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Emissions standards per location - too good to be true?


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Hey guys, first time poster here, just recently came across your forum and its vast wealth of information. As someone who plans to one day buy a 72 240Z and swap in a Skyline power train, I'm pretty excited to find this forum. The one hiccup that had me rethinking the whole project is emissions laws - here in NJ, just about every vehicle that's not historic or a hybrid has to meet emissions laws, and I'm sure many of you have similar laws in your states.

 

However, I don't plan on embarking on this project until I am out of the military (currently on track to enlist in the Navy in the coming months) and have found a place to live, preferably somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.  I decided to look up emissions laws by those states up there and what I found just seemed absolutely too good to be true.

 

Oregon and Washington seem pretty lax on emissions laws as it is, only requiring emissions testing in certain metropolitan areas and having no statewide requirement.

 

The real kicker though, is that Washington actually has a clause stating that custom vehicles are completely exempt from emissions testing.

 

Washington emissions page: http://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/emissions.html -> if you scroll down to 'exemptions' and click on RCW 46.04.162 you will find that page.

 

I already knew that putting an RB26DETT into a 74 or older S30 would prove to be much easier than any 75 or newer car due to more lax emissions requirements.  But this just seems wayyyy too good to be true....

 

Any thoughts you guys? Does this really mean what I think it means? I can just throw skyline parts at a 240z and it won't matter as long as the vehicle is at least 30 years old?

 

Sorry if this has been covered in a previous topic but I wasn't able to turn up any information about this with the search function

Edited by shroom
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NJ requires you to meet only the emissions of the year it was made. They also don't check for emissions equipment, they just do a tailpipe test (in my area, anyway). They also don't do safety inspections... but anyway...

 

It's easy to get historic plates for your car, it just can't look like a junker. 25 years old and no missing exterior parts and they will give you the plates. I have a VG33 swapped 280Z that's 'Historic'. Clive (IIRC) has a LS swapped 'Historic'.

 

Yeah, there are a lot of states that don't do emissions testing for certain vehicles. That '75 or newer thing is just for California. Most (if not all) other states have a rolling 20/25 year exemption.

 

This usually means that you are exempt from scheduled testing, not compliance! You can be pulled over and referred to a test and/or cited if your car is spewing smoke or a cop actually knows and cares about what's under the car/hood. That said, pretty much the only places that will bother you are CA and NYC.

 

Now, federal law is a different matter. You are not supposed to disable, modify, or remove any emissions equipment. But as far as I know this is only prosecuted on a large-scale operation level, meaning that they just go after illegal imports and any shops that disable shit for cash. I've never heard of an individual being prosecuted.

Edited by BLOZ UP
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Thanks for the informative reply!

 

Until I found this forum, pretty much all the information I was turning up about RB swaps was saying how illegal it would be and hard to get to meet emissions without nerfing the engine with additional legal equipment. I mostly want a trackable non-daily RB26 240Z, so the less holding it back the better... I didn't know it would be this legal.  Awesome!

Edited by shroom
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By installing the RB26DET engine you've violated Federal emission laws.  That engine was never certified for use in any vehicle sold in the USA.  You can never meet any emission law in any state - period.  Will that be an issue during your ownership of the car?  Probably not unless you do something stupid while driving it.

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Trust me, after owning a rotary for years, you have to be doing some really really REALLY jacked up sh*t for an officer in NJ to do something like that. I've been pulled over in my FD by sherif's, state trooper's and local cops, no cats running 10.5 afr on idle and so rich it would make your eyes water after only a few seconds and not once did any of them ever ask about emissions. I have gotten a few compliments though lol. 

 

Come to think of it im pretty sure me and a few of my rotary friends passed by some cops popping 2 foot flames and they didn't do anything.

 

That being said its unlikely you would get that lucky....moral of the story, they know going in that the car is old, its highly doubtful they will care much or even know what their looking at if you pop the hood.

 

And now that NJ cut the budget on state inspections its even easier to pass.

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  • 6 months later...

Washington State has a 25yr rolling exemption from emissions. So as of now anything before 1990 wouldn't need to be tested. I've done swaps on older cars and never had to have anything inspected here. Never had a problem after being pulled over here either. I have collector car plates on mine and I don't even have to buy tags every year anymore.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My suggestion, do a search in 5 years nearer the end of your enlistment. 

 

LOTS can change in the time you're in...

 

Apparently the MotorEx decisions are still misconstrued...people have a problem reconciling the fact that ANY 'state' that allows registration DOES NOT trump FEDERAL laws.

 

You can get anything you want locally registered. Does that make it federally legal? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

 

BAR Tags do not denote FEDERAL Compliance. Without FEDERAL compliance, your swap is illegal. In CA, without reporting to the DMV unless under very specific conditions, almost ANY engine swap is illegal ... including "Pre-75 cars" with later-modeled engines. 

 

And it was the FEDS taking those cars, not the state of CA. Same as the guys impounded for illegal headlights by the DOT in VA and San Diego.

There's Local Compliance, and Federal Compliance---one does not necessarily satisfy the other.

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No idea if your comments are directed to anyone...

 

CA DMV couldn't give a hoot if you have a swap or not. They just need a smog check pass or exempt status to issue/deny registration. I've had swapped cars that were BAR tagged and there is nothing in the process that includes notifying DMV. The CARB/BAR are involved to certify and check the operational status of the car.

 

You're right, a state legal vehicle is not a federally legal vehicle. In this case, I don't know if the BAR tagged car went through federal compliance testing and certification. So the configuration may or may not be certified. BUT I am going to go out on a ledge and say that they were since they had cats added and were under 25 years old and legally imported into the United States.

 

But here is where there is something to consider, all of our cars are now over 25 years old. That means that they are federally exempt regardless. So would there be a situation where our cars would be federally illegal anyway? I can see an R34 getting seized or something, but an S30 with an RB swap?

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But here is where there is something to consider, all of our cars are now over 25 years old. That means that they are federally exempt regardless. So would there be a situation where our cars would be federally illegal anyway? I can see an R34 getting seized or something, but an S30 with an RB swap?

 

Good question. I know federal EPA laws apply to emissions equipment. But, I'm not sure what the federal laws have regarding swaps.

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The 25 year rule applies to importation only.  Cars that were sold in the USA originally have to comply with Federal safety and emissions regulations for the life of the car while registered for street use in the USA.  But, again, Federal enforcement of DOT regulations is almost non-existent for privately owned non-commercial vehicles. 

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