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The catalytic converter conspiracy

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posted on May, 16 2010 @ 02:25 AM
I did a thorough search, and was a bit surprised that this one hasn't come up on ATS that I can see. It effects us all, and we should all be aware of this fleecing by federal mandate.

If you drive an American automobile of a later year than 1975, which should be about everyone in America, it has a catalytic converter. Unless it's older than 1984 in which case you can cut the sucker off, and pitch it. The catalytic converter or "cat" for short was first thought of in the early 1950s by a french engineer living in L.A. named Eugene Houdry. He was tired of all the smog, and worked in catalytic oil refining. The first production cats weren't introduced until 1973 when lead was taken out of gasoline as an anti-knock agent, and some other guys fussed around with the design, and improved it. Lead gunked up the converter. By 1975 all vehicles had to have a cat from the factory, and by 1985 it was a crime to take it off your vehicle if it was built in that year, or later.

The idea behind the cat is to burn unburned hydrocarbons(fuel molecules) left over from the combustion cycle. It wasn't really too bad of an idea for the time because cars were carbureted then, and the fuel mix ratio was just set to the best compromise for most conditions. If it got cold, or you had a big drop in altitude it would be a little lean, if it got hot, or you went up into the mountains it would be a little rich. Most of them were set on the rich side because a spark ignition engine runs better a little rich than it does too lean. So this meant unburned fuel coming out the tail pipe. The cat was supposed to burn this extra gas and clean up the emissions. Good idea right?

Maybe sort of at first. The biggest problem with early converters is that they took a long time to get hot, and they had a problem staying hot enough to burn the fuel all the time because the carburetor wasn't always that far off, and sometimes was too lean to keep the cat hot, but rich enough to still waste some gas. Enter the smog pump. It blew air into the cat like a blast on a furnace to keep it hot, and the carburetors were intentionally set even richer to make sure they wasted enough fuel to keep the cat hot. Plus the smog pump pulled about 5 horsepower. So now we are wasting fuel to support a device to catch wasted fuel, brilliant.
Now I'm sure all the oil companies were just heart broken that every single car on the road was going to have to consume about 30% more fuel to catch any incidental unburned fuel that might escape due to the carburetion system.

Then in the mid 80s we started getting good at fuel injection, and now we can control how much fuel the engine gets at any time. Coincidentally about the same time the feds mandate the catalytic converter to be on all engines about 25HP all the time, for all time, and with no exceptions, EVER. A little convenient? Seeing as there should be very little waste fuel now that we can accurately meter the fuel to the engine's needs. Your modern vehicle's computer is now so sophisticated that it can vary the pulse of every injector by 1/100th of a gram every single rotation of the engine. There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever for a modern vehicle to have a catalytic converter. Accept that it takes about 15%-20% more of your fuel(read money) to keep it hot, and running. Better than the 30% or more from days of yore, but still very wasteful. Not to mention the less than beneficial side effects produced by the cat. Like acid rain from hydrogen sulfide.

Anyone with a moderate understanding of combustion theory, and an understanding of engine control systems knows that a properly electronically tuned engine burns many times cleaner than the federally mandated system. Some european contries won't even allow california smog equipped vehicles in their country because they are so dirty. At our current level of technology it is abundantly apparent that it has nothing to do with clean air, and everything to do with $$$.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 02:52 AM
this is amazing... just amazing!

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 03:09 AM
reply to post by Binder

Going to post to keep track. I am a A&P mechanic so I do not know that much about the fuel systems of modern cars.

My brother is an auto mechanic, but now a insurance adjuster. He knows auto engines and components like a master. I am going to talk to him about this.

I have always wondered why the cats were never gotten rid of.

Thanks for the read.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 03:15 AM
Im from the uk, we didnt have to have cats until 94. Luckilly i drive an 89 nissan 180 sx, it doesnt have to have one.
I always hated them because they rob power from the engine, never knew they wasted so much fuel!
We also had a mini epidemic of cat thefts a few years ago in England because scrap metal was worth so much and the metals used in cats is expensive, people were literaly stealing them off cars and scrapping them for the cash!
After a brief search it seems it was not isolated to the uk!

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 03:16 AM
Can you elaborate on some European countries not allowing Californian smog equipment in there country? Never heard of this.

Do modern cars even have smog pumps anymore?

I would tend to agree about cats and cars in the 70s early 80s but not anymore. I seriously doubt that modern catalytic converters have any bearing on fuel economy. Do we need them? Probably not with modern computer controlled systems but I always saw them as the last resort on a modern car with high mileage that may not be in the best shape.

If there's a conspiracy I could see it more along the lines of a manufacturer greasing the palms of some politicians to get their products mandated then the oil companies.

Good post s+f

[edit on 16-5-2010 by drock905]

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 03:43 AM
binder you are correct the modern electronics fitted to a modern petrol engine means catalytic convertors are not needed to reduce unburnt , or partialy burnt fuel, in fact on a diesel engine they are a total hinderance the cat rarely gets hot enough, gets blocked by soot and any way it is not tested (in the uk anyway) at emmision test time as the soot particles from a diesel engine means that a spectrometer is used ,measuring particulate size not measuring hydrocarbon residues as with petrol engines
i think the cat legislation is simply law makers being totaly unaware of the facts but still making the rules because it suites the "system" more money for ignorance
very good thread

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 04:06 AM
reply to post by drock905

A friend of mine is in the air force, and went to Germany. He could not bring his 2005 Honda Odyssey van because the federal emissions standard was much higher ppm of junk than they would allow. Interestingly newer German cars for domestic sale have no cat. My friend said most of Germany has practically no smog. They simply tune the car's PCM to run efficient. There cars have almost double the power of an American car, and use half the gas. We are being shafted to the tonsils.

They don't use smog pumps anymore because the new closed loop system uses an AFR sensor (O2, or Lamda) to make darn sure you are wasting enough gas to keep the cat hot. No need to blow air.

[edit on 16-5-2010 by Binder]

[edit on 16-5-2010 by Binder]

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 04:22 AM
reply to post by sileighty

Yeah cat theft happens alot, and everywhere. They have palladium, and several other precious metals in them I can't remember off the top of my head. A cat for a big SUV can bring $400-$500 at scrap. It can cost the poor car owner over $1000 to replace. IF they didn't do collateral damage to your vehicle removing it. They usually do. They also usually cut the downstream O2 sensor that monitors the cat, and take it too to make a quicker get away. That sensor can cost $200. Plus other lines cut, plus damage to the exhaust system etc... It can financially total a 5, to 10 year old vehicle.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 04:52 AM
reply to post by satire111

The sword as it were cuts both ways. The manufacturer gets to build another feature that they charge for, even though engine technology has gained leaps, and bounds, and rendered traditional smog control obsolete. The emissions control system continue to become exponentially more sophisticated, and expensive. In fact on 2003, and newer CAN protocol cars the downstream O2 sensors have command priority to increase fuel trim by up to 30% to satisfy the cat temp. sensor regardless of how rich the upstream sensor reads. So if you get a clogged, or bad downstream cat sensor your car could guzzle gas like there's no tomorrow, and actually turn into a smog spraying monster. All fail safe protocols on modern cars basically boil down to retard timing, and pour fuel to it. Which bring us to the other edge of the sword. The oil companies lobby congress to make sure the protocols stay firmly in place regardless of the fact that they are killing our air, in the name of clean air. EPA= Economic Protection Agency.

Make no mistake though they are not unaware of the facts. Several top engineers in the field have spoken to congress over the years on several occasions on the folly of their ways. The result is always the fingers in the ears "La La La" response. The oil lobbyist's benjamins in their pockets speak with more authority.

At this point federal emissions are a religion as there is no current scientific data that supports its continued use in its current form. There is TONS of data however that support its discontinuation. Every vehicle could have straight exhaust with a noise muffler, and have much better power, much better fuel economy, and an astounding 80% reduction in emissions. All it would require would be ditching the cat, and reprogramming the PCMs software. All the other requisite technology is already on the car, and has been since the mid 1990s.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 05:50 AM
S & F for a well presented theory.

I can see what you mean by modern engines not needing them as much as the old carbie ones. They're causing more pollution by using more fuel, and of course, someone is making a nice profit off it.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 06:08 AM
Catalytic converters are a mere band aide fix for a problem that doesn't exist today...

But here's some food for thought.

Catalytic Converters and Global Warming

Friday, May 29, 1998

"Autos' Converters Increase Warming As They Cut Smog: A Split Over Solutions"
By Matthew L. Wald

WASHINGTON -- The catalytic converter, an invention that has sharply reduced smog from cars, has now become a significant and growing cause of global warming, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hailed as a miracle by Detroit automakers even today, catalytic converters have been reducing smog for 20 years. The converters break down compounds of nitrogen and oxygen from car exhaust that can combine with hydrocarbons, also from cars, and be cooked by sunlight into smog.

But researchers have suspected for years that the converters sometimes rearrange the nitrogen-oxygen compounds to form nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas. And nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas, more than 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, the most common of the gases, that is warming the atmosphere, according to experts.

Written in 1998, so before the global warming hype took over.


posted on May, 16 2010 @ 06:26 AM
very intresting chadwickus, I remember ford (europe) insisting that catalytic convertors were not the solution , when promoting its lean burn technology back in the late 80s early 90s

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 08:54 AM
Thanks for the post. I remember my first physics professor talking about the catalytic converter, he said there was one that made the car use way less gas. Maybe it is what you are talking about but he just didn't explain it fully. I don't have a full understanding of cars, enough to fix my own but that's about it. This is one of those things that people just don't believe when you tell them. He also said the car manufacturers bought the idea from the person who invented it. The bottom line is that there is a conspiracy with the catalytic converter.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 01:37 PM
reply to post by DocDoyle

The better converter of which you speak is a plasma vortex reformer. A really cool name for a really simple device. It has the potential to make full size SUVs get 100 mpg, or better while giving better power, and performance. I.E. a 100 mpg hotrod. They work, they are easy to build, and they are VERY against the law on cars. You can disappear for making one, and trying to sell it. People already have. Shysters have ruined the reputation of the technology, most likely on purpose, but it works regardless of the court of opinion. I have a weed eater that has one on it, and it will run on old oil, soda pop, and wizz(yes urine). In fact it runs better on garbage than petrol, you just have to clean the container out often, and keep it watery to pass through the little orifaces. People in europe build, and use them alot, no problem. They even run helicopters on them.
A project engine I helped with, a chevy 350, ran on a mixture of petrol, and water for 8 hours on 1 quart of water, and 1/2 pint of petrol at 3500 RPM 30% load making about 175 bhp with a PVR. You could breathe the exhaust emissions without ill effect. Suicide by asfixiation in the garage would no longer be an option.
You use model airplane carbs to get the mist small, and fine enough before going through the reformer. It was a bench engine, I'm not brave enough to push my luck, and actually put one on a street machine. I like breathing.
Even without non-conventional tech, the current configuration of our automobiles have the capacity already built in to perform to an order of magnitude better than they do. I was really excited when Ford launched its lean burn research, it was the way to go, but it got ahem... mysteriously derailed. NoX emissions come from a very hot burn. The most efficient expenditure of your fuel is total, and complete burn which is the hottest, but also creates more oxides of nitrogen (NoX). Nox can only be controlled by quenching combustion temperature, I.E. cooling it down a little. This can be accomplished in 2 ways: richer than stoichiometric, or leaner than stoichiometric. Guess which way the industry does it.
Quenching combustion temp. through air abundance works better, makes better power by extracting more power per unit of fuel, and is better for the longevity of the engine, Ford proved this in its research which is very hard to find the results of. The problem used to be that the AFR curve was very steep on the lean side of stoich., but more gradual on the rich side so rich was easier. Today our modern sensors, and computers make this problem a non issue. Wide band sensors are more than sensitive enough, and modern PCMs are more than fast enough to make the calculations, and changes. And before some jar head says that a lean mixture will burn your valves, get a clue, an over lean mixture will only burn valves at wide open throttle conditions for extended periods of time because the engine is pushed to it's max volumetric efficiency, and has no "breathing room" to put a simple term on it. Ultra lean burn at part throttle conditions is totally safe, and the answer to all our fuel, and emissions problems. It is a super simple, and very viable fix. We have been fed a pack of lies to the contrary. Every car on the road should get at minimum 30% better mileage than it does now, and produce 80% fewer emissions, and ZERO NoX, while giving better power output. It would require NO MODIFICATION other than throwing away the cat, and properly programming the computer. However even the mechanics today are taught that the way the PCM is programmed is devine inspiration from God, and cannot be changed. In fact changing your PCM programming is called tampering, and is a federal offence. Carefully designed to ensure that we all suck gas and spew filth no exceptions.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 03:18 PM
Yea, I have known this is a scam for sometime. Back several years ago, a friend of mine did a real world numbers test with and without the cat.

A Ford 5.0l H.O. V8 full stock with all emissions was getting 21mpg.
Same car with cats and smog pump removed was getting consistent 29mpg.....and it still passed emissions test!

It's like stuffing a sock in you exhaust pipe! The oil companies know there is an endless supply of oil, so make the American public buy more in their less efficient cars!

Another good automotive conspiracy is the R12/R134a freon "scare". Look into who held patents that were about to expire and who has the new patent on 134a.....DuPont anyone?

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 03:34 PM
I'm reminded of this. A great-grand-daughter finally asked her mother why they cut both ends of the ham off before putting it in the oven. Mother didn't know so grandmother was asked. Grandmother didn't know either. They went to great-grandmother who finally had the answer. "Well dear, I cut the ends the ham off so it would fit in the small pan." We are so complacent.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 03:37 PM
To the OP I hate it when something so obvious gets by me.
But to my teeny brain your post seems to hold water!
Thank you and great find.
I will be paying attention to what people have to say in this thread, I used to be a motorhead. So this topic is definitely interesting.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 03:58 PM
@ Binder
back in the 40ties there was a man named hans haas
he worked for ford and invented the catalytic converter with after burner
no fumes come from this device
ford never wanted to pay anything for the mans invention
so all cars don't have an after burner
and the air quality is what it is

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 04:00 PM
Well I just got learned. I always though the conspiracy was that the car manufacturers were skimping on the gold and platinum in the catalytic converters, and that more of those precious metals could double your fuel efficiency. A guy at work told me that, guess I should have researched it.

For those of you like me who know nothing about cars, here a good article that explains how catalytic converters work.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 04:03 PM
who, just who is going to make these muther effers pay?

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