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Old 01-30-2012, 04:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Darrell, while we have bumped heads a few times here, I truly appreciate the integrity of character demonstrated in your candid post. To reveal a problem that would affect your philosophy of conservation reflects a level of honesty I rarely see in this world any more.

As some have suggested maybe a change in technique, although I know it will directly impact your considerable mileage achievements. It is truly a dilemma.


Insulate the cat to increase average temperatures.
Make sure the oxygen sensor preheating is working properly, possibly applying the preheating even before start up.
Although I hate to advise this maybe increasing the run time, with careful monitoring of the cat temp to keep it above the threshold of function.
That's very few miles over a considerable period of time, maybe a few more miles, road trip or something that would "clean her pipes" so to say.

Another way to think about it although you may not really be happy with this.

Most people drive a lot more than that, so in that respect you are already contributing much to lower overall emissions, and all cars emit much higher emissions on cold starts, so others who drive much more than yourself probably emit the same when you consider the combined effects of their short trips with numerous stops and cold restarts, something you have probably reduced dramatically or eliminated altogether.

I know my Altima would go into closed loop in about .3 mile, so it may be the best solution is to modify your driving to maintain minimum cat temp for proper functionality, combined with a few trips of some length to purge the cat itself.

I truly hope you can find a happy compromise, but your issue is a direct result of vehicle design that requires wasteful operation for lower emissions as a percentage of exhaust volume. You are reducing the total exhaust volume dramatically by minimising wasted heat energy.

It is one of the most interesting topics here I have read, keep up the good work, and don't beat up yourself. Imagine if everyone was as diligent as yourself. In the same time period I have driven many times more miles, which make me the greater polluter, if that would even make any difference to you.

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