California Smog issues

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California Smog issues

Postby CalElan » Sun 07.05.2017, 20:25

I live in the SF Bay Area and am trying - and failing miserably - to get my car smogged.
Been to 5 local stations including the one that did it last time to be told they don't have the data to be able to do the test.

Bay Area drivers or anyone CA based know where I can take the car to get it tested?
Any other information that may be of help?

Thanks. AA
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby steve matthews » Tue 09.05.2017, 19:42

Virginia, we don't really care.
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby CalElan » Tue 09.05.2017, 19:47

Lucky bas... er you! :chair:
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby tigerdog » Sun 28.05.2017, 15:57

I've been using the same smog test place and tester for 10 years and get to go in this week. I hope I don't end up in the same place as you. It's in Solana Beacn (north San Diego) so it doesn't help you much, I'm afraid. What do they mean that they don't have the data needed to test?
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby CalElan » Mon 12.06.2017, 20:59

sorry for the delay..
The way it was explained to me:
STAR stations and their results are strictly monitored. There is a statistical curve for failures of older vehicles and if you pass vehicles consistently away from these stats then your station gets 'looked it'.
The evap system seemed to cause the most concern - They seemed unable to decide if they should or should not test it. The rules are if it's not accessible then no test - but it seems 'not accessible' was open to interpretation.
In the end one guy looked it over - explained this to me and declined to test it. The other stations just gave me 'we don't have the equipment', BS.

I reached out to the Golden Gate Lotus Club to see if anyone was having an Elan smogged and where. Their membership guy was super-helpful and had a place he was smogging his.
I booked in - the guy never raised an eyebrow - done and dusted in 15 minutes. His assessment of the other stations - if they can't plug them in - they're not interested.

Guess where mine is going in future - as an added bonus the garage next door were fitting some shift-cables to a beautiful silver Elan.

Hope your test went well..
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby tigerdog » Mon 12.06.2017, 23:07

Mine did not. Failed visual, since Smaug currently wears the intake system from Top End Performance; exposed filter, blow off valve. I have to put back the stock intake pipe and trash can air filter. While I have the trash can, I can no longer find the intake pipe. I'm hoping someone has one they'll part with. Most likely, I'll be removing the TEP system and selling it, so some lucky stiff, someplace other than California, will get what is arguably the best intake pipe system ever made for the M100.

Not happy, but it's the price we pay to live in Paradise.
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby CalElan » Wed 14.06.2017, 21:08

Paradise... I think SD is way closer to that than SF!
I admit to wondering how much of a PITA it would be to run a decent intake system and then swap back every couple of years..
I think you just highlighted the probable biggest issue for me too - losing the pieces..

Best of luck with the search!
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby tigerdog » Sun 18.06.2017, 15:51

CalElan wrote:I admit to wondering how much of a PITA it would be to run a decent intake system and then swap back every couple of years..

It's probably an hour's wrenching to swap the hoses and air cleaner in/out. But if I'm going to do it once, I'll find a way to make the stock system do the job. I really question its performance impact anyway. In theory, boost should build marginally more quickly because the hoses don't have to "inflate" as pressure builds. I'm skeptical.
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby HJ2 » Sun 18.06.2017, 16:22

... And you should! :wink:
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby tigerdog » Wed 12.07.2017, 01:27

And the previous shop declined it again, even with the replacement hoses (thanks John!) This time it was the "not enough information" BS. Because of Smaug's unique nature (clicky), this is going to be an annual issue.

Anyone have a bone-stock Elan, thinking about modding? Want to trade for one with every cool thing that ever came through LEC? PM me. Californians not apply... :?
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby CalElan » Thu 13.07.2017, 00:22

Honestly, I was considering how to move my Elan on with the smogging hassles I was having.. :( It's a royal pain in the ass and really spoils the joy of ownership.
I was pointed to the right place by the membership guy at GGLC (nice guy) and my faith and smog was instantly restored. :D

Anyone local who could advise where they are getting theirs done?
Hang in there.
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby tigerdog » Thu 13.07.2017, 23:36

Well, it seems to help to "know a guy who knows a guy". Suffice to say, that happened. However, Smaug failed with high NOx numbers. Now this is ironic, as I just sold off a VW "dieselgate" diesel that made... too much NOx. Luckily, the guy that knows a guy runs a shop with a very talented mechanic; same one that did the steering rack, timing belt, etc. earlier this year. Systematic testing proved, my ECU is bad. It is not sending the signal to switch in EGR.

Friendly guy calls, says, "Well, we have found the issue. We checked all the sensors and tested everything and the problem is isolated to the engine computer/ECU."
I say, "What? You're telling me we are going to have to somehow find an engine computer for a 25-year old Lotus that they only made 546 of, ever???"
Guy:"Well, yes, I'm afraid that's where we are."
Me: "OK, then. I'll just grab my spare off the shelf and bring it down in an hour or so."
dead silence
Guy: "you have one?"

Turns out, Lotus had the California version ECU on the aftersales list a few years back, for a bargain price, so I picked one up, knowing this day would come. Who says hoarding never pays? Not me!
Should get him back by tomorrow.
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby Giniw » Fri 14.07.2017, 00:33

:lol:

(Honestly I find it suspicious the ECU would work and just not send the signal for the EGR valve ...?! On the other hand it's true it's a bit an oldschool device, not just a chip, so ... Well you soon will know if it's any better, I hope so! :))
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby tigerdog » Fri 14.07.2017, 02:53

I should know by tomorrow, but in my mind, it makes sense. The ECU doesn't actually output anything to the sensors; rather, there's a driver circuit for each of the major closed-loop devices.
Screenshot_2017-07-13_18-43-58.png

Looks like that circuit includes a small relay that completes earth, to activate the related solenoid. Could be a bad driver transistor or a failed relay inside the ECU. In any case, I'll get the old one back and poke around to see if I can locate the culprit.

The ECU is probably the weakest link in any collectible car from the 1980s onward. Electronic components don't last forever. Electrolytic capacitors dry out and fail over time, circuits corrode or develop whiskers that lead to shorts. There's no assurance that my spare on the shelf is any better but at least it hasn't been exposed to the elements and vagaries of use.
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby atikovi » Fri 13.10.2017, 22:48

CalElan wrote:Been to 5 local stations including the one that did it last time to be told they don't have the data to be able to do the test.


Why should that be your problem or inconvenience? I'd think they would give you an automatic pass if their equipment can't do the test. Or at least plug in the Isuzu equivalent for the test. I just had the emissions test today here in Maryland and it easily passed, even with 11 year old gas in the tank.

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Re: California Smog issues

Postby CalElan » Tue 17.10.2017, 01:22

Guy explained to me that STAR stations in CA are measured against a statistical average for the age of a vehicle. In short, they are expected to fail a certain % of old cars. If their numbers are not on the norm they can be inspected and if it's found they didn't complete all the tests they should have done then they can lose their license.

In the end it came down to the evaporator. They don't have to test it if they can't get ready access to it. I told him where it was located but either he didn't believe me OR he didn't believe me enough to risk his business. It is not required to be tested on the Elan.

Once I found a station familiar with the car it went straight through and he just wrote 'No access to evap' on the test form. Easy!
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Re: California Smog issues

Postby lotos » Wed 18.10.2017, 00:52

Colorado added automated drive-by emissions, and I'm so thankful. You have to drive by twice every other year. I put it in my calendar and use it as an excuse to take the car out on the road, so I end up doing around 5-10 a year just to play it safe. The bastards at the emissions test broke my clutch cable last time I did it. Thankfully I had the kit I bought years ago ready to go, but still.
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