Catalytic Conv. stolen. Stuck 2000 miles from home in “Limp Mode”!

chris777

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My catalytic converters were stolen from my 2018 200. I’m 2000 miles from home. Local Toyota dealership says the converter is back ordered 4 to 6 weeks. Told me to take it to a muffler shop to get aftermarket catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. I did. Flowmaster and Bosch. Got rid of loud noise, but No improvement in lousy performance. Dash warning says “Reduced Engine Power. Visit your dealer”. Dealers up here are booked tI’ll July. Can’t go faster than 55 on flat highway, or 35 going up inclines in Michigan. The muffler shop could only get rid of 10 of 22 error codes.

I did find a dealer in Wisconsin a few hours south that will see us Friday. But my service manager in Dallas tells me once the error codes are cleared they will come back again with the after market parts. I hope he is mistaken.

Anybody have any ideas? I’m pulling a camper. Takes forever to get anywhere. We are a danger on 75 mph highways.
 

bloc

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Original toyota O2 sensors should be built by NTK/NGK so you may try using those and see whether the codes stay away. Also you can get a Carista or other similar bluetooth module to clear codes yourself with a smartphone.
 

greynolds

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Also you can get a Carista or other similar bluetooth module to clear codes yourself with a smartphone.
Yeah, if the codes stay cleared for a decent amount of time AND you can get your hands on a tool to reset the codes quickly, this would at least get you home.

Sorry to hear about the cat theft.

I’m taking a trip to Michigan in late July and this is one of the things I’m concerned about having to deal with. Maybe I should preemptively order a Carista, Carly, or similar just in case. I actually have a Veepeak WiFi scanner, so perhaps I just need to figure out which apps would allow me to reset codes on the LC.
 

CharlieS

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That sucks.

I wouldn't listen to BS blanket statements about aftermarket parts not working from a dealer. IMO, they're just trying to instill fear, uncertainty and doubt, so you'll spend money with them replacing perfectly good parts with Toyota parts.

If the parts are made for the application, there is no reason they shouldn't work. Toyota doesn't make O2 sensors, they sell the same OEM parts from the big parts suppliers in pretty red boxes.

I'm with Bloc on getting a good code reader and reading/clearing the codes yourself.
 

bloc

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If the parts are made for the application, there is no reason they shouldn't work.

For most things this seems to be true, but for whatever reason toyotas at least used to be particularly sensitive to O2 sensor builder. Many people put Denso sensors onto 80-series cruisers assuming toyota contracted with them like they do for much of their other electronic components.. and had problem after problem. Only when people figured out NTK/NGK was actually the supplier did we find a sure-fire way to go aftermarket and avoid the issues.

The vehicles have come a long way since my 1994 cruiser and a 2018 may not be as sensitive, but if the codes just won't stay away I'd at least attempt to find some NTK/NGK sensors that will fit. May end up saving a lot of trouble.
 
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O man, this is crazy! I can only imagine the complexity and logistics of this, being that far away from home and with a camper in tow. I think I will prioritize some sort custom fabricated cat guard.

Can you take a picture of what was cut and replaced? Would also help if you had a list of CELs.

Be careful here as some of the smog codes can be nuisances causing limp mode, but just as many can be real problems that you should not be driving with.

The O2 system, particularly the primary upstream sensors, are integral to fueling. If the aftermarket stuff is improperly installed, letting excess oxygen into the exhaust system, they can wreck havoc on closed loop fueling, causing the rig to run super rich. The implications of this is not good for load and long drives, as it can wash down the cylinder walls with excess wear, but also cause downstream exhaust components to run super hot.

Hopefully what they impacted are only the secondary catalytic efficiency O2 sensors. These can still have an impact on closed loop fueling but to a lesser degree.

Aftermarket components can work. But the install still needs to be sound and compatible with the closed loops system. I'm concerned about pinhole or coupler air leaks in the exhaust causing false O2 sensor readings, which could be the crux of your CELs.
 
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If you’re in limp mode and don’t have a code reader, I’d disconnect the battery for 30 min and see if that clears the code. But Autozone will clear them for free…

Then install some Bud Built skids to protect those cats!
 
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Check the wiring to the o2 sensors as well. Some of the wires may have been damaged. I had a damaged wire on an o2 sensor on an old toyota that kept blowing the EFI fuse, which would kill the fuel pump. In your case, maybe it is disabling another part of the system.

Since you don't have a code reader, disconnecting the battery might not be a bad idea.

can you hear an exhaust leak with the added parts by the muffler shop?
 
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The most likely cause that you'll be getting codes back isn't as much because of the aftermarket sensors or installation but because of the actual catalytic converters that were installed. Most aftermarket cats don't do a good enough job not to trip the sensors. You can try to get o2 spacers to see if they prevent the codes from coming back while you get home and get everything sorted out.

Also, I highly doubt that anything happened to your A/F ratio sensors since they're way up in the headers so I don't belive they were replaced. If they were indeed replaced I'd be weary of driving the truck with aftermarket A/F ratio sensors as @TeCKis300 mentioned.
 
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kcjaz

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If you’re in limp mode and don’t have a code reader, I’d disconnect the battery for 30 min and see if that clears the code. But Autozone will clear them for free…

Then install some Bud Built skids to protect those cats!
OP, sorry to hear about this. I don't have anything more to offer as far as ideas to help but I am curious if you have aftermarket skids or not. As @paulunm suggest BB skids would certainly make cat theft harder. Probably not the sole reason to to install them but my BB skids do make me feel for secure from a cat theft perspective.
 

Hoosier Daddy

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My mother in law had the cats stolen off her new Sequoia in February. They were on backorder until June, so the truck just sat at the dealership. Her insurance covered a rental Camry in the interim.
 

linuxgod

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P codes would help. It might be possible to fake the O2 sensors as all the system is really looking for is a particular voltage range, though you're probably better off taking back roads home and driving <55, unfortunately.

A cheap OBD code reader is ~$25 and you should be able to snag one from various auto parts stores. I'd agree the best bet would be to get one, reset the codes, drive until the ECU turns the CEL back on, then pull over and reset it and repeat. I believe in most cases the CEL won't illuminate until you have two failed drive cycles in a row, so if you reset and then start driving you may be fine until you stop for gas...
 

Markuson

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Ugh. So sorry to hear.

I have long contended that a code-reset-capable OBDII reader belongs in every 200’s road kit. Sadly, this scenario is is a frustrating, additional example of why.

Hoping you’ll find the solution soon. Do post photos when you can…
 
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Is the budbuilt transmission and transfer case skid plates enough to cover cats?

If so it’s like $650.

Is there a cheaper way to cover everything?

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MCtree

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Chris777,
I’m really sorry to hear this. Cat theft is one of my larger fears on my road trips. I feel for you.

I know you are busy dealing with the issue, but when you get home, would you post some of the details of the theft? Is there anything you would have done differently? Park differently?

Anything that can educate us and let us reduce the chances of this happening again would be helpful.
 

Sandroad

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Where did this happen In Michigan? Headed to the UP right now pulling a camper on my annual summer long fishing trip.
Yes, inquiring minds would very much like to know where it happened.
 
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I used my fear of cat theft to justify a full set of bud skids, I now feel so much better. Before I had the skids, I gave this exact scenario some thought and my conclusion was that I would leave the camper behind at a storage facility for a month or two and go pick it up later. I don’t know if towing in limp mode would do any engine damage or not, but to me it isn’t worth the long term risk.
 

Cincodemustache

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Super bummer and wishing you good cruiser karma to get that rig back to normal again.

I leave for a cross country trip with hotel stops next week. Wishing I had some armor underneath to deter the cat and gas thieves.
 

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