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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All,

I wanted to start a new thread on this topic as it seems that many people have or will eventually deal with these codes. The issue is that these codes tend to come and go as they please, which creates alot of confusion. The mileage of the vehicles that get these codes are all over the board too from 48,000 up to like mine over 160,000. Then there are the numerous suggested fixes premium gas, fuel additives, long drives, replacing the cat(s) and or replacing an O2 sensors. It is mind numbing and hard to figure out the good from the bad ... I know first hand.

I tried all of the cheap quick fixes the premium fuel, long drives and the additives. The light always came back. Then the summer it went away, but once winter hit it was back and nothing I did turned it off. Even clearing the code, was only temporary still came right back. This went on for a year maybe a little more. This is what I have learned ...

The catalytic converter is a non-mechanical part, so the O2 sensors are the item tells your vehicle's computer and you whether the converters are working or not. O2 sensors wear out and or fail over time. That is why many consider O2 sensors a standard maintenance item that should be replace every 100K or sooner (I am now a convert to this camp). The challenging problem with the O2 sensors is that they don't always catastrophically fail. In fact, many times they just stop doing their job well. This forces your vehicles computer to make incorrect assumptions about what is going on with your vehicle. That is why the p0420/p0430 code can appear instead of the O2 sensor failure code(s). This partial O2 failure or "laziness", as some call it, can also account for the intermittent nature of the code and engine light. That being the case, it makes a ton of sense to first verify your O2 sensors are working correctly before you go hauling off and replacing the catalytic converter like the code would suggest. I have been told that one can verify the health of an O2 sensor with a code reader that has live data, but you'll have to research that further.

For me, what ultimately removed the code (p0420) was replacing the downstream O2 sensor, but that was only after I had replace the upstream sensor a few weeks prior. If I would have replaced both right off the bat I would have saved myself alot of time, money and energy. I bought plugged, not universal, Denso brand sensors as I believe Denso is the OEM for my 2006.

Knowing all of this information, I would strongly suggest to anyone who has ever had the p0420 or the p0430 codes pop up and is no longer under warranty (80K or less) to start the repair process by simply replacing both the up AND downstream O2 sensors on the bank that is coding. Replacing all of the O2 sensors at once might even be a better idea if you have a higher mileage vehicle like mine. Both bank one up and downstream sensors cost me under $160 and the install was only an hour or two of work. On the flip side, I could have followed the code and installed a new honda catalytic converter for $1000 and I still would have had to replace those two sensors. The point is bypass the quick fixes and put your hard earned money into new O2 sensors first.

I hope this information is helpful and saves everyone a lot of time and a chunk of change!
 

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Thanks for the input. I've had a P0420 code annoy me for the last 18 months or so, but I've just ignored it. I've cleared the code out at times and it's come back on at various frequencies. A couple of times the check engine light has gone out on it's on after a while.

At some point I may follow your suggestion. Even at $160 or so, that's not much to "gamble" in order to avoid replacing the cat.

Oh, I'm at 156k on my '06.
 

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Thanks for the info! I've been having the periodic P0420 for about a year. If it's that reasonable I might replace mine to be rid of the nuisance of the 'check engine' light.

Do you (or anyone else here) have instructions on where the O2 sensors are and how to replace?

Yes, I've searched already and didn't seem to find anything definitive on exactly where they are and how to replace and if any special tools / steps are required.)

Thanks!!
 

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Fix it, it isn't that expensive and you don't have to worry about the dash light. Why wait, till the light comes on again, maybe you have another problem besides the 02 censor. Some just keep ignoring the light and when the vehicle gets bad mpgs or doesn't run they get it scanned and have several codes. The more one waits the more issues can come up. Kind of like the human body. Your foot hurts so you don't do anything about it. After a month your hip hurts then your back then your neck .....................get the point. Carry on. :act006:
 

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Couple of things:

Stock sensors are NTK (affiliated with NGK). The NTK part number for the upstream sensors are 24302; qty 2 required. The downstream sensors are # 24255 and 24259. I'm not sure which is front bank and which is rear.

I purchased all of these sensors for around $230. I got the downstream sensors from Amazon and found a excellent deal on Ebay for the 2 identical upstream sensors.
 

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In my case I am wanting to rule out the possibility of "lazy" sensors affecting my gas mileage and or shortening the lifespan of my catalytic convertors.

Gonna do the valve clearances shortly too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for the positive feedback. It is appreciated!

eurban, thanks for the NGK clarification. The nice part is that since both NGK and Denso work well in our vehicles, buy whatever you can find cheaper!

I am also glad to see others bring up the damaging affects to the cat when you have a failed/failing O2 sensor. I was pondering on going into this point in my original post, but thought my write up was already to lengthy. For those who don't know, the reason this happens is that the O2 sensors also help regulate the fuel ratio. Once again if a sensor is providing poor information to the ECU it may also be negatively affecting your fuel ratios causing your vehicle to run rich. This decreases gas mileage and destroys your catalytic converter much quicker. It is just another good and logical reason to replace your O2 sensors before you try anything else.

Over the year that the light came and went, I read a lot of posts on this topic and I tried a lot of what people suggested. Then I stumbled on a few posted that rightly so pointed me to the O2 sensors. Those posts were in the minority though. That is why I put up this post to emphasize the O2 sensors in relation to this code and to give people the reason and rational for why they might want to start there.

One last thing, please post if replacing both sensors eliminated your code! Also, in your post please include the code you had, the total cost you paid to replace them and what brand sensor you used. There are alot of people out there who could benefit from the information we provide.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
2006 with 160K - p0420 code - replaced both the up and downstream O2 sensors on Bank 1 with plugged Denso sensors. Sensor cost ~$160 and labor was around $150. For a total cost of $310 my code was eliminated.
 

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For anyone considering "universal" O2 sensors..... I've used both (OEM-type & univ.) over the years, and if you can bear the added expense at all, get the OEM-type (by OEM-type, I mean a plugged sensor). Having to cut off & reuse the old connector is just a PIA, and given the exterior exposure is not ideal conditions to be splicing/sealing that wire connection. This is one time I would warn away from the cheapo-route, even if you don't have the cash.... wait until you do & get the plugged sensor; you'll be glad you did.
O2 sensor with connector already installed & correct cable length for each position makes the job so much easier & more reliable down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the input. I've had a P0420 code annoy me for the last 18 months or so, but I've just ignored it. I've cleared the code out at times and it's come back on at various frequencies. A couple of times the check engine light has gone out on it's on after a while.

At some point I may follow your suggestion. Even at $160 or so, that's not much to "gamble" in order to avoid replacing the cat.

Oh, I'm at 156k on my '06.
Your situation, much like mine, is another reason I put up this post. "don't ever just throw parts at a problem" is a statement I have heard often and life experience has taught me to agree. I am guessing that is the basis of your "gamble" statement. In my humble opinion, there is no gamble in replacing your O2 sensors especially at 156K. If the sensors don't remove the code and you do need to replace the cat (unlikely), replacing the sensors before hand not only verifies it is the cat, but it also sets you up for a fresh system when the cat is installed. The catch here is that you could be running rich the last 18 months and burning up your cat unnecessarily fast when all you needed to do was replace a few cheap O2 sensors that after a long 156K life are most likely failing and should be replaced anyways. Just something to chew on.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
For anyone considering "universal" O2 sensors..... I've used both (OEM-type & univ.) over the years, and if you can bear the added expense at all, get the OEM-type (by OEM-type, I mean a plugged sensor). Having to cut off & reuse the old connector is just a PIA, and given the exterior exposure is not ideal conditions to be splicing/sealing that wire connection. This is one time I would warn away from the cheapo-route, even if you don't have the cash.... wait until you do & get the plugged sensor; you'll be glad you did.
O2 sensor with connector already installed & correct cable length for each position makes the job so much easier & more reliable down the road.
100% agree
 

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Im still on fence..my 420. Started at 80k..at 160000 still same random frequency...reset with meter..bought nic meter to read o2 sensors live..appear ok..but hard to sat wtf it is..maybe i bite and try to change the one bank..or pay..ive done toming belt but exhaust and suspension scares me with rust etc...are the really fairly easy to unscrew etc?
 

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Im still on fence..my 420. Started at 80k..at 160000 still same random frequency...reset with meter..bought nic meter to read o2 sensors live..appear ok..but hard to sat wtf it is..maybe i bite and try to change the one bank..or pay..ive done toming belt but exhaust and suspension scares me with rust etc...are the really fairly easy to unscrew etc?
You'll want to have an O2 socket, IMO. 'Don't recall access issues on Ridge (have not changed mine yet... no issues @ 146K miles).
 

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For unscrewing the sensors you will need to pick up the special tool from amazon etc. So far, I have done the front bank only. Both of the front banks are relatively easy to access for loosening, but the tool can only rotate a very short amount on the front downstream which makes tightening it a bit of a chore. Once you have broken them loose, a pair of plyers will allow you to turn them out. The rear downstream sensor will undoubtedly prove to be the most difficult of the group to remove. It lives in an awkward spot that will be a challenge to get the necessary force on the tool to release it.

Believe it or not, the harness connectors are an equal challenge to get apart. The front bank sensors harness connectors are located on the front of the engine and access is OK. The rear bank is much harder to reach. One major trick to getting them apart is that they must be removed from the metal bracket they are mounted on, before the connector can be pulled apart. Getting them off the bracket is most easily done by unbolting the bracket from the engine so that you can manipulate the connectors and use a small screwdriver to release them from the bracket. The connectors are brittle and they will break if they are forced. Take your time and figure out how to release their clips . . .
 

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For unscrewing the sensors you will need to pick up the special tool from amazon etc. So far, I have done the front bank only. Both of the front banks are relatively easy to access for loosening, but the tool can only rotate a very short amount on the front downstream which makes tightening it a bit of a chore. Once you have broken them loose, a pair of plyers will allow you to turn them out. The rear downstream sensor will undoubtedly prove to be the most difficult of the group to remove. It lives in an awkward spot that will be a challenge to get the necessary force on the tool to release it.

Believe it or not, the harness connectors are an equal challenge to get apart. The front bank sensors harness connectors are located on the front of the engine and access is OK. The rear bank is much harder to reach. One major trick to getting them apart is that they must be removed from the metal bracket they are mounted on, before the connector can be pulled apart. Getting them off the bracket is most easily done by unbolting the bracket from the engine so that you can manipulate the connectors and use a small screwdriver to release them from the bracket. The connectors are brittle and they will break if they are forced. Take your time and figure out how to release their clips . . .
Wow you hit it spot on for not ever doing the rear.
 

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Well, I just pulled the P0420 in my Ridgeline, and it was like dejavu. Last summer, my wife's Element threw this code, and on the Element page, the O2 sensor was the definitive and first go-to fix. They even had a suggestions as to how to tell which was bad- I'll have to go back and look that up.

Thanks for confirming my suspicions! Now I have an excuse to use that special tool again. ;)
 

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O2 (F/A) Sensor Part Numbers

Could someone please post correct part numbers for the O2 sensors for a 2006 Ridgeline? I am looking for OEM connection, not universal, but would rather not sift through the myriad of available options. Bosch or Densko is fine. I think I need US, but am looking for the DS numbers as well, just in case.

Thanks!
 

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For unscrewing the sensors you will need to pick up the special tool from amazon etc. . .
FYI, a generic O2 sensor tool (looks like the Honda tool in the diagrams) can be found at Harbor Freight, if you have one local and want it NOW. It's exactly the right price for how often you will use it, and it works fine. (Note: the website lists it as 3/8, but that's the wrench size- the socket is standard 7/8")
 
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