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Old 08-21-2012, 08:50 PM
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Question trouble code p0420 setting

Hello everybody,
I have a 2005 Altima 3.5 engine and I am having some difficulty keeping the ses light out. In fact it will not stay out. A short history a few months back it was making a very unhealthy high pitch squalling in the timing chain area. The noise stopped when the small chain to the back head( 1,3,5 ) head broke the car still ran , but it felt like the exhaust was plugged. I suppose in a way it was since the exhaust cam was no longer turning and opening the valves. But before making that discovery I pulled the entire exhaust off the car . The only thing that I saw was the catalyst in the rear converter( bank 1) had slid down inside the manifold, but it was not plugged . I replaced it anyway. Okay so now the timing chain issues have been handled and the car runs great, quiet . Honestly better than it ever has. However it keeps setting the trouble code p0420 and telling me on the scan tool that the converter that I replaced already is bad. While running the car and viewing live data both the downstream oxygen sensers read close to each other running with about .300 mv as center line . But bank 1 senser 1 hangs out around .295 to .350 as were bank 2 senser 1 runs in the .500 to .600 mv range . Thinking that I may have damaged the senser when I changed it to the new converter. So I just replaced it and the new senser reads exactly the same. Like bank 1 is constantly running lean. I am wondering if maybe any body out there can help me.
Thanks for taking the time to read this story. Jim in Carson City NV.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:37 PM
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When the head work was done did they pull the head or the intake?
If bank 1 is leaning out after the work there may be a leak where the cylinders are sucking in air after the MAF so the motor is having trouble keeping the A/F mixture correct.

Also, if the pre-cat you used is not the same exact spec as the OEM one it will cause the O2 sensor to read values outside the preset range.
Does you car have Calif emissions and you replaced the pre-cat with a 49 state version?
Since Calif emission standards are tighter than the rest of the country you may have an issue there.

I hope I helped point you in the right direction to track down your code.
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:56 AM
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Aren't there two sensors on that line?
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:15 PM
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Here is what the ESM says about the issue.

1. Start engine and drive vehicle at a speed of more than 70 km/h (43 MPH) for 2 consecutive minutes.
2. Stop vehicle with engine running.
3. Set voltmeters probes between ECM terminals 91 [HO2S1
(bank 1) signal], 92 [HO2S1 (bank 2) signal] and engine ground,
and ECM terminals 88 [HO2S2 (bank 1) signal], 90 [HO2S2
(bank 2) signal] and engine ground.
4. Keep engine speed at 2,000 rpm constant under no load.
5. Make sure that the voltage switching frequency (high & low)
between ECM terminals 88 and engine ground, or 90 and
engine ground is very less than that of ECM terminals 91 and
engine ground, or 92 and engine ground.
Switching frequency ratio = A/B
A: Heated oxygen sensor 2 voltage switching frequency
B: Heated oxygen sensor 1 voltage switching frequency
This ratio should be less than 0.75.
If the ratio is greater than above, it means three way catalyst
does not operate properly. Go to EC-953, "Diagnostic Procedure"
.
NOTE:
If the voltage at terminal 91 or 92 does not switch periodically more than 5 times within 10 seconds at step 5,
perform trouble diagnosis for “DTC P0133, P0153” first. (See EC-834 .)

DTC No. Trouble diagnosis name DTC detecting condition Possible cause
P0420
0420
(Bank 1)
Catalyst system efficiency
below threshold
 Three way catalyst (Manifold) does not operate
properly.
 Three way catalyst (Manifold) does not have
enough oxygen storage capacity.
 Three way catalyst (Manifold)
 Exhaust tube
 Intake air leaks
 Fuel injectors
 Fuel injector leaks
 Spark plug
 Improper ignition timing
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:18 PM
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Not uncommon to put an aftermarket cat in and still have a light.. Always go OE on catalytic converters! And by the way, if the secondary chain broke, the engine would not have run. The high pitched squeal was due to the secondary chain wearing through the plastic guide on the tensioner. Once it wears through the plastic, the chain is just riding on the metal plunger. Metal on metal = squeal
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:25 AM
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In all my time working on nissans, I have never seen a p0420 set by anything other than a bad cat. The ECM has an expected level of oxygen. If using an aftermarket converter, it may not be operating inside that range. I had this exact issue pop up on a frontier about 2 weeks ago. Put an OE converter on it, fixed the problem
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:29 PM
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Using aftermarket cats in Calif will throw a SES light 99.9% of the time since the emissions standards out here are crazy.
You'd be lucky to even find a shop that would replace a cat on a wideband car with anything other than a factory unit.
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