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Thread: California smog analysis, ask a smog tech

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    California smog analysis, ask a smog tech

    Hi everyone, I'm a STAR certified smog tech in California. If you're having trouble passing emissions, have questions about emissions equipment or anything else related to smog, let me know!

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    I have one. Will California ever do the rolling end of smog year. They started to do it way back in the 90's then stopped. I was hopping my Camo truck would be exempt but they stopped the 25 year roll back just before my 25th year.
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    I doubt it. Gov. Arnold stopped the rolling exemption during the 2003 budget crisis to keep one revenue stream open and it's been stuck at 1976 ever since. California wants to get old cars off the road to meet their air pollution reduction goals (high priority in eco-conscious California). That's what the new STAR program is designed to do: weed out old vehicles. People bring STAR renewals to me all the time and ask me what the program is. If I was blunt I'd say "If California can't get your car off the road this year, they'll try again in two years and every two years after that."

    If older vehicles are exempt, the state has no way to force them to be retired. The state's not going to give up that leverage willingly.

  4. #4

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    ive got a 92 mighty max 4cyl 2wd. i have no vaccuum to egr. when i probe the first wire
    on the harness plug to the solenoid it has power, when i ck the second wire it also has power but the
    vacuum begins to work. once i remove the probe (break ground with test light) i loose
    vacuum any ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrencher903 View Post
    ive got a 92 mighty max 4cyl 2wd. i have no vaccuum to egr. when i probe the first wire
    on the harness plug to the solenoid it has power, when i ck the second wire it also has power but the
    vacuum begins to work. once i remove the probe (break ground with test light) i loose
    vacuum any ideas.
    The EGR will only have vacuum to it under a cruse condition. Unless you feel it's not working for some reason then it should be correct. That would show up in a test on the dyno.
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    do you think grounding the wire so the egr will operate would be ok, at least long enough to get it smogged

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    Have you taken the egr valve off and cleaned it out?
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    - can I pass the visual with a CAI set-up if all the emmissions equipment is still in place and working?
    - can I pass the visual with an exhaust header set-up if all the emmissions equipment is still in place and working?
    I knew daredevils and I ain't got nothin' against them, ........it's just they're all dead.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Moer View Post
    - can I pass the visual with a CAI set-up if all the emmissions equipment is still in place and working?
    - can I pass the visual with an exhaust header set-up if all the emmissions equipment is still in place and working?
    Not without CARB EO (Executive Order) labels on the equipment or the radiator support for the CAI and headers to be legal. Some inspectors might be lenient and ignore the CAI if nothing after the sensor or PCV breather inlet is modified but by the book, that's a fail. If the headers are long tube and don't look "stock," the inspector will fail it too. The reasoning is the headers and intake alter the power band and hence emissions.

    Post a picture of the setup and I'll give you an idea of what an inspector will think.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrencher903 View Post
    ive got a 92 mighty max 4cyl 2wd. i have no vaccuum to egr. when i probe the first wire
    on the harness plug to the solenoid it has power, when i ck the second wire it also has power but the
    vacuum begins to work. once i remove the probe (break ground with test light) i loose
    vacuum any ideas.
    There should be no vacuum at idle. The functional test to see if the EGR is working properly is to disconnect the vac line with the engine warmed up and idling and apply vacuum with a handheld pump until the engine stumbles. It should start stumbling be around 5 psi. EGR helps cut down on NOx, it reburns unburned exhaust. Sometimes they get clogged with soot, if it's fouled up, take it off and clean it out with carb cleaner and a wire brush.

  11. #11

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    Links to CARB Executive Order database for aftermarket parts and catalytic converters:

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermk...es/amquery.php

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermk...atpreobdii.pdf

    If you get a new cat installed, make sure the CARB EO# (D-XXX-XX) is on the bottom of the cat, so the inspector can see it. It sucks when someone brings in a car with a legal aftermarket cat, but the shop installed it upside down so I can't get the serial number and I have to fail it! Make sure the D-XXX-XX number is on the BOTTOM and visible.

  12. #12

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    Hey guys, whats the deal with the first converter on a the 2.0 engine? I have an 84 and noticed the 2nd one can be purchased as a direct bolt on California legal but the 1st one is obsolete and no longer available. Can they be gutted out? Mine only has 33,000 original miles so I'm sure there good for awhile but I am investigating poor mileage and a miss when shes cold. Also surges here and there when cold. I am building up a parts cache to keep her serviceable for time to come LOL.

    Mike

  13. #13

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    One more thing my egr has a secondary diaphragm on it . See airtex 4f1468. You think I could get away with a standard egr without the diaphragm or would a tech look at my vaccum diagram and notice it missing ?

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    Well ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewarme View Post
    Hey guys, whats the deal with the first converter on a the 2.0 engine? I have an 84 and noticed the 2nd one can be purchased as a direct bolt on California legal but the 1st one is obsolete and no longer available. Can they be gutted out? Mine only has 33,000 original miles so I'm sure there good for awhile but I am investigating poor mileage and a miss when shes cold. Also surges here and there when cold. I am building up a parts cache to keep her serviceable for time to come LOL.

    Mike
    The first one is a cat pre-heater. If you replace the cat with a new one you don't need the heater. The newer cats can clean up emissions better and will work at the lower temperature then the old ones needed to run. There also more efficient then the old one. And for the cost of the new replacement it is less money then trying to replace the heater and the cat. If you could find one. At least that's what I have herd.

    And as for the EGR you can probably get away with using the single. I don't think the tech will notice. The duel diagram type is to give a finer control of the gas flow. Not just on or off like the single. Unless the Tech is supper hip to what these trucks have I can't see him asking any questions. All he is going to do is look to see if it's hooked up. I don't think they even put a vacuum pump on them any more to test them. But I do know if you reset the computer in new cars you must first drive them about 20 miles before you can test them, or they will send you out the door.
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by camoit View Post
    The first one is a cat pre-heater. If you replace the cat with a new one you don't need the heater. The newer cats can clean up emissions better and will work at the lower temperature then the old ones needed to run. There also more efficient then the old one. And for the cost of the new replacement it is less money then trying to replace the heater and the cat. If you could find one. At least that's what I have herd.

    And as for the EGR you can probably get away with using the single. I don't think the tech will notice. The duel diagram type is to give a finer control of the gas flow. Not just on or off like the single. Unless the Tech is supper hip to what these trucks have I can't see him asking any questions. All he is going to do is look to see if it's hooked up. I don't think they even put a vacuum pump on them any more to test them. But I do know if you reset the computer in new cars you must first drive them about 20 miles before you can test them, or they will send you out the door.
    *****, Thanks for the clarification. Now the trick is to find a manifold that does not have the mounting for a pre heater.

    Thanks!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by camoit View Post
    Unless the Tech is supper hip to what these trucks have I can't see him asking any questions. All he is going to do is look to see if it's hooked up. I don't think they even put a vacuum pump on them any more to test them. But I do know if you reset the computer in new cars you must first drive them about 20 miles before you can test them, or they will send you out the door.
    I don't test EGR functionality unless it's pre-OBD2 (1995 or older) and a Two Speed Idle test. So either AWD or if you live in a Basic Area where they don't do the dyno test.

    If someone fails you for a non-stock EGR, I'd go to the state referee and appeal it. Because we're not looking for CARB EO#s on any emissions equipment except cats. So long as the EGR is there and it works, you should have no problems.

    You can gut the cat because obviously it's not going to throw an OBD code. So long as the second cat is nice and hot and cleans the exhaust enough to pass the tailpipe, the inspector will have no way of knowing the first cat is gutted.

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    As long as the EGR makes it idle like crap when they pull it open it's good to go. The cat heater is probably a ball of molten crap by now anyway. Just drive a stake through it and put on a new cat. Technology has changed so much from 84 to what they put in there now it can clean up things so much better then before. I wish Cali would just do a tail pipe test and call it good. If they would then we could do so much more with the truck. But the rice racers ruined that years ago. Thats when they came up with the law that say you can't change emission related items. One of them ran into a senator or a congressman's kids car and that pissed them off. Just like the diesels that smoke because they wanted to hot rod there Cummins. One of them saw the smoke and said OMG,,, I need to fix that. , I'm an elected official sworn into office and will always say, SCREW THE GOVERNMENT
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    Screw our government, and the people who voted for the worst president ever. The liberals want to make us scrap our trucks to get carbon credits. Lol you think even with only 34,000 now on the odometer it is toast? I was looking in the 2nd gen parts book and noticed they did not use a heater on the 2nd gen so i am thinking a 2nd gen manifold would bolt up to my 2.0 ? Than it would have a clean look. Trying to maintain this truck in it's nice condition although removing the heater would not be original. Since the parts are obsolete I would rather get rid of the heater and update it now.

  20. #20

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    All of your diesel trucks are exempt from smog checks forever, what are you complaining about?

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    I always thought the first cat was a precat - meant to clean up the exhaust until the main cat lit off at operating temp. That always was a cali thing from 1980 on - just slide a pipe through it and problem solved, but collect the stuff from the cat and cash it in - it contains platinum, rhobidium and other precious metals worth a lot of money these days. The old pellet convertors of the 70's are worth a fortune as they are loaded with the metal - the newer honeycomb ones don't have anywhere nearas much metal in them to work.
    Pennyman1
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    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  22. #22

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    Hey guys, check this out, plug in your numbers and it calculates trim for you.

    http://smogsite.com/calculators.html#lambda

  23. #23

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    Hi there. I was just sent your way by a couple of forum members, 85Ram50 and Pennyman1. Ive just got hold of an '88 2.0L with about 160K miles on it.
    took it in to a test-only station, but they wouldnt even touch it, as it had an after market cat on it with no CA stamp.
    I then took it to a STAR garage to have a preliminary smog test done... passed visual/functional, but qualified as a gross poluter at 15mph, with HC at 137 and NOx at 2487(!)
    Ive replaced the cat with a magnaflow that has a Dxxx-xxx stamp, and replaced the O2 sensor. I took the EGR off to see if it was crusted up with carbon, but instead saw that it had oil in it (which smelled like gasoline). EGR passed the finger test, but im confused about the oil. Could it be PCV related?
    What do you think about those emissions levels? Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions sure would be appreciated!
    Thanks from SF!

  24. #24

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    Sampson, I haven't lived in the bay area for more than 10 years but as I recall it the seller has to have passed a SMOG test within 90 days before selling. Did this change or did you not know it? I'm pretty sure the DMV will catch that when you register if the seller still has to pass to sell.

  25. #25

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    That hasn't changed 85ram50. But the truck had been sitting unregistered for a few years and the deal was, if I could get the truck up and running, then I could have it.
    So I'm trying to figure it out, one part/fix at a time. I'm capable,but not a mechanic so the learning curve is pretty steep!

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