Oxygen sensors: what is the difference between upstream and downstream? - VW Forum :: Volkswagen Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2008, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Oxygen sensors: what is the difference between upstream and downstream?

Alright, now I have a question. I am needing to replace my upstream O2 sensor (my cel comes on during highway driving complaining). What I am wondering, besides the cable length:

Is there any difference between an upstream (before cat) and downstream (after cat) O2 sensor?

Are the electrical values different?

Would there be any issues purchasing a downstream and using it as an upstream?

I'll make sure I check back every two hours and complain if someone doesn't get back to me ASAP ...yes, I am joking, and ribbing some people on this forum
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2008, 12:03 PM
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Exactly what year is this one? Some of the later ones have a wideband sensor as the upstream sensor and a narrow band as the downstream sensor, which keeps them from being interchangeable.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-17-2008, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Hah! I knew there was a difference. However, to answer your question, I have a 1996 Golf GL (OBD II obviously).

Does this year "suffer" from the incompatibilites?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-17-2008, 10:18 AM
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These are both four wire narrowband sensors, and the sensors themselves behave the same way. I suspect the only difference is something like the length of their wire.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-18-2008, 12:16 AM
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I also have a 96 Jetta that is getting codes of P0140 and P0133, which involve bank 1 sensor 2 and bank 1 sensor 1. I assume this means the upstream and the downstream both?

Autozone wants 97.99 for a Bosch part #15024, but I am also finding some universal and much cheaper ones here:

Parts Bin - Auto Parts and Accessories Catalog - Oxygen Sensor

and here:

96 97 98 99 VW Golf Jetta Cabrio Passat Oxygen Sensor

If those would work, it would work out nicely, as I can replace them both for the price of one at Autozone. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-18-2008, 10:35 AM
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All 4 wire oxygen sensors behave the same, just with different connectors. Some of the very cheap universal ones may be more work to wire up.
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