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I was out of town on business this week. This means something was going to go wrong with one of the cars. It allwaus seems to play out that way.
Anyway, when I called home on Wednesday, DW told be that the emissions light on the 99 Honda Odyssey came on. She was hesistant to keep driving it until I got back on Friday. She made an appointment at the local Honda dealer to read the code on Thursday even though they charge $40 to do this.
She went in and waited for them to return and report what the problem is. Usually, they don't have the part on hand or if they do the don't have the time to fix it that day so you need to come back.
After two hours, the service manager told her the car was ready. They had replaced the catalytic converter for free under the 8 yr 80,000 mile federal warranty. Good deal.
This got me to thinking about the failure. The car only has 70,000 miles on it. I have never had a catalytic converter fail before. We have had a once a year emissions inspection forever so I had a lot of tests done over the last 20 years. I think Honda had a problem that year. Why else would they have a stock of that particular converter on hand? They also sent me a notice several months ago stating that any emissions failure before 8 yrs and 80,000 miles would be fixed for free. This was also unusual.
I don't know what rules in effect were in 99. Now, catalytic converters must meet emission limits at 150,000 miles. That is, they are aged for 150,000 miles prior to certification. So 70,000 miles seems way to low.
I suspect a manufacturing defect.
Anyway, I am writing this to alert other Honda owners, espectially Odyssey owners to be aware of the problem. The Honda dealer said the cost would have been $1000 if the warranty did not apply.

The Chief
Who will be out of town a lot in the near future and fears more of these phone calls.
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