DO NOT REMOVE THE CATALYTIC CONVERTER! Repair shops will likely loose their license for doing this. The cause should be fixed, not the result.
Does the engine restart ok if it's been off for just a few minutes? If so, you might have leaking fuel injectors. The next time you think the long crank time will occur, turn the ignition switch to "Run" for a few seconds but don't crank the engine. Turn the ignition switch back off, then to run again, and maybe do it a third time. Every time you do that, the fuel pump will run for up to two seconds. This will build up the fuel pressure that should always be there to start the engine. Leaky injectors will bleed this pressure off. It takes a lot of cranking to build the pressure back up because the insufficient pressure that IS there bleeds off almost as fast as it can be built up.
If it is indeed leaking injectors, I would not worry about the catalytic converter. The unburned fuel will be long gone before the converter warms up to burn it. What is a bigger concern is the raw fuel washing down into the engine oil. If you do a lot of short trip driving, the build up of fuel will dilute the oil reducing its lubricating properties. This will lead to severe engine damage. If you do a lot of longer trip driving, the raw fuel will tend to burn off and be drawn out by the emissions system to be burned in the engine but can lead to sludge buildup.
Sunday, March 29th, 2009 AT 6:59 PM