How Many Catalytic Converters Are in Ford F150 Trucks?

For over 40 years, the Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in America. With over 40 million sold, it is among the highest-selling vehicles ever. As an iconic pickup known for its capability, customization, and performance, the Ford F150 also aims to lead in emission reduction. This is mainly achieved through catalytic converters in Ford F150 – crucial exhaust emission control devices that help reduce harmful pollutants from the F150’s engine.

Important Headings

This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about catalytic converters in Ford F150 trucks.

Key Takeaways From The Catalytic Converters in Ford F150 :

  1. Catalytic converters help reduce harmful emissions from the Ford F150’s engine through chemical conversion.
  2. Three-way catalytic converters are the most common type found on F150 trucks for reducing CO, HC, and NOx.
  3. Proper maintenance, like using top-tier gas and fixing engine issues, can maximize the converter lifespan.
  4. Replacing a faulty converter is critical for restoring performance and passing emissions tests.
  5. OEM converters offer direct-fit compatibility, but aftermarket options work well if carefully matched.
  6. Have a shop diagnose converter failure through 5-gas analysis before replacement to confirm issues.
  7. DIY converter replacement is possible but also makes for an ideal professional install.
  8. Advancements in catalyst formulas and substrate coatings will enable more stringent emissions standards in the future.
  9. The number of converters varies by F150 model year and engine – from 1 on old 4.2L V6 to 3 on new hybrids.
  10. Keeping the F150’s catalytic converters in good working order is key to reducing environmental impact.

Introduction to Catalytic Converters

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants from an internal combustion engine into less harmful emissions through catalyzed chemical reactions. Catalytic converters have been standard equipment in American vehicles since 1975, when the first emissions regulations were implemented.

Catalytic converters usually comprise a steel exterior housing, heat shields, and an interior ceramic substrate coated with precious metal catalysts like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. As exhaust gases pass through the converter at high temperatures, the catalysts facilitate chemical reactions that convert harmful compounds into safer gases.

Read More: Keeping Ford Mustang Catalytic Converter Stampeding in 2024

The three main emissions that catalytic converters aim to reduce are:

  • Hydrocarbons (HC) – Unburned fuel that contributes to smog
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) – A poisonous gas that reduces oxygen delivery in the body
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx) – Contribute to smog and acid rain

By converting these pollutants into nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor, catalytic converters play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of vehicle emissions and promoting cleaner air. They also allow vehicles to meet emission standards implemented by regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A Brief History of Catalytic Converters in Ford F150

The Ford F150 has utilized catalytic converters since the first emissions regulations took effect in 1975 with the introduction of the 1977 model year F150. Early F150 converters were two-way converters, meaning they reduced HC and CO but not NOx.

In 1980, “three-way” catalytic converters were introduced on the F150, which could also reduce NOx. This innovation allowed Ford to better comply with stricter emissions standards being phased in by the EPA during the 80s and 90s.

As emission regulations grew tighter over the decades, advancements in converter technology were critical to keeping the F150 compliant while maintaining performance. Improved catalysts and the addition of oxygen sensors further increased the efficiency of F150 catalytic converters through the years.

Modern F150 trucks have advanced high-tech four-way catalytic converters engineered to reduce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and particulates during all driving conditions. Thanks to the continued improvement of catalytic converter technology in trucks like the F150, auto emissions in the US have dropped by over 99% since the 1960s.

Types of Catalytic Converters Used in Ford F150s

The Ford F150 utilizes high-quality original equipment manufacturer (OEM) catalytic converters to ensure emissions compliance and optimal performance. There are a few different types of catalytic converters that may come equipped on an F150 depending on the engine and drivetrain configuration:

Three-Way Catalytic Converters in Ford F150

  • Most common type of converter found on F150s
  • Designed to reduce CO, HC, and NOx emissions
  • Utilizes platinum and rhodium catalysts for maximum reduction capability
  • Often located close to the engine for the fastest light-off (catalyst activation)

Diesel Oxidation Catalysts (DOCs)

  • Equipped on F150 diesel models
  • Oxidizes CO, HC, and the soluble organic fraction of diesel particulates (SOF)
  • Uses platinum and palladium catalysts for diesel exhaust treatment
  • Often located downstream of a diesel particulate filter

Lean NOx Traps

  • Used on some EcoBoost and diesel F150 models
  • Stores NOx during lean engine operation then reduces it during rich operation
  • Uses alkali metal and alkaline earth metal oxides as storage material
  • Requires close coupling with other after-treatment devices for maximum effectiveness

Four-Way Catalytic Converters in Ford F150

  • Found on some newer F150 models
  • Reduces CO, HC, NOx, and particulates in one unit
  • Utilizes advanced catalyst formulations and substrate coatings
  • Enables cleaner exhaust emissions from both gasoline and alternative fuel engines

In most configurations, F150 trucks have multiple converters working together to maximize emission reduction. Other emission control devices like oxygen sensors and electronic control modules help the converters maintain optimal operating conditions.

Aftermarket and direct-fit catalytic converters from brands like Walker, Bosal, Eastern Catalytic, and MagnaFlow for F150 exhaust system repairs and upgrades are also available. Select EPA-compliant converters specifically engineered for the F150 application when choosing an aftermarket converter.

Number of Catalytic Converters in Ford F150 By Model Year and Engine

The number of catalytic converters used in the Ford F150 depends on the model year and engine equipped. Here is an overview:

How Many Catalytic Converters Are in Ford F150 2023 F-150

    • 2.7L EcoBoost V6: Two catalytic converters
    • 3.5L EcoBoost V6: Two catalytic converters
    • 5.0L V8: Two catalytic converters
    • 3.5L PowerBoost Hybrid V6: Three catalytic converters (two in the exhaust system and one in the hybrid system)

Catalytic Converters Are in Ford F150 2018-2022 F-150

    • 2.7L EcoBoost V6: Two catalytic converters
    • 3.5L EcoBoost V6: Two catalytic converters
    • 5.0L V8: Two catalytic converters
    • 3.3L Ti-VCT V6 (2018-2019): Two catalytic converters

How Many Catalytic Converters Are in Ford F150 2015-2017 F-150

    • 2.7L EcoBoost V6: Two catalytic converters
    • 3.5L EcoBoost V6: Two catalytic converters
    • 5.0L V8: Two catalytic converters

Catalytic Converters Are in the Ford 2014 F-150

    • 3.7L V6: Two catalytic converters
    • 5.0L V8: Two catalytic converters
    • 6.2L V8: Two catalytic converters

OEM Catalytic Converters in F150 2009-2013 F-150

    • 4.6L 2V V8: Two catalytic converters
    • 5.4L 3V V8: Three catalytic converters
    • 6.2L 2V V8: Two catalytic converters

Number of Converters in Ford F150 2004-2008 F-150

    • 4.6L 2V V8: Two catalytic converters
    • 5.4L 3V V8: Three catalytic converters

Ford F150 Catalytic Converter Count 1997-2003 F-150

    • 4.2L V6: One catalytic converter
    • 4.6L 2V V8: Two catalytic converters
    • 5.4L 2V V8: Two catalytic converters

Catalytic Converters Across Ford F150 Trim Levels

The Ford F150 is available in a wide range of trim levels, from the basic XL to the luxurious Platinum, high-performance Raptor, and eco-friendly Lightning. Each trim offers unique features and configurations impacting the catalytic converter system.

XL F150 Catalytic Converters

The base XL trim of the F150 comes equipped with a more basic twin catalyst exhaust system designed for affordability and practicality. Key details include:

  • Utilizes less expensive two-way catalytic converters versus three-way
  • Twin converter design provides sufficient emission reduction for XL models
  • Basic cast iron exhaust manifolds keep costs low
  • Come with standard V6 or V8 engines, no EcoBoost options
  • Converter placement optimized for cost, not performance

While providing essential emission reduction, the converters on the value-oriented XL trim prioritize price over peak performance. This matches the XL’s straightforward, affordable work truck theme.

XLT F150 Catalytic Converter Variations

Moving up to the popular XLT mid-range trim of the F-150 opens up more engine choices that impact the catalytic converter configuration, including:

  • Standard twin two-way catalytic converters on base 3.3L V6 models
  • Twin three-way catalytic converters on 5.0L V8 and 2.7L EcoBoost V6 configurations
  • Some versions have three converters for maximum reduction
  • Optional higher-grade converters are available for added performance

With expanded powertrain options, the catalytic converters on XLT models vary in design complexity, performance level, and price point to match this versatile middle trim range.

High-End F150 Trim Converter Upgrades

On luxurious, performance, and specialty top-end versions of the F-150, Ford equips more sophisticated catalytic converter systems, such as:

  • Lariat: Uses premium OEM-grade three-way converters for optimal emissions reduction
  • King Ranch: Unique covered converter shields match the luxury aesthetic
  • Platinum: Fitted with the highest-performing converters available from Ford
  • F150 Raptor: Tuned high-flow converters, maintaining efficiency under extreme conditions
  • Lightning: Swaps exhaust converter for electric heater to reduce emissions

From the off-road Raptor to the fully-electric Lightning, Ford outfits the F150’s higher-end trims with catalytic converters tailored to each model’s unique capabilities and advanced features.

Choosing the Right F150 Trim for Your Needs

When selecting your ideal F150, factoring in the different catalytic converter technologies equipped across the trim range can help find the perfect fit. A work-focused XL provides essential emission reduction at a low cost, while the converters on plush Platinum prioritize peak performance. This range means there’s an F150 catalytic converter setup to suit any need.

The Function and Importance of Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters serve several important functions that benefit the environment, vehicle performance, emissions compliance, and human health.

Emissions Reduction

The number one job of catalytic converters is to reduce toxic emissions from the tailpipe. Here are some key stats on how they achieve significant emissions reductions:

  • Reduce hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide by over 90%
  • Can reduce nitrogen oxides by over 80%
  • Eliminate nearly 60% of particulate matter emissions
  • Remove up to 90% of air-toxic emissions during cold starts

According to the EPA, catalytic converter-equipped vehicles have decreased HC, CO, and NOx emissions by approximately 95% compared to uncontrolled vehicles. This makes them invaluable for meeting emissions standards.

Engine Performance

In addition to making exhaust cleaner, catalytic converters also benefit engine performance in a few key ways:

  • Increased fuel efficiency – Reducing emissions improves combustion efficiency
  • Optimized air-to-fuel ratio – Oxygen sensors provide closed-loop feedback to the PCM
  • Lowered emissions prevent engine wear – Fewer contaminants prolong engine life
  • Improved drivability – Reduced emissions prevent engine hesitation/misfiring

Catalytic converters lower emissions and enhance engine performance by helping vehicles burn fuel more efficiently and maintain precise control of the air-to-fuel mixture.

Environmental Impact

The reduction of harmful emissions has a wide-ranging positive impact on the environment. Just some of the benefits provided by catalytic converters include:

  • Greatly reduced ground-level ozone (smog)
  • Lower acid rain and particulate pollution
  • Improved air quality in cities and environmental justice communities
  • Allows more sustainable mobility of people and goods

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), vehicles equipped with catalytic converters reduced CO emissions nationwide by 61% from 1990 to 2014. The widespread use of catalytic converters in vehicles like the F150 has dramatically improved air quality.

Human Health Benefits

The reduction in toxic vehicle emissions provides multiple human health benefits as well, including:

  • Decreased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness
  • Lower rates of cancer, birth defects, and neurological damage
  • Reduced particulate pollution lowers asthma attacks and other cardiovascular/pulmonary diseases.
  • An estimated 243,000 lives have been saved in the US since 1975 due to reductions in air pollution from automotive catalytic converters.

The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that for every dollar spent on catalytic converter-equipped cars, $5-8 in health and environmental costs are saved. Their significant human health benefits make catalytic converters a vital emissions control technology.

Maintenance and Care of Catalytic Converters

Proper maintenance is essential for maximizing the performance and lifespan of catalytic converters. Here is an overview of converter care best practices for F150 owners:

  • Use Top Tier detergent gasoline – Helps minimize carbon deposit buildup, which can clog the converter
  • Keep on top of engine tuning – Fix drivability issues and keep the engine in top shape
  • Drive gently – Avoid excessive acceleration and high speeds, which can overheat the converter
  • Let the engine warm up before driving – Converters need to reach 200-300°C to work properly
  • Don’t top off the gas tank – It prevents spillage on the converter, which can damage it
  • Check engine lights – Diagnose and repair any issue triggering a check engine light promptly

Regular underbody inspections, oil changes, and engine tuning will also help maximize the converter lifespan. Use only unleaded gasoline and don’t use leaded additives, which will destroy the catalyst.

Watch for warning signs that often indicate a failing converter:

  • Reduced engine power and performance
  • Strong sulfur smell from the exhaust
  • Misfiring, hesitation, or engine surging
  • Failed emission tests with high HC readings
  • Rattling or damage caused by road debris

Replacing a faulty converter promptly is recommended. Technicians use 5-gas analyzers and labscope tests to diagnose converter failures accurately.

When to Replace Your Ford F150 Catalytic Converter

There are a few signs it is time to replace the converter on your F150:

  • Failed Emissions Test – Converter replacement is needed if you fail a smog check due to high HC readings. Failing an emissions test is the #1 indicator that it’s time for a new converter.
  • Check Engine Light – The converter may be damaged if you have emissions-related trouble codes (P0420, P0430) or a faulty oxygen sensor code triggering the check engine light.
  • Lack of Power – Over time, restricted exhaust flow from a clogged converter will cause power loss. This reduces acceleration and performance.
  • Rattling Noise – Internal damage that causes the converter’s ceramic honeycomb to break down can create a loud rattling or shaking noise during acceleration.
  • Sulfur Smell – The smell of rotten eggs in the exhaust indicates a problem converting sulfur dioxide gases. This suggests converter breakdown.
  • Visible Damage – Inspect the exterior housing of the converter for dents, cracks, holes, or disconnected pipes pointing to the need for replacement.

Recommended Replacement Intervals:

  • 8-10 years or 80,000-100,000 miles for most applications
  • 5-6 years or 50,000 miles for trucks, towing, and fleet vehicles

These are general guidelines – a properly functioning converter can last over 10 years. Issues like engine problems or neglect can shorten lifespan. High-mileage F150s will benefit from a fresh OEM-quality converter.

Choosing the Right Catalytic Converter for Your Ford F150

Choosing the optimal replacement catalytic converter for your F150 comes down to a few key factors:

OEM vs. Aftermarket

OEM Ford converters offer perfect fitment and adherence to Ford specs, providing like-new performance and emissions compliance. Aftermarket converters can work well but require careful matching to your F150 setup.

Converter Type

Match the converter type (two-way, three-way, diesel oxidation catalyst) and location (pre-turbo, post-turbo) to your engine for proper operation.


The replacement converter must be approved in California and states that follow CARB emissions standards, or you will fail inspection.

Dimensions and Inlet/Outlet Size

Use the existing converter measurements for sizing, especially on the inlet/outlet pipes. This ensures correct fit and exhaust flow.

Substrate Material

Look for high-quality ceramic substrates on premium OEM and performance converters to handle high temperatures and last long.

Warranty Coverage

Converters with at least a 2-year/24-k mile warranty give you peace of mind. Make sure to register the warranty right away.

When diagnosing your F150 for converter issues, technicians use 5-gas analyzers and labscope tests to determine if replacement is required. This takes the guesswork out of getting the proper new converter.

DIY vs Professional Catalytic Converter Replacement

Skilled DIYers can perform converter replacement in an F150, making for an ideal professional installation. Reasons to have a professional technician handle the converter install include:

  • Specialized Tools – Items like oxygen sensor socket sets to remove sensors without damage
  • Diagnostic Testing – 5-gas/lab scope tests to confirm the old converter is bad and the new one is functioning properly
  • Increased Safety – Removing stuck converters has serious risks
  • Proper Disposal – Professionals follow environmental rules for converter core and scrap handling
  • Emissions Re-testing – Shops provide easy emissions re-testing after installation to confirm the fix
  • Efficiency – Technicians can swap converters in less than an hour in most cases
  • Warranty – Repair shops often provide a 12-month warranty on catalytic converter installations for extra peace of mind

That being said, weekend warriors with access to a jack stand, hand tools, and a MIG welder can tackle a DIY F150 converter install and save on labor costs. Having an extra set of hands helps this go more smoothly.

Read More: Selling Your Ford Catalytic Converter Scrap in 2024

Step-By-Step F150 Catalytic Converter Installation

Here is an overview of the catalytic converter replacement process on a Ford F150:

Gather Parts and Tools

Have your new CARB-approved direct fit OEM or aftermarket converter, gaskets, oxygen sensors (if needed), hardware, tools like jack stands, and an oxygen sensor socket set ready.

Lift and Support the Truck

Safely lift the front or rear of the F150, depending on the converter location. Securely support it on jack stands.

Loosen Exhaust Clamps

Loosen the exhaust clamps in front of and behind the old converter. Penetrating oil or a torch can help free stuck clamps.

Cut Out Bad Converter

Cut out the old converter using a reciprocating saw, leaving a few inches of existing exhaust pipe on either end.

Install New Gaskets

Fit the new converter’s inlet and outlet pipes into the existing exhaust and install new high-temp gaskets at the junctions.

Secure Clamps and Bolts

Even tighten the clamps to secure the new converter. Some direct-fit converters may utilize bolts instead of U-bolt clamps.

Replace O2 Sensors

If equipped, screw in new oxygen sensors. Use anti-seize on the threads and torque to spec with an O2 sensor socket set.

Re-test System

Clear any codes and take the F150 for a test drive, allowing the engine to fully warm up to test the converter function.

The factory procedure in your repair manual is recommended to ensure a smooth installation. Allow time for the truck to safely cool before beginning work.

Catalytic Converters and Emissions Testing

One of the most important roles of the catalytic converter is allowing vehicles like the Ford F150 to pass emissions testing requirements. Here’s how they relate:

  • Catalytic converters must be functioning properly to curb tailpipe emissions to legal levels. Failing converters will cause an emissions test failure.
  • Smog tests analyze the levels of pollutants like hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in the exhaust. High levels indicate converter failure.
  • OBD II testing checks for converter-related trouble codes like P0420 set by downstream oxygen sensors due to excessive emissions. Any emissions related to CEL will cause a smog test failure.
  • Visual inspection confirms the catalytic converter has not been removed. Trucks equipped with hollow catalytic converter delete pipes will fail Testing.
  • Jurisdictions with OBD plug-in emissions testing analyze the real-time operation of the catalytic converter by the switching ratio of upstream versus downstream oxygen sensors.
  • Replacing faulty converters with new OEM or CARB-certified converters ensures emissions compliance and allows an immediate re-test if failure occurs.

Failing to pass an emissions test due to a problematic catalytic converter must be addressed through proper diagnosis and replacement to restore emissions compliance.

The Future of Catalytic Converter Technology

As emissions regulations tighten worldwide and new powertrain technologies emerge, advancements in catalytic converter design continue. Some of the trends we’ll see with F150 converters include:

Stricter Emissions Limits

To meet tighter emissions standards, expect more compact, high-efficiency converter designs that achieve faster light-off times while further reducing HC, CO, NOx, and particulate emissions.

Gasoline Particulate Filters

To capture particulate matter on gasoline vehicles, particulate filters will be incorporated into the catalyst as they have been on diesel trucks.

Electric Vehicle Converters

As hybrid and fully electric drivetrains grow, the catalytic converter evolves into a simpler methanol burner to heat the cabin without engine exhaust.

Increased Precious Metal Use

Manufacturers will pack more platinum group metals into less volume on the ceramic substrates to achieve greater emissions conversion efficiency.

NOx Storage Technology

Improved NOx storage materials and release coatings on catalysts will allow alternate lean/rich cycling operations to reduce NOx further.

Hydrocarbon Traps

Trapping mechanisms will complement oxidation functions to reduce HC emissions to zero mg/mile.

Low-Pressure Drop Design

Improving flow characteristics through precision engineering will counteract any increases in back pressure from improved filtration as emissions limits fall.

By staying at the leading edge of emissions control technology, Ford ensures the legendary F150 lineup will continue meeting even the most stringent emissions regulations for decades.

Frequently Asked Questions on Ford F150 Catalytic Converters

How Many Catalytic Converters Are on a 2022 Ford F150 5.0L V8?

Two catalytic converters.

What Are the Signs My F150’s Catalytic Converter Needs Replacement?

Reduced performance, rotten egg smell, rattling noise, failed emission test.

Does Replacing the Catalytic Converter in an F150 Require Programming?

Most direct-fit converters don’t require programming.

What Is the Average Catalytic Converter Replacement Cost for a Ford F150?

$600-$1200 between parts and labor.

Can I Pass My State Inspection with a Hollow Catalytic Converter Delete Pipe on My F150?

No, all F150s require functioning converters to pass emissions testing.

Where Is the Catalytic Converter Located on a 2001 Ford F150 5.4L V8?

There are two – one on each exhaust manifold bank.

Do All Ford F150 Catalytic Converters Contain Platinum?

Yes, platinum is one of the precious metals used as a catalyst.

How Much Is a Scrap Catalytic Converter Worth from a 2007 F150?

$50-$250, depending on precious metal content and market prices.

What Is the Recommended Interval for Replacing the Catalytic Converter in an F150?

Every 8-10 years or 80,000 to 100,000 miles.

Can I Replace Just One Failed Catalytic Converter on My 2004 F150?

It’s recommended to replace converters in pairs to prevent imbalance.

Is It Legal to Straight Pipe My Catalytic Converters on My Ford F150?

No, removing converters violates emissions laws.

How Do I Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft on My F150?

Protective shields, alarms, and etching VIN on the converter can help deter theft.

Do All Ford F150 Catalytic Converters Contain the Same Amount of Precious Metals?

No, catalyst formulas vary by engine and converter position.

Can a Bad Oxygen Sensor Cause Catalytic Converter Failure in an F150?

Yes, improper oxygen sensor input can lead to converter damage.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace the Catalytic Converters on a 2017 F150 3.5L EcoBoost?

It costs approximately $800-$1500 for parts and labor.

Conclusion On Ford F150 Catalytic Converter

For over 40 years, catalytic converters have been an essential technology allowing the Ford F150 to reduce harmful emissions while remaining America’s best-selling pickup. As converter technology has evolved over generations of F150s, their performance in reducing pollution has greatly improved.

Proper converter maintenance and prompt replacement are critical to keeping your F150 running clean. Compliance with emissions testing also hinges on catalytic converter function. By understanding how they work, carefully choosing a new one when required, and having it installed properly, F150 owners can help these crucial components keep their trucks environmentally friendly for many more miles to come.

I am Nicolas, an automobile engineer with over 5 years of experience in exhaust systems and catalytic converters. I am passionate about learning and understanding how things work, and I am always looking for new ways to improve the performance and efficiency of automotive exhaust systems. Know more about me. As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

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