Sport catalytic converters – What do you need a sport cat for?

What is a sport catalytic converter and how does it work?

The sport cat like a ‘normal’ series-production cat – ensures exhaust gas post-treatment in your car and reduces pollutant emissions. It converts combustion pollutants such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides into non-toxic substances: carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen.

The sport cat usually consists of a metal honeycomb body – the carrier – which contains numerous thin channels. It features a special coating made from precious metals (platinum, palladium, and rhodium), the ‘washcoat’. While the exhaust gases flow through the catalytic converter, this coating carries out chemical conversion via oxidation or reduction, thus reducing your car’s emissions.

How is a racing cat structured in comparison to a standard cat?

In a sport cat, the number and structure of the channels, also referred to as cells, are reduced. This optimises the air flow and reduces exhaust back pressure. The pipe diameter of your racing cat is also larger than with the standard car to improve cooling. While standard cats are often made of ceramic, tuning cats are usually metal, with precious metal coatings. These are thus more robust and withstand the extreme performance we are working to achieve. They are produced through very elaborate processes. For one thing, the metal films that form the channels are connected to each other inside a vacuum furnace in order to ensure high strength and the intricate cell structure.

What are the benefits of a racing catalytic converter?

In addition to cleaning the exhaust gases, racing cats particularly boast improved performance and a sporty sound. Our metal cats consist of far fewer cells with thinner walls. The exhaust gas flow is drastically improved: our racing cats reduce the gas back pressure by up to 85 % compared to standard catalytic converters. This also lowers the thermal load on the engine and turbocharger through the optimised design, ensuring an increase in performance and durability. With a sport cat, you may even meet a better emission standard. Especially if you optimise your entire exhaust system, this will boost your car’s performance to the extreme: sport exhausts, sport mufflers, etc. increase your performance.

100, 200, 300, or 400 cells?

The number of cells in a catalytic converter always refers to the number of cells per square inch. For example, a 100-cell cat has 100 cells per square inch, while a 200-cell cat has 200 per square inch. While a standard cat often contains 400 or more cells, 100 to 200 cells are more generally used in motorsport. Sport cats with registration usually have 200 to 400 cells, since they still meet the exhaust standards during cold starting. The following rule generally applies: the fewer the cells, the greater the performance boost.

How does the registration of a sport cat take place?

If you wish to drive in road traffic, you need to obtain a registration. There are different options here:

  1. You buy a racing cat with an ‘ABE’ (general type approval). In most cases, you can install the part and then are approved for use in street traffic. If you aren’t sure, you can ask a pro.
  2. You buy a racing cat with a certificate of conformity. Then the catalytic converter will have a certificate of conformity, but you still have to take a short time to the TÜV. With this approach, the sport cat is entered in your car’s documents, which will entail extra costs.
  3. You buy a racing cat without any type approval or certificate of conformity. Here, there’s no way around an individual acceptance test by the TÜV. This is cost-intensive and may also fail. For this reason, we recommend always buying your cat with an ABE or certificate of conformity if you are driving with it on the road.

Why you should never use a dummy cat

In the tuning scene, the myth of dummy cats is making the rounds: they are said to additionally boost performance. But a myth is a myth. These fakes look like real racing cats, but they are hollow. They do not contain any cells and thus cannot clean exhaust gases. As a result, the oxygen sensor outputs incorrect values and the check engine light lights up. This can be reprogrammed through remapping, but that is not recommended. The missing catalytic converter means that your car does not meet the exhaust standard and you are evading taxes. This will void your insurance coverage and type approval, and your car can be taken out of service or impounded. Since you probably are investing a lot in your car’s performance, that would be a real nightmare. The solution lies in using a high-quality racing cat.

Installation tips for your catalytic converter

If you want to install a universal tuning catalytic converter, you should observe these tips:

  • Choose your universal cat to suit the cylinder capacity, power, and exhaust standard. If you’re not sure how to proceed, feel free to ask us. We will give you a hand.
  • Prior to installation, check whether the air-fuel control, ignition system, and mixture formation are working correctly.
  • The reading direction of the number on the catalytic converter shows the direction of exhaust gas flow. That’s how you know what direction to install your racing cat in.
  • Be absolutely sure to install the cat in the correct position (close to the engine). And the oxygen sensor too. If your racing cat is shorter than the original part, supplement the missing piece with an additional pipe.
  • If there is heat protection on the original catalytic converter, your replacement cat will also need one.
  • Replace all connections between the cat, turbo, engine, and exhaust system when you install a sport cat.
  • Make sure that the entire exhaust system is installed without tension.
  • Check whether all connections are tight and cannot twist. Observe the information provided by the vehicle manufacturer regarding this and tighten all connecting bolts using a torque spanner.
  • Once everything is installed, start the engine, and check whether the connections are really tight. You should repeat this again after waiting a short time and, if necessary, tighten the bolts again.

No idea which cat is the right one or how to install it?

If you do not want to carry out the installation yourself and don’t know which catalytic converter is the right one for you, get in touch with us. We will advise you and take care of the installation.

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