Is My Catalytic Converter Shot?

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

I have a '94 Saturn SC2 five speed with a few problems. If I am shifting a lot (maybe small streets or heavy traffic) my temperature gauge will slowly go up and up, and it rarely gets to the red. If it gets to the red then I shut the car off, but that does not happen much at all. If I then get up to fifth gear for a while, the car cools back down. Originally, I took it to Firestone and all that they did was replace the Oxygen sensor, which did not help. What's going on?

The Saturn seems to run a little sluggish now. After a trip to the store and back, we can occasionally notice a faint "rotten eggs" smell. This made us think that it was the catalytic converter. However, the car is NOT loud like it would be if the catalytic converter went out. The air filter is fairly new as well.

Also, a few months ago, I had Jiffy Lube flush the radiator and do the transmission service after an oil change. What should/can I do?

Well, the smell of rotten eggs is sulfur buildup on the catalytic converter. When a converter dies, it doesn't have to get loud, it could get plugged up. This may be what's making your car run hot and slow. Depending on the extent of the plugging, you may be able to clear it by going on a long trip and running it hard. Sulfur will burn off, but you need to get it hot. Highway speeds for an hour or more should be sufficient to clear small or slight plugging. But, if you are already experiencing lack of power due to this, then it probably too late. Where did all this sulfur come from? Cheap Gas!
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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