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Old 12-17-2016, 12:05 PM   #1
jonsayz
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California smog

Hey gang,

I'm importing an e30 from Canada (crossing the border in Michigan). It's a 1991, so it's 25 years old, making it pretty easy. My only question is smog in CA. It passed ontario's strict emissions tests, but does anyone know if I'll have to comply to CA smog and if that might be a problem?
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:46 PM   #2
Cayoncrusier93
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Hey gang,

I'm importing an e30 from Canada (crossing the border in Michigan). It's a 1991, so it's 25 years old, making it pretty easy. My only question is smog in CA. It passed ontario's strict emissions tests, but does anyone know if I'll have to comply to CA smog and if that might be a problem?
Easiest way to know is to compare standards. I have my smog sheet at home, but were i live they only test at idle and 2,500 RPMs. If you'd like i can post it when i get home for you.
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Old 12-17-2016, 02:09 PM   #3
roguetoaster
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I'd assume that you'd have to get a letter from BMW stating that the car was built to US emissions standards for 1991 (assuming it was a CDM car) or I suspect you'd have to have it certified.
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Old 12-18-2016, 03:57 AM   #4
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that CA has different tests for different areas. I know when I was living in nor cal, a basic smog was all that was needed for a car outside of the area, but if you got it in CA, no test at all. But in Santa Barbara, they check everything down to the evap, and gas cap

Palo Alto, CA - you'd most likely get the full test. That's not just a idel, and 2500 RPM but a dyno test now no?
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:50 AM   #5
Streichholzschächtelchen
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get a ups address at a ups store somewhere rural in ca, no test.
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:04 PM   #6
marshallnoise
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get a ups address at a ups store somewhere rural in ca, no test.
This does work. Not saying how I know, just that I know.

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Old 12-18-2016, 07:32 PM   #7
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due to your location in the bay area smog rules are pretty darn strict i had to work hard to get my m42 smogged I'm in a different county but basically the same rules, fortunately now i live in austin where e30's only have to go through a small safety test. post in the nor cal chat if you need to know specifics. those guys are very familiar with smog laws. good luck.
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:56 PM   #8
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If theirs no check engine light and it has cats I know a guy $80 no pass no pay, they don't really care over visual inspection lol he's in the east bay.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:18 PM   #9
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its mostly cats.. theyre $126 installed for a legit one at the shop that I go too... keep the car running right and it should pass...

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Old 12-19-2016, 12:27 PM   #10
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its mostly cats.. theyre $126 installed for a legit one at the shop that I go too... keep the car running right and it should pass...
Which shop if I may ask? Mines rusted to shit and I'd love a cheap and reliable suggestion.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:29 PM   #11
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Which shop if I may ask? Mines rusted to shit and I'd love a cheap and reliable suggestion.
this is in san jose its called abuelos mufflers.... santa clara and 24 st I believe... I did this last yr before I wreck my first e30...
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jonsayz View Post
Hey gang,

I'm importing an e30 from Canada (crossing the border in Michigan). It's a 1991, so it's 25 years old, making it pretty easy. My only question is smog in CA. It passed ontario's strict emissions tests, but does anyone know if I'll have to comply to CA smog and if that might be a problem?
I hope this is not a newly acquired car.
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:23 AM   #13
mtech325
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You may want to skim through this thread.

From my understanding (someone correct me if I'm wrong), any imported car has to be smogged or made legal to California specification before being registered in CA. In the case of e30's it'll be easier to deal with a 325i or m42 powered car since those motors were sold in the United States. Chances are that you'll have to get CA cats welded in to meet CA smog requirements (not the end of the world though).

This is where I'm a bit confused: Even with the 25 year exempt rule, those cars still have to pass CA emissions testing, and if the motors were not sold originally sold in the USA, they definitely have to go to state lab facility to be modified for "compliance." This is where people will talk about paying $5k-10k for this process. The bit I'm confused about is whether a US legal motor (such as an m20b25 or m42b18 e30 touring) still has to do this, or simply go to BAR with CA legal cats and stock emissions equipment hooked up for a smog inspection.

Perhaps it's just me, but I can't say I've seen any R32 skylines registered with CA plates. I feel people import these through other states, and keep them registered in those states. Legally an out of state car is only allowed to be in CA for 10 days or so, but this is hard to police. A good example is Matt Farah's R32 GT-R. In his video, the car has a South Carolina plate or somewhere back east.

I'd be curious to see how Jason Cammisa's e30 touring was imported, because that car has CA plates, but it's also a 325i with an m20b25.
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:44 AM   #14
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Perhaps it's just me, but I can't say I've seen any R32 skylines registered with CA plates. I feel people import these through other states, and keep them registered in those states. Legally an out of state car is only allowed to be in CA for 10 days or so, but this is hard to police. A good example is Matt Farah's R32 GT-R. In his video, the car has a South Carolina plate or somewhere back east.
I met one at Laguna a couple weeks ago. Guy had imported an R32, paid to federalize it, and then paid to go through the BAR process to have it legally plated and insured in CA. He spent an obscene amount to have it done right without any janky project-car nonsense, and the result is quite awesome.

I can't speak to the importation issue, but BAR will check that all emissions equipment for whatever engine you have (same or newer as chassis model year) is present, then put you on a dyno to confirm the equipment is working properly. It's not difficult, you just need all the original equipment present and functioning correctly, and the car to be 100% unmodified upstream of the CA-compliant catalytic converter.
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:04 AM   #15
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A CA cat is $200 by itself, plus install which at the cheapest is at least another $75 or so. You may be able to get away with a non-CA cat, but if the smog tester checks you'll fail the visual. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Did this a few months ago and was seriously considering getting a non-CA cat since they're like $100 cheaper and from what I had read not that different. Ended up going with the CA cat and was VERY glad I did as the smog guy did check the serial number...
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