Repairing Catalytic Converter & Muffler Rattles


Inserting Screws to Stop Rattles
Inserting Copper Wire to Stop Rattles
Muffler and Cat Heat Shield Rattle Abatement
Aftermarket Replacement Cats and Mufflers


Inserting Screws to Stop Rattles
When a rattle develops in the mufflers or catalytic converters, the time for replacement is nigh. However as a temporary fix to delay the inevitable expense, Kevin Kelly has had luck stopping rattles in catalytic converters and mufflers by drilling a small hole in them and screwing in big drywall screws with a cordless drill to stop the loose stuff inside from moving and rattling. (See photo at top right).

Kevin uses a Sears Craftsman "Mechanic's Stethoscope" to listen to the muffler or cat to determine where the loose items are before drilling a hole (if you don't have a mechanic's stethoscope you can hold a long screwdriver to your ear).

Muffler cut open

Converter cut open

Rear muffler from Kevin Kelly's 89 RR showing screws that stopped the rattle for two years.

Catalytic converter cut open to show solid material that was rattling around inside.



Inserting Copper Wire to Stop Rattles
COnverter with wire insertedKevin's "temporary" fix to stop a loud rattle in the rear muffler on his 1989 Range Rover Classic actually lasted two years (see photo, above left, of the rear muffler with the screw inserted that he cut open before he threw it away). While Kevin has had good luck stopping the rattles in BMW catalytic converters with screws, he has not had similar luck with screws in Range Rover cats. The honeycomb catalyst material in the Range Rover cats is more brittle than the stuff in the BMW cats (see photos of the loose material in the Range Rover cat that he cut open) so none of the fixes with screws on the Range Rover lasted more than a few days (see photos of screws in cat). Kevin did manage to stop the rattle in the Range Rover cat for a few weeks by shoving about a foot of copper wire in to the cat (see photo at right of cat with wire in it).


Muffler and Cat Heat Shield Rattle Abatement
Range Rovers do not seem to have a problem with the heat shields on the cats coming loose but if they every do Kevin had been able to stop the rattle from loose heat shields on BMWs by screwing four big hose clamps together to make a really big hose clamp. This was wrapped around the cat and cranked down so the clamp crushed the heat shield and stops it from moving and rattling.

On my Range Rover 4.0SE, when the heat shield on the center muffler started to rattle, I was able to use a similar type of fix. This has already lasted over a year. In  my case a clamp made from a piece of thin steel strip was wrapped around the muffler and tightened with a nut and bolt. If you need to replace the muffler, see the muffler removal and replacement page.


Aftermarket Replacement Cats and Mufflers
Old (genuine) and new (aftermarket) convertersSince the Range Rover catalyst material is so brittle, it may be possible (though illegal and not recommended) to crack it in to small pieces and shake it all out, but  the best solution is to replace the worn out cat with a new one (see photo at right of new aftermarket cat beside old genuine one). Depending on model year, you may be able to replace only the cat that is rattling (as Kevin could on his 89 RR). On some model years, however, you may have to replace them as a pair since they are welded together as a single unit. Kevin found an aftermarket bolt in "plug and play" converter for under $200.


When purchasing cats and mufflers, care may be needed if you opt for one of the totally "generic" replacements to ensure that the cats are up out of the way and neither the cats/mufflers nor the steel tubing reduces clearance to either the chassis or the ground. However most aftermarket units now available which are sold specifically for Range Rovers are specially configured for the vehicle.

Information on low cost aftermarket sources for exhaust components including mufflers and catalytic converters is provided on the Parts Sources page

 


 

 

 

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Page revised February 2, 2012