1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Smog check...a bad omen (california)

Discussion in '1st Generation Cummins' started by bob_442, Aug 31, 2020.

  1. bob_442

    bob_442 mad scientist

    Posts:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    Morgan Hill, Ca.
    I live in California. I have a number of vehicles (can't quite count 'em with my fingers) registered and insured. All but one of them are smog-exempt because of their age. The one vehicle that isn't exempt, well, I inherited it. In California, anything 1975 and older is exempt...and diesels 1997 and older are exempt from biannual smog checks. Two my vehicles are 1988 and 1989 Chummins (a V30 and a R30), respectively. These trucks originally both had 454s up front, and the VIN codes reflect that. Both vehicles had had the "statement of facts" form filled out for DMV long before I owned them. The titles have a "D" on them where the "G" used to be. I've never had to smog check these trucks.

    Within the last month I received the registration renewal paperwork for both of them, and both require a smog check. The imagination runneth over with all sorts of horrible scenarios playing out in my mind. I'm gonna have to call DMV tomorrow to see what's up. My hope is that they screwed up, or that they reset the mode of power based on the VIN code and will simply need a new statement of facts. I worry that I'll have to take them to the smog referee, wherever that is, or whether they are even open with Covid-19 and all. I also worry that they won't let me call these diesels if the VIN code says otherwise.

    Anyone else going through this?
     
  2. Rug_Trucker

    Rug_Trucker Registered User

    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    May 10, 2019
    Location:
    Pertnear Nashville TN
    Yuck, commiefornia..............
     
  3. Clb

    Clb Another old truck Supporting Member

    Posts:
    4,260
    Likes Received:
    794
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    nannyfornia
    Relax
    Remember, it is the prk's gubberment!
    I bet it's another typo or "lets see if he bites" monies grab...
     
  4. bob_442

    bob_442 mad scientist

    Posts:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    Morgan Hill, Ca.
    CA DMV's phone system hung up on my after I was on hold for a short while. I called the smog referee, and now have virtual appointments set up in a few weeks to hopefully get this sorted out. It will be interesting to see (if I ever do see) what happened here, and also if anyone else ends up experiencing this. I'll update in a few weeks with how it all works out.
     
  5. u2slow

    u2slow bilge rat

    Posts:
    925
    Likes Received:
    251
    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Location:
    PNW
    First off... no idea how california works.

    Second... we used to have smog checks here (AirCare they called it) and the guidelines for engine swaps were always about same model year or newer engine (with respect to emissions equipment).

    Running the gas engine test on a diesel should pass actually. It will probably clog their equipment too. Particulate/soot (opacity) was the main test, and not part of the gas test anyway. The gas test was checking for CO, NOx, and hydrocarbons.

    I would think a 6BT should be able to run really clean compared to a 6.2NA available in those years. Some 6.2's had EGR, but not in 1-tons. Make sure you have IP screws backed out to stock or near stock settings.
     
  6. Clb

    Clb Another old truck Supporting Member

    Posts:
    4,260
    Likes Received:
    794
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Location:
    nannyfornia
    Ummm
    Theefuckyoutalkinaboutwillis????
     
    Rug_Trucker likes this.
  7. Rug_Trucker

    Rug_Trucker Registered User

    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    May 10, 2019
    Location:
    Pertnear Nashville TN
    I don't think my '93 has an EGR.
     
  8. u2slow

    u2slow bilge rat

    Posts:
    925
    Likes Received:
    251
    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Location:
    PNW
    I'm not aware of any 12-valves using EGR. My 89-93's don't.

    My point is you'd likely have to meet or exceed the emissions requirements of your Chevy with a factory diesel option.
     
  9. bob_442

    bob_442 mad scientist

    Posts:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    Morgan Hill, Ca.
    I was worried about the complications that speaking to the referee might bring, so I'm going to try to use that as plan B. Plan A is to call back the DMV and ask what is going on. I did that and the person on the phone was clueless and not helpful with regard to explaining what happened. It took a couple minutes for her to understand that pre-98 diesels are in fact exempt. She was not up on the facts and was so used to callers with 98+ diesels calling up and asking about smog checks -- she was not even aware that pre-98 diesels are exempt.

    The only suggestion (which may be helpful -- the jury's still out) that she had was to include a new statement of facts with the renewal payment and paperwork. I did that. Now it is a waiting game. If the stickers show up in the mail, I cancel the referee appointments. If not, I deal with the referee and potentially end up having to have the trucks examined, and of course any fuel screws had better be turned down. Those puffs of black smoke, as brief as they are, when the pedal is punched are bad, bad news.

    Since this happened to two (out of two) of my converted trucks, I cannot believe this was an isolated error. I also can't imagine how this could be a direct human error. I believe it had to be a programming error. The most likely upshot of all that is that this should be happening to everyone in California with a converted-to-diesel pre-98 vehicle. But these are only suppositions from a person who knows a thing or two about computers. The truth is, I just done know, at least not yet.

    Thinking out-loud, with a touch of wishful thinking, if this was a programming error, DMV by now should be getting a flood of calls and statements of fact included with the registration payments. They should have figured out how to deal with this. On the other hand, if this was only me, I expect they will take some time to deal with me. I'll be driving around with expired tags, and carrying proof of payment and documentation that shows that DMV went off the deep-end. The good news is that these trucks are typically only used for camping and towing a boat to the water. These are not high-risk activities as far as having an expired tag get some unwanted attention.

    Addressing an earlier comment, there's no way the diesel could undergo the testing that the original 454 would get. First off, the mechanic would have trouble verifying that the distributor timing was set within specs... :)

    I've been told (it was a few years ago) by a smog check guy that for those diesels that do get tested because they are 98+, the test is to stab the accelerator pedal a couple times, and to insure that it doesn't put out a puff of visible smoke. This was not first hand experience and things may have changed since then with the introduction of cat piss in the exhaust system.
     
  10. IDIoit

    IDIoit MachinistFabricator Supporting Member

    Posts:
    12,686
    Likes Received:
    2,458
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2014
    Location:
    commiefornia
    in CA as well, i have a 01 SD and a 98 PSD.
    both require smog.
    i registered them at my parents house which happens to be a clean county.
    i smog check, and then no more until i transfer title, which will be.. never.

    dont fret the smog.
    as long as your monitors (obd2) are set and you dont have a check engine light,
    or a open element air filter, they pass no issue.
    no tail pipe sniffer, but they do give it a rev and check for excessive smoke
     
  11. Burnt

    Burnt Registered User

    Posts:
    10
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Location:
    United States
    @bob_442

    (In a southern Buford T Sheriff drawl...)

    "What we have heeeeerrre is a case of 'Engine Change' and a change in 'Motive Power', we reckon."

    Remember, that California is only interested in smog checking what actually produces smog, which is the engine. So they follow the year of the engine (in heavy duty vehicles) or the year of the original donor vehicle from which the engine was taken (in light duty vehicles).

    Once an engine change has taken place, the smog rules that formerly applied to the recipient vehicle no longer matter. California follows the engine and the smog standards of the chassis the engine came from, not the smog standards for the chassis the engine was retrofitted to.

    At the time of the engine change, the BAR referee should have affixed a label (oftentimes blue in color) to the vehicle reflecting the approval of the engine change.

    One question I have for you is, are the Cummins engines 1998 or newer? I've forgotten a lot about 5.9 engines, but I seem to recall that 1998 was a split year between 12 valve and 24 valve availability, so even if you are running 12 valves, if the Federal Emissions Certification label that has the Engine Family Number and year of manufacturer for the ENGINE is 1998 or newer, that information would be documented by the BAR on blue label the referee may have affixed somewhere in the engine compartment, and that information would also be on electronic record associated with the vins of the 1988 and 1989 Chevys.

    Since the engine is what produces the smog, if the diesel engines that were retrofitted are newer than 1998, this could very well been the computer programming "trigger" that caused you to receive those notices in the mail.

    "Smog Check Tests- The vehicle must pass ALL of the following Smog Check tests (regardless of model year) using the donor vehicle Smog Check test type requirements." Smog Check Reference Guide, Appendix D: Engine Change Guidelines, Section IV, Paragraph d.


    If the engines are older than 1997, then the trigger may be due to some insufficiency in the notations of the original BAR referee who inspected the vehicles following the engine change. Any insufficiency will require another visit to a BAR referee who has the authority to verify and correct the vehicle status record.

    If the diesel engines are the same year or newer than the model year of the recipient trucks (all Dodge Cummins engines are, in the case of your '88 and '89 Chevies) and, are of a model year that would not otherwise by subject to smog inspection (1997 or older), then your vehicle should be exempted from smog inspections in the future.

    HOWEVER, if your donor vehicle of your engines was say, a Ford F-800 heavy duty truck, then that diesel engine swap would no longer be allowed under current engine change rules. However, the vehicle class limitations may not have been in effect at the time your Chevys were re-powered. Will you be grandfathered, since the BAR already approved your engine swap and accepted your registration fees for X number of years since? That would certainly be the right thing to do, in the interest of justice, but this is new, gray, and not very often treaded upon territory, which is one of the reasons why I am weighing in and subscribing to this thread... to follow the outcome.

    If the Cummins engines are both 1998 or newer, then this is another interesting and not very often treaded territory, but it isn't gray. It's black and white. You will be subject to diesel smog check standards that applied to the donor vehicles... unless the donor vehicle were heavy duty trucks. Then it gets gray again. I'll be watching for updates to this thread to see how that plays out in practice. In the meantime...

    Remember the phrase "Motive Power", when communicating with DMV personnel who have never encountered a case like yours before. Motive Power is the key word for them to be able to look up what they are supposed to do in their procedural manual, and will lead them to Section 22.040: Changes to Engine or Fuel Type/Motive Power.

    https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/handb.../changes-to-engine-or-fuel-type-motive-power/


    I'll go ahead and post the text for your convenience here, as with the number of pre '75 vehicles smog exempt vehicles that you already have registered, Big Brother is probably tracking your IP address, and is standing by with a fleet of tow trucks to haul them away...

    "Chapter 22 Corrections and Adjustments

    22.040 Changes to Engine or Fuel Type/Motive Power

    A motive power (MP) change must be referred to the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Referee Center when the new MP is not the same as originally equipped, as indicated by the vehicle identification number (VIN) decoding program.

    The BAR Referee Center will inspect the vehicle to verify and/or approve the new MP change. BAR will issue a smog exemption on the vehicle record if the MP exempts the vehicle from smog certification.

    Do not refer the vehicle to BAR if:

    - The MP change indicated is the same MP as originally equipped as indicated by a VIN decode. Correct the MP to what the VIN decode indicates.
    - Keying type transaction code (TTC) A00, and the vehicle was converted to an alternate fuel type prior to the sale. Change the MP to what is recorded on the Report of Sale.

    The procedure below must be followed:

    Refer inquiries regarding engine changes or fuel type/MP changes to:

    BAR 1-800-952-5210
    Bar Referee Center 1-800-622-7733
    BAR Internet website smogcheck.ca.gov

    Refer customers to contact the California Air Resources Board (CARB) at 1-800-242-4450 prior to making any alterations to the emission control system configurations.

    For customers who already made an engine change, including those to a different fuel type/MP (Example gas to electric), the vehicle must be referred to the BAR Referee Center. BAR will notify DMV of any permanent smog exemptions after inspecting the vehicle."

    NOW, once you start dealing with the BAR, the keyword to remember is Engine Change. The BAR doesn't speak "Motive Power". They speak "Engine Change", and "Engine Change" is very distinct from "Engine Replacement".

    "Engine Replacement" means like kind engine as the vehicle was originally equipped with, using the same fuel.

    "Engine Change" means a different kind of engine (or what the DMV calls Motive Power), using a different kind of fuel.

    There have been changes in the rules between 2010 and 2019 regarding Engine Changes. Here is only a SMALL PART of what applied in 2019:

    All model year vehicles (gasoline, diesel, hybrid, CNG, LNG, LPG, etc.) must meet the following:

    a. Model Year - The installed engine must be of the same model year or newer than the model year of the recipient vehicle.

    b. Engine Classification- Vehicle and engine classifications of the donor and recipient vehicles must be the same based on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Classification examples include passenger car, light-duty truck (LDT1, LDT2), light-heavy-duty truck (LHD1, LHD2), medium-duty vehicle (MDV), etc. For example, a heavy-duty truck engine may not be installed in a light-duty truck even if they have the same displacement. Non-emissions controlled engines, such as industrial and off-road-use-only engines, and non-certified “crate engines”, MAY NOT be installed in any emission- controlled vehicle.

    c. Certification Type - The certification type (California or Federal certification) of the engine and recipient vehicle must be the same or, if not, the engine must adhere to the more stringent standard. For example, a California certified engine may be installed in a Federal vehicle but a Federal engine may not be installed in a California vehicle. Proof of the certification type from the manufacturer or CARB EO of the donor engine must be provided at the time of the engine change inspection at the Referee.

    d. Smog Check Tests- The vehicle must pass ALL of the following Smog Check tests (regardless of model year) using the donor vehicle Smog Check test type.



    Please keep us posted. What you experience will help a lot of people navigate their way to lawfully approved repowers, and avoid costly errors.
     
  12. idiTravelAll

    idiTravelAll Full Access Member

    Posts:
    280
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    I'd bet it's a new system error/ "correction" or computer thinking it corrected an "error" ..everyone in AZ this year with an International received registration renewal stating that there International is a trailer.
     
  13. idiTravelAll

    idiTravelAll Full Access Member

    Posts:
    280
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    I went to the MVD about 2 years ago and the guy behind the counter told me AZ is going plateless soon and that we would be one of the first if not thee first state to implement it.. crazy times.
     

Share This Page