Catalytic Converter Installation – 2003 Toyota Corolla

I changed the catalytic converter on my 2003 Toyota Corolla because it was failing inspection. The catalytic converter is really a filter that is placed between the car’s engine and the muffler, absorbing toxins to keep them from entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

Changing the catalytic converter is simple in theory and more complex in execution: it merely involves unbolting four bolts — two on each end — and installing the new part. The difficulty comes when trying to hold up a 25 pound pipe in position while trying to insert a rusty bolt into a one of the holes. Not easy.

Estimated cost for professional repair: $900
My cost: $320 for the part, on and about another hundred in tools.

Below: Here’s where the catalytic converter bolts onto the muffler.


Below: You have to remove this sensor from the catalytic converter. This sensor detects how effectively the part is doing its job.


Below: Here is a rubber retaining ring. This thing was a pain to disconnect and reconnect.


Below: This bracket needs to be removed.


Below: Here is where the catalytic converter attaches to the engine. I needed a 10 inch extender bar to reach the bolts. Also, I needed a 15 inch breaker bar to loosen the fairly-rusty bolts, apparently a common challenge in this job.


Below: Old and new catalytic converters.





I smelled some strange smells for 10 minutes after installing the part. I think it was some paint burning off or maybe a decal burning. It went away, I had the car’s “check engine light” reset, and the car passed inspection after I drove the required mileage.


8 Comments on “Catalytic Converter Installation – 2003 Toyota Corolla”

  1. cody says:

    I know you posted this 14 + months ago, but has your check engine light stayed off? Were you worried that the after market cats won’t last as long as the OEM cats? Great post thanks so much!

  2. Ron says:

    Yes please comment, how has your luck been with this part?

  3. Cr says:

    did you also replace the 02 sensors? That could be why it says its bad again ..also, was it the Evan fisher direct fit? And did it come with new gaskets and bolt in perfect?

  4. rey says:

    I have the same issues. Used an aftermarket converter and within a week it came back. Did it twice and still the same issue. I just left it alone till its time for smog check.

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