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Old 09-26-2011, 11:52 PM   #1
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Is there harm in running with a CEL?

I really want to get headers but I am trying to avoid getting a tune. I don't want to blow my warranty. I know if I have a problem is has to be linked to the exhaust for it to be voided, I know if they see headers on my car they might void it anyways but I have a buddy with a shop and worst comes to worst I figure I can have him take out the headers, then bring the car in for warranty. So my question is what can go wrong running headers on the car with no tune? Thanks
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:06 AM   #2
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Been running mine since early August without a tune and a CEL on and no problems. Put it on the dyno and made 403 HP/402 TQ. Planning on getting a tune in the near future, but so far, its ok.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:27 AM   #3
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Been running mine since early August without a tune and a CEL on and no problems. Put it on the dyno and made 403 HP/402 TQ. Planning on getting a tune in the near future, but so far, its ok.
What headers are you running? and I don't really plan to get a tune for a while considering I only have 11k miles and 3-4 years left on my powertrain..
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:05 AM   #4
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I ran mine for a year with the CEl with no issue. Running LT headers normally requires replacing the factory cats with high flow ones, and moving them further back. On each exhaust bank, you car ha stwo O2 sensors. One pre cat, and one post cat. The computer compares the readings from the sensor before the cat, with the readings from the ones after the cat and decides if your car is running right. Since you moved the cats, and changed how they flow, it is of course outside the readings your car expects. Basically, your car is saying "Hey the rear O2 sensor readings say the cats are failing"..but you know that is kind of a false positive.

Some people get the light immediatly, others it takes a while. The time where it is most likely to come on is after you start the car because the high flow cats do not light off and get to temp as fast. There is no brand that is better than the other at preventing a CEL.
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:31 AM   #5
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I ran mine for a year with the CEl with no issue. Running LT headers normally requires replacing the factory cats with high flow ones, and moving them further back. On each exhaust bank, you car ha stwo O2 sensors. One pre cat, and one post cat. The computer compares the readings from the sensor before the cat, with the readings from the ones after the cat and decides if your car is running right. Since you moved the cats, and changed how they flow, it is of course outside the readings your car expects. Basically, your car is saying "Hey the rear O2 sensor readings say the cats are failing"..but you know that is kind of a false positive.

Some people get the light immediatly, others it takes a while. The time where it is most likely to come on is after you start the car because the high flow cats do not light off and get to temp as fast. There is no brand that is better than the other at preventing a CEL.
Alright cool so pretty much the CEL is just telling me to check the car, but its not going to harm any parts correct? I read on some threads that headers with no tune will make the car run lean and put stress on the motor.
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:05 AM   #6
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I'm running the XS Power headers and Catback. 153xx miles on my car now, installed the headers at around 134xx miles, so almost I've put almost 2000 miles on the system.
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:18 AM   #7
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Alright cool so pretty much the CEL is just telling me to check the car, but its not going to harm any parts correct? I read on some threads that headers with no tune will make the car run lean and put stress on the motor.
I have had the opposite where it runs a little rich. Either way..nothing that will damage the engine. I would say check the codes every once in a while though as ones not related to the cats may reflect another issue.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:36 AM   #8
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Will it pass inspection with CEL?
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:32 AM   #9
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Will it pass inspection with CEL?
Not sure how they do TX inspections but I would assume no. Don't forget a CEL can be easily deleted. All you need to do is take it to your common auto parts store and delete it. Or buy a cheap obd2 scanner and you can delete it yourself. You can find them for $20-25 and keep it in your glove box if you like.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:36 AM   #10
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Alright cool so pretty much the CEL is just telling me to check the car, but its not going to harm any parts correct? I read on some threads that headers with no tune will make the car run lean and put stress on the motor.

You will run rich with headers on a fuel injected car. Long tubes move the OBD2 sensor further down the exhaust then the stock setting. This causes the engine to run rich. Running rich won't blow your motor, it'll burn through some extra gas and you'll go through spark plugs quicker. I wouldn't recommend driving like that for too long but it can be done. You'll be leaving a lot of power on the table.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:42 AM   #11
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People who do this are just plain silly.

I call them cake and eat it too-ers. They want to mod the car to their liking bc they aren't happy with how GM built it BUT still expect GM to cover it. If you're going to mod, face the facts that your warranty MAY be voided. Don't half ass it. If you're that stuck on your warranty, don't turn a bolt on you're car. Problem solved.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:58 AM   #12
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and if you break a valvespring, blow a gasket, a sensor dies, etc. ... you wont know because you have learned to live with the lighted CEL.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:29 AM   #13
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You will run rich with headers on a fuel injected car. Long tubes move the OBD2 sensor further down the exhaust then the stock setting. This causes the engine to run rich. Running rich won't blow your motor, it'll burn through some extra gas and you'll go through spark plugs quicker. I wouldn't recommend driving like that for too long but it can be done. You'll be leaving a lot of power on the table.
Yea I just am really hesitant about it, i might just wait until i find a mod friendly dealer or not worry about the warranty. Im not worried about leaving power on the table this car is plenty powerful enough as is i just think the tone these cars get with headers is amazing plus a little extra hp never hurt any one.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:31 AM   #14
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and if you break a valvespring, blow a gasket, a sensor dies, etc. ... you wont know because you have learned to live with the lighted CEL.
Yea i see what you're saying, this would not be good.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:03 AM   #15
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and if you break a valvespring, blow a gasket, a sensor dies, etc. ... you wont know because you have learned to live with the lighted CEL.
i was just about to say this, having a CEL pop on here and there is a problem.

the dealership is going to say, the car a check engine light was on for a while, why haven't you brought it in?

i am pretty sure they can also tell if a code poped up? even if you clear it ?
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:09 AM   #16
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Not sure how they do TX inspections but I would assume no. Don't forget a CEL can be easily deleted. All you need to do is take it to your common auto parts store ane delete it. Or buy a cheap obd2 scanner and you can delete it yourself. You can find them for $20-25 and keep it in your glove box if you like.

I think that just clearing the code won't work. I was getting my truck inspected and the lady if front of my had a Mercedes that wouldn't pass, all of the sensors were not reporting that they were ready. Turns out she had a check engine light on and had her neighbor clear it. Apparently it takes some time for everything to report back ready.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:43 PM   #17
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I'd get a muffler delete... it sounds great and won't Void the warranty... looking at the dinos a tune is not worth losing the warranty over... If I was going to void my warranty it would be. For more HP than headers and a tune will produce IMO
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:55 PM   #18
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People who do this are just plain silly.

I call them cake and eat it too-ers. They want to mod the car to their liking bc they aren't happy with how GM built it BUT still expect GM to cover it. If you're going to mod, face the facts that your warranty MAY be voided. Don't half ass it. If you're that stuck on your warranty, don't turn a bolt on you're car. Problem solved.
^ I agree. I made that decision before I even bought mine. The decision was *#$! the warranty im modding my car!
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:03 PM   #19
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I have had the opposite where it runs a little rich. Either way..nothing that will damage the engine. I would say check the codes every once in a while though as ones not related to the cats may reflect another issue.
+1 I have the LT no tune setup. Buy yourself a code reader and check the codes every once in a while. Turn them off if you like. I can run for weeks with no codes. It must relate to the type of driving I am doing.

I am thinking if i wind out the lower gears at anything less than full throttle a code pops up. I am not really sure.

But no big deal really. I am looking forward to eventually getting a tune. Nice to know there is more left in the car.

One thing you can do to minimize the codes is install rear O2 spacers. I have these but since my cats are extra long they do not seem to be completely effective.


Some recommend putting washers in these to reduce the gas exposure to the sensor. I did not do this.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:07 PM   #20
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Yea I just am really hesitant about it, i might just wait until i find a mod friendly dealer or not worry about the warranty. Im not worried about leaving power on the table this car is plenty powerful enough as is i just think the tone these cars get with headers is amazing plus a little extra hp never hurt any one.
The long tubes really wake the car up. My traction control light is now almost all the way through first gear.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:36 PM   #21
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The long tubes really wake the car up. My traction control light is now almost all the way through first gear.
wait tell you tune
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:42 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by MarylandSpeed View Post
I ran mine for a year with the CEl with no issue. Running LT headers normally requires replacing the factory cats with high flow ones, and moving them further back. On each exhaust bank, you car ha stwo O2 sensors. One pre cat, and one post cat. The computer compares the readings from the sensor before the cat, with the readings from the ones after the cat and decides if your car is running right. Since you moved the cats, and changed how they flow, it is of course outside the readings your car expects. Basically, your car is saying "Hey the rear O2 sensor readings say the cats are failing"..but you know that is kind of a false positive.

Some people get the light immediatly, others it takes a while. The time where it is most likely to come on is after you start the car because the high flow cats do not light off and get to temp as fast. There is no brand that is better than the other at preventing a CEL.


This is all Wrong information. The post catalyst O2 sensors DO NOT have anything to with the calibration of the air fuel ratio for the engine to run. The Pre-Cat O2 sensor is what determines AFR. The Bank 2/ Post Cat O2 Sensors Only monitors if the Catalytic Converter is working. That is why the codes for post O2 are shut off in the tune when Long Tube headers are installed.
The computer only has so much capability to compensate for a lean or rich condition. You guys running long tubes without a tune, it's just a matter of time....
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:38 PM   #23
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The computer takes readings from the precat O2 and compares them with readings from the post cat O2 to see if cat is working fine. It is expecting a certain variance between the two...and anything outside that variance is taken by the computer to mean there is an issue with the cats..and throws the rear O2 codes. The whole AFR thing has nothing to do with the cat inefficiancy code being discussed.

I don't know who you are, and honestly I am not here to argue and throw face palms or emoticons at people. However I have personally run my car over a year with headers and no tune, and put it on the dyno several times. Every time the AFR was either just right, or slightly rich. Is buying headers and not tuning the car ideal? no...however there is no real danger to it either if you want to hold off getting a tune untill you have done more mods or whatever. No more danger than someone running say high flow cats without a tune, which happens all the time. Going from 4 factory cats to two high flow ones is the biggest flow change with headers..not so much the LT's themselves. Especially on a stock car.


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This is all Wrong information. The post catalyst O2 sensors DO NOT have anything to with the calibration of the air fuel ratio for the engine to run. The Pre-Cat O2 sensor is what determines AFR. The Bank 2/ Post Cat O2 Sensors Only monitors if the Catalytic Converter is working. That is why the codes for post O2 are shut off in the tune when Long Tube headers are installed.
The computer only has so much capability to compensate for a lean or rich condition. You guys running long tubes without a tune, it's just a matter of time....
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:06 PM   #24
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I think that just clearing the code won't work. I was getting my truck inspected and the lady if front of my had a Mercedes that wouldn't pass, all of the sensors were not reporting that they were ready. Turns out she had a check engine light on and had her neighbor clear it. Apparently it takes some time for everything to report back ready.
You're supposed to give it a half hour or so of good driving. Let it go through a full heat cycle and then take it in. I've had a few personal cars that even with a tune would still throw a cel here and there. If I had a random code pop up before a test I'd delete it and take it the next day and had no issues. The car also had a large cam, long tubes and off road pipes. Passed everytime. Sounds like the Mercedes lady had her neighbor delete the cel and then drove it straight to the testing place.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:28 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the input guys, just something I have to think about

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I'd get a muffler delete... it sounds great and won't Void the warranty... looking at the dinos a tune is not worth losing the warranty over... If I was going to void my warranty it would be. For more HP than headers and a tune will produce IMO
Yea I was going to do a muffler delete but for a couple hundred more dollars I can get a full Pypes catback with x-pipe and I love the sound so if i dont do headers I am definitely getting the catback soon.
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