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Open Roads Forum  >  Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)

 > Stops Catalytic Converter thefts! (inexpensive method)

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SJ-Chris

San Jose, Ca

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Posted: 09/04/22 11:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cost: $40 or less per RV
Time: About an hour.
Level of difficulty: Low

RVs, being somewhat high up to begin with, are easy targets for catalytic converter thieves. I have 3 RVs. One of the cats was stolen one night when I parked the RV in front of my home. It was covered by insurance (~$4000 to replace), but it put that RV out of commission for about 6 weeks to get the insurance claim taken care of, the parts to come in, and to get it fixed. My RVs usually are parked in storage in a yard that doesn't seem like it would be hard for thieves to visit. In fact, I'm actually surprised they haven't all been stolen. So, I decided to do something to reduce my chances of having another one stolen...

An easy way to protect your catalytic converter...
Simple project any of you can likely do...

Supplies:
[image]
This was enough to do 2 and a half of my RVs (I have 3 RVs).
Each RV took about 20' of 3/16" steel cable and 14 of the wire rope clamp clips.

For me doing 3 RVs, here is what I needed:
1 can of VHT Orange Hi-temp engine paint: ($15)
https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/c/flameproof/vht-flameproof-11-ounce-flat-orange-spray-paint/vht1/sp114?q=vht+orange

32 pack of wire rope clamp clips: ($16) (...actually need 5-6 more to finish the 3rd RV) These were much cheaper than buying at Home Depot.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083P78JP6

50' of 3/16" UNCOATED steel wire cable: ($27) (...actually need about 10 more feet to finish the 3rd RV)
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-3-16-in-x-50-ft-Galvanized-Uncoated-Steel-Wire-Rope-803172/203958869

Cable cutter: ($23 with typical Harbor Freight 20% off coupon)
https://www.harborfreight.com/28-inch-cable-cutters-6649.html
Or, you might have another way to cut this type of cable. Or, you might be able to borrow a cable cutter from a friend... Note: The one in the picture above was NOT enough to cut or even put a dent in this cable, which I guess is a good thing. The 28" one from Harbor Freight worked great. For my install, I started with a 12' piece of cable and wrapped it from the rear to the front and then secured it in one or two places. Then I took smaller pieces of cable (1-3') and attached it at other various places. An alternative, and possible way around not being able to cut the cable (if you don't have a way) would be to purchase a 25' cable and weave/connect it all as one piece through the various attachment points. If you do this, be sure to put lots of the clamps in the appropriate places so that each connection point needs to be cut by a thief in order to remove the catalytic converter.

Heat wraps: ($5) at Harbor freight for a huge assortment. This is to reduce frayed ends when you cut the cable.


Before:
[image]


During:
[image]


After:
[image]


The visual deterrent is hopefully enough to get the thieves to move on to an easier target. On my RVs the cable is independently attached to 6 or 7 different places (including 2-3 from the top which would be harder for a thief to get to in a short time). EACH would have to be cut in order to get the catalytic converter out.

In the absence of all this, a thief with a cordless sawsall would only need to cut through 2 places with easy access (right before the catalytic converter, and right after) and would likely be done in less than 2 minutes. With this system, they would need to cut all of the additional cable locations where it is attached to the frame. This would, I believe, be a bit challenging with a sawsall as the cable will not necessarily remain still while they attempt to cut it. Also, the attachment points up high will be difficult to reach with a sawsall. If they happen to have cable cutters with them (...I'm guessing most of the time they do not), it still creates a situation where they will have to spend significantly more time trying to remove an orange catalytic converter (...which effectively flags the catalytic converter as stolen to authorities and some who are receiving/recycling these).

The clamps are just held on with 2 nuts. I don't think a thief would ever spend the time unbolting all of them as it would take them probably 20-30 minutes to do so.

So, for ~$30-40 you can probably reduce your chances of having your catalytic converter stolen by 80-90%.

Want to reduce your chances even further?? Here's what else I have done to provide more security at my RV for very little $$$. I added this simple security system to my RV: ($54)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OHD15E6
I attached the horn/alarm to my chassis battery. It has some electrical draw, but my chassis battery gets charged by my solar via a Trik-L-Start (http://www.lslproducts.net/TLSPage.html) so it doesn't matter. If you have solar on your coach batteries only, you could attach this horn/alarm to your coach batteries. The horn is quite loud!

I attach one of the motion sensors underneath my RV pointing right at the catalytic converter aiming towards the top cable connections. Doing this, makes it so it avoids any false alarms from animals, or leaves, etc moving underneath the RV. (Note: Sometimes a hot catalytic converter sets this motion alarm off, so you might need to let the system cool a bit before setting your alarm). Now, if a thief DOES decide they want to spend the time trying to cut out my catalytic converter along with all the multiple cable connections, they will certainly trip the very loud alarm system and they will have to leave unsuccessfully. [emoticon]

I will mount one of the other motion sensors inside the RV (in case anyone breaks in while the RV is in storage or if I'm away from it on a long hike while camping). I also put one of the window/door alarms on my external generator compartment door. I haven't done it yet, but with the extra window/door alarms (or some extra motion alarms I bought), I will likely put one in the large external trunk storage area. We all know it wouldn't take much for someone to pry open a compartment (or use a common key).

Well, I think that about covers it! For ~$100 you can easily add some serious theft protection to your RV and catalytic converter. Inexpensive peace of mind...

Stay safe everyone!
Chris

* This post was last edited 09/05/22 02:57am by SJ-Chris *   View edit history


San Jose, CA
Own two 2015 Thor Majestic 28a Class C RVs

JBarca

Radnor, Ohio, USA

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Posted: 09/05/22 08:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice write up. Thanks for sharing.

With the CAT being out in the open like that, I can see how it is an easy target to rip and go. Your deterrent idea is a good one, it puts the thought of, skip this one, and they move on to easier pick 'ins.

I have heard of the uptick in CAT theft lately even in our area. Fortunately, on my truck, for theft that is, Ford put 2 CATS on my V10 F350 gasser. Think twice as much $$$$. They are in the Y pipe coming off the exhaust manifold. They are a real bugger to get out of there. I had to change mine due to one being cracked inside, and I had the engine and tranny jacked up to do frame rust repair so it was not that bad to get out. But getting it out with everything as normal, the thief would move onto a motor home where it's all out in the open.

Happy camping

John


John & Cindy

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BB_TX

McKinney, Texas

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Posted: 09/05/22 09:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hope that works for you. There was a recent local story of some of the measures people have taken including welded rebar around the cat. And even some of the extremes did not stop the thefts.

opnspaces

San Diego Ca

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Posted: 09/05/22 09:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great write up, especially with links to pretty much everything you used.

Have you driven the coach with the newly painted orange CAT? I know its supposed to be Very High Temp paint. But just wondering how it holds up the the heat?


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SJ-Chris

San Jose, Ca

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Posted: 09/05/22 11:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BB_TX wrote:

Hope that works for you. There was a recent local story of some of the measures people have taken including welded rebar around the cat. And even some of the extremes did not stop the thefts.


Yes, welded rebar would be even better. But I can't weld, and most people can't either. This approach was very easy to install in about an hour.

Good luck!
Chris

SJ-Chris

San Jose, Ca

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Posted: 09/05/22 11:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

opnspaces wrote:

Great write up, especially with links to pretty much everything you used.

Have you driven the coach with the newly painted orange CAT? I know its supposed to be Very High Temp paint. But just wondering how it holds up the the heat?


I haven't driven it. I suspect it will NOT hold up great as catalytic converters get incredibly hot. If the orange fades, peals, falls off, etc it's no big deal. I could always repaint it if needed. But really, the cables are what will help prevent/delay the thief.

-Chris

NamMedevac 70

Reno

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Posted: 09/05/22 02:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Since I cannot elevate truck due to apartment auto repair restrictions I may rely on Mr. S&W. I can keep an evil eye on one of my Rams from apartment first floor balcony. Cheers to the good guys.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 09/05/22 02:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NamMedevac 70 wrote:

Since I cannot elevate truck due to apartment auto repair restrictions I may rely on Mr. S&W. I can keep an evil eye on one of my Rams from apartment first floor balcony. Cheers to the good guys.
You would shoot someone over a CC? Really?


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PastorCharlie

NC

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Posted: 09/05/22 04:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The cables add about another 30-60 seconds to removing the cat. It is surprising what one can do in a second who is trained in their profession. LSU football team made a touchdown in 1 second.

Tools needed: Battery powered high speed cut-off tool.

MitchF150

Puyallup, WA

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Posted: 09/05/22 05:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

time2roll wrote:

NamMedevac 70 wrote:

Since I cannot elevate truck due to apartment auto repair restrictions I may rely on Mr. S&W. I can keep an evil eye on one of my Rams from apartment first floor balcony. Cheers to the good guys.
You would shoot someone over a CC? Really?


Everyone takes their own chances in life... I don't feel sorry for the criminals when I hear the stories when a homeowner shots a burglar.. I just know that the homeowner has a lot to deal with after the fact and that's just something each of us has to decide before doing such a thing...

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 > Stops Catalytic Converter thefts! (inexpensive method)
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