Prius Converter Anti-theft Update

Prius catalyst interuptus

No slowdown in theft yet

The thieves are still plying their trade and we’re still seeing 1 -5 per per day. A person or two is arrested here and there. A man was crushed to death in Berkeley. Still, the problem continues.

The good news is that we’re now seeing a lot of the cars that we’ve installed our anti-theft cables on come back, with the converters still under the car. Why would we see them again if the converter isn’t stolen? Well, thieves aren’t the brightest, and they often don’t notice the anti-theft until after they’ve done some damage. They may cut the O2 sensor wires, cut the pipe, and unbolt flanges, but when they try to remove the converter, they find they can’t.

The O2 sensor wiring on this converter was cut. The sensor is a $184 part, and removing the connector under the passenger side carpet takes a bit of time. However, we can repair the wires to avoid replacing the sensor, saving some money.

Unfortunately the wires in the O2 sensor pigtail are marine-grade nickel plated stranded wire, which is hard to solder, even with flux.

Crimp connectors work just as well, but standard insulated crimp connectors will let water in and even with marine grade wire, water and salt isn’t great for connections, so we’ll need to seal these up.

Double wall heat shrink tubing forms a watertight seal and will protect the connectors from the elements.

If a thief tries to cut the O2 sensor wires again, he’s in for a surprise. We’ve zip-tied a piece of hardened cable along side the wires. The wires may still be damaged, but his side cutters will be damaged as well. And if this is his first step, maybe he’ll realize the converter won’t be coming off very easily.

Some flexible conduit will help protect the wires from abrasion and hide our little surprise. Orange is the color code for high voltage, maybe that’ll deter some of the more knowledgeable dirtbags, probably not many of those though. Perhaps just the fact that it looks different will give them pause. One can only hope.