• Feb 16, 2008
Bulging in the exhaust system like a rabbit deep in the belly of a boa, the catalytic converter cleans engine fumes before they are released into the air. To the inexperienced, the oversized metal cylinder looks rather uninteresting. To a thief, it is a pod of precious metal worth nearly $200 on the black market.
Catalytic converters are loaded with small amounts of precious metals including platinum, palladium and rhodium. When combined with hot exhaust gasses, a chemical reaction detoxifies the pollutants (this all happens without any trip to a Malibu clinic). All the average Joe really needs to know is that every car and truck is supposed to have one.

This low-lying fruit for the criminals hangs within easy reach under many sport-utility vehicles. Sitting taller than your average passenger car, their cats are easy to steal, and often don't even require the vehicle to be lifted for access. According to police, the Toyota 4Runner and Kia Sportage are the running favorites.

Unless it is your normal dwelling, there is no need to sleep underneath your vehicle with a shotgun; innovative consumers have found that spot-welding the catalytic converter to the rest of the exhaust system has proven to be an effective deterrent.

[Source: MSNBC via Winding Road]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      You think you're cool having no cats?

      I high flow cat will retain most of the performance vs catless especially if you're naturally aspirated.

      And there is plenty of data on the web about how little performance difference there is in catless vs hiflow cats.

      Do your part cleaning the air we breathe - I'm sure you can do without the 5-10hp bump you get by having no cats.

      • 6 Years Ago
      12:03PM
      A woman was arrested last week in Jackson, Mississippi for using the saw to steal over 200 converters. She was they believe, one of several members of a gang stealing the converters, yes they are sawing them off.

      • 6 Years Ago
      i was living close to Indy last year and it was on the news then. They said the Tundra (previous gen at the time) was one of the few trucks that had two cats so they were targeting those first. i guess driving a sports car that sits a few inches off the ground helps haha...though if they wanted them they could take them :-/
      • 6 Years Ago
      Correct. In fact, the local Fox news showed how easy it was to cut exhaust with a saw.

      Now everybody know the secret.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Toyotas, at least the early to mid-90s models have four bolts holding the cat in place. I found those and the two half clamps under my '93 one morning. Replacement is welded in, so at least it will be slightly harder and noiser to get.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Another thing that people don't necessarily realize is that different catalytic converters had different amounts of these metals in them. Older cats are not as popular because they emissions standards were not as tough. Nowadays, cats are extremely expensive to make because of the precious metal cost. I won't be surprised if California becomes a major crime scene for Cats because of their strict emissions standards. Precious metals in a catalytic converter 10 years ago are a fraction of what they are now. There are also more. There are vehicles now with 4 cats. For OE manufactures, its a game of getting the right mixture.

      As far as aftermarket catalyst converters, your often buying a piece of metal that just looks like a catalytic converter on the outside. The Precious metal is not necessarily the right mixture to serve any good purpose as far as emissions go, but it will pass a visual inspection.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My local news channel aired a story like this 6 months to a year ago. Crazy stuff.

      I wonder how your average pipe-cutting thug thief finds a market for raw precious metals.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So this is the next big thing to steal after all alloy rims have been fitted with locking bolts. What's next? Door? Mirrors?
      • 6 Years Ago
      "innovative consumers have found that spot-welding the catalytic converter to the rest of the exhaust system has proven to be an effective deterrent"

      Oh really? For quite some time now, innovative thieves have been leaving their socket wrenches at home and grabbing Milwaukee's finest instead. No, no...not the beer. A Sawzall.

      And for those that might think I'm giving the miscreants some new ideas, trust me, they've already got this 'secret' figured out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A sawzall on metal pipe is loud, i know i use one at work to cut metalic piping. Not exactly the stealth way to steal anything.

      Funny this story came up, i wanted to build a custom pipe for one of my vehicles in 2.5 inch. So i went to the junkyard so i could get an h pipe from the same truck so we could do a duplicate on the bench, and the guy there told me that they get hundreds of dollars for them, and it's the first thing they take off the cars.
      I'm still not buying it, if cats were worth so much money,how exactly do you get good new aftermarket cats for $75 each that work perfectly fine?
      If their numbers were correct, any aftermarket mid pipe with cats would have to start at $400 minimum, and that's not including any pipe, labor or flanges.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I work at a Toyota Dealer and we had a bunch of converters that were cut off of Tundras, 4Runners, and Tacomas one evening. It was covered under insurance for the dealer but it was a mess until we found all of the vehicles and got new ones back on.
      • 6 Years Ago
      had my cat stolen twice from my pick up, both welded in. looks like they were using a spin around pipe cutter. i welded a bead the hole length of the exhaust. so far so good
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