Join Date: Apr 2005
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I read your post on our site. I’m sorry you’re having difficulties with one of our systems. Please feel free to call our Engineer, Richard Waitas at 949 858 5900 to discuss your issue in greater detail.
We feel this is more appropriate way to handle your difficulty than an anonymous post on our site as ultimately, our primary concern is your satisfaction with our product, or our ability to help you identify the true problem.
Please give us the opportunity to serve you to your satisfaction.
MagnaFlow Performance Exhaust
22961 Arroyo Vista
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Thank you for contacting me regarding the issue I was having with one of your catback systems.
However, unfortunately, it is a fact that your catback system #15811 causes check engine lights on my 2002 Toyota Tacoma for P0136 and P0420. I have found another owner of this same catback system whose truck gets a CEL of P0420. I understand you are the Marketting Director, so I will keep the technical jargon out of this as much as I can.
I have been working on making your catback system work since December of 2004, and I have spent over $400 for purchasing the system, and another $400 for diagnostic, and other tools. I had several opportunities to talk to Mr. Waitas over the phone. He has been very helpful, and has given me numerous useful suggestions. Furthermore, I have purchased an OBD II scanner, replaced the rear O2 sensor twice, and replaced the front O2 sensor once. I have also taken the truck to the dealer multiple times for diagnostics and repair.
Your limited lifetime warranty lists that you warrant the product to be free from defects. As far as I am concerned, as a general consumer, a catback system that causes CELs is defective. Mr. Waitas indeed agreed that the catback system should not cause CELs and blamed my vehicle. Furthermore, he had stated that there is nothing that Magnaflow can do to help me with running my truck CEL free. Another suggestion made by Mr. Waitas was to purchase a fuel mod that will allow me to monitor and adjust the air fuel ratio and mixture. Unfortunately, most of these equipment cost upward of $200. Especially after spending $800, I am not willing to spend another $200 blindly.
Even though your limited lifetime warranty statement includes the following:
"The manufacturer does not assume any responsibility for any consequential damages occasioned by the muffler, or inconvenience or interruption in any operation."
I feel that a disclaimer should be added that your catback systems do cause check engine lights on Toyota Tacomas.
While the other owner ignores his CEL, I cannot do such thing. I believe that if the catback system needs additional tools to be made compatible with my vehicle, it is not truely a bolt-on, even though you state in your FAQ page that "They come with everything needed to bolt up in place of your factory system using basic tools."
Five months and $800 later, unfortunately, I found that the only solution to a CEL free truck was to remove the Magnaflow Catback. I am now using the OEM exhaust, and Magnaflow catback system has been sold to another Tacoma owner I met on an online forum for $100 as is. I lost $300 as I originally purchased the system for $400.
I am grateful that you have contacted me, and offered to assist in troubleshooting the issue. However, the opportunity had already been given to Magnaflow several times, and I have been told that there is nothing that can be done. At this point, the best I can do is to steer away all Toyota Tacoma owners and all other general consumers from purchasing your products.
Again, I appreciate you taking the time writing me a message. If you feel there are other opportunities for you to serve me to my satisfaction, please feel free to contact me.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply...it is always a pleasure to do business with a customer who is polite and seeking a real solution to a real problem.
Obviously, we’re very concerned that you’re having a repeated problem.
I've spoken with the head of R&D who had this response:
I do recall an issue for a 15811 back about 4 months ago (I think it was this issue) however I cannot recall ever telling someone to purchase or take any such actions on their own. In most cases, my recommendation is to take the vehicle to a dealer if under warranty ... if it is a 2002, it should still be covered. I would have explained potential causes based upon codes but not asked an end consumer to take it upon themselves to remedy the issue nor purchase diagnostic equipment. I did say however if he was curious to know about how his vehicle was running you can monitor such things with stoichemeters and he wanted to know a little bit more about how the performance of the vehicle would be affected.
On the technical side, a PO130-170 code refers to an oxygen sensor fault and a PO420-30 refers to a catalyst fault. Both are related to O2 FUCNTIONALITY. Problems within the O2 circuit or in just the O2 sensor in it self can cause the problem. From testing, even dramatic reductions in backpressure cannot lend themselves to cause such problems.
We had tested 4 chassis under that portion of development and had run sound testing and dyno testing and have NEVER been able to duplicate this issue.
My last though would be to check the part in the fixture. If perchance someone in production did not weld the bung correctly (angle and protrusion) a change in sample exhaust "might" cause a PO420 code but still the PO136 cannot be attributed to that.
All this aside, in clearer English, there is a possibility that there is an 02 sensor problem OR, that the 02 sensor bung WE installed on the system is slightly out of alignment.
Since we have not heard of any other problems with this system, either of these two items seem likely causes ASSUMING there are absolutely ZERO other modifications to the vehicle.
If it were me, I’d return the vehicle to stock, take it back under emissions warranty and have it checked. From your response, it appears that you haven’t been back to the dealer. I can appreciate your desire to address the problem at home, but even with my fairly technical background, I’d opt to have it analyzed by Toyota-trained techs rather than spend money on expensive diagnostic equipment (but if you’re like me, you probably like having the tools anyway.)
You should also know that in rare cases where CEL’s ARE an issue, our systems are put on HOLD until a cure is found and in some cases, we never release a system. These are few and far between and with no other complaints on record for CEL’s on Tacomas (we have 6 guys who do nothing but answer tech calls all day long), it still seems that there’s a 50% chance that there is an existing issue with the vehicle. Again, a dealer diagnosis might help us find a resolution.
Going back through our detailed “complaints” report, we were only able to find one other complaint on a Toyota. It was a 2.7L motor. The CEL was on after an installation. Disconnecting the battery and reconnecting after 30 minutes cleared the problem.
You sound pretty savvy, so I’ll assume you’ve done that. If you’ve been to a dealer and can fax me a diagnosis report, I’ll take this matter to the highest level in the company and see what I can do for you in the way of a refund or other compensation. Our ultimate goal is to make you happy, so thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to do so.
Thank you for the immediate response.
First, I need to remind you that I do not have the catback system any more. But for your reference, I will provide you the information I have.
Rich did not recommend me to buy any additional tools, except for the fuel mod. That was his very last suggestion when I called at the begining of the month, when he also told me that there's nothing that can be done. Please do understand that there is nothing against your technicians. Your folks have been great, but the catback had caused some mental and financial pain for me.
Here's the chronological order of what happened.
Upon receiving the catback system towards the end of November, it was immediately installed the same evening. My truck had about 37,000 miles on it then. It took about 300 miles for the CEL to come on. I checked all bolts and clamps to make sure I did not have a leak, and visually inspected the O2 sensor and made sure it was seated correctly. I went to Autozone, had them read the DTC (of P0136 - O2 Sensor Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1 Sensor 2)), and had it cleared. After this, the DTC kept coming back after two drive cycles (as the Factory Service Manual says it will if there is an issue).
I purchased my OBDII scanner from http://www.ghg.net/dharrison/ and also personally replaced the ear O2 sensor with an OEM one over Christmas. During this time with the OBDII Scanner, I was seeing intermittent voltage drops to zero on the rear O2 sensor.
The truck has seen the dealership 5 times since January. The Magnaflow catback system was removed for when I brought the truck in to the dealership. There are no other modifications. Day one, they pulled the code of P0136, and cleared it. Then of course the CEL came back with the same DTC, so a week later the mechanics at Toyota found that the front (A/F) O2 sensor is dead, and ordered the part to be installed. (My OBDII scanner showed no signs of the front sensor being dead. It was reading properly. I think it was a misdiagnosis on Toyota's part.)
After the front sensor had been replaced, the CEL returned in two drive cycles with the same DTC of P0136. The truck was brought in for the forth time, when I also brought in printouts of my OBDII scanner showing the intermittent voltage drops to zero. Until this forth day at the dealership, the mechanics had not been able to see the intermittent voltage drop that I have been seeing ever. They ordered the sensor, and scheduled me in again.
Day five at the dealership, the rear O2 sensor was installed. I waited about 50-100 miles while occasionally monitoring the voltage (which was normal with no voltage drops) before I reinstalled the Magnaflow. I was thinking that it indeed was my truck causing all these issues, until at 300 miles after the replacement of the rear O2 sensor, the CEL came back on with, this time, a DTC of P0420 - Catalytic Converter Efficiency Below Threashold. The Magnaflow was immediately removed, and stock was put back on. A few drive cycles later, the CEL disappeared, and P0420 became inactive.
The truck has had the OEM exhaust on since mid march, and I have not gotten any DTCs. I do not have any other modifications done to the truck.
I've visually inspected the O2 sensor mount, and the weld looks fine, and location, angle, and depth seem the same as the OEM O2 sensor mount. Of course I don't have any fancy tools to measure the depth to the fraction of a milimeter or the angle for that matter, but it looked pretty close, if not the same, to OEM specs.
Yes, I have tried disconnecting the battery.
I have three diagnosis reports from the dealership, but I am not sure if these would be of any benefit to you. For the most part, all it says is "Scanned for codes. P0136." and "Replaced sensor."
Again, I need to remind you that I do not have the catback system any more. It has been sold to another Tacoma owner for $100. Therefore, I do not believe you would be able to issue me a refund or any other type of compensation.
I appreciate your time and commitment.
1) Say to hell with Magnaflow, and join me in spreading the word that they suck. Then return the Magnaflow catback system....