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Thread: Cleaning catalytic converter with lacquer thinner ? stupid or recommended ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Cleaning catalytic converter with lacquer thinner ? stupid or recommended ?

    Hello; I got a good huntch that my catalytic converter is clogged or underperforming; saw this guy on the youtube that before thinking on getting a new one I should clean it up first and one method is by pouring a gallon of lacquer thinner into the gas tank and run the car at 2500 rpm for about 30 minutes...before I do something stupid and ruin my car, has anyone ever tried this method ? is it safe ? good result ? got the P0420 code and indicates bad cat supposedly the lacquer thinner will clean all the gunk on it and eventually disappear the code..


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    ...ok forgot to add: 2006 - 3.8 L Town & Country with ~83,500 miles.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Nova Scotia Canada

    Just because you saw it on u-tube doesn't mean it works or would be good for the rest of the fuel systom.

    I say it won't, no reason but it just doesn't sound right.
    2006 Town@Country loaded up!

    2005 grand stow@go Judi's new blue ride

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Nova Scotia, Canada

    You must have been watching this Scotty Kilmer video:

    This might help and it's a bit more rational:

    Lots of discussion here on the problem, including mention of the Scotty Kilmer video:

    Here's the Scotty Kilmer channel:

    Scotty seems to be well recognized but I don't think I would take a chance on putting laquer thinner in my gas tank though for fear of damage to other parts.

    A sensor malfunction could be the reason for the code. Might try replacing those first, the one that's on the converter at least.
    Last edited by Jeepman; 02-25-2012 at 08:52 AM.
    2007 GC SXT - Magnesium - S&G - 3.8L - 167,630 kms
    2002 GC Sport - Stone White - 3.3L - 352,200 kms
    2003 Jeep TJ Sport - 4.0L - 271,700 kms

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  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    p0420 dont always mean bad cat, it means there is a problem somewhere. could be the o2 sensors, cold be the cat, could also be the exaust system, if there is a hole or crack etc. check these first before you replace an expensive cat.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    I would start an inspection of the exhaust and then if there are no cracks or obvious defects, replace the O2 least the pre cat and after cat sensors.
    I don't recall seeing a whole bunch of members having cat issues.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Thanked 90 Times in 81 Posts

    Unfortunately, there is no easy "fix in a can". I never believe what I see on youtube or read on the web without further research, it's too easy easy to suckered in by "yellow" journalisim.

    You are in the right place to start a reasoanble search to find your solution. I recommend exactly what these guys are saying; physically examine your exhaust system. Then check the sensors. Unless you are running a really poor blend of fuel that has been contaminated, I would highly doubt your converter is "dead" so soon. O2 sensors on the other hand, fail a little too often......

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Northwest Arkansas

    Forget it. Once the lacquer thinner has gone through the combustion process all of its solvent properties are gone. For example, could you clean a paint brush by waving it through the smoke of burning lacquer thinner? Besides that, you run the risk of damaging plastic components (gaskets, etc.) in the fuel system between the gas tank and the injectors.

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  12. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Tulsa OK
    Thanked 63 Times in 54 Posts

    I would be more inclined to remove the converter and soak it in lacquer thinner.. Couldn't imagin putting it in the gas..
    2013 GC SXT 16,000 My ride.
    2005 Caravan SXT 3.3, 58,000, Wife's ride.
    2000 Silverado 4x4 256,000 reg cab long bed, winter ride and lumber go getter .
    Previous, 94 Caravan 3.3, sold at 255,000.

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Braselton, GA 40 mi. NE of Atlanta
    Thanked 64 Times in 56 Posts

    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    The solvents in Lacquer Thinner are very strong, I don't think anyone can tell you what they would do to O rings or other rubber components of the system. If you think it is clogged, check the flow out the tailpipe, do you have good flow? can you shut it off with hand pressure? Does it stop immediately? You can get a bypass pipe to test the system, but it is unlikely with the miles you have that you have a clogged converter, it is more likely something else, unless someone has used leaded gas in it. If that is the case, no solvent will get it off.
    2005 T&C Ltd 3.8 108,000
    2000 Caravan 2.4l
    1990 Grand Caravan 3.3 149,000 owned 15yrs 4 trannies
    1990 Dynasty 3.0 120k 1 tranny 4yrs
    1981 Dodge Aries 2.6 only new car I ever bought 225k orig 11yrs
    1966 Dodge Coronet 440 Wagon, way old 1 yr. 135$ (Had to borrow it at the bank!)
    1964 Simca 1000 (bought for $10 rebored) 50k 4yrs
    1965 Ply Valiant V8 85k
    1964 Ply Valiant Wagon slant 6 200k 1 qt/200 miles
    1969 Corvair convertible 4 carb

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