If you are in the market for a new catalytic converter, and are a performance enthusiast, chances are that you will be considering buying a high flow catalytic converter. If you aren’t, then you should read this article, and consider the benefits.
Let me tell you what this article is not about. I’m not going to talk about boring OEM universal catalytic converters that you put on your moms minivan. I’m going to be talking about high performance parts whose sole purpose is to increase the horsepower and torque of your vehicle. If you are just searching for a replacement cat for your 92 Chevy Cavalier, then reading this article is not worth your time. So let’s get into it, shall we?
I’m going to assume that you have a high performance vehicle, or at the very least, a stock vehicle that you plan on modifying. If you aren’t familiar with high flow catalytic converters, let me explain what they are and how they help your car gain horsepower.
First, the point of the catalytic converter is to convert toxic engine exhaust gases into cleaner more environmentally friendly substances. This is done using a catalyst inside of the device, hence the name “Catalytic” converter. Anyway, the problem with OEM or aftermarket OEM cats is that they restrict airflow. This is mainly because they are built to work as effectively as possible, and have little focus on increasing the power of your vehicle. Your 95 Honda Civic wasn’t built to be a high performance machine from the factory, but that’s not going to stop you from changing that! The High Flow Catalytic Converter was created with performance in mind and ultimately it lets more air flow unrestricted through your entire exhaust system. The best scenario would be to have no cat at all, and many people who race their cars do not have a catalytic converter, but if you are looking to have your car be street legal, then your car must have a cat in order to pass emissions tests during inspection.
So how does a high flow catalytic converter help your cars performance and should you buy one? Well first, let me ask you, do you have aftermarket headers or exhausts on your vehicle? If not, then a high flow cat is not the thing to be buying just yet. I think of a high performance cat as the third part to your aftermarket exhaust system. The most important piece of your exhaust system is the Cat-Back. This is all of the piping that comes after your catalytic converter. The second most important piece is a high flow exhaust manifold, or headers. These come before the cat. Without one or two of those pieces installed on your car, I would not purchase a high performance cat as it is the least important and will not be as effective if not combined with a high flow exhaust system.
If you do have an aftermarket exhaust system, then a high flow catalytic converter might be the logical next piece to purchase. The more freely your exhaust gases flow from your engine, the more power your car will make. If you have a high performance cat-back, and headers, then a regular cat will cause a bottleneck in the airflow, and that is something we don’t want. By installing a high performance cat, you will increase the air flow, and gain more power. How much power will you gain? Well that depends on your engine size. Larger V6 and V8 engines will see a higher increase in power than i4s. This is because they produce much more exhaust gases. But for simplicity, we’ll say adding a high flow cat can increase your horsepower by 4hp to 10hp. If that sounds like a gain you would like to benefit from, then buying a high flow cat might be the right choice for you.