Pennock's Fiero Forum
  General Fiero Chat
  Engine swaps and California smog checks

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Email This Page to Someone! | Printable Version


next newest topic | next oldest topic
Engine swaps and California smog checks by Rsvl-Rider
Started on: 05-09-2015 02:07 PM
Replies: 17 (1027 views)
Last post by: cyrus88 on 05-10-2015 07:45 PM
Rsvl-Rider
Member
Posts: 1087
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Feb 2014


Feedback score:    (7)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 02:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Rsvl-RiderSend a Private Message to Rsvl-RiderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Just curious. How does an engine swap affect the ability to pass a California smog check? Does it matter at all that, for example, a V8 has been swapped in? I assume a larger engine will create higher levels of emissions than the stock 4 Cyl or V6. Will that cause it to fail based on some predetermined measured expectation of what the stock engine would produce?

My GT passed when the PO had it smogged when I bought it last year. It has a 3.4 installed but looks like a stock V6 so it doesn't visually appeared to have been modified. Does that make a difference?

------------------
John Wayne as John Bernard Books in The Shootist...
" I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."

My rides...
1988 GT with a 3.4L V6 automatic
2006 Harley Sportster
'cause I love the twisties on two wheels or four.

IP: Logged
PFF
System Bot
Dennis LaGrua
Member
Posts: 13720
From: Hillsborough, NJ U.S.A.
Registered: May 2000


Feedback score:    (13)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 322
Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 02:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis LaGruaClick Here to Email Dennis LaGruaSend a Private Message to Dennis LaGruaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
From what we have read on this forum it is difficult to get a California smog check on a Fiero with an engine swap. The Marxists that run the government there have nearly complete control of just about everything that you do to your car and control of everything in your personal life. The 3.4L passes because it looks just like the 2.8L and meets the requirements of the Marxist smog police.
If you want to install a V8 in your Fiero or do an engine swap; good luck getting permission from California on how you run your hobby. I predict that in future years you will be taxed by the mile and monitored for how long you stay in the shower there.

------------------
" THE BLACK PARALYZER" -87GT 3800SC Series III engine, custom ZZP /Frozen Boost Intercooler setup, 3.4" Pulley, Northstar TB, LS1 MAF, 3" Flotech Afterburner Exhaust, Autolite 104's, MSD wires, Custom CAI, 4T65eHD w. custom axles, HP Tuners VCM Suite.
"THE COLUSSUS"
87GT - ALL OUT 3.4L Turbocharged engine, Garrett Hybrid Turbo, MSD ign., modified TH125H
" ON THE LOOSE WITHOUT THE JUICE "

IP: Logged
Rsvl-Rider
Member
Posts: 1087
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Feb 2014


Feedback score:    (7)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 03:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Rsvl-RiderSend a Private Message to Rsvl-RiderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks for your opinions Dennis.

Anyone with any direct knowledge or experience care to help out here?
IP: Logged
IMSA GT
Member
Posts: 8808
From: Smogfornia
Registered: Aug 2007


Feedback score: (5)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 242
Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 03:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for IMSA GTClick Here to Email IMSA GTSend a Private Message to IMSA GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Here in California, you get a special construction permit. If I remember, the DMV only issues about 500 per year....and that was a few years ago so I don't know the exact number today. The factory motor, transmission, exhaust, and computer must all be used to pass smog. I cannot answer specifics since I don't have a custom swap in my car but in talking with Curly (Madcurl) a while ago, he gave me some information. These are pics of his car. The first pic shows his aftermarket speedo that he uses. The 2nd pic shows the passenger side dash. Note how he had to keep the stock Cadillac gauge pod in the passenger side of his custom dash.



Also notice the single exhaust pipe. He was not allowed to put duals on the car because the Cadillac had only 1 exhaust pipe.
IP: Logged
Rsvl-Rider
Member
Posts: 1087
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Feb 2014


Feedback score:    (7)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 04:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Rsvl-RiderSend a Private Message to Rsvl-RiderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks IMSA, that was helpful.

I wonder what the requirements would be for buying and bringing one in that was registered out of state and had already swapped. It is legal to bring in and register a 49 state car but I have no idea how this might apply.
IP: Logged
dobey
Member
Posts: 11572
From:
Registered: Sep 2001


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 371
User Banned

Report this Post05-09-2015 04:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Rsvl-Rider:

Thanks IMSA, that was helpful.

I wonder what the requirements would be for buying and bringing one in that was registered out of state and had already swapped. It is legal to bring in and register a 49 state car but I have no idea how this might apply.


General rule of thumb is that you can only swap in a drivetrain from an equal or newer year vehicle, and all emissions equipment much match the year of the engine. You also generally cannot use a manual transmission with an engine that only came with an automatic from the factory (or vice-versa).
IP: Logged
IMSA GT
Member
Posts: 8808
From: Smogfornia
Registered: Aug 2007


Feedback score: (5)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 242
Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 04:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for IMSA GTClick Here to Email IMSA GTSend a Private Message to IMSA GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by dobey:


General rule of thumb is that you can only swap in a drivetrain from an equal or newer year vehicle, and all emissions equipment much match the year of the engine. You also generally cannot use a manual transmission with an engine that only came with an automatic from the factory (or vice-versa).


Thats one of the most important things. People think they can use the stock Fiero 4 or 5 speed with any swap but the transmission MUST be the same one from the donor swap car or it fails smog.

Also, contact Rickady88GT on here since he is in Southern California. He has a swapped motor.

[This message has been edited by IMSA GT (edited 05-09-2015).]

IP: Logged
cyrus88
Member
Posts: 305
From:
Registered: Jun 2003


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 08:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cyrus88Send a Private Message to cyrus88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by IMSA GT:


Thats one of the most important things. People think they can use the stock Fiero 4 or 5 speed with any swap but the transmission MUST be the same one from the donor swap car or it fails smog.

Also, contact Rickady88GT on here since he is in Southern California. He has a swapped motor.



Not true.
My V8 LT1 is mated to Fiero Getrag and I had zero problems getting it approved.

Also, you don't need a specialty builders permit.
IP: Logged
IMSA GT
Member
Posts: 8808
From: Smogfornia
Registered: Aug 2007


Feedback score: (5)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 242
Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 09:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for IMSA GTClick Here to Email IMSA GTSend a Private Message to IMSA GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by cyrus88:


Not true.
My V8 LT1 is mated to Fiero Getrag and I had zero problems getting it approved.

Also, you don't need a specialty builders permit.


You must be a miracle worker. Everyone who goes the aftermarket route with engine swaps had nothing but headaches here in California.
IP: Logged
thesameguy
Member
Posts: 1414
From: California
Registered: Dec 2012


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 09:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for thesameguyClick Here to Email thesameguySend a Private Message to thesameguyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you do a search for my name, you'll find a thread from a member asking about importing a V8-swapped car into California that I responded to with a bunch of information, as well as my "LS4 or LZ9" thread which has more.

The bottom line is that the only thing written in stone is that an engine swap must be from a same year or newer car, and must include all the original smog equipment. Those are the only two things which you cannot escape. You have fudge room when it comes to emissions related equipment like headers and such because the BAR recognizes there are packaging constraints - sometimes the stock manifolds won't physically fit but an aftermarket part will. If the installation is clean and the components used are documented, a ref may let you by. There is no law here - it is 100% the ref's opinion. The same goes for transmission, for the same reason. The transmission is considered emissions related (kinda duh, but I get it) so it's up to the ref to okay you or not. I have BAR'd cars with all sorts of wrong parts, but I show up with documentation and photos and concise reasoning for what I've done. Usually they're cool, but if a ref fails you they will document your failure and then it becomes VERY hard to get another ref to ok the equipment. So, unless you put a totally stock engine with its matching transmission in, you're at risk. This is the topic of my LS4 vs. LZ9 thread - an LS4 could be fudged through, but an LZ9 with a G6's F40 would be a slam dunk.

The 3.4pr swap is not strictly legal. It only works because the smog techs can't tell the difference. Technically, it needs to go to a BAR ref and get a sticker, and then you're facing that fudge factor of putting a 2.8 manifold on the 3.4, which would be up to the ref. You'd also be facing potential headaches with the EGR, I think, since the Camarobird probably had an electric EGR valve. Best to keep your mouth shut about this particular swap.

Remember that smog numbers are parts per million or percentages and while they are a range, most cars of a given year are subject to very similar guidelines - eg, my 5.7l Suburban and my 4.0 Jaguar and my 1.8 Audi all have to meet about the same numbers. The engine size may change, but the ratio of pollutants to air coming out of the exhaust is always roughly the same. So while in weight the 3.4 will pollute more than the 2.8l, as a percentage of what's coming out of the tail pipe there isn't much difference.

I was told yesterday by someone I trust that the BAR is revisiting smog laws for old cars and there may be big changes for 2016. Not sure what that means, but I'm hoping they're reconsidering dumping the visual for pre-OBDII cars and just going off tailpipe numbers. That would make a huge difference for folks like us that want to jettison a boat anchor and put in a modern, cleaner motor but need to fudge the install a bit to do it - and it would help the environment, too.

IP: Logged
thesameguy
Member
Posts: 1414
From: California
Registered: Dec 2012


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 10:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for thesameguyClick Here to Email thesameguySend a Private Message to thesameguyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

thesameguy

1414 posts
Member since Dec 2012
Also, what Cyrus said is absolutely true - you don't need any sort of permit to do an engine swap. They have nothing to do with each other. As far as transmissions go, the BAR does not track transmission model, only transmission type. A 700R4 and a 4T65 are the same transmission as far as the BAR is concerned, both automatics. Because the LT1 was sold with a manual and the Getrag is a manual, their work is done. That is precisely the issue with an LS4 swap - the LS4 never came with a manual. But the LZ9 could be swapped with a 282, F23, or F40 and the BAR would not care.
IP: Logged
PFF
System Bot
Rsvl-Rider
Member
Posts: 1087
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Feb 2014


Feedback score:    (7)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-09-2015 11:35 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Rsvl-RiderSend a Private Message to Rsvl-RiderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
You guys are great! Thanks for all the helpful comments.
IP: Logged
cyrus88
Member
Posts: 305
From:
Registered: Jun 2003


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-10-2015 12:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for cyrus88Send a Private Message to cyrus88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by IMSA GT:


You must be a miracle worker. Everyone who goes the aftermarket route with engine swaps had nothing but headaches here in California.


I wish I was a miracle worker. I would love to put a big block ZZ572 in my Fiero and have it CARB approved.

I didn't really go aftermarket. The LT1 was from a camaro z28.
IP: Logged
thesameguy
Member
Posts: 1414
From: California
Registered: Dec 2012


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-10-2015 01:28 AM Click Here to See the Profile for thesameguyClick Here to Email thesameguySend a Private Message to thesameguyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I am not sure what Madcurl's problem with a dual exhaust would be. He could not run dual cats, but nothing would prevent going duals after a single cat.
IP: Logged
PaulJK
Member
Posts: 6633
From: Los Angeles
Registered: Oct 2001


Feedback score:    (25)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 237
Rate this member

Report this Post05-10-2015 07:08 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PaulJKSend a Private Message to PaulJKEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Rsvl-Rider:

Anyone with any direct knowledge or experience care to help out here?



I have V8, 5 speed swap and 3800SC, automatic swapped cars both legal in california. The V8 car has a BAR sticker in the doorjam. The 3800SC car is replica and smog-exempt (yep, i was 1 of the 500 last year - nope, i would not do it again ). If you want a CA-legal V8 fiero, you have to either find the 1 in a million that has already been done or plan on spending the next few months getting one through BAR. Where you live and the referee you get has a LOT to do with how difficult it is. You should keep in mind that the State has LITTLE interest or incentive in exempting vehicles or making exceptions to the rules.

 
quote
Originally posted by Rsvl-Rider:

Just curious. How does an engine swap affect the ability to pass a California smog check? Does it matter at all that, for example, a V8 has been swapped in? I assume a larger engine will create higher levels of emissions than the stock 4 Cyl or V6. Will that cause it to fail based on some predetermined measured expectation of what the stock engine would produce?




A car with a non-stock engine will NOT pass a smog check. The first thing the smog tech does is a "visual" inspection and, when he sees a non-stock engine without a BAR sticker in the doorjam, the car fails. To set-up the test, the tech must input the VIN and engine type in the computer. The computer will provide the stock engine for the car.


 
quote
Originally posted by Rsvl-Rider:

My GT passed when the PO had it smogged when I bought it last year. It has a 3.4 installed but looks like a stock V6 so it doesn't visually appeared to have been modified. Does that make a difference?



I've had a car with a 3.4 pushrod swap. Smog techs will never spot a 3.4 conversion as a swapped engine. As long as it runs like a stock 3.4 engine (without a problem causing increased emissions) AND has a functioning "Check Engine" light, it will pass. A properly tuned and running 3.4 engine doesn't throw out enough emissions to fail the smog test. My car was smogged in los angeles - if it passed there, it would pass anywhere (different parts of california have different smog limits; LA is one of the strictest).

[This message has been edited by PaulJK (edited 05-10-2015).]

IP: Logged
PaulJK
Member
Posts: 6633
From: Los Angeles
Registered: Oct 2001


Feedback score:    (25)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 237
Rate this member

Report this Post05-10-2015 07:17 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PaulJKSend a Private Message to PaulJKEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by cyrus88:


I wish I was a miracle worker. I would love to put a big block ZZ572 in my Fiero and have it CARB approved.



An engine swap REALLY transforms the car. A V8 or 3800SC gives similar or better gas mileage, runs cooler and is a LOT less troublesome than the stock fiero engines.

You really don't need to have that much engine to have an amazing fiero. My V8 5 speed car is CARB-approved with a stock 5.7 liter TPI engine and has PLENTY of power and low-end torque. You could start out from a stop sign in 3rd gear if you want. Believe me, you can still break axles and blow a clutch if you get abusive with a 5.7 TPI

[This message has been edited by PaulJK (edited 05-10-2015).]

IP: Logged
dobey
Member
Posts: 11572
From:
Registered: Sep 2001


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 371
User Banned

Report this Post05-10-2015 08:16 AM Click Here to See the Profile for dobeySend a Private Message to dobeyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by IMSA GT:


You must be a miracle worker. Everyone who goes the aftermarket route with engine swaps had nothing but headaches here in California.


AFAIK, it's ok to use a FWD manual trans as long as the engine was available with a manual. If it only came with an auto though, you'll have to use an auto. This is why 3800s and Northstars are a pain in CA if you want to use a manual. I think WCF has been able to get CARB approval for a 3800+manual though.
IP: Logged
cyrus88
Member
Posts: 305
From:
Registered: Jun 2003


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post05-10-2015 07:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cyrus88Send a Private Message to cyrus88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by PaulJK:


Believe me, you can still break axles and blow a clutch if you get abusive with a 5.7 TPI



Oh I agree, but wouldn't be cool to be able to break the axles everytime you pull out of the driveway.

IP: Logged

next newest topic | next oldest topic

All times are ET (US)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | Back To Main Page

Advertizing on PFF | Fiero Parts Vendors
PFF Merchandise | Fiero Gallery | Ogre's Cave
Real-Time Chat | Fiero Related Auctions on eBay



Copyright (c) 1999, C. Pennock