, I would start with less pricey items such as the upstream O2 sensor(s). I have a 2002 Subaru Outback that throws a P0420 code once in a while. I would just reset it with an OBD reader and it usually stays off for quite a few months.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks KKL - I'm going to see how long the code stays off since it was officially cleared today. Curious, if the light goes off by itself, does that mean the code was cleared automatically? Since it didn't throw one of the many o2 sensor specific codes, I’m not convinced it's a sensor problem. I don't think I’m technical enough to monitor the 02 sensors and correlate voltage outputs..do some readers provide real time info like o2 sensor voltage? Not sure I would understand what I’m seeing even if I did figure out how to get this info from my Pilot.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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some scanners in the couple hundred $ area record live data,maybe you can borrow one from a local mechanic?My money is on the cat but hope its the o2 sensor.Sorry I don't mean to be negative.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hetch3 View Post
Thanks KKL - I'm going to see how long the code stays off since it was officially cleared today. Curious, if the light goes off by itself, does that mean the code was cleared automatically? Since it didn't throw one of the many o2 sensor specific codes, I知 not convinced it's a sensor problem. I don't think I知 technical enough to monitor the 02 sensors and correlate voltage outputs..do some readers provide real time info like o2 sensor voltage? Not sure I would understand what I知 seeing even if I did figure out how to get this info from my Pilot.
If CEL goes off by itself, that means the errant condition no longer exists and everything is back to normal.
P0420 is the most common diagnostic code among all cars. As such, one would think that there is a logical way of identifying and fixing the problem. OBD was mandated by the EPA starting in 1996 and the Feds prescribed all the required components and diagnostic algorithms. Given the electronics technologies that existed in the early '90s in the run-up to when OBD took effect, the "Catalytic Efficiency" testing algorithm couldn't be that complicated. It seems to me they spent more time and effort on the anti-tampering part of the system. That said, I don't know of any dealership that would systematically diagnose the problem and could produce technical evidence to pin-point the faulty component. The mechanic would just keep replacing parts until the problem goes away. This you can do yourself if you are mechanically inclined. This also points to the strategy of replacing the cheaper parts first in the hope that you can save some money. In addition, remember that P0420 could be triggered by an exhaust leak and replacing the converter would not solve the problem.
If you want to proceed with the repair yourself, I would get the front of the Pilot on ramps, undo the headers, lower the exhaust. This way you have plenty of room to work on loosening the converter(s), depending on how rusty your car is. If you are just replacing the sensors, you might not even have to drop the headers. I don't relish working under the car in a cold garage this time of the year though.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default P0420 06 pilot 91k

I just ran across this issue.

Mechanic #1 recommendation

replace oxy sensor
replace cat
tune up
fuel injection service
throttle body service
top engine clean service
professional fuel injection cleaning service

$1310.00

Charged 126.00 for diagnostic time

-----------------------------------------
After I was done laughing at the estimate

Mechanic #2
Start with

top engine and injector clean
replace spark plugs
replace air filter
fill tank with premium fuel
reset light

$305.00

if issue returns several times

replace bank 1 cat
----------------------------------

Took it to mechanic #2 today and spent the $305

will see what happens
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