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Old 01-11-2016, 03:45 PM   #1
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Default '95 FMII moving to CA - How to smog?

Hey Guys,

I've been running an FMII with a Hydra 2.7 on my car for a few years now. It looks like I will be moving to CA for work, and I'm trying to find some way to avoid having to sell the car. Anyone in CA have experience with dealing with the CARB/smog process? Everything I'm reading seems to say that it's a matter of finding the right smog tech and slipping him $100+, though a lot of those posts seem to be from years ago.

Anyone managing to drive a turbo'ed miata with an aftermarket ECU in CA these days?

Thanks.
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Old 01-11-2016, 03:47 PM   #2
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Pay smogs are a thing of the past. Convert the car back to stock, smog it, then reinstall whatever you want.
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Old 01-11-2016, 03:57 PM   #3
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*****. That's a real bummer.
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:48 PM   #4
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'Tis indeed. There was indeed a time when you could tip your tech, and he'd accidentally overlook things on the visual inspection. Some shops even engaged in "clean-piping," in which a reference car would be substituted for the unit under test.

This practice cam to a swift end several years ago during a state-wide sting operation. Many dozens of shops were closed down and had their licenses revoked, and a few people even did some jail time.

While there may still be a shop or two out there catering to the aftermarket crowd, don't count on being able to find it. The reality of the situation these days is that you do, in fact, need to pass both the visual and tailpipe portions of the test. For those folks with valid EOs, my experience was that some techs will still grant you a bit of lenience on **** like "this isn't the brand of air filter specified on the paperwork," or in the case of my Greddy'd '92, the fact that an intercooler was still mounted in the nose of the car (I'd removed the plumbing and reverted that to stock), and that I'd clearly fabricated the air-inlet pipe myself to replace the horrid cast piece that Greddy supplied. (The fact that mine was a pre-OBD2 car meant I was able to leave the Megasquirt and injectors in place.)

But that's about it.
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:50 PM   #5
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Man, what a bummer. Well, keep an eye in the FS section over the next few weeks...
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Old 01-11-2016, 05:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihmcguinness View Post
Man, what a bummer. Well, keep an eye in the FS section over the next few weeks...
Honestly it is not to hard to go back to stock and pass, if you have a garage to work in and a few weekends around when you need to get smogged.
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Old 01-11-2016, 05:20 PM   #7
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Yeah, I used to have time...
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Old 01-11-2016, 05:35 PM   #8
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If you are moving to the LA/Inland Emipre area of Souther California, PM me.
I know a 'guy'.
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:03 PM   #9
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That "100" dollar tip is more like "250-300" tip. Cheapest route would be converting it back to stock. I think you have to go through a safety inspection with the CHP in order to register an out of state vehicle in California.
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:35 PM   #10
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Swap it once every two years.
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I think you have to go through a safety inspection with the CHP in order to register an out of state vehicle in California.
No, just a VIN check at the DMV. There are no safety inspections in CA, only emissions.

I brought two cars into CA when I lived there, and it's not a big deal, assuming you can pass the smog check. You get the smog check first, then just bring the car and title to a DMV office, pay a relatively small amount of money, and get a new title and registration.
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Old 01-11-2016, 08:06 PM   #12
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Keep the car registered in somebody else's name in a different state?
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Old 01-11-2016, 08:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
No, just a VIN check at the DMV. There are no safety inspections in CA, only emissions.

I brought two cars into CA when I lived there, and it's not a big deal, assuming you can pass the smog check. You get the smog check first, then just bring the car and title to a DMV office, pay a relatively small amount of money, and get a new title and registration.
Ah ok. Thanks for the clarification. A buddy of mine bought an out of state car and said it was a hassle. Then again the car wasn't CA friendly.
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Old 01-11-2016, 10:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .one lane View Post
Ah ok. Thanks for the clarification. A buddy of mine bought an out of state car and said it was a hassle. Then again the car wasn't CA friendly.
If the car is stock, 49-state compliant, and in good working order, it'll pass with no problems.

If it's a grey-market vehicle (eg: a Euro-spec import), then you'll have a lot more paperwork to do, and you might have to do some retrofitting, but it can be done. A co-worker of mine owned a German Domestic Market '82 Porsche 911, and aside from having to install cats, he didn't have any issues.

If your car is a US-spec vehicle modified with components regulated and not CARB-EO'd in CA (eg: a turbocharger), then you're gonna have a bad time. The only real solution is what everyone else who lives in CA does. De-modify it for the smog check every two years. It's not that hard if you have the parts, the shop space, and the know-how.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:01 AM   #15
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I was looking to move to CA a few years ago for work and was concerned about getting my turbo car legal. My coworkers were pointing me in a direction of new resident exemption - if I recall correctly (it's been 5ish years..) Basically the components didn't need to be CARB legal if the resident was new, car was used and registered in state within 30 days, and could still pass federal smog.

It's really hard to find this info through google (my searches are filled with registering an out of state car to a California resident), and I don't have that job anymore so I can't find my old work emails.
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Old 01-16-2016, 03:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gooflophaze View Post
I was looking to move to CA a few years ago for work and was concerned about getting my turbo car legal. My coworkers were pointing me in a direction of new resident exemption - if I recall correctly (it's been 5ish years..) Basically the components didn't need to be CARB legal if the resident was new, car was used and registered in state within 30 days, and could still pass federal smog.

It's really hard to find this info through google (my searches are filled with registering an out of state car to a California resident), and I don't have that job anymore so I can't find my old work emails.
Californian here. This is incredibly hit-or-miss. As has been stated, your best bet is returning the car to stock and getting a legitimate smog. California has been chasing down the remaining emissions loopholes recently.
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Old 01-16-2016, 03:16 PM   #17
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Catfish or Exocet or Lowcost7. Then SB100.
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:44 AM   #18
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Smog tech checking in. Revert to stock, pass, then put everything back on later. Anything else isnt worth it.
I'm constantly paranoid about BAR sending me a rigged car. From what I hear they do run stings pretty often.
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Old 01-17-2016, 07:27 PM   #19
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Buy a Miata in CA for cheap that passes smog, put the license plates on your turbo car, pray if you ever get stopped they don't run the VIN. I did that for about a year. I got stopped once for window tint, and once for speeding. I won't lie, I was sweating bullets, but it all went smooth. I will probably do the same thing once I get my v8 swap down if I ever want to drive it on the streets occasionally.
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Old 01-18-2016, 01:09 AM   #20
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Where in CA are you moving? If you don't have time to swap it every two years, I suggest you make it a track car and buy a commuter. You can probably get away with the non-CA license plate for a while in the mean time.
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