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Purchased my 07 used last year & has 193k on it with the 2.2L ecotech engine. The dreaded P0420 came up and figured it was time to replace the Cat since I noticed it's slow to accelerate up to 40mph and engine is running a LITTLE hotter than normal (like just above the middle line, but it's also heating up here in AZ, so not sure of the cat is causing the extra head or not). Check YouTube & didn't look like to hard of a job since the cat is part of the headers so just unbolt the old, bolt on the new. Figured I'd also change out the O2 sensors as well, but when I tried to do it this weekend, the front O2 sensor would not move at all.

Tried going under to start at the back tail pipe, but couldn't find where the cat bolts on to. Any advice or better yet pictures of where I look? Also, how do I unclip the front O2 sensor on the plug end? Since I'm replacing the cat & sensor, don't think I need to unscrew the front, just unclip it. How does the back one get unclipped and it is okay to hit the rear with penetrating oil to loosen it when I find it?
 

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2007 Malibu LS 2.2L A/T: 181,XXX
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I dont think your cat is causing the extra heat. Im running similiar temps in Alaska. My part failure is the inmer o-ring on my thermostat. Anyways... Have you ever used your local "Fastenal" store? Look them up before you snap these bolts without credulence. Bring in the bolt pieces and they will absolutely get you squared away. I cannot stress how important it may as well be to swap the Catalyst, especially if you have the part. Catalyst bolts usually break off. Ive always prepared for the worst beforehand. With that in mind, have no worries about getting the part out! Honestly, try more force. O2 sensors, mufflers, and catalyst fasteners are crappy to remove; but they typically secede. Your best chances are 6-point sockets & a 1/2" drive tool. I Believe the forward 02 sensor plugin can be traced back to a bracket on the power steering rack.
To see it, turn the steering wheel full right. At the rearward side of the driver front wheel, crawl under and it should be just above the inner portion of steering rack boot, near the input shaft from the steering wheel.
I'd like to think im wrong, so make sure to follow the wire. Its not hard to trace!
Also in most models if you're replacing only the Catalyst, you do NOT need to touch ANY 02 sensor wires unless youre replacing the part. The Catalyst always is between the two sensors.
 
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