Oxygen Sensor & Catalytic Converter Problems

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Oxygen (O2) Sensor and Catalytic Converter Failure Problems

Oxygen sensors (O2) used in most of today's automotive gasoline engines are failing at an ever increasing rate.

There can be one to five sensors per vehicles and having them replaced can cost a consumer $100.00 to over $300.00 each.

Also, they rarely fail together, which means a customer can have one replaced and be back next month or even next week to have another done. This can go on and on until the customer takes their business elsewhere.

This can happen in brand new vehicles with low mileage or older high mileage ones.

Vehicles such as ambulances, police cars, and service equipment that have long idle periods and or a high percentage of idle time; and vehicles used for short trips are most susceptible to these problems.

Interestingly, most of these "failed" sensors are not actually defective or even worn out. What has happened, is that a small amount Ethanol in the gasoline (gasohol) will get past the piston rings and into the motor oil.

The Ethanol with agitation and heat liberates some of the phosphorus from the motor oil. This phosphorus is vaporized and sucked into the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system and burned in the combustion chamber. This burned phosphorus on its way out the exhaust coats the O2 sensor(s) building up in layers.

This phosphorus coating acts as a insulation causing the sensor to react slower than normal. The engine computer reads this slow reaction time as a failure of the sensor forcing its replacement.

Note: This is the same material that coats catalytic converters causing them to go "cold" or cease to function.

Replacement of the sensor(s) is not the only option. It is possible to with a properly formulated chemical additive to clean up and remove this coating (both from O2 Sensors and Catalytic Converters) with a service procedure or with a tank additive.

The danger is that 98% of the additives on the market today are not properly formulated, and these poor quality products can actually make the problem worse, by permanently damaging the sensors or converters.

Remember; a well recognized brand name is no guarantee that it is a good product. Some of the biggest names are actually the poorest products.

It is also possible that with regular treatment, you can actually prevent these problems from ever happening in the first place.

Please comment on this and any of our other posts.

Diesel Doctor

Copyright 2009


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Last modified: 04/06/09
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