2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

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Old 13 Sep 2005, 11:44 pm   #1 (permalink)
cam
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Default 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

hi gyes,
I just had an engine check light come on after almost 110000 miles. It
was told to me by auto zone that this is P0420 error code. What does
this mean? typically whatís the repair required for this?
the guy at autozone also told me that I would need 2 o2 sensors, one
before the CAT and one after. Can I buy aftermarket universal parts
and not the OEMs as the 2 sensors would cost $ 440 together.

Please advise if anyone has unfortunately gone thru this.
Thanks.

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Old 14 Sep 2005, 06:38 am   #2 (permalink)
qslim
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Default Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

P0420 is "catalyst system efficiency below threshold - bank 1", and 9 times
out of 10 it means you need a new catalytic converter. But, to be sure you
should find someone who can read the waveforms of your O2 sensors and
perform an oxygen capture test on the converter to be sure. Don't let guys
at a parts store tell you what's wrong with your car. They aren't
technicians.

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Old 14 Sep 2005, 03:20 pm   #3 (permalink)
Travis Jordan
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Default Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

qslim wrote:
> P0420 is "catalyst system efficiency below threshold - bank 1", and 9
> times out of 10 it means you need a new catalytic converter. But, to


The O2 sensors fail much more frequently that the converters themselves.


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Old 14 Sep 2005, 04:29 pm   #4 (permalink)
qslim
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Default Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

Yeah, they do. But when they fail you don't usually get just a P0420 code
by itself.

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Old 14 Sep 2005, 06:44 pm   #5 (permalink)
cam
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Default Re: Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

"" wrote:
> Yeah, they do. But when they fail you don't usually get just a
> P0420 code
> by itself.


Thanks folks,
Basically what I need is a detailed diagnostic test rather than just a
quick code retrieval. Is that what you guys would suggest? It was
even my understanding that before CAT, the o2 sensors would fail.
Whatís the likelihood of both failing simultaneously?
Thanks again for all your answers.

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Old 14 Sep 2005, 10:26 pm   #6 (permalink)
qslim
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Default Re: Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

You'll need a way to observe o2 sensor voltages, be it with a scanner at
the OBDII port or a good logging meter at the ECM terminals. The front
sensor, after the car is warm and engine racing at around 2500 - 3000 rpm,
should cycle from .2v to .8v roughly every 8 - 10 seconds. The rear sensor
should be a nearly flat line, with a cycling frequency no less than around
30 seconds or so. This is a normally operating system. If the rear sensor
matches the front sensor waveform, you have a cat that is not doing its
job. If the front sensor matches the rear sensor waveform, you have a
sensor issue. But, if the latter is the case you would (at least in the
case of most Toyotas) most likely have an additional trouble code
indicating a range/performance problem with the front 02 sensor. Thats why
a 420 code alone usually indicates a converter problem. Barring all this
you can also perform an oxygen capture test to measure the residual unused
oxygen coming from the converter, but this requires a gas analyzer. An
infrared thermometer can also be used to check for uneven temperatures
across the bottom of the converter, indicating a problem.
Also, there is no rule indicating which component will fail first. There
is no justification in replacing an oxygen sensor (or two) just because
converters usually last longer. Any real technician with half decent
equipment should be able to figure this out in less than ten minutes.

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Old 15 Sep 2005, 09:38 am   #7 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

after the car is warm and engine racing at around 2500 - 3000 rpm,
should cycle from .2v to .8v roughly every 8 - 10 seconds
~~~~~~~~
qslim - thanks for contributing your experience to the group.
------
but doesn't that first 02 sensor cycle much more frequently than once
in 8 seconds?

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Old 15 Sep 2005, 06:35 pm   #8 (permalink)
qslim
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Default Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

Yeah Daniel, I misspoke (sorry). I meant to write that the front sensor
should cycle about 10 times every 8 to 10 seconds. Good catch.

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Old 19 Sep 2005, 01:37 am   #9 (permalink)
cam
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Default Re: Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

"" wrote:
> Yeah Daniel, I misspoke (sorry). I meant to write that the
> front sensor
> should cycle about 10 times every 8 to 10 seconds. Good catch.


folks,
thanks for all the words of experience.
Currently, although the car is running with a normal mileage, I have
been unable to get it diagnozed and have been driving it at least 20
miles a day.
Would any one know the after-effects or deterioration of this
condition not fixed in due time. (I have been unable to get the error
P0420 fixed so far)

Thanks once again,
CAM

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Old 19 Sep 2005, 01:37 am   #10 (permalink)
Fourmiler
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Default Re: Re: 2001 camry I4 SEDAN P0420 error help

"cam" wrote:
> folks,
> thanks for all the words of experience.
> Currently, although the car is running with a normal mileage,
> I have been unable to get it diagnozed and have been driving
> it at least 20 miles a day.
> Would any one know the after-effects or deterioration of this
> condition not fixed in due time. (I have been unable to get
> the error P0420 fixed so far)
>
> Thanks once again,
> CAM


Sounds like your convertor is already gone. Canít hurt to drive it. I
agree with Suckers, you need a convertor, the downstream O2 is doing
its job, it hasnít failed.
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