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so I've been trying to figure out the cause of my P0430 trouble code. I haven't had any performance degredation or odd smells to indicate that my cat is going bad, so I assumed that my b2s2 O2 sensor probably needed to be replaced. After changing the oil on my car this past weekend, I figured I'd look around underneath to see if I could find anything wrong that could be causing it. I was feeling around for possible exhaust leaks and I felt some puffs of air coming out of what looks like its my cat. They were basically coming out from between the header pipe and the outer metal casing of the cat. I tried to point to it with the big red arrow in the picture below.



I'm thinking that this is what could be causing my O2 sensor to trip the CEL (rather than the sensor going bad). As mentioned above, I also haven't noticed any rotten egg smells, performance issues, rattling in the cat, etc while driving. The exhaust didn't sound loud, so I don't think its a big hole (I could just feel light puffs of air coming out). Does this mean that I need to replace my cat, or is this something that could potentially be patched/fixed? I'd really love it if it could just be fixed, instead of having to replace the entire cat, but I'm not keeping my hopes up for that.

If I do need the replace the catalytic converter, any recommendations for inexpensive replacements? My annual inspection is up at the end of the month, so I'll need to get it fixed pretty soon. For reference, the car is an 03 that just crossed 100k a couple weeks ago. Thanks.
 

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If I were you id clear the code, take it to a nearby shop and tell them you need a patch job done. If they come back and tell you some bad news then you know. I wouldn't risk paying a lot more for a new cat or sensor before I knew I had to.
 

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A bad catalytic converter will have a rotten eggs smell because the platinum in the cat becomes burned and breaks away. Have them patch the leak with a welder and you should be good to go until it needs replaced years later. It also could just be a gasket issue, I cant explain the CEL for the O2 sensors tho, fix the leak first and see if it clears the code.
 
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