Why installing a catalytic converter anti-theft shield is worth it

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by Georgina Rudkus, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. Vman455

    Vman455 Senior Member

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    Whatever makes the installer/owner feel better, I suppose. In reality, choice of fastener (stainless steel or not, rivets or rivnut inserts and bolts, Torx or Allen or hex heads, etc.) makes no difference to a thief: their tool of choice appears to be the Sawzall, and Sawzalls cut through 1/4" aluminum plate as well as any other material, given enough time. It's not like they're stopping to carefully unfasten everything, as we can see with how they treat O2 sensors and coolant lines.

    IMO, the benefit of these plates is in their deterrence. Anything that makes a car a less attractive target by making it take longer to get to the cat will decrease the likelihood that a thief will go after the cat in question rather than move on to an easier target. Conversely, if a thief really wants the cat under a shield, he'll get it if he's willing to risk the time, no matter what fasteners you use--but we're betting on him not being willing to take that risk, which I also think is a good bet.
     
  2. NewHybridOwner

    NewHybridOwner Active Member

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    Miller now offers optional security bolts of their own design as an extra-cost option.

    There are many different security-bolt head designs, but not of all them available (at least readily in the USA) on Metric bolts.
     
  3. 2012 Prius v wagon 3

    2012 Prius v wagon 3 Active Member

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    I'm planning a home-brew shield, and my thinking on the bolts is just to make it difficult for the thief. Not thinking it's possible to stop them, my aim is just to frustrate and slow them down, convincing them to move along to another victim or maybe even making an honest living.

    So I'll use as many different fastener heads as I can - hex, Allen, Torx, Phillips, even slotted, and rivets, all of varying sizes, with some fake ones (not actually attaching anything) thrown in there for fun. All of them will be covered with epoxy to make it a little harder, and to be sure that they need to first do some work removing the epoxy before even figuring out what tool they need to go and get to finish the job ... on this bolt. Then the next one will be different. Mixing things up this way is really not much more difficult for me, but would comparatively add a lot for the thief to deal with.

    An angle grinder would be able to make fairly quick work of all of them, and would not care about the epoxy or head variations, but if they have to resort to that, they'd be more likely to get burned by sparks, which I'd take as a partial victory.

    In more general terms, I'm thinking that the more different tools you require them to have and use, the more of a deterrent it will be. I'm sure they'd most prefer to crawl under there with a sawzall and nothing else. A sawzall can cut a lot of things, but not really "all." It will do well on rigidly supported sheet. But not so well on flexible, compliant things like wire or expanded sheet steel. And not so well when there is something behind it that interferes with the sawzall's 1" motion. Painting the cat and the shield should be an easy thing to provide a deterrence.

    I expect they will be more deterred by a home-brewed solution vs. a production version - similarly due to the uncertainty of not knowing what will be required. At some point, any of the production versions will be known, with optimal defeat procedures figured out - it the same way that I'm sure it is already well known what methods and tools work best on various years.
     
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  4. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    There are two likely two types of thieves who will target the Gen 3 converters. It is either a rank amateur or a well informed professional.

    The rank amateur will be surprised when the hot and sticky red coolant spews out all over under the car when the heat exchanger behind the two catalytic converter is cut.

    Even a fully knowledgeable theft will need to make four strategically placed cuts in the correct places to remove that converters. Again, he will be soaked in a pool of red coolant.

    Unlike the one cut and two bolts that are needed to remove a Gen 2 converter, the bolts are harder to access. While the connection to the exhaust manifold can be cut off, the right front passenger tire needs to be removed for access and an extra long 12 inch Sawzall blade needs to be used.

    These complications will likely dissuade the amateur after the first try and the professional, who will choose the Gen 2, even if the Gen 3 has no installed theft deterrent device.

    After doing so, any thief will smell of coolant and be eager for a change of clothes and a shower. .
     
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  5. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Exactly my thought. The thief would want a quick 'jack, saw, and grab'. If they see any deterrent, regardless of how it is attached, I bet they leave it and move on.

    Hmm..so these shields are aluminum?! That seems odd. I would have thought stainless steel or something like that.

    And this gets me thinking...how about some sort of deterrent that spews colored powder, ink...or something like that? Not sure how it would work...but it sure would be a surprise for the thief!
     
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  6. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    vht painted side view.JPG If you don't opt for the shield, a quick, cheap and easy deterrent would be to paint the easily visible part of the exhaust system with highly visible VHT (very high temperature) paint and to put stickers on the window announcing "catalytic converter engraved," as I did.



    I didn't even engrave the converter anywhere. Let the thief worry about finding it.

    catalytic converter engraved sticker.JPG
     
    #27 Georgina Rudkus, Jul 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  7. Bradford (he/him)

    Bradford (he/him) New Member

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    all. Would any of you be able to link to your recommended catlock and/or give some pros and cons for the different ones? I don't necessarily need one that's easy to install since I'll take it in to a garage/service center to install.
     
  8. NewHybridOwner

    NewHybridOwner Active Member

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    I bought the Cat Shield

    Cat Shield — MILLERCAT - CARB Converters

    not directly from the manufacturer but from an eBay seller who included an el-cheapo substitute for a real rivnut/nutsert tool.

    I see that one of the other manufacturers has an additional piece that attaches farther back.
     
  9. Xterra72

    Xterra72 Senior Member

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    Tilt sensor
     
  10. Steph1972

    Steph1972 Junior Member

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    For those who are interested...
    New version made of stainless steel
    704EE3D6-0FAC-4400-830B-936252B56968.png
     
  11. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Are G3 cats being stolen?
     
  12. Steph1972

    Steph1972 Junior Member

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    A lot here in Canada ...
     
  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    I suspect either aluminum or steel have roughly equal deterrent value: prospective thief takes one look (at either), and moves on. If they were going to try, they’d drill out the pop-rivets, regardless of shield material?
     
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  14. Steph1972

    Steph1972 Junior Member

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    I agree , deterrent aspect more than a really high anti-thieft protection , if they are too lazy to have a real life job , they surely don’t want to have to work harder to steal it , they will simply choose another one....more and more Prius in this part of the country...
     
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  15. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Aluminum rivets drill out easily. Stainless steel rivets backed up with stainless washers will spin when drilling is attempted.
     
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  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Didn’t know about aluminum rivets; IIRC you mentioned sub’ing SS rivets when you did an install?
     
  17. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Yes, I did. I'e tried drilling the out of other assemblies in the past. I had to jam something under their heads to keep them from spinning. A lot of time and tedious was needed.
     
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  18. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    I like the idea of these shields.
    Deterrents.
    +1 for the sicker idea.
    +1 for stainless over aluminum rivets.

    The thief will have what tools?
    Drill, Sawzall, maybe a small socket set?
    Will they have a torch?

    The shield would increase the time to drill rivets and/or Sawzall noise to remove.
    The torch, could be quiet.

    The shield manufacturors have place inspection holes for Smog Centers to verify the cat.

    Local dealer is having a special...shield and install $450. (Calif labor rates LOL)

    FWIW an air compressor rivet install tools is so much easier than a manual rivet tool.
    Can be done on jack stands.
    Watch for clearances and rattles from the shield, especially with a Prius v model.
     
  19. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    An oxyacetylene torch will cut stainless steel but not aluminum. A battery powered sheet metal shear that cuts out a strip in the middle is what I would use. I doubt, however that a thief would spend $400 for one.



    I'm almost sure that the stainless steel shield is a lot thinner to reduce weight and cost. The shear will only doe 18 gauge and thinner. Aluminum shields are about 14 gauge.

    The Sawzall will vibrate an chatter while cutting thin metal as it flexes.

    Any thief with common sense will go elsewhere.
     
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