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Loophole to get motor swapped 77 & 78 Datsun 280z thru California smog inspection


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Many of us know how difficult it is to get our later model V8 280z cars thru California smog inspection. While pre-1976 Z cars are smog exempt, anyone with a 77 or 78 Z car had to deal with CARB referee. Today I was looking at the CARB rulebook and I saw the following statement:

 

"Vehicles with collector motor vehicles insurance policies that are at least 35 MYs years old are exempt from the visual inspection [as required by subdivision (f) of Section 44012 of the Cal. Health and Safety Code], but must comply with the emissions standards for its model year and pass a functional inspection of the fuel cap and a visual inspection for liquid fuel leaks"

 

My vehicle is not my primary vehicle and a collector car policy thru Hagerty Insurance only cost $350 per year. I have always believed that the California Air Board should be concern about what comes out of my tailpipe not is under my hood. A properly tuned catalytic converter equipped LT1, LS1 should easily blow cleaner than a 35 year old L28.

 

My 78 has just reached the 35 year mark and this would make the biannual smog inspection much easier. Has anyone attempted to use this loophole yet?

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Loopholes leads to grey area. Cali is strict. Letting him know not to venture into loopholes that's all. If that's harsh than go ahead and do the loopholes just count me out of this conversation.

 

Do you know anyone that had there car crush or taken away because of illegal so call grey area modification?

Up to you how much money your willing to lose.

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If you are in one of the counties in CA that meet air quality standards (Mono, Inyo, etc.) then you are only subject to a transfer of ownership smog inspection.  But ALL vehicles registered anywhere in the state of CA are required to comply with ALL the smog regulations applicable to the model year of manufacture.  The only exception are various exemptions for inspections.  At any time a cop or BAR rep can order any vehicle to get a smog inspection with 10 to 14 days.

 

BTW... its not that difficult to do a smog legal engine swap.  LS and LT1s in the S30s are pretty easy.

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All my cars are registered in Amador county thus they only require smog on change of title, and if the previous owner is related to you then no smog is required at all. There are loopholes you need to just test them before you jump balls in. And no your car does not get impounded for illegal modifications, I attempted to smog a supra I had just bought that had some hidden mods on it and not only did they find the mods but they found that cats had been hollowed. All they did was give me the fail certificate and send me on my marry(sorrowful) way. 

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Loopholes leads to grey area. Cali is strict. Letting him know not to venture into loopholes that's all. If that's harsh than go ahead and do the loopholes just count me out of this conversation.

Do you know anyone that had there car crush or taken away because of illegal so call grey area modification?

Up to you how much money your willing to lose.

My goal is to inform the group about some changes in the emissions laws (Feb 2012) that they may not be aware of. Most of use don't drive our z cars everyday and they fit California's definition of a "Collector car".

 

Is your Datsun over 35 years old?

Is your z not your primary vehicle?

Is it garaged?

Do you have or can you get collector car insurance?

Do you drive it on the road primary to commute to events (race track, car shows, car club events)?

 

If you meet these criteria your vehicle qualifies as a collector car (whether you apply for the plates or not). You still have to smog your car biannually but you are not required to pass a visual inspection. The state realizes that as cars get older, original parts become harder to find so you can make changes as long as they don't have a negative affect on air quality. Before you discredit this option do a little research.

 

apps.dmv.ca.gov/vehindustry/vin_memos/vin2012/12vin12.pdf

 

VIN 2012–12 Historical Vehicle Smog Exemption

New Information

Vehicles that are 1976 year-model and newer assigned Historical Vehicle License Plates are not exempt from smog requirements based on designation as a historical or collector vehicle.

Permanent exemption from smog requirements is based on the year-model of the vehicle (i.e. manufactured prior to 1976 year-model) and other specified criteria, and not the license plate assigned to the vehicle.

However, if a historical or collector vehicle (regardless of the license plates assigned to it) is at least 35 years old, the vehicle is exempt from certain portions of the smog test as required by the California Health and Safety Code, provided the vehicle meets the specified criteria.

Procedures

Refer customers who inquire about a smog exemption to contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) at www.bar.ca.gov or to call the BAR number at 1-800-952-5210.

Background

Vehicles assigned Historical Vehicle License Plates were incorrectly being exempt from smog certification requirements.

References

California Vehicle Code §§259, 4000.1, 5051, and 5004 California Health and Safety Code §§43002, 44011, and 44012(f) Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual §21.090

Distribution

Notification that this memo is available online, at www.dmv.ca.gov under Publications was made via California DMV’s Automated E-mail Alert System in April 2012.

Contact

Call the DMV Customer Communications Section, at (916) 657-6560 for further clarification of this memo. Upon request, this document can be produced in Braille or large print.

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Maybe I should not have called it a loophole since it is a revision of the rules. BTW, my Lt1 swapped car is equipped with emission equipment ( EGR, catalytic converters, etc) so it not about ignoring the air emission laws. However getting the swap thru the BAR inspection can be a pain. Here are a few issues I would have to deal with.

1. Dual exhaust, dual cat exhaust system when the original car (95 Camaro) only had a single cat

2. The cats are 49 state legal but not CARB certified ( certified cost over $100 a piece more)

3. The cats are a few inches too far back

4. No air pump

5. Intake is not CARB certified

6. Every future aftermarket upgrade would have to be CARB certified (headers, heads, fuel pressure regulator, turbo, supercharger)

 

I am confident that my car would easily pass 78 emission standards, so for me the collector car option might be the best choice for me.

If you read the rules you will see the it is rolling exemption ( no visual inspection) so 79 280ZX car will apply next year.

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I used the Historic Plate loophole that now appears closed on my Porsche for a few years due to an engine change that wouldn't pass visual inspection. It worked at the time and kept the clean running car on the road while I gathered the necessary pieces to pass the visual inspection.

Dennis

The new rule changes were intended to close the Historic Plate loophole. Many collectors were using the plates to make their cars smog exempt. Many of them, like you, took care of their cars but couldn't pass the visual inspection. Now only pre 76 cars are completely smog exempt (regardless of the plate) but you have more flexibility when smogging a 77 or 78 if it is not your primary transportation.

 

If you haven't looked into collector car insurance you should. Hagerty insured my 78 Datsun 280z for $20000 with a 0 deductible for only $350 per year. I have a 5000 mile per year limit. I think I will also get historic plates too jut because I think they are cool :)

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I started down this path, and it is a valid program,  not a loophole.

There a couple more possible gotchas, one being a qualification

question along the lines of 'Have you modified your car'.  A yes

answer disqualifies your car.  There is a visual inspection, specifically

checking for fuel leaks or other safety issues, so a swap will not

likely slide by...

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Again, no car registered in CA is exempt from complying with the smog regulations applicable to the model year of the vehicle. That is a state law, not a BAR regulation. The only exemption is from bi-annual and sale inspections which are regulations implemented by BAR. That distinction is important.

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The CAMARO you had all that stuff on would have the SAME issues passing smog. This has nothing to do with a Datsun V8 Swap.

 

Frankly, a V8 Swap is easier in many cases than trying to smog the existing one in there if there is a bad cat, bad afm, bad harness, etc.

 

No loophole is necessary, just comply, it's not hard. You would have to with your Camaro Donor, and you have to with older cars as well...as John C says.

 

For all the effort people put in trying to game the system and making things worse for everybody else...they could breeze through a Smog Check with a little forethought and intelligent reading BEFORE doing the swap the way they did it.

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On the money Tony!!!! I can't say it any better, I know my communication skills sucks (hasn't improved in the last 10 years) and I can careless. Like I said, you can call me harsh or an arse for how I said it but it was to discourage what she was planning on doing.

 

If your a true enthusiasts do it right for the rest of us in this nazi state! If this is a community to help the kids do grey area stuff instead of doing it the right way than I'll stick to my for sale section.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you are in one of the counties in CA that meet air quality standards (Mono, Inyo, etc.) then you are only subject to a transfer of ownership smog inspection.  But ALL vehicles registered anywhere in the state of CA are required to comply with ALL the smog regulations applicable to the model year of manufacture.  The only exception are various exemptions for inspections.  At any time a cop or BAR rep can order any vehicle to get a smog inspection with 10 to 14 .

Many of us on this forum live in a grey area including those with rb26dett and sr20det swaps. Even though an early car is exempt from a smog inspection, it doesn't mean it is a 100% legal in California to do one of these swaps. Most NOS kits are illegal in California also most aftermarket headers, homemade turbo and supercharger kits. Anytime you do any these non CARB approved upgrades on any smog equipped car in California (regardless of age) you are gaming the system.

 

The difference it is now easier for post 76 Z cars (35 years and older) owners to get away with it. Now cars that are 35 years older have access to the same upgrades but we still have to pass a sniffer test every two years. Remember this rules change just took effect last year and I wasn't sure if many of you were aware of it.

 

I plan on trying this approach first. I am going to show them my paperwork and if they ask me if my car is modified, I am going to say yes. The new rules do not say the car can't be modified , they just say you have to pass the sniffer test . If it doesn't work than I will get my swap certified in California the traditional way. Laws change all the time so before everyone bashes this approach, let's do a little more research. Many of us with 77 and 78 Z cars want access to other motor swaps and this might give us the opportunity.

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"If this is a community to help the kids do grey area stuff instead of doing it the right way "

 

Then again, without those 'hopeless cases can't pass smog' where would I source my donor vehicles? :icon52: 

Let the laws of California determine the right way.

1. See if your vehicle qualifies (35 year old, limited use collector car)

2. Get the proper insurance (collector)

3. Get your car smogged

4. If asked if the vehicle is modified, tell the truth

5. Pass the smog test and resmog the vehicle every two years.

 

Why is irresponsible to show kids how the get their cars that qualify legally registered and smogged in California?

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