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Smog legal LS1 conversion into a 1978 280z


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I know that it can be done, but you have to install a functional check engine light, i know that it needs to have all the smog equipment, then it gets check over by a referee... then it gets a new VIN, and your stuck trying to find a decent price for insurance anyhow to my question: has anybody done a LS1 (or modern EFI V8) conversion that's SMOG legal in California?? I'm just wondering how much of a headache its going to be to go to a referee?

 

who knows by the time I get an ls1 swapped in it might be a no smogger

Edited by 1978_280z
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Having done a smog legal/referee approved KA24DE swap into a 510 for a customer its not that difficult to do. As stated above get the complete engine harness from the LS1 along with all the evap lines and canisters, and anything else that connects to the engine. Shop manuals from the LS1 donor car are mandatory and really read the smog control/emissions sections.

 

Just install and hook everything up, get it running clean and properly, make sure you also install all the evaporative emissions stuff, and then take it the referee for a review. If you're nice, polite, and show you're serious about getting the swap done correctly, the referee can be a huge help. Expect to go back a couple times until you get it right.

 

If you're a dickhead about it and start complaining about government conspiracies, smog Nazis, etc. then you'll never get the car through.

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Here's what people seem to forget: ALL cars in California are required to comply with the smog laws - regardless of the year of manufacture. 1975 MY and older vehicles are exempt from the biannual and sale smog inspections only but they still are required to have all the factory smog equipment installed and operating. A police officer, BAR inspector, referee, and the DMV itself can order any car to get a smog inspection at any time. There is even an anonymous tip phone line and web site where you can report cars that emit visible smoke and that can trigger a notice from the DMV requiring a smog inspection with 10 days.

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Here's what people seem to forget: ALL cars in California are required to comply with the smog laws - regardless of the year of manufacture. 1975 MY and older vehicles are exempt from the biannual and sale smog inspections only but they still are required to have all the factory smog equipment installed and operating. A police officer, BAR inspector, referee, and the DMV itself can order any car to get a smog inspection at any time. There is even an anonymous tip phone line and web site where you can report cars that emit visible smoke and that can trigger a notice from the DMV requiring a smog inspection with 10 days.

 

You are correct except you left out that is cars/trucks build '66 and later, anything earlier didn't have any requirements if memory serves.

 

I don't think I've ever heard of my friends/family being hassled with it, even in uber liberal California.

 

I get pulled over from time to time and its usually curious police wondering why my Z doesn't sound like a I6. I am polite and usually we end up talking for a few mins about cars and I am on my way.

 

I think you'd have a hard time finding a LEO that is out to prove something to really get nailed for it.

 

But, as Murphy's Law states: "What can go wrong, will go wrong."

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I get pulled over from time to time and its usually curious police wondering why my Z doesn't sound like a I6. I am polite and usually we end up talking for a few mins about cars and I am on my way.

 

Exactly. Attitude has everything to do with it.

 

FYI... Remember when Boyd Coddington get into car registration hassles with the CA DMV? The DMV went back through their files and issued a smog inspection notice for every custom car that Boyd had built that was still registered in the state. Sometimes events outside of your control force the issue.

 

BAR and the DMV also have programs where they monitor smog compliance with "problem" categories of cars. They issue smog inspection notices for a random sample of cars in some arbitrary category to determine if there's a compliance problem.

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This should not be a real problem. I sold a 97 LT1 to a buddy to install into a Jaguar XS to replace the v-12. John's Broken Kitty in Texas provided the swap material, including, I believe, reworking the CPU.

 

The CA referee station in San Bernardino provided him with a list of what was required from the 97 LT1 and from the Jaguar.

 

The referee station was helpful in terms of what was needed, but pretty inflexible on some other issues. For example, the LT1 was fitted with early GM manifolds with the AIR injector's in place. The referee accepted these late '60's or so exhaust manifolds as being the functional equivalent for the LT1 manifolds. However, there was a smog related valve that interfered with the Jaguar's chassis: my buddy purchased a '97 Corvette unit that mounted (stock) in a remote location and would clear the Jag's chassis. This was not accepted: he had to cut the frame and mount the valve for the original LT1 (this was out of a sedan and the referee was quite anal that all smog parts must be OE for the sedan.... not mixed and matched between different models of the same year and make).

 

Both the Jag and the LT1 were equipted with converters: the referee allowed the use of the converters originally for the Jaguar. This was a break because the Jag converters were smaller than the LT1 sedan.

 

It took him three visits over about 30 days, but it was approved and is running today. It is a really nice car. Unlike many of our swaps, this one is salable and should hold its relative value quite well.

 

The moral to this post is that it can be done and the best way to do it is to plan well in advance which engine you will use. If my friend had purchased an LT1 out of a 96 Camaro or Firebird or Corvette he could have made the installation w/o cutting the frame.

 

In my case, I screwed up by grabbing a "real good deal" LM7 truck engine with all accessories and looms. The problem is truck engines CAN NOT be legally swapped into a passenger car in California. Nevertheless, I'll prepare it as if I could smog it.

 

Ls1's can be pretty simple smog legal swaps, just remember everything has to be present and work.

 

g

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Hmmm i didnt know you could call and get a list of what is needed. I might have to call my local ref station to see if i can get one and make it so i dont need to make 10 trips down there. I mean, the ref station is at the college local to me, but i dont like driving through fullerton during classtime. too many popo's.

 

Edit: after asking, i don't think you want to make a carb legal OBD2 swap. You will need the engine, trans, wiring harness, and all assoc. things from the donor car. Trans has to match the engine. You will also need the Evap system from the donor car along with the gas tank. The guy i was talking to said, in my case, dont use the 96 LT1, its too much work, use the 95 so you can have the obd1 and not worry about the evap system.

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  • 2 weeks later...

you will have to hook up an evap system but the 95 motor is obd1 and doesnt monitor the tank pressure.you could probably hook up the chevy evap valve to the nissan evap system-there is allready a metal line under the hood from the tank.the car keeps its oem vin #-you just get a new sticker in the door with a bar code the gets scanned when the car gets smogged.best bet is to study how and why the systems are designed`-the ref wants to see all the systems that the engine came with functioning.cat convertors are considered part of the chassis-as the original car was fitted with a heat shield under the trans-the cat has to go back in that space,the are a couple of 75-78 z's in the sf bay area that are certified ls motor swaps-they used the gas tanks from the camaros that the motors came from.car will most likely be sent to test only stations for tests.

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pretty much your better off going to an auction or if you can find a complete wrecked ls1 chassis car and swap everything from there on.

 

i didnt know there was a snitcher line for haters to call in on smog exempt vehicles. i would hate to snitch out all the hot rods if anyone tries to take me out! hehehe

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