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Have the dreaded P0420 code on our '01 MDX with ~130,000 miles.

Our mechanic just replaced all engine and transmission mounts and looked over the whole car while doing the work. They thoroughly tested the 02 sensors so just think it is a bad cat and not worth trying to replace the sensors first.

Couple of questions:

1. Does the '01 only have a single cat? I've been reading on here about front and rear cats but on the '01 I only see one large cat in the front (the front mounting brackets are between the front axle). Even looking at the diagram of the exhaust system on estore.honda.com I only see that one large cat.

2. Cleaning: I've read mixed reviews of Catacleaner or the "lacquer cleaning method" or of trying to immerse it in a hot bath of citric and oxalic acids. This is not a daily driver and just an extra car. Also, our state does not have emissions testing. All I want is for the check engine light to disappear. Is it worth trying these methods before replacing?

3. If I replace, I don't want to go for the Honda OEM part which is about ~$1,000+. Again, just an extra car, not a daily driver. I've seen replacement cats on Ebay from Canada for ~$100. I know that these are not as good as OEM and won't last as long but this car will barely get 2,000 miles a year on it. Does anyone have any experience with these very inexpensive cats? I know that some don't work with the car and won't eliminate the CEL which is the goal in the first place.

4. How hard is it to replace the cat myself? I see that it is "only" bolted on by 6 bolts and that the 02 sensor needs to be removed. I know that it is harder than it looks because the heat of the cat rusts and melts those 6 bolts making it hard to remove. I have some Loctite bolt remover which freezes the bolts down to -45 and then has a lubricator. I tried some yesterday but they still weren't budging so I figured I would ask some questions on here before really pulling hard on them. Any advice for removing the cat? It looks like the top bolt on each bracket (closest to the heat shield) is going to be extremely difficult to get to.

5. How necessary is the 02 socket tool? Is this completely necessary to remove and install the 02 sensor once?

Thanks for any replies!
 

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Hi all, my 08Mdx with 198k miles just threw p0420. Can I remove and install the downstream o2 sensor from the underneath without removing the brace that bolted to the left & right frame? Is there any easier way to resolve this p0420 issue as the car doesn’t worth that much anymore. Car originally from Kansas but now registered in California, can i get the non Carb cat? Thx
 
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