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California Emissions

Evolution1980

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"Going to California with an achin' in my caaaarb" -- Led Zeppelin

So it's apparent from some of the threads that you folks in CA get the royal screwing when it comes to modding your cars.

So what happens if I want to move out to CA with my modified '80? Do I get to take part in the Golden State's Golden Screw? Do they make me trash my car or what?

How do the laws there work. How does it break down by years? Then, it seems to add salt in your wounds, they want to muffle your cars now??? No more than 95db? And it won't apply to motorcycles???
 
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Evolution1980

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All it says is that if you bring in, or purchase, a car from out state, that it has to have CARB certs. So I guess that means that my car gets torn down? What about show cars? There's gotta be some kind of give & take on this thing...

Who's got actual stories to relay?
 

Yoda

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Evolution1980,

I brought Rare into Kalifornia back in '98. I went to our local DMV and asked what does a car coming in from Michigan need to pass California Smog..

I was told it must meet the Fed requirements for the year car. I check Rare for all the original equipment.. before I bought her. The DMV inspected for all the Fed emissions stuff and the smog cert I had..

I do know that there are Corvettes out here with NON ORIGINAL engines and they are running around.. I have to assume they are running them illegally or found a way around the LAW... I also know that NOT all California Counties and Cities have smog requirements... my ole buddy BLACKDOG live is a smog exempt county.. up in the foothills between Modesto and Yosemite..

Good Luck.. I'll ask the city garage here and see if they know anything besides taking 3 days to do a tune up on my company car :mad.

BudD
:w
 
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rpounds

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I do know that there are Corvettes out here with NON ORIGINAL engines and they are running around

And they are doing so legally. Check out the following:

DONT WORRY, THEY AREN'T THAT BAD!
Due to some misinformation, and exaggeration; people across the country think the California style smog laws are the end of engine swaps. Even in California, many automotive enthusiasts believe it is against the law to perform engine swaps.
The basic intent of the California engine change laws is that when you do an engine swap, the new engine/transmission cannot pollute more than the original engine/transmission. This means the newly installed engine must be the same year (or newer) as the vehicle, and all emissions controls on the newly installed engine must be installed and functional. Also, you can't put a heavy-duty truck engine (over 6000 lb GVW) into an S-10 Truck because heavy-duty truck engines have less stringent emissions limits than light duty trucks.
To get your engine swap approved, you must go to a Referee Station. The Referee Inspection is less than $40, and it is a benefit for people who do smog-legal engine changes because the engine change can be approved on a visual inspection, current smog laws, and common sense.
The Referee Station will visually inspect the vehicle and engine/transmission for all the proper smog equipment, and inspect the engine to be sure it is the same year (or newer) as the vehicle. If all is there, they will put an "Engine Identification"tag in the door jamb. The "Engine Identification"tag is not mentioned on any registration papers or ownership papers. It is only on the vehicle.
If your vehicle does not pass the visual inspection, and you feel it should, you can have the Referee Inspector call the engineering office for a ruling. If the engineering office fails your vehicle and you think it should pass, you can always run it through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for a full Federal Test Procedure (FTD), but that can cost you several thousand dollars, and your vehicle may still fail. Remember, the Referee Inspection program is a benefit for people who do engine swaps.
The California smog laws on engine swaps (or engine changes) are consistent with common sense, safety, and emissions reduction.
The EPA recognizes California smog laws as being applicable across the nation. That is, if it is legal in California, then according to the EPA, it is legal in all other states. While some states do not yet necessarily agree with this, it is likely that most states will come around to the California way. Other states with pollution problems will likely be adopting the California smog laws because there has been a tremendous amount of time and money invested in making the California smog laws reasonable, consistent, and effective for pollution reduction. It is far cheaper for other state governments to adopt the California laws rather than come up with their own laws. When the smog laws are consistent across the nation, there will be far less confusion for all involved.
THE INSPECTION PROCEDURE
Let's assume you have done a California smog-legal engine change to your vehicle. You have installed an engine that is the same year (or newer) as your vehicle, with all of the required smog equipment and controls for both the engine and transmission. The chassis has the correct emissions controls: Catalytic converter, charcoal canister, and fuel filler restrictor (if required). Your next step is to visit a "referee station."
The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) can get you the phone number required to make an appointment with the referee station. When you call to make the appointment, the person on the phone will ask you why you need to go to the referee station. Your answer will be, "Engine change."If you say, "Engine swap"or "V8 conversion,"the person on the phone may not know what you are talking about, so please, just say "engine change."
Next, the person will ask for your name, address, and the vehicle's license number. You will then get an appointment date, which can range anywhere from the very next day, to five weeks away. Some areas have appointments on Saturdays if that is more convenient for you. Within a few days, you will receive a postcard in the mail confirming your appointment date, and it will tell you to bring the vehicle's registration papers and any other smog-related paperwork that you may have.
When you arrive at the referee station, be polite, be honest, and be patient. The inspectors rarely see engine swaps. They usually see stock vehicles that have failed the smog inspection. The inspectors are a lot like police officers—they are highly trained, and the public only sees them when there is a problem. Remember, it is their job to make sure your vehicle is smog legal. For all they know, you could be an undercover inspector, so don't expect the inspector to let anything slide, because his job may be at stake.
The inspectors have a general training in smog inspection, and will not necessarily be an expert on the type of engine in your car. They see Volkswagens, Fords, Volkswagens, Chryslers, Volkswagens, Datsuns, Volkswagens, Toyotas, Volkswagens, Mercedes, Volkswagens, Chevrolets, and Volkswagens—just about everything ever built, so they cannot be expected to be an expert on every vehicle's smog equipment, unless of course it's a Volkswagen.
The inspection takes anywhere from 30 minutes to over one hour, depending on the inspector and the type of "engine change."Some inspectors will want to be left alone with your vehicle, others may ask for your assistance in locating devices such as the charcoal canister, vehicle speed sensor, or the wiring for the lock-up torque converter. The inspector will check ignition timing and EGR operation.
If your vehicle passes the visual inspection, a sticker will be placed in the door jamb or engine compartment (see next page).
If your vehicle does not pass the visual inspection, you will be given a form explaining what your vehicle will need to pass the inspection. You will need to correct the problem(s) listed on the form and make another appointment with the referee station.
After the visual inspection, the vehicle will be given the tailpipe (or sniffer) test. The tailpipe test is quite lenient. If your vehicle cannot pass the tailpipe test, something is wrong, or your engine has been modified a lot. Generally, a vehicle's tail pipe emissions will be about 1/3 of the allowable standards if it is running decently.
If your vehicle passes the visual inspection and the tail pipe test, you will get the smog inspection certificate ($7 fee) so that you can register your vehicle. The certificate has no indication of the "engine change,"and is the same type of certificate that "normal" vehicles receive for passing the inspection.
We at JTR really do believe in running clean cars. We are located in a high smog area and we see (and smell) the smog in the air almost every day. Now that we have the technology to make cars perform well and run clean, lets make an effort to keep OUR air clean.
The sticker in the door jamb (below) allows the car to be subsequently tested at any smog inspection station. It gives the following information on what smog equipment the vehicle requires.

Trixie: If the tree huggers have their way, the 30 year exemption will also go the way of the do-do. Our tax dollars at work . . .
 

Yoda

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rpounds

Great writeup ;)

Would you know about rebuild.. would Rare still need to meet the smog spec for the L81? (maybe this should be a thread of its own?)

By the way I copied your response for future reference.... Nice Job ;)

BudD
:w
 
R

rpounds

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First of all, let me emphasize that my previous post was a quote, plagiarized from the web.

Second, I'm no expert on the subject of smog law in California, although I have spent many hours researching what can and cannot be done to 'restricted vehicles', specifically relating to my '75.

The upshot? The laws pretty much suck. I'm a fan of clean air. Having been born and raised within 20 miles of where I now reside, I can remember the mid sixties to mid 70's smog alerts where it was not advisable to do any kind of outdoor activity.

That being said, who are the California bureaucrats trying to kid? My Vette got a grand total of 1800 miles last year. I really doubt that if you added up all of the well maintained classic cars on the road that we contributed even one drop in the bucket where air pollution is concerned.

As far as your '81 is concerned, as long as it still has the smog controls mandated by the Federal Government in 1981, you should be okay. If ANY of the original equipment has been removed, you're probably screwed unless you replace the missing pieces.

I just read on a related web page that a . . . oh wait a minute . . . here's the quote . . .

"For the best information on smog laws in California, go to your local Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) office, and purchase the Smog Check Inspection Manual"

The people doing the test seldom seem to really know what they are doing, so it's probably good to have this book in hand during an inspection of anything other than a 'mainstream' automobile . . .
 
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Evolution1980

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Man, that's a bummer! I guess I won't make any plans to move out to CA until my car hits 30 or so, which would be October 2009. If other states start modeling CA, I bet TX is the next to follow...maaaaybe. Now that Houston has assumed the rank of #1 polluted city in the USA, that may be the catalyst. On the other hand, ain't too many of dem dere treehuggas down nere yonder in Texas...

I guess I could hang out here in Ohio for a few more years... :D

Thanks for the write up! If was definitely something I didn't find mentioned anywhere else...

I like Ohio's way of doing it.
OH: "Is your car collectible?"
Me: "Yup!"
OH: "Ok, here's your emission exemption..."
Me: "Schweeeeet...."
 
L

LEEJANDZ

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Maybe its a little too late but I thought I would add something to this thread.

If you do an engine swap on say a 95 CHEVY CAVALIER or any other example car...
You CANNOT put an engine into a car that didnt have that engine as either standard or optional for that model line from that year (95) on up.

Example... you own a shop and you built a CAVALIER/CORVETTE hybrid.
You put in the CAVALIER the complete powertrain with smog equipment from a 2002 Z06.
That would not be allowed to pass the referees under the "engine change" rule.

To legally drive this car in CA you would have to go to the B.A.R. and have them do a smog check.

EXPENSIVE!!!
EXPENSIVE!!!
EXPENSIVE!!!

So technically you could have a CHEVY S-10 with a 454 or 502 legally.

It just costs more.

You can bring in any out of state car MY 73 or older and not worry.
These cars are smog exempt... as are any year diesels.

But if it is MY 74 or newer it has to pass federal emissions for that particular vehicle from that particular year.

Even though there werent any 1980 CORVETTEs sold in CA with the 350 CID... you can still find them here in CA without smog problems.
(The 1980 CA edition CORVETTE came with a 305 CID engine & auto transmission only)

A newer example is the last year of the TOYOTA SUPRA TURBO.
It was not allowed to be sold in CA from the factory with a manual transmission.
But you see them all the time because you can bring them in state without a problem... you just cant buy them here.

There are several companies that have CA special editions that have detuned engines to meet emission standards.

Strange I know... but I dont make up the laws

;)

JASON *** BRAND NEW 350 cid GASKET SETS FOR SALE!!! *** 1979 L-82
 

garycr14

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The reality of it is, if you have the federal smog stuff attached, you will most likely be ok. The guy at the local smog station does not know what every car should have when he does his visual inspection. I think the basicaly wing it. I have had cars pass with mods that were not carb approved without it even being questioned. The most important aspect s the sniffer test. They do the test om a machine which is kind of like a dyno, where the wheels are in motion. they check it with the car at about 25 mph to see if it passes. The upside is if your car is tuned well, new plugs, good wires, etc... it should pass.
 

garycr14

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One thing I forgot to add is there are no CARB approved long tube headers, so they wont pass the visual inspection.
 

BLACKDOG

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Andre - one solution to the problem is to be lucky enough to reside in one of the very few (I think there is more than one) counties that doesn't have to play the smog game. In Tuolumne County, about 20 miles north of Yosemite, and 60 miles east of the YODA, we don't have to play the SMOG NAZIS game ........................ YET !!! ... or until such time as I'd sell the DoG. When it comes time to renew the tags - all I need is to send in proof of insurance and $$$ - no smog certificate !! Ah - life is good !! arf-arf !!
 

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