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UPDATE October 2, 2022:
This older thread about how "scrappers" can recover the values from catalytic convertors is rapidly becoming moot ... because all across the country theft became so rampant that laws have recently been passed, understandably trying to make it extremely difficult for criminals to receive any money for the converters. In general, individuals can no longer engage in precious metal recycling from converters. Changing times :-)

I thinking what most of the people want to know is if there is a complete prefabricated system we can buy and use to extract this metals... like the bio diesel making system ... is there any companies who sell these system ? (the Metals recovering system ..not the bio diesel one ) ?

Fahd Mellal
- Alberta, Canada
December 26, 2008

Cats are worth about $50-75 when the scrap prices are good.

there are places all around Minnesota that buy old cats. Some scrap yards try to pay you the minimum price ($5). Others that actually take into consideration about the money they will make off you, will pay 50-75 dollars. some places even pay up to a hundred. in Monticello MN they have Integrated Recycling, they have the best cat prices. as for half full half empty they are talking bout how much stuff is inside the cat. if you can see through the end it is hollow. (no good) also if you shake it it should not make a noise if it is full, if it does, the cat is still worth something just not the full price.

Lisa Harrison
hobbyist - Willmar, Minnesota
December 31, 2008

Ok I understand everybody's concern in the welfare of other's safety. I can understand but just cutting the cats open and the shipping all the insides to someone who is more trained and experienced with the right resources in this type of field sounds like a good idea to me. If there is a way that I can do this please share. I am just curious to see what type of money can really be made I am never shy of a new business venture. Thank You

Bradley Kemp
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
January 7, 2009


Hello all. I ran across this after the catcon was stolen from under my 4Runner whilst at the grocery store.
Just remember, that someone seeking the "easy" (read that as idiot's) way to extract the precious metals is more than likely a thief.
The thieves have been stealing from hard working people who may not really to be able to afford replacement parts, and I have heard of someone who has been hit 3 times.
If you are a scrap dealer, change your policies to force sellers of catcons to provide their photo ID, make and model of their vehicle, as well as license plate number, and possibly take a photo of the seller to insure that they can be reached if it turns out they have been buying and selling stolen parts.

This is becoming an epidemic, and I know of many people in my area who will be protecting their vehicles with a shotgun. BTW, it is now legal in Texas to kill someone who is stealing from you. Do not ask me if the catcon is worth someone's life, rather, ask the scumbag thief if his/her life is worth getting caught.

Michael Manning
- Round Rock, Texas

I spent the time reading through every post that was made. There was a lot of good info that was given and very helpful. But from what I have noticed is 75% of the people that were asking about which ones were worth more or demanding to know how to refine/extract the rare minerals out are the thieves.

In Seattle alone its a huge business stealing cats and from the looks of it its spreading all over the US. Mine was stolen yesterday while it was parked outside my apartment.

Food for thought:

If you don't want to take the time to read these posts or want to learn then your setting yourself up for failure.

Good luck

David Fiiola
- Seattle Washington

Hi, David. Sorry that you were a victim of this theft. If we knew which posters (if any) were thieves, we wouldn't print their inquiries :-)

I reported earlier that my son, a local cop, hadn't encountered catalytic converter theft -- but that has changed. He noted that on some new models the converter can be removed with wrenches - no saw or torch, and that has made them targets (because thieves can rob them en masse from a car dealership with less noise, light, and welding smoke to attract attention.

So as this trend of catalytic converter theft continues to spread, we are editing postings that claim that particular converters are 'better' to get hold of than others, because "better" can be code for "easier to steal". We'll let specialty sites that carry more detail guide the readers on which converters are more valuable.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

I can't take it anymore. There is so much confusion and disinformation in this thread I just had to say something.

First, I am not going to tell you how to refine the Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) either.
Why? Because I paid for my education, in time and research and experimentation and labor. Giving the fruits of that labor for free assigns no value to my work. Also, note that knowledge is power. The only way a small minority refiner can compete with larger more well heeled refiners is to have figured out a way to do the job smarter and cheaper. Once I tell the world that, I put myself out of business. That being said, there is a gold refining website I saw that tells you a lot more than I would have. Google it, I'm not going to use Ted's site to promote another.

Second, The bottom line is: There is no great mystery to metals refining and it is not hard. Most people refining these metals don't have a clue as to the chemistry involved. They just do as they saw their boss do, and get the same results. I suggest learning chemistry well enough to know what is happening. You can Google books on inorganic chemistry and just download and read them. There are many available online from the 1800s and early 1900s. Or read De Re Metallica, as I did, in the library more than 30 years ago and use a search engine to find the modern terms for the archaic ones he uses (Although we still use "aqua regia").

I am also going to suggest that all of you get rich quick guys, drop Cat Converters and concentrate on electronic scrap and low grade plated stuff. You can get it easily and cheaply (free for electronics in most municipalities), safely if you build your own scrubbers, you can refine it at room temperature, without heat (or w/ slight solar) in plastic buckets and barrels, with cheap readily available chemicals. The base metals also have value and will help you stay profitable.

I don't plan on giving you a guide to how I make my living, but I do want to help stop people from doing "stupid human tricks" in the mistaken belief they are learning something.

So... from this point on I am going to go over these posts from the start and add input.

Recovery is dangerous and shouldn't be attempted by an untrained individual though.

It's no more dangerous than plating or finishing. You should have the same level of knowledge and training needed for those. As an aside, you NEVER need to use Cyanides or hydrofluoric acid. There are safer substitutes. You also don't have to use Nitric acid. There are other oxidizers.

The process to do so is known as carbochlorination and the simplified textbook definition of the process is as follows: ....If you can't understand that then you're out of luck. there is no simpler, step by step method of doing this.

This is nonsense. This is not the ordinary way to do it, it is someone trying to find a new more complicated way to do it. For that matter, it isn't even a process for PGMs, or for Cat Con substrate, just a process someone tried to adapt to PGMs. Why reinvent the wheel? Forget this manner completely.

I too used to think like most of you until I talked to a gentleman who owns a bronze sculpture foundry. I in turn found out the secret. A Crucible and crucible furnace is all you need along with some borax [affil links] and silica sand. ... and then you have almost pure platinum and palladium.

I don't know where to start on this one. Why would you use silica sand to flux an aluminosilicate? With the low temp of a bronze furnace, you would need a much more aggressive flux and the metals won't drop anyway. The best you will get is micro-beads embedded in flux. BTW the metals from fire refining will be nowhere near pure.

Reflux the honeycomb in aqua regia (HCl, HNO3), strain the resulting solution and dispose of the ceramic. treat with Ammonium chloride. evaporate, wash with HCl, dry and heat to 500 °C to remove impurities.

This actually will get you some PGMs, but not all contained. (And the term reflux might confuse many). However this is a teaser. There are a few more needed steps you are not told here. But he points you in the right direction.

And by the way if your still wanting to try it all your selves, then you will need hydrochloric acid, muriatic acid so you can mix them in the right amounts to make the acid that is needed to extract the metals.

I agree: you're no rocket scientist. You just told everyone to mix an acid with itself to extract.

Perhaps the key to it is the flux's that Chuck uses! Any comments, Chuck?

Chuck's method as listed is claptrap.

...use a combination of these five chemicals Manganese Dioxide, fluoride, Silica flour, Borax, and Sodium Nitrate to remove the impurities from the gold. Could you use these same chemicals when melting jewelry?
This is for fire refining. You will not get pure precious metals with fire refining. In a jewelry melt it will not separate the silver or palladium.
...I was thinking of using an electric kiln capable of 2300 °F, along with a graphite crucible

The crucible will not last long with those oxidizing fluxes and you will need an awful lot of flux. Electric kilns are not a good idea.
...Where do you sell your gold when your done?
Ah, there's the rub. In most of these posts no one has examined the question of what to do with it once you have refined it.
Unless you have an end user (caster, dental lab..., won't be pure enough for a plater) you will, in the end, still be selling to a refiner. He will take his cut. The reason you refine your metals is to separate them so you can't be beaten in an assay or weighing. Therefore your goal is not to produce absolutely pure metals, but simply highly purified metals.

...after you dissolve the platinum you can recover it by filtering out the acid through a coffee filter. gold appears as a white powder on the filter

Hope you didn't dump all that funny yellow green colored solution after you kept your "white powder on the filter". If so, you dumped the gold, platinum and palladium and saved a filtrate of silver chloride (and maybe some mercury and lead chloride). In a really bizarre case, depending on how you used your nitric, you might also have saved tin on the filter.

I am going to explain the easiest way to do this, However keep in mind that it can be extremely dangerous if you are not constantly paying attention. Chuck was the smartest and closest poster yet.

People, let's all just assume this guy is joking. Melt ceramic in a ceramic pot? How about melting ice in a block of ice? Chemically pure nitric acid? What is that? Water makes the acid work? Trust me, commercial (technical) nitric will work very vigorously without adding water. Fumes and smoke...where is this guy? The EPA will lock your ass up. Period.

Carry out a large scale fire assay approach and add litharge to the flux mix

This melt will take hours to drop the metals. The lead fumes will get you an EPA summons. You will spend more money on fuel and litharge than you will make in PGMs. The slag will be loaded with lead and illegal to dump except as a hazardous waste. Examining the slag under a microscope, you will still see metal beads that didn't drop. If you dissolve the lead and palladium, what do you do to recover the palladium?

All must be MELTED (smelted)to a liquid or semi-liquid state in order to separate it from all other metals/minerals/waste.

Wrong. Nothing NEEDS to be melted until you are ready to make it into a bar. Pyro-metallurgy is not the way for the small operator to go, Hydro-metallurgy is.

in this process we load pacol catalyst about 15 KG then add sodium cyanide

From what I have seen from the posts here, NO ONE inquiring should ever touch cyanide.

I need to find the device that is used to identify which precious metal I have acquired. Some precious metals are obvious but, platinum, silver, aluminum, and zinc are hard for me to identify unless I already know what it is.

Get a test kit from a jewelers supply company. Or get the test stone and the empty bottles and make your own. 1 bottle of nitric, 1 bottle of nitric plus table salt, a test stone, and a set of test needles. For the other metals, check this website for posts on testing the various metals.

The real reason, though, that I am responding is if you check up about gas and other such fossil fuel emissions, you will learn that gold, platinum, palladium, etc... are found in these fuels...

This sounds like an Eco Urban Myth to me. The metals in the fuels would be captured in the asphalt tailings left from distillation, and during the sulfuric acid treatment of the petroleum. The metals in the exhaust are from your engine parts wearing and oxidizing and blowing past the rings via the oil.

Good luck guys.

I received a lot of enjoyment in refining by making little discoveries no one else had, as far as efficiencies and techniques. I also found the chemistry itself to be fascinating. Do your research first, set up safely, and have fun on your projects.

Gary Wilson
- Mount Vernon, New York

thumbs up signThanks, Gary, that was quite an exposition!


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

EASY MONEY, Right? Hello, I am not stupid nor a scientist. I appreciate the knowledge of others who are looking to recover platinum from cats. The chemical process seems to be the best, but with my limited desire to play with extremely or mildly dangerous chemicals and also stay alive I will skip this. I have played with acids (hydrofluoric) and others and created more problems than I started with in the "simple" recovery of gold from rock. I have also tried to smelt the gold from my cons using a furnace and flux, again more problems. I am going back to primitive for gold recovery and will let the professionals do their thing with the platinum. The methods that Chuck suggested in heating will probably work if you have a better understanding of this process than I do. I think if I cut the cats. separate the honeycomb, I will get more for my time and less potential lose to my health. Good luck to any one who wants to do this in their garage.

Scott Myers
- Medford, Oregon
February 12, 2009

i smelted my catalytic converter with a torch and got a silver metal of about the size of 4 quarters I was wondering what type of metal it is thanks yev

yevgeniy ganchenko
hobbyist, - Sacramento, California
March 4, 2009

March 27, 2009

The company I work for refines semi-precious metals to semiconductor grade (7 nines). Gary Wilson has made some excellent points, one of which I will expand on: how to sell the metal once it's purified.

Typically the prices that you find online for semi-precious and precious metals are for a specific grade - e.g. 4 nines purity, or 99.99% pure. The more valuable a metal is, the more your potential buyer is going to expect you to prove the purity. This generally means getting a representative sample of your batch assayed, resulting in a certificate of analysis. Going to an assay lab to get a single sample assayed is not cheap, and will cut into your profits significantly. If your metal does not meet the grade, you will NOT get anywhere near top dollar. Here is where economies of scale come in; make your batch really big, and your assay cost per kilo drops. But, with larger batches comes larger setup and equipment costs, increased hazard and risk, and so on.

Now even if you've spent the money to get your Pt assayed, who's going to buy it? Most of the companies we deal with cannot buy from just anyone - you have to be a qualified supplier or have a quality management system in place (in other words ISO certification). Yes, you will be able to sell your metal to someone out there, but if you don't have access to the customers who can and will pay top dollar, you won't likely get top dollar.

The easiest money, in my opinion, would be to follow the advice of Dale R. Concentrate the Pt, but leave the refining for someone else. It's cleaner, easier, and won't cost yours or your family's health.

After reading this entire thread, my advice to some of you is that you shouldn't bother trying to extract the Pt yourself if:
- you don't know the difference between a gram and an ounce;
- you don't know the difference between HCl and muriatic acid;
- you've never heard of PPE;
- you don't know what a fume hood is;
- you think a complex process such as Pt-extraction, or brain surgery can be explained in a simplistic step-by-step fashion via a blog;
- you think there's some sort of conspiracy afoot simply because no one is telling you what you WANT to hear. In fact they're trying to tell you what you NEED to hear - you're just not listening.

By the way, has anyone tried to zone refine Pt?

Thanks, Ted, for the informative site. I plan to return - hopefully I'll find an equally entertaining thread to read!

Al E [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- British Columbia, Canada

Ed. note: if you're looking for entertainment in the dialogs, Al, my all-time favorite is letter 12044   :-)  -- Ted

March 30, 2009

Hi Ted. I have read through this entire thread as some others have. I too am interested in refining Plat. It would seem the obvious and safest way would be to salvage the converters and store the guts of them into a drum for resale at a later date. My question is, does anybody have any experience with the iShor system. ( if so what were you results?

Glenn Burry
- Glovertown NL Canada

April 4, 2009

This has been fascinating! I work on computer systems for small offices. A "gold buyer" bought two laptops, a router, and wireless printer from me last week for his new location.

He was an old man, had trouble moving. Judging by the equipment, car, ambiance, etc, it seemed as though he is no longer working out of a necessity for money, but a necessity for something else.

On Friday, I installed the equipment, and help him set up a simple Excel spreadsheet for the weight/karat/price calculations. While there, I witnessed at least six transactions with actual customers. He weighed the material (necklaces, watches, coins, junk, etc.), he stone tested it with acids, rejected some, kept others, he once used a very expensive looking specific gravity machine because he wasn't sure about a piece. He used a calculator to reduce the weights to actual gold content, based on karats of course, then he quoted a price, based on 55% to 70% of spot, depending on quality, if there were other items in the weight (stones, a watch movement), whether the customer might come back, or spread the word to others, or other factors. (He paid one woman more than 70%, because she had a sick child with her. He said those types of things come back to you.)

The customer would either accept the price, deny it, or they might haggle for a few minutes. One customer had a 135 grams between a bracelet and a watch. The old man made an offer, upped it by $100 once, then told the man that if he left the offer would be void. The seller sat in a chair for a full 30 minutes! He made a few calls on his cell. He literally begged to be able to leave and check a few places. With no malice at all, the old man said no, repeatedly. He sold the gold, and they shook hands with an air of respect.

I left with him at the end of the day, he had the gold packed up, and said that he was driving over to his dealer, to sell at 90% of spot. That simple. That's the business. At that point, I must admit, I was hooked.

While working this morning I constantly got sidetracked searching for gold ounce, price of gold, bullion, etc.

I have spent the last five hours of my life, up until this moment, glued to the laptop, potentially wasting a beautiful Saturday afternoon. From eBay, to Kitco, to Monex, from bullion and bars to coins and jewelry, from Karat percentages, to grams to ounces, from buy amounts based on spot, sell amounts based over spot, from refiners to traders to storage facilities, from contracts to futures, to what might be in Grandma's drawer, from Platinum to Gold to Silver to Rhodium to Palladium. I even spent a good ten minutes a good ten minutes on Tantalum. Did you prospectors know this is used in cell phone capacitors, because of low corrosion, and it's heavier than Pt! :)

Of course I then ended up at "retrieving gold from computer parts", computers being my own acquired skill, I was interested. 486s are good, Pentiums not so much, the gold is in the contacts, in the processors, sometimes on the PCBs.

That lead me to extraction. From breaking up the parts first, to aqua regia, to other acids, to filters, to flame assay, etc. I read about alchemy, the discovery of Pt, to the philosopher's stone. The alchemists were great.

Did you know that the Nobel peace prizes for two Danes were dissolved in Aqua Regia, so the Nazis wouldn't steal them. They were stored on a shelf for ten years, then extracted, re-cast, and presented again after WWII.

Somewhere in the mix of gold extraction, I came across cats.

Which, even amongst all this great information, was the surprise of the day. What? Catalytic Converters?

This of course led me to junkyards, automotive sites, industry articles, reports of thefts. Then to American, Foreign, 60s, 70s, even 90s are good, but not as good after that, after markets no good, pre-cors also have value.

That's how I found this site in my searches. To quote another poster "quite an unusual an interesting corner of the internet". I have never spent this much time reading a forum. Not ever in recent memory. And I never post.

I love Ted's well mannered and well thought out mediations.

The basic frustration of not JUST BEING TOLD HOW, is an understood human condition. Acquired skill sets are a unique tool. Some people have taken the time to acquire them, others have not. People whose work is repetitive, based on a limited skill set, based on sales and networking, based on brute force or labor, or based prior family success just don't seem understand this. People who earn, or just have, acquired skill sets, understand this.

You can't ask the questions:
How do I trade futures?
How do I open a bank?
How do I transplant a heart?
How do I program a computer?

I was asked the last question several months ago by a young 14 year old boy, who is the son of one of my clients.
With hopeful eyes he asked "How can I make a game like Warcraft?" He looks up to me as knowledgeable, he loves computers like me. I was speechless. I attempted to talk about languages, graphic and sound files, multiple skill sets required.

I would see this young man every couple of weeks. The barrage of questions never ended, and, to his credit, they were getting more insightful. But still, he couldn't sit at a computer and even start. I started to feel bad. He reminded me of myself when I was his age, but I didn't have the time to teach. I figured if I opened this can of worms, it might never end.

Eventually, a few weeks ago, I found myself at the client's office at 3 pm on a Saturday. The son was there, and my work was done. He had his home computer hooked up, (spring break, and he had to go into the office with his dad everyday, real estate is tough right now). I had some time, so I sat down.

We downloaded Paint Shop Pro, Goldwave (for sound), and a trial copy of Visual Studio. I started him off with a one-button form, that when pushed prints "Hello World!". For those that aren't acquainted, that is often considered the ceremonial start of every programmer's career.

Three hours later he had a still picture of a little man, moving around the screen at the command of the arrow keys, and a small bullet that fired when the space bar was pushed, from the last position of the image, and trailed off the screen. There was a small laser sound that the kid made into the microphone below the monitor, recorded with Goldwave and incorporated into Visual Studio, that was played when the bullet fired.

I never touched the keyboard. He did it all. I taught. Guys and Gals, you should have seen the look on this kid's face. It felt great. His father said he hasn't left the computer since! I'm sure we'll have another session, and I can't wait to see what he's come up with.

The only casualty is that Dad will probably have to buy the full version of Visual Studio. Even the academic license is over $300, but a small price to pay when put in perspective.

As with my friend above, it is the enticement of reward, that gives the human motivation to develop skill. The Pt is the reward, whether you actually end up with enough to be profitable is almost moot. The skill acquired if actually successful, is far more valuable, and the true point of the journey. To those of you here that have such skills, I don't necessarily want you to tell, I'd rather spend a couple weekends learning, watching, contributing, socializing, and maybe finishing up with beers and pizzas, if only you were local.

My conclusion from today is that the best method of profiting from cats, is to buy them right, strip the core yourself (I am a fairly well acquainted with light contracting and auto repair, I imagine I can figure this out with experimentation, maybe a good vise, a couple higher grade saw blades, a few scrapes on my knuckles and forearms, etc.), and collect the honeycomb/beads. Just keep them for a minute. It's like a small bank account. If you've got a hundred or so, contact a refiner. This is not a discipline that will net you profit in the short term.

That is the most profitable position in the supply chain that you can put yourself in with the lowest risk and knowledge.

In the meantime, I just might buy a couple books on hydro-metallugry, I might spend a couple hundred on buckets, bowls, acids, filters, pick up an old kitchen hood for sure, and set up a table in the driveway.

After reading for a couple of weekends, I would venture outside and try to extract from a core. I would fail miserably, end up with something I don't know what to do with, upset the girlfriend, etc. I would then humble myself, read some more, do some more searches, maybe make a few posts.

After three to six months, 1 to 3 weekends a month, I'd probably be able to extract a small globule, of less than 1 gram of Pt. This would be at the end of what would have become an eight to fifteen step tedious, time-consuming process. But...EUREKA! It would feel great! I'd be damn proud of my little gram of Pt!

I'd step up my efforts. I'd spend even more time on this, read more, try more variations. After another three to six months, six to nine months total, I would have a reasonable set of beginner hydro-metallurgy skills. It would be able to consistently extract metal from beads, combs, computer boards, gold filled jewelry, gold plated jewelry, etc. At that point, the amount recovered might justify my streamlined process. I would be able to justify the labor and materials required for the profit.

In the end, I think I'll find that if I just sold my cores I would have made enough money, the difference wouldn't justify the TOTAL labor, time and materials, unless I chose this as a new, permanent endeavor. We only have time for so many...

But, I will have acquired some very valuable, and very satisfying KNOWLEDGE, SKILL, and EXPERIENCE.

That's how acquired skill works. It's not that people don't want to tell you, it's just that it doesn't work that way. It has to be acquired, over time. The old man knows gold and jewelry, and people! I know small office computers, programming, and networking. Some of the people on this forum know metallurgy. No matter what, you have to put in the time, to train the mind.

Perhaps one day the Matrix programming disks will be available. "Give me a chopper pilot program Tank!" But trust me, it won't be as much fun. There is just as much joy in And more importantly, the learning tempers the spirit, and creates responsibility.

Ted, I know you have a position against ad hominem posts, but I really hope you include this. I have attempted to address a theme that is central to this thread, acquired skill. You can't cheapen the knowledge acquired by great scientists, hard workers, and patient men, just to use it in a weekend to make a buck.

It is quite the reverse. By being patient, deliberate, attentive, and acquiring skill over time, the man will make himself wealthy. (or woman) PLENTY of wonderful women in science.

I hope I have accomplished my goal.

S. Ross Lerner
- Louisville, Kentucky

I have honeycomb material from several used converters. Where can I have it sent for processing, and is there a typical amount expected (1 Honda, 2 Lexus LS400).

Jason Jegge
buyer - San Jose, California
April 6, 2009

Hi, After many months of experimenting with acids I have finally recovered some gold from electronic scrap. Will it be possible to recover pgm's from catalytic converters? I've read that; you should smelt the whole "catcon" in an electric arc-furnace with scrap steel, granulate the new alloy, dissolve with sulfuric acid and the precious metals will be left behind. I wonder how expensive will it be, to have your own arc-furnace? Can this be done in your backyard? Thank you.

Alonso Borrero
hobbyist - Barranquilla, Atlantico, Colombia   
April 18, 2009

I have found the perfect, reasonably cheap means to extract the Precious Metals from the Cat. If you have a yard with a tree cast a rope around a heavy branch and tie up the cat. Get the neighborhood kids over to the house and tell them the cat is a pinada. Provide each kid with a steel bar and have them take turns beating on the cat. Once the cat has been ruptured tell them to pick up all the metal that falls out and place in the bucket for recovery. If they are disappointed that there was no candy tell then the next Cat you are going to hang has the candy. Repeat these steps until all precious metals have been retrieved.
Best to all

Bob Bayle
government - Springfield, Virginia
April 30, 2009

i have read all of the forums but I have yet to understand where do you sell them ! I live in NC and I am still trying to understand who do I sell to a refinery or a recycler. thanks bec

becky wilhelm
car business - newton North Carolina
May 5, 2009

Hello and here's my 2 cents (which if smelted or melted or schmelted is not as much as two cents from a century ago but I digress) - I was actually looking up information for symptoms of a clogged catalytic converter (cc) & since I usu. look pretty thoroughly I eventually found a site that says one probably could sell the cc if replacing so then I decided to look up selling cc and found this; which after page one I was hoping the pages wouldn't go too fast but now I have to get back to my original task of troubleshooting my car but have been sucked into this post - this is to me a microcosm of everything people have been discussing since Plato and beyond, maybe I've been breathing too many cc fumes but it is close and has a lot of the elements.

After reading this though I have a real practical question, but also and just as important is the freedom of information point I'd like to share, I see it basically at present like this: if looking in the long term no ones goals really contradict unless they are destructive what I mean is that if you are a small business person (who I admire) you might want to have your work trademarked, patented or copyrighted etc for a time being to enjoy the fruits of your labor and I understand that, also the other side of the coin (I did say my two cents lol) if people from a young age and all through history shared information and it was accessible to everyone we may not even be having this discussion - it would be basic 6th grade or 3rd grade science and we'd probably be exploring for platinum on other star systems because if the new learner always got to learn from all the mistakes from the teacher (I'll say) then their time could be cut and they would have new mistakes not yet made to learn from and so on, and the money they make is also going to the benefit of the economy and who knows potentially but it does require the teacher to be an anode to the cathode but they wouldn't mind so much if they also got to learn from others that made their steps easier and like I said it in the long run I think is always better, and another example goes to taking off the posts which displayed what cars have better value for their cc so they are not as much of victims, well they might be the ones who might be more interested so they would know they might be more of a victim

Taking that post down I think is just conceding to that fear in the back of our minds of trying to please everybody - full free information always (in the long term maybe not the short) has unanimous good results and do not contradict each other that is why a country like the USA has prospered and why secretive ones stay stagnant and dark but I am looking at things in decades not days - we have to expose the weaknesses so we can brainstorm not hide them, just look at the examples of software and computer viruses etc open source is a good thing and hiding information is actually more destructive and is only a mirage of safety which is actually more destructive.

Ted you are doing a good job and I also have enjoyed your thoughtful approach. All that said I do understand the market and patents etc so it is up to the individual of course and information cannot be forced to be shared and people should have incentive however we all could be driving hydro cars and be energy independent and have other newer and unknown issues yet to be discovered if we were more long term seers. Some - not a lot, have been a little knowledge hungry and may bite the hand that feeds however most are not, what are you going to do - lead by example like Ted - and a lot of people have shared a lot of information, I must add, in their own way and it is informative I mean I don't expect anyone to actually hand me a free cc now. From what I've read I think that using a HHO gas torch may be a good way to get those high temperatures in a safe way what does anyone think? You can look up easily HHO torches they get really hot and cool really fast and they are real just like oxy or butane - the flame itself is only 259 F but when in contact with other metals can get up to 10,000 degrees and more, also I may be a good golfer and share secrets but you'll still never get it till you practice anyways so I would really have no fear in sharing those but I guess we can all agree to disagree and any experience with HHO gas torches to extract metals.

Thomas Key
- Sarasota, Florida
May 13, 2009

July 10, 2009

My brother-in-law works in such a refinery, and I have to hand it to you guys, it's laid out pretty straightforward here. There is a not so intelligent person who works with said family member who has been able to refine and extract such metals... If you have ever seen this mans garage, it looks like a ghetto factory, you would know it if you seen it. Anyway, converters have came up in conversation, and he claims that for the trouble it is worth, unless you have the equipment to do around 1200 converters at one time it is not worth it. Most people would not know it, but you go into buying some of the materials, and tools used for separating metals, chemically or by heat you are looking into getting into a lot of money. Think of it this way, we will say 15,000 dollars for the basic materials and equipment, maybe around 1,000 payout for your customers that you will be having to buy said converters from, not to mention that you have to have a safe place to set up said refinery, your going to have even more tied up into it it when someone finds out what your doing because of the danger that your putting other stuff in, possibly even everyone around you.

We joked about it at his house over a few " select beverages ", and it seems like everyone that was there at the time came to the same conclusion, if you really think you have all of the money to get into something like this from a dead start, especially with no knowledge, then be our guest you already have enough money to not really need to extract the precious metals, at this point your just wanting a grown child's chem lab in your back yard. So far on this whole thread I think I have only seen about 3 people that remotely know what they are talking about... And I am sure you 3 know who you are. The trouble that our friend had was that there is no one who is respectively going to buy said metals from a person, who not only does not know what they have, the correct value of what they have, but also would not be a constant resource for them to rely on for buying said materials.

I am only a 29 year old Well Driller, and I know a clown walking across a yard with a stick swearing there is water under a patch of dry sand when I see one... Please for your safety and the those around you, DO NOT try using chemicals that you don't understand. Next thing I know I am going to see one of the names from this thread swearing they can make sticks of TNT from a candle and gunpowder with chewing gum. Around my area everyone swears to the idea that you can use a smelting pot to separate the metals in a converter.... Not all metals work that way, ever seen a clogged converter? They get red hot under a car, you can see them especially good at night. If smelting in a pot would separate the metals, do you really think that exhaust at like 900 - 1500 degrees would not just turn these metals directly to liquid? These are not lead fishing weights people, and techniques used to extract said metals would not really be cost effective unless you had a bunch of them to do at one time ( kind of hints to why they have giant refinery places to do such things ). If it was so cost effective to do it in such small amounts, it would seem that every town would have 15 or so of the places. Don't seem to much harder then flipping a burger, right?

I am now moving on to find the Candlestick TNT blog I was speaking of earlier. Please use your head for something more then a hat rack people, some of this stuff can get dangerous.

Joel Langford
- Fayetteville, North Carolina

There used to be instructions online spanning over several pages on how to synthesize illicit drugs, LSD, amphetamines, MDMA, etc.
You spent one weekend looking up the terms and chemicals and understanding the process, the other weekend you will be preparing and organizing the equipment and the most difficult part will be to actually obtain the chemicals. The weekend after that you will most likely end up with your substance in pure form.

No knowledge required, no qualification, anyone could do it with enough effort.
These were step by step instructions and I guess that the chemistry and knowledge involved is way more complicated than purifying metals out of catalysts.

The problem will never be to actually do it, but how to get there.
As said before, a straight and simple instruction would devalue the skills and knowledge required to write it. It's somewhat a pity.

Andreas Borchert
- Berlin, Germany
July 13, 2009

I put a hole in a catalytic converter I found while picking up trash(honestly). The honeycomb had to be cracked to come out but it came out with the platinum flakes. My only problem is a lot of the honeycomb broke in pieces as fine as the platinum flakes. Other than taking a tweezer to it is there any other way to separate it?

Terrance Miller
- Murfreesboro, Tennessee
July 13, 2009

I have a machine that extracts the pgm's from catalytic converters and it is not the easiest to do It takes a lot of time a nice facility to work in but if you seen the machine you would laugh and call me a liar. its just PVC tubs and clear 3/4 inch hose with a battery charger [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] and a small pump. with the right combination of chemicals and temperature the pgms get get pulled out onto carbon plates.

Dustin B
- Earlham, Iowa
July 13, 2009

Ed. note: If you do not consider it secret knowledge, Dustin, please tell us what the right temperature and combination of chemicals is. If you are trying to sell this knowledge, please take an advertisement . . . the site's supporting advertisers must be running out of patience being asked to pay the costs of posting other people's ads :-)

July 16, 2009

I was going to ask a simple question about the CONTENT of precious metals in "cats", and whether or not it would be possible to render the ceramics containing these metals into a powder form to use as a mix in a firing glaze for pottery... But after reading the entire post (yes, really... every word...), I simply want to thank you for your patience and learned knowledge, and S. Ross Lerner's wonderful contribution. I have ground my own pigments for my paints for forty years, when I could, and am only now venturing into the new world of three-dimensional earthen-ware art.
My hammer, grinder, kiln and iron pot shall suffice...
It will be an interesting experiment, that first sculpture.
Tim Mooney

Timothy Mooney
- Talbott, Tennessee

July 28, 2009

I'm interested in recycling catalytic converters.I am kind of stuck because I am not sure what price is good for each catalytic converter. My question is: How is the price of converters defined?
I would appreciate any help.
God bless.

Eljon Ago
hobbyist - Red Bluff, California

Ordering the chemicals is not so difficult. I received a follow-up phone call and I just told them that I was using the chemicals to extract platinum from catalytic converters.

I was also looking into the possibility of making my own chemicals when reaching a large scale operation. HCl is relatively easy to make by electrolysis of Salt water. Just collect Cl gas at one end and H gas at the other (cathode or anode, I forget), mix with a small amount of water (in a glass container of course) and you should get it at the 37% concentration. This is theoretical though.

HNO3 is harder to manufacture though. I checked Wikipedia and it's a 3 step process.

Those 3 should cover the aqua regia.

Steven Smith
- New York, New York
July 30, 2009

August 3, 2009

So, gold and platinum can be dissolved in aqua regia. Are there any other solvents able to dissolve these noble metals? Also, what is the process of extracting platinum from catalytic converters that have been discussed thus far. Do you oxidize and dissolve the metal and then reduce it somehow and collect it that way, or do you just melt it down? What seems best?

February 5, 2009---
"Pyro-metallurgy is not the way for the small operator to go, Hydro-metallurgy is"... Makes sense! Hey what are the other safer oxidizing agents you are talking about.

Castor Marconi
- Bloomington, Indiana

This is what I would do. I would put it in a furnace for melting metals and I would leave it in there until all the platinum has melted off and dripped into a place where it could collect. If in case the platinum is infused or trapped in the other materials of the cat, then I would pulverize the material first to allow the platinum to melt freely into a high heat resistant container. I think that it doesn't take any more than a little commons sense to get the platinum. It all gets melted, right? Find out if there are any laws to abide by in melting it. Maybe you might have to comply to laws about not releasing fumes into the atmosphere or something.

Ray Soriano
- Sac, California
August 14, 2009

I was in scrap metal recycling/reclamation years ago as a family business in the UK and cats were not around then but I know from experience how costly it is to extract these metals.

Top marks to Ted for keeping this forum on a level footing, ZenTed as I will call him! I have never been so deeply engrossed with a forum in the 12 years I have been with internet!

I gave up metals in the 1980s to follow my other preoccupation of music composition, and only recently have started looking at metal prices again.
All you guys just take a tip from me, Bretto from the Ghetto, and listen to Ted.
happy reclamations xxx

Brett Ross
- Hastings, UK
September 3, 2009


Thanks for the very kind words, Brett. One question that has never been asked of me on this lengthy thread is: "Do YOU know how to extract and refine the precious metals?". And the answer is:
Although I did some engineering work for a catalytic convertor factory in Huntsville many years ago, so I understand where and how they put the precious metal into the catalytic converter; and although I did some engineering work for a half-billion dollar refinery after a major fire there a few years ago, so I have a fair understanding of some issues involved in efficient reclamation . . . NO, I don't :-)

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 15, 2009

After reading some of the responses on the site, I must say that some people just lack common sense. I feel there a few people here that lack the understanding of how a cat works and why; figure that out then ask the questions.

As Ted stated a few months back, why can we buy a cat for $60 when they are worth more.. Simple, its AFTERMARKET.. These catalytic converters contain little to no precious metals. When a car is sold new it must pass emission regulations set by the government; aftermarket converters are not regulated.

Now let's look at the vehicle.. a large US made truck with a 6L engine will emit more o2 into the atmosphere than a small Honda with a 1.6 L and the cat will need to refine the exhausted fumes in larger portion.

Now a new truck sells for around $35,000+ so at that price a manufacturer can afford to spend a little money to manufacture a cat that will last and be efficient.

Cats do contain a few precious metals as we have learned here. Now look at rhodium that melts at 3567 F and Platinum somewhere around 3215 F. Steel and ceramic have a much lower melting point.. I think it highly unlikely that a torch would melt any of these materials. Just heat will not suffice for the separation of materials.

Now for the scrap value.. I would guess people on here want a list of vehicles so they can go out tonight with a hack saw.. The value is determined by how much the cat would usually contain. Over time the metals do come out of the exhaust and onto the road. The amount of precious metals is very little and whoever on here said there is as much as 2 oz of metal needs to show me those cats! at somewhere around $1800 an ounce scrap, the 2 oz cat would probably net you $800 at a scrap yard. Everyone has to make a profit in the process so you will never get the $3600 out of it unless you have the pure metal in your hand. Cats contain a FRACTION OF AN OUNCE of precious metals which lightly coats its ceramic contents (honeycomb or beads).

I have an 02 Silverado and it has 2 cats rather than the 1 cat in older vehicles. This means that my 2 cats contain less metals together than 1 of the older and larger ones. Its no secret that older GM cats (about the size of a muffler) can get you top dollar at a scrap dealer. Top dollar is around $100 - $150. an AFTERMARKET cat will get you a whopping $2-$5! Ford usually $40-$60 and Dodge around $30-$60.

Oh and o2 sensors contain the precious metals as well! But you need about 50 pounds of them to make a reasonable amount of money off of them.

Before we all rush out and start hacking cats off our neighborhood cars, think of the effort involved! Have you ever tried to crawl under a car with a hack saw and cut the 3" steel pipe? It doesn't take minutes, it takes a good half hour.. a sawzall will get it done quickly but is VERY noisy. The you will find that most of the older GM trucks have the cat removed already and a straight pipe in place.. Why? more power and better fuel economy (and it makes it louder too!). The older trucks did not have 02 sensors so the first thing a truck owner did for a modification was remove the cat that restricted airflow.

The reason for the theft is because its a high and easy return and low risk. Crawling under a vehicle, you can spend an hour under there without the risk of getting noticed; they are light weight and untraceable, Then you take your cats to a dealer and its quick cash. This isn't a lucrative business and more for the person who lives off $100 a week.

scrap dealers and "car guys" have known cats are worth something so why is this so new to everyone else? And for the idiot on here that said he wanted to resell them, it is illegal to sell a used cat. It is also illegal to sell a vehicle without a cat and most of the time a dealer won't take a trade on one without it.

Hope this helps to enlighten some of the "lets get rich quick" people on here and shows its not smart to try to steal them.

Another thing to think about is now scrap dealers want a title to the vehicle it came off of and an ID before they will buy a converter.

Nathan Bastings
- Norfolk, Virginia

September 19, 2009

Easy Peasy Tame Aqua regia extraction of PGM blacks (Pd, Pt, Rh) from catalytic converters.
1) Roast ground biscuit at 500 °C in old kiln ($100 US - eBay )
2)1 part biscuit(wt) 1 part HNO3 (vol) 3 parts HCl (vol)
3)Room temp 3 to 7 days until max colour in AR and biscuit white.Use ceramic bakery bowl 121 vol, made in china,local discount shop $2.5 US. Cover glass plate. No fumes released. Stir 2X daily ceramic spoon (eBay $6 US)
4)Stir in urea to neutralize HNO3 (until fizzing stops)
5) Pour all in 20l tall narrow plastic pail & make up to 121 approx. with rain water. Stir ceramic spoon.
6) Leave over night for sediment to settle
7) Decant into 20l plastic bucket. Wash residue with more water & decant when clear into following batch.
8)Neutralise to pH 2.5 approx. with soda ash (Na2CO3)( little pH meter off eBay $20 US)
9) Add Zinc Pdr ( from eBay ). 3 rounded teaspoons (1 kg biscuit originally used)added slowly with stirring over 15 - 30 min. Continue to stir off & on for a further 30 min.
10)Acidify to pH 1.5 approx. or until orange brown ppt dissolves leaving a black sediment.Leave overnight and a lot of excess Zn will dissolve.
11) Decant and transfer PGM blacks plus some Zn to 2 l beaker [beakers on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] (eBay $10 US approx)
12)Add 1 liter 2N HCL, stir until evolution of H2 ceases and then leave over night.
13) Wash twice and decant with rain water.
14)Transfer small beaker, carefully pour off excess water,dry in oven.
15) A number of extraction can be carried out simultaneously.
16) Find a precious metal dealer who will buy PGM blacks. I currently get paid $60 NZ after a $150 NZ analysis is carried out in Hong Kong.
Note 1. Step 3 can be carried out in a crock pot at simmer temp over 4 - 5 h. Huge volumes of very toxic gas are released which strip all leaves off nearby vegetation and will kill nearby caged animals.
Note 2. Gold requires AR for dissolution but nanoparticles will dissolve in 2N HCl (Papers by Dr, Chris Anderson Massey University NZ) therefore it is not unreasonable to find that AR will dissolve the PGM nanoparticles in cat. cons.
Note 3. I decan cat cons within 10 min. I drill a dozen or so holes with a 12 mm x 400 mm masonry drill (made in China, from local hardware store $12 US for card of 3) - its like drilling into butter.Using a long stout screw driver & hammer as lever & chisel I can quickly break biscuit up and empty out the pieces.If a blockage I ram through the handle of my 19 lb pestal which clears the blockage instantly.
Note 4. It only takes 10 min to grind in my mortar & pestal.Mortar 13 inch dia pipe 12 inch high welded onto a square iron base.Pestal a 51/2 foot 1 inch dia iron rod welded to a 81/2 inch long 21/2 inch dia iron rod - wt 19 lb.
Note 5. eBay refers to New Zealands Trademe which is virtually equivalent.
Note 6. It is not a rag to riches method of making money, you need to know your cats, many high mileage cats only contain a gram of PGM blacks.

Best of luck to those that try this method.

Bob Keen
Retired Principal Scientist(NZDRI)
Palmerston Nth
New Zealand.

Bob Keen
- Palmerston Nth, New Zealand

Addendum to Easy Peasy AR method
PGM blacks are weakly paramagnetic. I find the PGM blacks can be more rapidly settled onto the bottom of the plastic pails and beakers by placing a very strong, large ceramic magnet under the bottom of the holding vessel. I bought a very large ceramic magnet off eBay for $8.00 US.

is there a way I can "cook" the platinum out at home and how hot would the heat have to be.

James carlon
- hillsborough, North Carolina
September 24, 2009

September 27, 2009

Very interesting! Took a while to read, but I'm finally at the end. I've always wondered about this. There used to be a book from Lindsey's by Carr (I think). I never bought it, and now it's hard to find.

At the risk of sounding stupid (and not wanting to start a new thread), would it be easier to dump the beads/flakes into a gallon glass jar of electrolyte, add a (small) pure Platinum cathode, a Copper anode (I guess), and hook them up to a controller/battery/solar panel?

I know there would still be chemicals, fumes, and for some, the chance of blowing yourself up, but it could be small scale and a small investment. After some profit, some knowledge, new/better equipment the backyard scrap dealer could expand. Or stay small, diversify, and make more of a profit by producing electroplated auto, airplane, medical (things), jewelry, even small (or large) pure Platinum cathodes, etc.

The how-to with photos and directions could be put into a PDF file, and available to those who make a contribution to the site. Of course, it would have to have all the "secrets", like

And a bunch of warnings like "don't drink the electrolyte", "don't touch the electrode thingies to your tongue to see if the battery still has a charge",.... uh...

Maybe a contribution, AND pass an IQ test.

Just my 4:01 AM thoughts after reading these 4 pages. Great site! "I'll be back".

Steve Cerny
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

getting platinum is so easy.....i extract the platinum for making jewelry....all I did was use a saw to cut through the metal...once I got through I found a strange honey comb and a paper like substance that was full of tiny pieces of I gathered all the material and got a 5 gal bucket and put a window screen over it and placed the material on the screen over the bucket..and used a garden hose to wash the paper and platinum off the honey comb..and discarded the honey comb...then I let the water settle and allowed the sift to fall to the bottom...once it did I just slowly poured the water out of the bucket but once the water level got too low that the metal and stuff wanted to pour out too all I did was take a cloth rag and used it to absorb the took like 20 min to get all the water out..but the paper still held some moisture so I just set the bucket in the sun and let it dry it the rest of the I had a dry powder with the here is the hard part...i collected it and used a torch to burn the paper away now I'm not sure what the paper is so I wore a mask to protect myself I suggest you do the once I turned the paper to ashes I simply used my breath to blow the ashes away...leaving only tiny pieces of platinum left....but the only problem is that since I wanted to melt the platinum down for making jewelry I had to obviously melt it...but platinum has a high tolerance for it takes about 3,000 degrees to melt....and you can't just use a pencil torch to melt it...i had to use a cutting or also known as a blow torch used for melting steel to do it...not many people have a cutting torch in trier garage...but you can buy them for a couple hundred bucks or find someone who has one...anyway I've done this process many times with success....i don't know why people want to make it some big secret....

Andrew Gould
- kannapolis NC cabarrus county
October 13, 2009

hey guys you don't have 2 be a genius to get the platinum out of the catalytic converters I wanted my car loud so I decided 2 punch the ceramic honey comb out of the converter using a hammer and a flat blade screw driver go 2 town on it then I found the platinum in a cloth like material get rid of the honey comb no platinum in that keep the cloth I used a fly screen n a container using water I sifted it in a container like a gold panner would have fun any 1 can do I got heaps of platinum :)

mark horizon
- mudgee Australia nsw
October 27, 2009

Hi, Andrew; hi, Mark.

Many years ago (1981), I was involved in building the machinery for a catalytic convertor factory, and spent a fair amount of time there.

The ceramic honeycombs and only the honeycombs were dipped into the precious metal slurry. That plant did not use any "beads", so I am unfamiliar with the beads. I understand that the beads contain precious metals, but don't know it as first-hand fact. So whatever stuff you found that was elsewhere but not in the honeycomb doesn't sound like the precious metals to me :-)

Those 'heaps of platinum' may be piles of soot :-(


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
October 27, 2009

is the platinum and palladium in the honeycomb or is it the dust and charcoal like substance that comes out of convertor when you extract inside contents of the convertor thanks a lot, Michael. have a good day

Michael kelly
- sneads ferry, North Carolina
November 11, 2009

after a lot of reading in other places pt per cat runs about 1 to 5 grams each... that's 40 to 200 $ in platinum alone at full value, today's prices.... just removing the case is concentrating the values (PGMS) You have removed about 5 to 10 lbs of Iron, and can now sell your ceramic containing PGMS at a much higher price.

what, not good enough for you.. want to go farther?
with each step of the process you are concentrating. and will have to be able to measure your efforts and not just wonder if it's working or not. I done some electronic scrap and there are some things you will need to be careful with.. if you mix the wrong 2 things you will get a high explosive that's unstable.. ( no not telling) you're all here to learn about cats, not bombs.

I've developed a safe device that will greatly concentrate any mineral matrix containing PGMS, I use air, water and a few biodegradable chems and naturals. you can then get a professional assay and try to sell to a mine or mill that is currently dealing with platinum. for very detailed info look up the (gold refiners forum) on line. they have plenty of experts there that can help most of you do this as a hobby scale project. My advice to every one is read every thing. do the research. start collecting all items with pgms . figure out how you're going to deal with fumes, waste and byproducts... like copper, plastic, iron.
there are dangers with this. and from what I have seen here, a few of you might want to be very afraid of this stuff. the rest of you , (its not any harder than making a gas oil mix for the chainsaw.) ...Oops letting my opinions show. good luck BRYAN

- aurora Colorado
November 20, 2009

November 28, 2009

well me and my friends went out and got some Cats. We then tried to extract the metals by using the crucible method that was written on here. it started smoking very quick and then popped really loudly. little drops of fire went all over the garage and my friend caught one on the side of his face, which burned through.

we brought a hose in and sprayed, which caused so much smoke all we could do was run. the garage set on fire. my friend went to the hospital and had to have stitches, and he has a scar on his face now.

we shouldn't have ever done this kind of thing.

Josh slocomb
- Anaheim, California


November 28, 2009

December 2, 2009

The first step in the process is to remove the comb. try not to get any metal filings into the comb material. Do not crush the comb up just chunk it into inch or so pieces. the next step is to remove as much carbon as possible from the material by heating to RED hot then blowing oxygen on the material before it cools. You are now ready to do an assay on the material to get an idea as to how much pgm you can expect from your batch (30 cats is a pretty good batch) To do a ball assay you need a small furnace some crucibles, etc. You NEED to do the assay or you will not have any idea when to stop the extraction process.The ball assay will tell you how much pgm to expect per pound of comb.
Cats have different amounts of pgm's depending on the manufacturer.All Asians, GM, and euro(except VW) have hi pgm content. Aftermarkets are junk, don't even try them, as are ford and Chrysler.
There are ways to extract that are so safe you don't even need a mask and then there are ways that are so dangerous that it's like being in a gas chamber. I'm not going to write the rest of the process nor will anyone who knows how to do it and I'll tell you why.
Lets say I'm in the coat business and I get a wicked buy on coats at $10 per. I look around at my competitors and they're selling the same coat for $50 per. So what do I do? I can sell my coats for $50 and take a portion of his sales or undercut his price and sell more but make less profit. And the undercutting goes on and on until there's no profit left.

Tom Jamison
- deming, New Mexico

My advice to all of you that have old Catalytic Converters, is to hold on to them. They are worth a lot more than buyers make out that they are. I have been researching this for a long time. I have found it to be one of the best kept trade secrets. Nobody wants you to know for a real good reason (MONEY) I witnessed a man sell a few hundred mixed converters for $16,000.00. Knowing what I know I tried to tell him they were worth much much more than that. I tried to convince him not to sell. but no he sold them anyway. In my calculation what he sold brought someone down the line in the neighborhood of $60,000.00. The History channel recently had a program on acids, and what they were used for. One of the acids was Aqua Regia, used to recover platinum from spent catalyst. On that program they told that a 55 gal barrel with app 400 lbs of catalysts would net $24,000.00 in platinum. Buyers deal in small numbers so as to sell in large numbers. I suggest we pool our collection. That way we can cut out the middle man.

The answer to some of your questions.

Dennis King
- Ararat, Virginia
December 5, 2009

Ed. note: that website is not loading for us.

December 21, 2009

I'm now in the cat buying game... I buy low and sell high.
I can sell to any one that wants to buy a cat. and buy from any one that wants to sell a cat. I am not attempting to concentrate any thing from the cats I collect. how ever since an aftermarket cat goes for $4 and it has 1.2 pounds of ceramic honey comb in it and that sells for $7.5 a pound.
making a after market cat worth $8.5 .You make $4.5 each
now subtract gas for your car time to remove it from the host car. and shipping... you can ship 50 pounds in a prepay box and get the 7.5x50= $375 minus the cost of shipping.
if you can get 40 of the after market cats , removal of the iron shells would make the 50 pound box not such a bad thing. and the cost of the 40 cats was 4x40=$160
don't forget to recycle the iron maybe about $10

experience says it takes 1 hr to go to some place to get a cat and get back home 40 cats =40 hrs 374 divided by 40 is $9.37 an hr the real trick is getting the 40 cats.

After saying all that don't do this with any other cats unless you can get 200 to 300 cats at an average price of $50 each. that's $10.000 to 15.000 If you have that much cash you can do the math and will know what to do next.
if you don't then be sure to keep the ceramic honey comb in the can and sell them for more than you bought them for.
make your price list 30% less than what you can sell them for and you may make 30%. Yep I know that was stupid.
it is the K.I.S.S thing . Buy low and sell high you will do fine . If you do the refining hoping to gain remember your platinum will likely not be pure enough to get full price and even if it is the jeweler and ore refiner you sell it to is going to want a 10% to 30% cut off the top. I would let the refiners earn there 10% and you should concentrate on volume. for prices look at
cats direct
1st American core
north eastern core buyers
fairless core
dyna converter

1 buy low sell high
2 don't buy anything today you can't sell tomorrow (inventory is expensive and makes you zip)
3 decan only if you've got 100s
4 don't decan after market cats till you get 40 of them. (you may change your mind and want to sell them whole)
5 learn how to spot an after market cat (the guy selling you the cat has no clue what the previous owner did to the host car) this one cost me $70 on my very first buy!
6 cut all your buying prices buy 5$
7 add $5 your buying price for each cat you don't have to cut from under the host car. see rule 6.. (its worth it) and the seller loves the fact that he can add $5 to the sale. see rule 6! catching on yet?

bryan smith
- aurora Colorado

a correction its perfectly legal to sell a used catalytic converter... (see eBay ) its not legal to put a used cat on any car!. .. your can with acids leach the three pgms out of the core ceramic. (see gold refiners
the amount of metallic values in a cat wildly varies. whole cat buyers on the internet will pay from 4 to $165 each.
refiners will want 50 to 200 pounds of cat cores and will take 30 to 10% for there fee. One company will pay 7$ a pound for your cores . the average cat has 2.8 lbs.
that means the very least a cat core will have in pmgs is 7$ a pound. I buy catalytic converters. and have been doing so for 2 weeks I now own 15 of them.. it just a side job for me at this time. thanks

I have worked in a place that took in catalytic converters what we would do is open the plug dump everything out into 55 gallon drum we would fill 10 -12 of these things then bring them to Texas they paid us about 8 - 11 thousand dollars its got platinum in them.To extract the inside simply open the plug most if not all have a plug that can be taken out to extract the materials

pat mazzillo
- Arundel, Maine
December 23, 2009

Glenn Burry- Glovertown NL Canada asked the same question which I have been wondering also which was never answered. Has anyone had any experience with the ishor system

Can some of the professionals here (Ted?) please comment on whether or not this would work on granulated CAT honeycomb/beads, and also just the plain effectiveness with gold plated scrap. I have been looking at this system for many years so any comment would be greatly appreciated.

Michael Rowland
- Marvell, Arkansas
January 17, 2010

June 2010

Hi, Mike. Although this is my website, I'm not an expert on catalytic converter refining or gold recovery, and am not qualified to comment on how well this commercial device works (never even seen it). Actually, we discourage testimonials to particular commercial products because some people already post here or attempt to post here with fictitious names, and many more would if vendors, disguised as satisfied customers, could profit from shilling :-)

Regards, Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

It seems that us in Okla. are a mite smarter than the idiots in New Jersey and other eastern states. OK the process is way too complicated for person to do on his own. So I would elect doing it the guys in Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma are doing it, rip the things open and pour it into containers you can ship. No one has answered which specific converters are worth more than the others. How do I know I'm not getting ripped when I sell one? But I'm sure as hell not going to sell it to Ted in Jersey.

Bill N [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Mounds, Oklahoma
January 21, 2010

January 21, 2010

Hi, Bill.

"But I'm sure as hell not going to sell it to Ted in Jersey"

Is that because I've said that my only business is running this website, so I'm not in a position to purchase the stuff? -- or because you got concerned about possible questions about the origin of your convertors after I mentioned that my son was a cop :-)

Good luck and Regards :-)

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Hey, back off of Ted. He's the man.

Matthew Fox
- Columbus, Ohio, USA
February 11, 2010

Hi All, I've read a few pages of this thread, and it's pretty interesting, if not actually funny. Someone did provide a three sentence answer on the 'how to' aspect... Clearly: THERE'S NO EASY MONEY TO BE MADE BY TRYING TO REFINE THE PRECIOUS METALS YOURSELF! So just give it up, and get real..think logically....BE REALISTIC! As an example or two: If you want to profit, learn which cats have what relative amounts of PGMs and buy and sell accordingly. Please remember: all the refiners compete with each other. If it gets too lucrative, new refiners enter the market. Each refiner employs economies of scale, buying acids and supplies in large bulk, often with long term contracts to keep their costs low, and even hedging those prices with futures contracts. They assay the metal efficiently, and pay for permits and safety and disposal costs. How do you expect to make your costs lower than theirs? By dumping toxins in the trash? If you are highly competent, sure, you can run the process, but your labor and production costs will be high, and each ingot or batch of metal you produce will still have to be assayed at your expense, etc. Do you intend to do this industrial process in your garage? If you are going to be honest about it, and not cheat, you will have to end up like the existing refiners to make a profit..all above board, and larger scale than most of you are thinking about....or do you think you are going to pick up a few cats, and poof..turn them into COMEX quality ingots and high grade metals to sell to industry? I think many I've read on here are trying to get something for nothing. You can go around to salvage yards and buy can make a profit from knowing the product you are dealing with, and by being an accumulator/consolidator.....for that matter..learn the product specs, and become a broker for small yards that don't have the time to research the value of each model....but please don't hang on to the notion that you can spin straw into gold. You get out what you put in. Something for nothing is a bogus way to live. Thank you! Off my soapbox I to find some cat specs now! PS: I'm NOT saying not to take a risk or consider a new venture....but perhaps think of it as all boiling down to return on get something meaningful out, you have to put something substantial into it to make it work...... and if it were simple to do, you could probably buy a kit for it at Ace Hardware, or a table top model on eBay......and smelting/refining is not a permitted use in any residential or agricultural zone I've ever heard of....thanks again....

John Marks
Tampa, Florida
March 4, 2010

This blog/site whatever kicks ass! You rock dude. I just wanted to add that anyone who is Still thinking about ways to steal the converters, I'm a pretty smart guy and I thought about it long and hard, and my conclusion was that the only serious solution to this approach is to have some kind of technology that jacks up the car, and using air-compressed or hydraulic cutters, cut off the cat in one snap!, then be on your merry way before you could get caught. Ok here's what I'm getting at--- if you're that smart to build such a device, you have no business stealing chicken-sh-- car parts!. Don't steal, this economy is seething with unions of prison guards and people making 85 thousand dollars a year watching over 'criminals ' who got high, or sold a dime bag of something to someone who wanted to get high. Someone actually stealing from someone who worked hard for their nice car, paid license, insurance, registration, etc. you will look like a ripe candidate to be made example out of in the judicial court. Enough said? Good to know this information though, makes me want to stay on the computer and away from dangerous chemicals. Just knowing the process has put a more educated perspective on all of this thank you very much sir.

Eric Vincent
web developer/ seeker of knowledge - Anaheim, California
March 11, 2010

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