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Smogging an out of state car in California


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Hi guys,

So right now I'm looking to buy a 280zx, and I found a 1983 280zx turbo that I would like to buy. However, the car was originally bought in a Colorado dealership in 83 and hasn't been registered in California, where I live. So I'll have to get the car to pass California smog. What I'm wondering is what differences there are between California and non-California 280zx's, and whether or not you think I stand a chance at passing smog without going through lots of modifications.

Any help would be great, thanks.

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If the engine has all of its original emissions components installed and working correctly, internally the engine is in good shape, and the engine is tuned correctly per the FSM it should be very easy to pass smog here in CA.  It will also run well.

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I bought a 2002 F150 two years ago in Canfield Ohio (49-State Legal Vehicle). Drove it to CA after a brief stop in my dad's garage in Upper Michigan to do some plenum bushing repairs and degunked the EGR while inside there.... Drove 7,500 miles and straight into the SMOG Shop to register it.... guy ran the test FOUR times because it tested SO clean.


There is NO requirement that you have CA Emissions on a car registered in CA. New vehicles, yes.... Current models with less than 7,500 miles on it, yes. They make you jump through hoops.


But on run-of-the-mill vehicles over a given age, and above 7,500 miles there is no retrofit requirement, nor restriction or penalty to pay.


As JC says, if it's all in place and functioning, it should pass fine. They will test to 49 State (Federal) specifications, not CA specifications, same as on my F150.

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  • 2 years later...

There used to be a $400 charge for bringing a car into California that was 49 State spec. California was sued and had to pay it all back with interest.


I own a smog shop and though I am not a smog tech, I can tell you that we get a lot of failure dt cars that aren't driven. Bottom line, don't wait until the last minute. Drive it like you stole it BEFORE you need to smog check it and register it. I have one gal with a Rav 4 that has been in 20 times in the last 5 weeks. I'm tempted to drive the thing back to my home in Reno/Tahoe area and back for her because her little 20 mile strolls are not going to get it. Tony's right. Shelf abuse will cause it to fail. The cure is to drive it...

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