All RVs that are self-driven have a catalytic converter. It is law in the US and most countries around the world that a vehicle with an engine must have a catalytic converter.
Both petrol and diesel engine vehicles have a catalytic converter, with vehicles that need to be towed not having one. They act as a filter to remove pollutants from exhaust.
As you will be servicing the RV in some random places when it is out of your control, you must understand the purpose of a catalytic converter. This is the part of any vehicle that is stolen the most as people know how to make easy money by selling it for the precious metals inside.
How Much Is It To Replace A Catalytic Converter On An RV?
For a small, highly efficient vehicle, a catalytic converter starts at $100; for RVs, the price can easily reach well over $500 as they are larger and use more material. This cost is without the installation and labor required to install the catalytic converter which adds another $100.
Because a catalytic converter contains platinum, it is commonly one of the most expensive parts of the car that is just one single unit. You may find that many RV owners refuse to replace their catalytic converters throughout their life instead of just using the same one.
When you see a beautiful RV with an engine with no issues, but there are plumes of smoke coming from the exhaust, it is because the catalytic converter is old. It is highly advised that you replace the catalytic converter when it is time or risk the health of your entire engine.
Is It Worth It Removing A Catalytic Converter?
While a catalytic converter is an important part of your RV and its exhaust system, you may hear of many RV owners that remove them as soon as they can. If you are looking to get the most gas mileage from your RV, removing the catalytic converter will be well worth it.
The catalytic converter does put a lot more strain on the engine to push out air through the exhaust system; however, there are some risks. When crossing state lines, you may be inspected, which will cause you to be fined heavily, as you are not adhering to the regulations set out.
However, the more severe impact of not having a catalytic converter is the environmental damage that you will be inflicting. Many people forget that because the RV engines are large, they will release more CO2 gasses than a car engine.
The engine is tuned to run optimally with it. If you remove it may sputter due to lack of back pressure.
Is It Safe To Drive Without A Catalytic Converter?
Despite what many people think, it is entirely safe to drive without a catalytic converter; however, there are some drawbacks. Your RV will accelerate inconsistently, be a lot louder, and will eventually fail any inspections that it has to undergo.
When the catalytic converter has been stolen from your RV, you must get it to a proper mechanic as fast as possible. Many insurance companies will cover a stolen catalytic converter, paying to have the part replaced in your RV, saving you’re a few thousand dollars.
It is worth noting that you may be forced to drive without the catalytic converter for quite a while, as most smaller towns cannot fix an RV owing to its size. In those scenarios, it may be best to have the exhaust connected with pipes to flow through the rest of the exhaust system.
What Does A Catalytic Converter Do?
A catalytic converter does almost precisely what it says in the name; it converts the harmful CO2 gasses into carbon dioxide and water. Both of these are harmless to the environment and allows you to comfortably drive a lot further without harming the world around us.
Every catalytic converter contains platinum, which is the main element that reacts with the exhaust emissions that all engines have. When a catalytic converter is cut open, it looks almost like a long sieve with lots of little pipes compressed together, which creates a lot of surface area.
When the gasses move through the catalytic converter, the only thing pushing it is the pressure provided by the engine. This is why many high-performance cars remove the catalytic converter to try and get more power from their engines.
Why Are Some RVs Without Catalytic Converters?
A common misconception that people have when looking at RVs is that some have no catalytic converters. The truth is these are usually RVs that cannot drive themselves, instead of needing to be attached to a larger vehicle to be towed to every destination.
These are still classes as RVs as they are recreation vehicles, but they are not self-driven vehicles that can be driven around independently. Instead, they are mounted onto trailers and must be pulled by your main vehicle, a truck, SUV, or utility vehicle.
If you are buying a normal RV with no catalytic converter, you should be aware that the converter may have been removed. With a lot of these not going to meet inspection, which in many states means that the RV will not be road legal.
How Long Does A Catalytic Converter Last?
Depending on the size of your vehicle and the engine, the catalytic converter can easily last well over 100 000 miles. However, most manufacturers will recommend replacing the catalytic converter once every 4 years, ensuring that it never gets clogged.
A big reason catalytic converters fail while on the road, causing the entire engine to fail to start and causing endless headaches, is when they should have been replaced. The older a catalytic converter is, the more likely it is to become clogged, stopping any exhaust from going through it.
This prevents the engine from operating properly, with the exhaust pushing back into the piston compartments. This causes a lack of oxygen, which stops the engine from operating correctly, damaging your engine extensively, costing you even more than just a catalytic converter.
Where Does A Catalytic Converter Sit On The Engine?
The catalytic converter is the first single part of the exhaust that leads from the engine, sitting between the first muffler and your exhaust take manifold. The exhaust manifold is the pipe system that leads directly from each piston on your engine.
The catalytic converter helps prevent emissions from your RV engine; it also helps reduce the noise made by your engine. This is why an engine that does not have a good catalytic converter will be a lot louder than an engine with one.
We always recommend having a catalytic converter installed on your RV exhaust system to have it properly operating throughout your vacations. With the catalytic converter, you are always ensuring that your engine is running peacefully and cleanly.
All RVs that are self-driven will have a catalytic converter to help the engine burn a lot cleaner while reducing the noise from your engine. Because of the pressure required to push air through the catalytic converter removing it can cause your engine to be unstable.
Whatever you do, please don’t replace the catalytic converter with nothing; no one wants a thundering RV in their town!