Last journal entry: 3/06/98
Smog Check Alerts!!
Oh shit. You've heard the adds on the radio, about the road side dyno tests? Well its true and may be coming to a street near you:Now I was thinking about this, mostly saying "damn cops, damn bar, damn epa, damn damn damn", but in reality there is quite a game being played here. The cops aren't the source of the problem, and are being screwed by this too. They don't really have a choice in the matter. They are forced to set up these smog checks: "You will dyno every car on Kanan Rd. during peak hours." After a few minutes of pissed off drivers, the cops start getting defensive and pissed off, and pretty soon no one is happy, no one is nice and no one wins. Likely 98% of the people they screwed over on Kanan Rd. were not guilty of anything, but now those people are really pissed off. The big problem is that they are pissed off at the cops, not the BAR. Do you see the problem there? By using the police as their bad publicity shield, the anger is directed at the wrong group. The cops are just another pawn in their political game. Those phone calls to the police to complain about the delays, are wasted. They need to go to our the state legislature in Sacramento, the govenor and your city mayor.
So what if you are chosen? IT IS OPTIONAL!! REQUIRED READING : http://smogcheck.ca.gov/000141.htm. Quote: "The BAR representative will do everything possible to accommodate special circumstances, but motorist participation is vital to the study’s success." To me, that sentence reads, your are not required to submit, but we are going to do everything we can to get you on the dyno. They are not going to tell you its optional! And they are going to practically deny it. And they are going to delay you as long as they can. And they are going to intimidate you with police officers and tow trucks. And they are going to black-mail you, looking at your big exhaust tip, and lowered suspension. Your tires better not be past the wear bars on the inside, and your exhaut better not be too loud. They can give you an "unsafe condition" ticket right there. BAM! Its illegal to drive your car on the road because the car is too low, or some other lame excuse....
Don't believe its that bad? Check this out:
Subject: Don't go to San Diego
SEND FEED BACK TO THE BAR: http://smogcheck.ca.gov/000042.htm
Yesterday, I decided I wanted to get my ZC california certified. Why? Well I saw Ryan W's very nice BAR registered 92 Civic with 95 GS-R motor, and I was very very jealous of that sticker. I want one!!
So starting today, I am going to start a little journal of the process I will have to go thru.
The BAR Referee phone number for info and scheduling is 1-800-622-7733. (How to schedule and appointment with a Referee) I called and started asking questions. Like where is my local referee, and when are they open. Even though their web page says "many referee sites are now open during weekends and evenings", NONE of the sites within a hour of me are included in that. The BAR representative admitted that only a few are actually open these extra hours. That means 8-5pm M-F. There is not a site close enough to my work to go to during the daytime. For those of you familar with LA county, I am in Northridge. The three nearest are Torance, Norwalk and Arcadia. The next nearest is Palmdale. The Arcadia site is near my house, so I guess I have to take time off work to do this.
BAH! That sucks.
They are using the Dyno already at the referee stations, and she promised they would perform a pretty throrough test. I am confident that the ZC with the Si ecu and the DX or Si cat will have no problem passing. I've seen Civics and Integras pass with cams, and others pass with no-cat, so my unmodified ZC should not be a problem. I currently have a DC header, but it has CARB EO#s. Then again, run those numbers and it will refer to a 86-89 Integra... Maybe I'll put my stock exhaust manifold back on to avoid the hassle. But I really want it to smog with the header! Some think that the ZC won't pass, however, no one has ever told me that they personally failed the tailpipe emissions test with the ZC. If you have, mail me NOW!
I tried to get the phone number for the Arcadia referee station. I wanted to talk to a tech to see if they have already seen a ZC. Considering the area, I think its highly likely. However, she was very firm that I could not get the info UNLESS I made an appointment.
So I tried calling the Consumer Information Center (1-800-952-5210). After a 20 minute wait, they answered. It was almost immediately apparent that the phone rep had no idea what I was talking about. I want to know if, for any reason, the ZC is KNOWN to be a valid or in-valid replacement engine. Otherwise, I'll just make an appointment. But since it is a Jap engine that was never offered in the US, I wanted to make sure there wasn't something specifically against Japanese engines. The rep took down my questions, very detailed, and told me a technician would call me back within 48 hours. I am kinda excited about getting to talk to someone who knows. So, we will see...
*sigh* Yesterday, Larry from the Consumer Information Center called me back. He apologized for being behind schedule. Then we got down to business.
Main issue. My DX is a CA certified vehicle. Bought in CA, and CA registered. It is therefore illegal to put anything other than a CA certified California engine in my vehicle. The ZC was never offered in the US, and there was not a DOHC Civic offered in my model generation car. Thus the ZC would not be a smog legal replacement engine.
I told him that the ZC engine is very similar to the 89 Integra. Larry explained that if the block and casting numbers matched those of the 89 Integra motors, then it could be considered that. Well, we know that the ZC has a big fat 'ZC' stamped right on the block... He also reiterated that it must be a 89 or newer motor, even if the previous year motor is identical.
Since Larry had pretty quickly given me the answer I was dreading, I decided to pick his brain.
Is it legal to swap in the 1.6L Si motor and ecu for my car?
What if took the long block from a 92-95 Civic and bolted my intake manifold or an Si manifold to it, and installed it in my Civic. It would use the Ecu that matches the intake manifold.
What about installing an Integra engine in my car?
The Integra motors do not always bolt in. Is it okay if I modify or re-weld my motor mounts to fit an Integra motor?
The Honda Del Sol came with a special DOHC VTEC motor from 94-95, and there is a version from Japan that bolts into my car. Will this motor be considered a CA certified replacement engine since there is an equivalent here?
How does the referee know the engine numbers?
Do you know who collects the information for those books?
Is there anyway to talk to a referee?
So, that looks like it is the end of my quest. Failure.
Now, I know it is still possible to get the ZC smogged, that was never the issue. Some shops won't care as long as it passes the tail pipe, and some are just ignorant. But most of those smog station didn't buy the dyno rollers and therefore are out of the smog business. The number of shops is greatly reduced. Each shop had to spend $40-$60 thousand dollars to have the rollers and computer equipment installed. With this kind of investment, few shops are going to risk bending the rules. It will be harder to get smogged.
My goal was to get my car made smog legal, so I could avoid all those hassles and just point at the sticker.
I realize now why the ZC can't be a smog legal replacement engine. Either your replacement engine comes from a CA certified California vehicle and you get a nice BAR sticker telling the smog shop to test your car based on your new engine, or your replacement engine is an exact match of the engine you are replacing, meaning that your car will always be treated as what it is, with no hassle. The ZC is neither of these.
More smog links:
You can legally request an off-line pre-inspection if you have any concerns about passing. You may have to pay for it, but its much less than the cost of repairs if you fail.
A must read: BAR Engine change Guidlelines
I suggest you read the http://smogcheck.ca.gov web site, thoroughly. Their search engine will point you to alot of cool and scary stuff.
Is the EPA working for us or for some hidden political agenda?
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