Ford F-150: How to Replace a Catalytic Converter

Is your truck not going any faster when you press the gas at speed? Perhaps you have experienced a noticeable drop in gas mileage lately. You could have a bad catalytic converter! We've got a step-by-step breakdown on how to replace the catalytic converter in your truck, including everything you need to know to get the job done.

By Brett Foote - November 18, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014).

A catalytic converter (or "cat") is an important part of any Ford F-150's exhaust system that converts harmful compounds into harmless ones. The converter looks a lot like a muffler and sits between the engine and muffler. Like any part, time and use can cause a converter to fail. Typically, though, they last the life of a vehicle. Using leaded fuel, overuse of fuel additives, damaged exhaust valves, or fouled plugs can shorten the life of a converter. Replacing the catalytic converter at home is a fairly straightforward process, but it requires some physical effort. The older the truck, the more difficult it will be to free the catalytic converters from the exhaust.

Materials Needed

  • Socket wrench set
  • Hammer
  • Jack
  • Jack stands

Step 1 - Jack up the F-150

Place jack stands underneath the frame. Be sure to use a jack that is rated high enough to handle the weight of the truck. Place the jack stands underneath the frame of the truck. Don't place the jack too close to the body. Lower the truck onto the jack stands.

F-150 on jack stands
Figure 1. Place jack stands (in blue) underneath the frame of the vehicle.

Step 2 - Locate the catalytic converter

On an F-150, the catalytic converters are usually about three feet away from the engine towards the muffler. Lightly tap the catalytic converter with a hammer on both ends. This enables the removal of enough debris to locate the nuts that hold the converter to the mount.

Figure 2. #4 and #7 are the passenger and driver's side catalytic converters.

Step 3 - Remove the catalytic converter

Loosen each of the bolts holding the catalytic converter to the mount using the socket set and turning them counterclockwise. Once the bolts are loose, pull the catalytic converter off the mount.

Figure 3. Removing a catalytic converter.

Step 4 - Install the new catalytic converter

Install the new catalytic converter by pushing it towards the engine and sliding back onto the mount. Replace the bolts and tighten them using the socket set, turning them in a clockwise motion.

Figure 4. A new catalytic converter.

Step 5 - Lower truck and remove jack stands

Use the jack to lift the truck up enough to remove the jack stands. Lower the truck back to the ground and remove the jack and jack stands. Go for a test drive to ensure proper installation. Reinspect the exhaust system if the smell of exhaust gas comes through the cab. Make sure there are no leaks from the new catalytic converter and that all exhaust pipe connections are snugly fit together.

Smiling guys in F-150
Figure 5. Test drive the truck to ensure proper installation.

Featured Video: How to Replace Catalytic Converter

Related Discussions