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My Cat was glowing!!!

95Explo

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City, State
Fayetteville NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
1995 XLT
Catalytic Converter that is ...

OK ... About 2 weeks ago I noticed white smoke coming from the exhaust.
It has been cold lately
but this wasn't the normal smoke I'm used to seeing during the cold weather.

After I noticed this white smoke. I realized everytime I shut the vehicle off.
Let it sit for awhile or even overnight ...
once I start it the white smoke pours out for about 20 - 30 seconds
while driving then it will stop.
If I'm idling the smoke just continues to ooze out in puffy clouds.
Until I start driving.

I know this vehicle and this smoke isn't normal even in cold weather.

I first got the truck back in 00 I used Premium Fuel, but that got expensive quick so I have been using 87 since.

About a week before I noticed this smoke I decided to fill the tank
with Premium for all intents and purposes
and noticed the ride was little different actually smoother than it has been.

A week later is when I first noticed the white smoke.

I checked the oil later that night and it appeared to be low
so I added maybe a half quart to a quart of oil
But it WAS night time and I guess I was just anxious to figure
out where and why it's smoking.
Not to mention I was spilling oil everywhere (using the 5 quart jug)

This past Monday I decided to change the oil and filter.
I've been using 10W-40 ... but this time I used 20W-50
The vehicle has over (200K on the body about 150K on the engine)
The oil was very dark (I last changed it in December)
and the the oil plug was loose to where I could unscrew it by hand.
I know I used a ratchet last time.

Nothing changed but I feel the truck began to ride rougher
and rather hesitant when idling.

So I decided to changed out the spark plugs and wires.
I used the Motorcraft Spark Plugs as I did before
and some Durlast wires but the previous wires were Bousch.

As I was changing the spark plugs and wires one by one starting from
the top left.

I noticed that one of the wires was broken on the middle right side
and there were burn marks where it was probably shorting.

Also the spark plug on the bottom right appear to have
dirt and oil in the thread and it rather burnt/browner than the others.

I made simple layout of the plugs and wires as I was changing them

http://www.geocities.com/jokerones212/Spark.jpg

I noticed that the bottom right cable was going into the middle plug ...
I changed the plugs before but I always do them one at a time
to not get confused.

I figured that the middle wire would go to the middle plug and replaced it
that way cause it seemed like it should ... but I'm not a mechanic.

Nonetheless ... I started the the vehicle and noticed a click-like/pinging unusal sound from underneath and I didn't know what it was.

So I decided to swap the plugs back to how they were as I was changing them.

I started it again and it felt like it wanted to stall out so I tried driving it some and I go no power. I tried driving around the block and it wouldn't go any faster than 20mph! SO I was able to guide it back to the driveway
(very hilly area) and shut it off then I smelled something burning and peeked underneath and the Catalytic Converter was GLOWING RED.

I already know this is beyond my home remedies
but I'm curious as to what could have caused this
(besides my novice maintenance skills as I've changed the plugs and oil times before)

Also what a rough estimate on how much will it be to replace the cat ... ?
Before I get her towed to a dealer.

Unfortunately this is my only means on transportation and I'm currently looking to buy a new vehicle yesterday. I do have to get to and from work.

But I would like to keep the Explorer but I've been putting alot money into maintenance and I could use that for monthy payments which I do dread,
yet my credit is far from A-1.

I was told a combination of the fuel could have cause this.
Improper spark plug gapping or maybe even it could have been
the fuel injection cleaner (which I've never used before I usually just
use gas treatment) causing the Cat to clog up.

I don't know ... I'm not a expert you guys are ... I learn as I go


Thank you in advance for any insight and bearing with the length of this post ...
 



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joshuaj0214

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A replacement cat should run you around a 100 bucks.
 






nssj2

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Well the original white smoke and rough idle you spoke of sounded like a bad cat. Did you check the gap on the plugs? did you make real sure the wires are routed right? now about that cat... $250 is what they usually go for, but you could probably swing one from a junk yard if your tight on $. shop would probably charge an hour of labor (figure $100) to cut it out and weld in a new one. Check engine light on? lightly tap that cat converter with a hammer, if you hear a lot of rattling, its done for.

another note, i'd do a pressure test on the cylinder with the oily plug, might have bad rings.

EDIT::: as mentioned above, you can score a universal cat for about $100 at most parts stores, but the original lists at $245 around here at least
 






NYMount21

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I had something similar happen to my mounty. I don't know about the cat, but everything else sounds like my problem. When i took it to a shop, they ran a scan and it brought back misfiring on a cylinder......they replaced a coil cover and presto (to the tune of like $300 I think though). This is a rare problem, but if all else fails its an option
 






95Explo

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City, State
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1995 XLT
I appreciate the info.

The check engine light does pop on and off ...
somedays it stays on and somedays it doesn't ...

As far as the spark plug gaps ... I never knew they needed any adjusting
I buy'em and pop'em in. I do inspect them and prior
and I used the anti-lock grease to the threads.
And I use an old boot to get it set then the ratchet slightly.

I am not sure if the right side is routed right. I usually do them one at a time to not get them mixed up. My manual doesn't have pictures.


I've never done the pressure test before or ever had it done.

I will look into just getting a new Cat.
 






caretaker383

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92 XLT
As the plugs age the gap gets bigger and bigger. Over time this can be a significant problem. If you have a Haynes or similar manual it should tell you what the gap should be. Get some feeler guages or a gap guage from your local auto parts store (around a buck I think) when you buy your plugs and double check when you get them. As for the cat it sounds like she's plugged up and if that's the case I would have to agree with the previous posts and say it's done for. Good luck!
 






firepop5

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If the plugs are not wired properly, the engine will have no power because some of the cylinders will not get spark at the right time. This will also allow fuel that is unburned in the engine to travel to the cat and burn there. This would explain the red glow. Find out the correct firing order and be sure the plugs are wired correctly. As stated earlier, check for correct gap too.
 






IZwack

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And here I was hoping to see a picture of a glowing feline in this thread (and hopefully a Scottish Fold) .. very dissapointed, very disss A pointed :wtf:.
 






96eb96

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I appreciate the info.


I am not sure if the right side is routed right. I usually do them one at a time to not get them mixed up. My manual doesn't have pictures.

Well get that straightened out. That could definately cause a glowing cat.
 






95Explo

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OK. Had someone take a look at my truck today and said I have a blown head gasket. :mad:
 






410Fortune

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071213_clonedcats_hlrg_930a.jpg


http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/12/13/514602.aspx

Seriously!! cats that GLOW!!!
 






Maniak

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OK. Had someone take a look at my truck today and said I have a blown head gasket. :mad:

How did they determine that? A compression check? oil in the water or water in the oil? Water out the tailpipe? White smoke from tailpipe? Combustion gasses in the radiator?

~Mark
 






95Explo

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Uh, I left the keys with my brother and he had someone look at it.

Apparently they both must have been drinking.

But I did have white smoke come from the tail pipe ...
AND my brother sobered up and said I had the spark plugs wired incorrectly.
The truck is up and running again ... minus the white smoke.

He told me he took the cat off and blew the stuff out and re-routed the spark plugs.
 






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