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View Full Version : California smog exemption... read and discuss



Chrisfrom1986
06-05-2007, 05:58 PM
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Yes, the B20 is a truck motor, yes, it is an illegal swap. Conventional wisdom would agree with you, however, we use propane gas to pass any engine swap in any car. There are legal ways to smog a B20. Read on......

Illegal B20 swap + propane gas = Alternative Fueled Emissions compliant engine swap. Alternative fuel is the key word here, forget the motor swap, with Alternative fuel, it is all about making the swap run clean. Even if the engine swap is a turbo GSR, Standalone with ITB's, once it is run on propane, all the performance mods are now legal because you can argue that the GSR, turbo, Standalone and ITB's are needed to take advantage of propane's 110 octane rating. This is cutting edge here, just because this is a loophole that is not commonly used, doesn't mean that it is BS.

Keep in mind that, once you remove the propane and re-tune your setup to run on 91 octane pump gas, you are no longer 100% legal, but wait, there's more.... here is the good part.... the BAR referee sticker in your engine compartment doesn't specify fuel. So, when Johnny law does pull you over, all they do is scratch their heads and wonder how you BAR ref'd a turbo GSR, Standalone with ITB's....

Besides BAR reffing your engine swap there is another interesting loophole that keeps Johnny Law off your back, it is called smog exemption, this exemption is a one time emissions test on propane that certifies your vehicle as an Alternative fueled vehicle and smog exempts the vehicle FOREVER, with smog exemption, you will NEVER have to smog your vehicle ever again, even when you sell it. Smog exemption is a legal loophole that smog exempts your vehicle forever, no more fooling around with shady emissions shops.

If you look hard enough, there are legal loopholes for everything. Laws, mandates, regulations and government protocols are written by attorneys with legal loopholes and/ oversights written in, that allow everyday citizens to drive, smog, register and import any vehicle ever made on the face of this planet.

For the record, smog exemption, carb exemption, and BAR reffing are 3 completely different processes, these terms cannot be interchanged. BAR reffing, by far, is the most difficult and useless certification. Smog and Carb exemption are far better than a BAR ref'd swap because a BAR ref'd swap still must undergo strict emissions testing, while the smog/carb exempted vehicle doesn't. Also, Johnny Law can ref ticket a Bar ref'd car, but not a carb exempted car. The simple definition of a carb exempted car is a car that is exempted from all carb emissions mandates. Basically, local law enforcement can pop your hood, but, because the vehicle is both smog/carb exempt, it is therefore emissions compliant regardless of what turbo
k20, GSR or b18 engine swap you may have, a smog/carb exempted car can legally drive around with a fully built turbo GSR with no emissions controls, and never get a referee ticket.

You gotta pay $$$$$$$$ to play...

AJ
06-05-2007, 06:55 PM
FYI it is a violation of federal law (EPA Clean Air Act) to remove or render useless any smog control devices intended for use on a motor vehicle driving on the roadway or highway, punishable by fine and/or imprisionment for each violation. We as hobbyist have to be very careful how far to push the envelope, thats why groups like SEMA as so important to us. SEMA is usually where I find information regarding change in smog laws for "Kalifornia".

With that said, "you can drive to the race track remove said equipment, race, re-install said equipment and drive home" and meet the spirit of the law in the Clean Air Act.

Being a Hazardous Materials Specialist I'm am well aware of the spirit of the law and loop holes in the Smog Check program for the State of "Kalifornia". BAR and CARB are mandated by the Clean Air Act to meet set requirements to reduce air pollution emitted by motor vehicles.

For example air filters, generally any air filter that is considered direct replacement is exempted by CARB needing an E/O number, but take a K+N cone filter made to the same specs as a drop in filter it needs a E/O number to be legal??

Please keep in mind that it is "Built562" opinion that once exempted a vehicle has a lifetime exception, this would be state law not federal law, both can change at any time.

If you familiar with AB616 if signed into law which would require vehicles over 15 years old to be smog only tested EVERY year at a Smog Check Only station. Here is a classic example of a law that is probably going be inacted despite the economic effects of the people driving older vehicles.

Again this is my opinion with 25 years experience in public safety, 13 yrs of which as a Haz Mat Specialist.

charles q
06-05-2007, 07:37 PM
I thought that at 20 or 25 years you became smog exempt

Chrisfrom1986
06-05-2007, 07:54 PM
I thought that at 20 or 25 years you became smog exempt

That is not the point of this thread. Its about using a loophole designed for alternative fueled vehicles to legally have your car BAR'd in for exemption so you no longer have to go in for smog checks or hassled by the law. Theres some ideas in there that may not be for what the exemption was created for, but there are certain things that you can get away with. I just though it was very interesting and may think about doing it when I go 1JZ on my next Supra. Cali BAR'd 1JZ in an MKII sounds pretty good to me. Its not about removing or rendering useless smog control equipment, its converting your engine to an alternative fuel which reduced emissions. What you do from there is your discretion.

pdupler
06-05-2007, 09:20 PM
Without the efforts of SEMA, we would all be lost. There'd be horrendous scrappage laws and everyone would have to buy a new car every five years whether you could afford one or not. Its understood that old cars put out more emissions than newer cars, but rust, wear and accidents, not to mention the human desire to have the latest and greatest model, whittle down the number of old cars in actual service over time, in my opinion, fast enough that we shouldn't have to enact laws that seek to hasten the pace.

Nevertheless, we have such laws. People who can't afford newer cars and can't afford to maintain old cars will just have to suffer because the long term environment is more important than their puny little lives and the meager contributions they could make to society by commuting to work in fast food restaurants and such.

Now unfortunately, car hobbyists are an even smaller minority in the U.S. than gays and lesbians (and seemingly less understood). We get caught up in these laws that are aimed at keeping each poor person from spewing tons of pollutants into the atmosphere and increasing the earth's bioload in disproportion to their relative contribution to society.

Now, probably the vast majority of our forum really falls into the targeted group regardless if we agree with the law or not, and regardless whether you consider yourself a car hobbyist or not (car "enthusiast" might be a more appropriate term). These are people who drive their Supras (or other old cars) as primary transportation, probably as much or more than the average citizen at 20,000 to 30,000 miles a year. For these people (and you know who you are), any effort to take advantage of the limited loopholes available to the hobbyists, would be in essence in violation of the intention or "spirit" of the law and endangers the availability of loopholes, which as Arch has pointed out can be changed.

The true car hobbyist isn't racking up tens of thousands of miles in rush-hour traffic in some old jalopy. He or she either has a late model car for daily driving and only takes the Sup out on weekends in good weather OR has an extremely well-maintained old car to drive daily. But without following a car around with a video camera for a whole year (to watch you r&r your cat at the track), its difficult for the law to make the distinction between a car hobbyist and a poor person ("enthusiast").

Conversion to alternative fuels is rather impractical for the mere "enthusiast". Most could not afford such a project and at least here in Texas where we have similar loophole, you simply can't buy alternative fuels except at a very few select outlets, most hidden away in industrial districts where fleet vehicles fuel up. They are just not practical to drive (one reason why hybrids are the next big thing). Hobbyists are generally interested in either originality or speed, both of which are ill served by alternative fuel conversion. I thought the age exemption was actually a good counterpoint (tho its 35 years in Cali, right), but generally elsewhere its 20 or 25 years. If such a conversion is only done for exemption, then the cost of such conversion, only to enjoy it for two or three years at this point is probably too high. Alternative fuel conversions practicality as a loophole is quite limited. In the longer term, if gasoline prices rise relative to alternatives, then such conversions might become an economic advantage, but in the short term, I don't see it becoming very popular.

Whether you are a hobbiest or "enthusiast" the best thing we can do is to vote with our dollars. Keep buying parts and accessories. As long as there is profit to be made on old cars, and rich, influential people greasing palms in Washington with our sweat and blood money, we have a fighting chance to keep our old cars and continue to play. We probably can't get any concessions or go back to lesser environmental regs, but we have to ever vigilant to keep things like AB616 from further encroaching on our "pursuit of happiness". Keep an eye on local politics too. An even bigger threat is coming from your local city council. In many places now, if you don't have a garage to keep your unregistered car out of view of the police, they can tow it away to impound if they even SEE it.

Chrisfrom1986
06-05-2007, 10:08 PM
I think you guys are missing the point still, but it might be a good thing.

The point is, you can have any engine converted to "alternative fuel" and have it BAR'd to be smog exempt, then revert back to pump gas since there is no specification on the BAR sticker that shows the fuel type.

pdupler
06-05-2007, 10:21 PM
No, we're not missing the point. Its just that anytime you mention the smog nazis, you're asking for a soap-box speech. Its a hot-button for me and many others. Especially since I got to smog three supras next month and its such a royal pain in the ass. If anyone's gonna need to ingest anything alternative, its me! :twodrunkg

charles q
06-05-2007, 11:30 PM
This is what it says on the California BAR website:

http://barpublic.altosagroup.com/01_ConsumerActivities/01_GettingSmogged/01_Do%20I%20Need%20a%20Smog%20Check_QQ002975.asp

Some vehicles are exempt from the Smog Check program

Legislation enacted during 2004 made several changes in motor vehicle Smog Check exemptions that will become effective next year. Following is a summary of the revised exemptions and the effective date of each change:

* Beginning January 1, 2005, vehicles 6 or less model-years old will be exempt from the biennial Smog Check inspection requirement. For vehicles with registration renewals due in the 2005 calendar year, this exemption includes model-years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
* Beginning January 1, 2005, vehicles 4 or less model-years old will be exempt from the Smog Check inspection requirement upon change of ownership and transfer of title transactions with DMV. In 2005, this exemption includes model-years 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
* Beginning April 1, 2005, the 30-year rolling exemption will be repealed. Instead, vehicles 1975 model-year and older will be exempt. Therefore, 1976 model-year and newer vehicles will continue to be subject to biennial inspection indefinitely.
* Beginning April 1, 2005, vehicles being initially registered in California that were previously registered in another state will be exempt if the vehicle is a 1975 and older model-year vehicle. Newer vehicles (the first 6 model years) are not exempted upon initial registration in California. These vehicles are required to undergo a Smog Check Inspection.

Deanfun
06-06-2007, 01:39 AM
I think you guys are missing the point still, but it might be a good thing.

The point is, you can have any engine converted to "alternative fuel" and have it BAR'd to be smog exempt, then revert back to pump gas since there is no specification on the BAR sticker that shows the fuel type.Not that I know the specifics about what the poster was discussing in your original post, but I think you're missing a couple key points:

1. he says it's possible, which means that somewhere, some how, at least one person has done it. That does not mean you can do it. There are a couple S15 240sx's running around vancouver, legal and all - that doesn't mean anyone can bring them in, they still fall well short of the 15 year rule.

2. it's not quite as easy to convert to alternative fuels as it's made out to be. You're probably looking at a significant investment.

3. Phil is always right.

Malibyte
06-06-2007, 01:40 AM
If you familiar with AB616 if signed into law which would require vehicles over 15 years old to be smog only tested EVERY year at a Smog Check Only station. Here is a classic example of a law that is probably going be inacted despite the economic effects of the people driving older vehicles.


This is very scary. I had heard about this a while back. Unfortunately, I also have a very bad feeling about it...the doofuses who author these bills are usually funded by the mfrs lobby, and there aren't nearly enough of us (meaning car enthusiasts who vote) to get these fools out of office.

Chrisfrom1986
06-06-2007, 03:01 AM
I believe the original poster actually worked at a shop that did these exemption conversions, of course it wasnt cheap, as the last line of the post implies.

AJ
06-06-2007, 11:23 AM
Chris, the point is understood, I was responding to what Built562 stated "no emission controls" he is not understanding or aware of the (Federal) law(s).

I'm ALL in favor of meeting the "spirit of the law", using aftermarket parts that are CARB exempt, especially from other makes or models, having mods that aren't seen, ie "machine work" etc.

We're at a point now that if we can show ie the OEM intake pipe isn't available from Toyota any longer as a Class F part, we may be able to use a RC intake pipe with an exception from a Ref Station "Limited Parts Exemption," the issue we would run into the Officer on the street not being familiar with smog rules would likely issue a fix-it-ticket. Its more work but may work out for the hobbyist??

Complete Fact Sheet
http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov/stdPAge.asp?Menu=/includes/Menu_GenInfo.htm&Body=/Geninfo/Factsheets/Parts_Locator.htm

Making hobbyist aware is what we as a subgroup need to continue doing to keep improving the MA Supra forever!!

GOOD Thread/Discussion!!



Basically, local law enforcement can pop your hood, but, because the vehicle is both smog/carb exempt, it is therefore emissions compliant regardless of what turbo
k20, GSR or b18 engine swap you may have, a smog/carb exempted car can legally drive around with a fully built turbo GSR with no emissions controls, and never get a referee ticket.
You gotta pay $$$$$$$$ to play...

AJ
06-06-2007, 11:27 AM
Also IIRC there are still counties in "Kalifornia" that do not participate in the bi-annual Smog Check program.

Before the '73 and older car exemption, a certain Porsche '67 912 that I used to own was registered in another county this way...hehehe

Chrisfrom1986
06-06-2007, 06:57 PM
Humboldt and Mendocino counties. Where all the marijuana in the state comes from lol. The government doesnt need to get money from smog there, they have their ways ;)

pdupler
06-06-2007, 07:24 PM
Also IIRC there are still counties in "Kalifornia" that do not participate in the bi-annual Smog Check program.

Before the '73 and older car exemption, a certain Porsche '67 912 that I used to own was registered in another county this way...hehehe

I actually looked into this for Texas because right now its only the "non-attainment" counties that are subject to emissions inspections. I was thinking about registering my cars to a "living trust" with the trustee a dba in a rural county c/o a small-town law firm. I figured if questioned, I could explain that it was done that way for estate planning purposes. However, the law is written such that you have to obtain an inspection in the county in which the vehicle is primarily operated, rather than where its registered - i.e, I drive them here in smogsville. And they WILL ding you for it. If you get pulled over, they check your drivers license, insurance and registration and all three addresses have to match or they start looking for some reason to write you a ticket. In essence, you could try it but the judge probably isn't going to buy it and the average cop isn't going to know what the hell you are babbling about.

Of note, this law is here in Texas at least causing trouble for even people who live just outside the non-attainment areas and commute into the big city to work. They have these sensors they set up at random highway entrance ramps to look for gross polluters and if you get dinged, you have to submit for inspection in the county in which you were dinged and answer a whole bunch of questions, essentially, big brother has caught you with your pants down and is going to hold it over your head for the rest of your life, or the vehicle's life anyway.

AJ
06-07-2007, 01:31 AM
PhilD, heck I thought "Kalifornia" was bad??

DRE85PTYPE
06-07-2007, 12:31 PM
in cali the law the governator put into play was no older than 1973 for the cars age... it is no longer 30 years and older... i would like to see a propane conversion lit for the mk 2 so i can smog exempt it