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2003 Forester X
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Howdy folks,

I've been having a small gas smell in my car every once in a while, and yesterday my check engine light came on. I scanned it and the code was P0420 for Catalyst System Inefficiency.

I have a 2003 Forester X (2.5L N/A), and had the front O2 sensor replaced less than 20k miles ago at 49k. Now the car has about 69k on it. My car is out of warranty, but I heard something about an 8/80 federally mandated warranty on a catalytic converter. Is there any truth to this? If so, can anyone honor it or does it have to be a Subaru dealer?

Thanks in advance!

Ben
 

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1998 Forester
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593 Posts
Howdy folks,

I've been having a small gas smell in my car every once in a while, and yesterday my check engine light came on. I scanned it and the code was P0420 for Catalyst System Inefficiency.

I have a 2003 Forester X (2.5L N/A), and had the front O2 sensor replaced less than 20k miles ago at 49k. Now the car has about 69k on it. My car is out of warranty, but I heard something about an 8/80 federally mandated warranty on a catalytic converter. Is there any truth to this? If so, can anyone honor it or does it have to be a Subaru dealer?

Thanks in advance!

Ben
Here is the info:

Information on Manufacturers emissions Warranties for 1995 Newer Cars and Trucks | On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) | US EPA
 

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The fuel smell is probably unrelated to the 0420, unless the actual cat is failing (which it could be if the front o2 was bad and dumping too much raw fuel into the cat). 0420 usually ends up being the rear sensor itself.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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41,758 Posts
My guess is a failing front O2 sensor, causing an over rich condition. This would give you the gas smell & would overwhelm the CAT. The rear O2 sensor, which monitors the CAT, would give you the P0420 CEL code. Sounds like what happen in my '03. :wink:

Bobby...

My MODding Journal
 

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2005 Impreza RS Wagon Auto
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3,658 Posts
Gas smell may be unrelated as some have stated. Check your fuel filler and the exposed gas lines below the rear driver side door for corrosion.
 

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2007 L.L.Bean Edition
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16 Posts
I apologize if this has been answered a zillion times, but does the federally mandated 8/80 warranty really work? If so, is it a huge hassle?
I have a 2007 Forester, and I again have a CEL, with the flashing cruise light. Just the P0420 code comes up, and my mechanic says I definitely need a new catalytic converter. He wants me to go to a dealer to try to get it fixed under warranty.
Is that really possible? I bought the Forester used, from a non-Subaru dealer.
 

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2006 Forester X Premium 4-Speed Automatic
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55 Posts
The OEM warranty is specific to the vehicle, not the owner. If you have less than 80k on it, and it's truly less than 8 years old (by the original purchase date), then yes, they will honor it.
 

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2012 Forester 4 speed auto
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1,203 Posts
Don't worry about a bill of sale. Subaru of America will know if the car is still under warranty. It's their money that's paying for the warranty. There isn't one moving part inside a converter. They are designed to last the life of the car. In the event of failure you have to find out why the converter failed. Simply replacing without fixing the real problem will destroy the new converter again.

Given you live on an island and take very short trips, it is very possible that there is a hole in your exhaust system caused by condensation. Have a muffler shop take a look at it. That's the easy fix.
 

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2006 Forester X Premium 4-Speed Automatic
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55 Posts
thanks for the reply, maddenma.
will a dealership be able to learn the original sale date by the VIN number, or do I need to buy a report from CarFax or someone?
Subaru knows who it sold that car to and when. Probably already knows you own it now. You won't need anything but the car.
 
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