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  1. #1
    piperguy
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    Catalytic Converter Warranty

    Having a problem with the Cats on the wagon. One of the reasons I bought this car in September was that the Cats had just been replaced (5/2010). They now have less than 6k miles on them since replacement. They are Eastern Catalytic units made for the car, not universal weld-ins. The right side on started rattling on startup about 4 weeks ago (rattle went away after about 3-5 minutes) and then about 10 days ago rattled very loudly and car spit out a few large pieces of honeycomb like a cat clearing a furrball. Now the left is doing the same thing and also mileage has dropped about 2 mpg. I intially chalked up the mileage drop to putting on the winter sneakers but now I'm wondering if I've got a muffler full of s#$%. I have the packing slip that was in with the cats to show when they were purchased.

    I sent an email to Eastern Catalytic Customer Service this morning, a copy of which is below. I'll let everyone know how this pans out. I'm thinking I'm going to be very disappointed if they don't cover it.

    BTW, no, there is no external damage. Car has been on lift and the Cats checked and there is not a mark on them.

    Here's the email :


    Email sent to Eastern Catalytic on 1/12/11

    Good Morning,

    I recently purchased a BMW 540i from a private owner (09/2010). He had replaced the Cats with your part #s EAS 40687 and EAS 40688 in May of 2010. Car is a 2001 BMW 540i. At the time of installation car had 87670 miles, currently has 93550. Less than 6000 miles since install. The right side Cat started to rattle about 2 weeks ago and then got very loud and actually spit a couple of golf ball size pieces of honey comb out the tailpipe while I was working on it in the garage (I have these pieces). Now the left side has also started rattling and making noise and I'm concerned the same thing is happening and also that the pieces may be clogging a very expensive muffle (fuel mileage is down about 2 mpg). To answer the obvious question - there is no external damage to the Cats. Car has been on a lift and there are no marks such as scraping a curb or anything else on them. This appears to be an internal failure of the material. I do not have the actual invoice as the Cats were purchased online and he neglected to print the invoice. I do however have the packing slip that was with them when shipped which shows part numbers and date of shipment.

    I would ask that you please consider warranty coverage for these units and let me know how to proceed. One of the reasons I purchased this car was that the Cats were new and were not a "universal weld-in". As an aside I should mention that I currently own 2 BMW's, do almost all the maintenance on 2 more and am a BMWCCA member and active on 2 separate BMW forums online. I look forward to you earliest response. I can forward a copy of the packing slip when requested.

    Thank You


  2. #2
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    Catalytic Converter Warranty

    I think this may be the first post on the E39 board regarding the Eastern Catalytic converters and I'd say they aren't off to a real good start with the BMW E39 crowd. Most of the non-OEM converters discussed here are by Magnaflow. Most of the problems with the Magnaflow converters revolves around a lack of catalytic performance resulting in the after-cat O2 sensor ringing the Check Engine bell. In all the discussions on the Magnaflow cats I don't think there has ever been an issue with the internal mechanical failure you have described.

    Let us know how they respond to your request for warranty service.

    Lotsa luck.




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  3. #3
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    In my neck of the woods, the BMW indies here>>

    recommend only OEM cats. They last much longer, and they pass CA smog requirements.

    They are shockingly expensive!
    Ed in San Jose. BMW CCA member since 1987 (Nr. 62319). Golden Gate Chapter. '97 540i 6 speed. Build Date 3/97. Aspensilber over Aubergine leather.

  4. #4
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    A long while ago M5 Lite posted he was using (m)

    Random Technology CAT's, back then they were ~$225 each.
    M5-Lite, how have they worked out? I'm still on my original CAT's, (131K miles) they don't rattle yet and no codes.

  5. #5
    piperguy
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    Re: Catalytic Converter Warranty

    Eastern got right back to me. Not much help though. I would think that if anything that he said happened it would have left codes. There are none. Rock Auto, where they were purchased has not sent me a reply yet (I'm not holding my breath)

    Here's the one from Eastern

    Hello Mr. Fitch
    Thank you for contacting Eastern Catalytic. From the information in your e-mail it seems like the converters had an internal meltdown. i cannot say that for sure that is the problem until we see the units. But that is what it sounds like is happening. This usually happens when unburned fuel is getting into the units causing the substrate (honeycomb block) to melt down. This can be caused by a number of reasons, a leaking fuel injector, a cylinder misfire, faulty ignition coil etc. we recommend that you take your vehicle to a repair facility that specializes in these problems to get the vehicle diagnosed otherwise if converters are reinstalled without getting the vehicle repaired the same problem will happen again. as for the warranty part you will have to contact the place of purchase (on the invoice) as we only manufacture the parts and do not do any selling. I have attached a brief flyer concerning broken substrates. If you have any questions please give us a call.


    Thank you

    GIL EMERY
    Eastern Manufacturing Inc.
    2151 Cabot Blvd. West
    langhorne pa 19047
    800-553-7199 x109


    There is also a pdf file that talks about high heat failure but I can't get the pdf to carry over to here.

  6. #6
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    I think you're right about the codes. > > >

    I don't think it would be possible for your system to get that far out of whack without some indication via a Check Engine light. Does what has come out of the exhaust pipe look like it's been subjected to a "melt down?" If not, the absence of any indication from the engine management system or some noticeable blip in vehicle performance suggests this is primarily a mechanical problem. I'm guessing the way this will play out is he cats will have to be replaced (probably on your nickel) and the failed cats submitted for analysis before any warranty protection is agreed to. And, I can see their point since this sounds very unusual for cats with such short service hours.

    Keep us posted.


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  7. #7
    piperguy
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    Re: I think you're right about the codes. > > >

    So far it looks like I'm not getting anywhere. The latest email from him says that the cat has 2 bricks and that probably one of them is still ok and therefore no codes. He states that I need to take it to a qualified tech and have the car checked. I'm not sure what a tech is going to check with no codes in the system though ..... In any case, one of my best friends is a Toyota Service Director and used to be a Mercedes Service Mgr. Car is going over to his dealership on monday for a diagnostic check. Turns out one of his techs is from Belgium and was/is factory trained in Europe as a BMW tech. Should be interesting.

    To answer your question, the pieces that it coughed out look brand new. No odor, no "meltdown", just golf ball size pieces (3 of them, I'm hoping their cousins are not stuck in a very expensive muffler. There does seem to be good flow through the muffler).

    The guy at Eastern says I have to go though Rock Auto where the cats were purchased. I asked why since they were the manufacturer and will ultimately have to handle any warranty issues. I sent Rock Auto 2 emails haven't gotten a response yet. Not holding my breath.

    My hunch is that I'm going to politely be told to go pound sand and it's my problem. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, but I doubt it. I think a fair offer from them would be to let me buy another set at wholesale pricing and then return these. If these are bad then credit me, if it's my problem then at least I didn't have to pay retail.

    Guess we'll see. Vaughan

  8. #8
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    Isn't there a warranty the Feds require on CATs?






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  9. #9
    piperguy
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    Re: Isn't there a warranty the Feds require on CATs?

    I thought so too. But I'm guessing they'll get around it by saying that an over-rich condition caused the overheat and meltdown. if I can figure how to post the pdf files he sent me on here I'll include them. I just can't believe that if the engine had misfires, coil problems or over rich that it wouldn't have left codes all over the place.

    In the pieces that I have that it coughed up, there is no sign of overheat. They look like new.

  10. #10
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    I think you said you had no codes so I would say (

    it was a mechanical failure of the CAT's, not a problem with your car.
    Top post a PDF you will need to host it somewhere and then use the (inset link) to point to it.
    If you don't have that capability email it to me and I'll post it for you.

  11. #11
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    Yes | No

    Here are your 2 letters from Eastern CAT (m)


  12. #12
    piperguy
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    Thanks Jim !!


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