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    Thread: Emissions Fail :( Help! - CEL P0420

    1. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 01:35 AM #1
      So I recently bought me a new (new to me at least) 2003 Volkswagen GTI 1.8t Tornado Red anyways... I am trying to pass emissions testing (State of Oregon) and get the car registered. So heres where the problems started...

      I took it to DEQ to do an emissions test and it failed, the tech said that I needed to do a drive cycle to put all of the sensors in a ready state. I was working with radio and pulled the battery lead so that was probably why the sensors weren't ready. So I drove to Portland (50 mi round trip) and figured that would complete the drive cycle, then the CEL came on... P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1).

      So I reset the CEL (this also resets the Drive Cycle) and drove it 100+ miles, all systems are ready except the following according to DEQ:

      Catalyst: Incomplete
      EGR System: Incomplete

      How can I change these to the ready state and pass emissions?

    2. Member .:S's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 01:40 AM #2
      If you have vcds, it will guide you through setting the readiness.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    3. Member NCdub91's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 01:45 AM #3
      P0420 usually means a bad catalytic converter.

    4. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 04:21 AM #4
      I dont have VCDS.... I really need to invest in it. Could I use VCDS-lite to set the monitors to ready? I have a OBDII->USB device and could just download the shareware VCDS...

    5. Member mk3_vdub's Avatar
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      04-25-2012 05:53 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by NCdub91 View Post
      P0420 usually means a bad catalytic converter.
      cat's getting clogged or going bad is kinda rare. usually its just the sensor needing replaced

      usually my readiness codes are reset after 2-3 trips where the car is turned off/on again

    6. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      05-22-2012 05:30 PM #6
      Turns out that someone put a test pipe on the car and took out the cat entirely. I was able to pass emissions like 5th time . I just ordered a wheel spacer so hopefully that should fix the P0420 I've been throwing.
      2003 Tornado Red GTI 1.8t AWP 180 HP | Tiptronic 09A
      100k | Cat-Delete | 2.5" Downpipe | Podi Boost Gauge | AM Air Filter | Bumpin Audio Sys

    7. Member Miller7204's Avatar
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      05-22-2012 05:36 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Psyco_Kitty View Post
      I just ordered a wheel spacer so hopefully that should fix the P0420 I've been throwing.
      A wheel spacer? Do you mean an O2 sensor spacer?

    8. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      05-23-2012 01:12 AM #8
      Yes, and oxygen spacer... my bad Hopefully it will fix the problem, other people said it's worked for them, so why not. If that doesn't work, the spark plug arrestor mod would be my next shot.
      Quote Originally Posted by Miller7204 View Post
      A wheel spacer? Do you mean an O2 sensor spacer?
      2003 Tornado Red GTI 1.8t AWP 180 HP | Tiptronic 09A
      100k | Cat-Delete | 2.5" Downpipe | Podi Boost Gauge | AM Air Filter | Bumpin Audio Sys

    9. Member Miller7204's Avatar
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      05-23-2012 01:14 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Psyco_Kitty View Post
      Yes, and oxygen spacer... my bad Hopefully it will fix the problem, other people said it's worked for them, so why not. If that doesn't work, the spark plug arrestor mod would be my next shot.
      Let me know if it works I had this code but it never came back but now I've got 3 other codes related to my first 02 sensor so this might be a solution.

    10. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      06-04-2012 01:01 AM #10
      Spacer didn't work... I think I might need an angled one :/
      2003 Tornado Red GTI 1.8t AWP 180 HP | Tiptronic 09A
      100k | Cat-Delete | 2.5" Downpipe | Podi Boost Gauge | AM Air Filter | Bumpin Audio Sys

    11. Member Miller7204's Avatar
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      06-04-2012 01:03 AM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Psyco_Kitty View Post
      Spacer didn't work... I think I might need an angled one :/
      Did you go with the 42DD spacer?
      Quote Originally Posted by boradie sucht View Post
      im running bbs rs, but thats just because im a boss

    12. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      03 GTI 1.8T
      06-06-2012 05:48 AM #12
      I didn't want to spend the $40+ on the 42DD spacer, so I opted for a cheaper eBay 90 degree elbow spacer.

      Like the one below... $19.25 ebay


      Hopefully it works!
      2003 Tornado Red GTI 1.8t AWP 180 HP | Tiptronic 09A
      100k | Cat-Delete | 2.5" Downpipe | Podi Boost Gauge | AM Air Filter | Bumpin Audio Sys

    13. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      03 GTI 1.8T
      06-16-2012 03:26 AM #13
      Fingers crossed... but this thing seems to be working great now, just put 300 miles on it with no CEL. Seems to have done the trick!
      2003 Tornado Red GTI 1.8t AWP 180 HP | Tiptronic 09A
      100k | Cat-Delete | 2.5" Downpipe | Podi Boost Gauge | AM Air Filter | Bumpin Audio Sys

    14. Junior Member
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      06-16-2012 01:46 PM #14
      16804/P0420/001056 - Catalyst System; Bank 1: Efficiency Below Threshold
      Possible Causes
      Leakage in Intake and/or Exhaust System
      Catalyst faulty
      Oxygen Sensor(s) faulty
      Oxygen Sensor(s) Control faulty
      Possible Solutions
      Check Intake and Exhaust System for Leaks
      Check Catalyst
      Check Oxygen Sensor(s)
      Check Oxygen Sensor(s) Control
      Perform Oxygen Sensor(s) Aging Check
      Special Notes
      For 1.8T's experiencing this fault code, this thread may be useful: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=663057

    15. Member Cryspimp2005's Avatar
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      06-16-2012 02:40 PM #15
      you need a new cat

    16. Member vdubkid4life's Avatar
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      06-16-2012 02:53 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Cryspimp2005 View Post
      you need a new cat
      Reading>you

    17. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      06-24-2012 05:17 AM #17
      No Cat -> P0420 CEL -> -> Research -> 90 degree ebay o2 spacer (~$20) ->= Problem Solved

      use the google my friends
      2003 Tornado Red GTI 1.8t AWP 180 HP | Tiptronic 09A
      100k | Cat-Delete | 2.5" Downpipe | Podi Boost Gauge | AM Air Filter | Bumpin Audio Sys

    18. Junior Member Psyco_Kitty's Avatar
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      03 GTI 1.8T
      06-24-2012 05:19 AM #18
      Catalyst System; Bank 1: Efficiency Below Threshold
      Possible Causes
      Leakage in Intake and/or Exhaust System
      Catalyst faulty
      Oxygen Sensor(s) faulty
      Oxygen Sensor(s) Control faulty
      Possible Solutions
      Check Intake and Exhaust System for Leaks
      Check Catalyst
      Check Oxygen Sensor(s)
      Check Oxygen Sensor(s) Control
      Perform Oxygen Sensor(s) Aging Check
      AFTERMARKET DOWNPIPE WITH CAT DELETE
      Special Notes
      For 1.8T's experiencing this fault code, this thread may be useful
      2003 Tornado Red GTI 1.8t AWP 180 HP | Tiptronic 09A
      100k | Cat-Delete | 2.5" Downpipe | Podi Boost Gauge | AM Air Filter | Bumpin Audio Sys

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