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Old 01-06-2017, 03:55 PM   #1
Chalk
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How hard can it be? m20b20 Touring in CA



It may be obvious from the title that I have no idea what I'm doing and decided to jump into the deep end I bought this car through some awesome sellers on this forum and am eternally grateful for how helpful they've been.

Now, however, I need to get the car registered and have a bunch of little projects along the way to get it in tip top shape--though an incredible amount of legwork on that was done by the previous owner. I'm learning as I go so feel free to point out when I have no idea what I'm talking about :P



I plan for this to be my daily driver, so I'll go with longterm goals first, though some are only long term because budget.
- Raise ride height, I'd like as much as 6.5 inches of clearance--I've already ripped the exhaust off once x.x
- Box for sub
- Led interior lights
- Mud Flaps
- Shifter bushings
- Replace hubcap because the surface of I-880 is like driving repeatedly into brick walls and it fell off
- Replace fog light blank, or get fog lights
- Manual steering rack with quicker ratio
- Limited slip diff
- Cupholders
- Maybe an engine and tranny swap wayyy down the line. I'd like to keep the front light, but the dream setup is about 8 seconds 0-60 with an i6, flat engine, or diesel, and a dogleg 5 speed so I can lock out 1--ideally super short for bay area traffic--and R and drive it like four corners during fun time. OD would probably be necessary to daily that setup though.



Short term there's quite a bit going on.
- App with CA BAR to try to avoid 4.5K+ in lab testing to register
- Gauges are a bit sticky
- Install fuel filler hose cover
- Reattach driver side tweeter to door
- Fire extinguisher
- Figure out why the brake fluid is leaking so fast
- Adjust parking brake
- Sort out high speed vibration
- Brakes (at least soon, I think it's starting to squeak)
- Replace rusted out jackstand
- Protect jack storage area from further rust
- Change thermostat, car is running at 1/4 on temp gauge unless sitting in traffic.
- Do something about tear on drivers seat before it gets worse


On the way back from Fremont because the shippers truck broke down

Things I was told I should do:
- Check driveshaft rubber
- Flexdisc?
- Center bearing?
- Fan viscous coupling, but also I don't understand why switching to an electric fan is so frowned upon
- Timing belt
- Water pump
- Spark plugs and injectors maybe?



Already done:
- Battery tie down
- Valve Adjustment
- Got gauges working with tons of help from the sellers
- Might have fixed oil leak if it was coming from valve cover gasket


The Touring and I basically had the same expression when it became obvious just how much I need learn

Pedigree: I've done brakes on a couple different cars, changed trans and diff fluid, took months to get the heads off my old car, and got a car off blocks--only dropped it once, so yeah I'm basically clueless and have a ton to do Forsure not trying to break more than I can fix with this one.

- Chalk
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:07 PM   #2
CubbyChowder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalk View Post

- App with CA BAR to try to avoid 4.5K+ in lab testing to register
Could you elaborate on this a little? I was told it's basically impossible to legally register a touring in CA because of the expensive lab testing (heard it was $7-10k) but that could be false.

Good luck, hope it all works out!
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:18 PM   #3
Chalk
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Could you elaborate on this a little? I was told it's basically impossible to legally register a touring in CA because of the expensive lab testing (heard it was $7-10k) but that could be false.

Good luck, hope it all works out!
It really mostly seems like nobody is actually sure how it works. DMV is still asking for things their website says I don't need (EPA and DOT certificate). An importer told me the 25 year rule is a myth and you still have to make a car federally compliant regardless of age. First the BAR refs agreed with CARB that lab testing is the only way, but when I called back to ask if they could work with me to get the car setup proper before testing they said to bring it to them because they might be able to negate the testing entirely.

So I think everyone's mileage probably varies on this, but the importer did say there are loopholes before the car is in DMV's system.

- Chalk
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:21 PM   #4
MortyCrock
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Absolutely gorgeous touring! Great purchase, and good luck with CA emissions! I'm definitely happy I moved back to Oregon.


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Old 01-06-2017, 05:51 PM   #5
Chalk
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Absolutely gorgeous touring! Great purchase, and good luck with CA emissions! I'm definitely happy I moved back to Oregon.


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Thanks! I'm really hoping I can avoid having to "move" to get it registered.

- Chalk
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:21 PM   #6
Shock(/\)ave
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Talking

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It may be obvious from the title that I have no idea what I'm doing and decided to jump into the deep end
Yeah! It's great to see this thread posted!

I just jumped into the deep end with my E28 528e - I've been working to get it to pass a safety inspection, and am now down to chasing an inoperative speedometer. More bloody gauge cluster issues! Argh!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
I plan for this to be my daily driver, so I'll go with longterm goals first, though some are only long term because budget.
That car made a great daily driver while we had it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Raise ride height, I'd like as much as 6.5 inches of clearance--I've already ripped the exhaust off once x.x
Impressive! Most impressive...

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Mud Flaps
You'll need to go aftermarket on those due to the skirts.

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Shifter bushings
That was on the list of projects that we never got to, and it would definitely add to the overall driving experience.

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Replace hubcap because the surface of I-880 is like driving repeatedly into brick walls and it fell off


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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Replace fog light blank, or get fog lights
The only time I managed to pop a fog light blank out was when I unexpectedly encountered a gradually increasing snow drift in our driveway. Were you aiming for potholes?

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Limited slip diff
Hell yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Maybe an engine and tranny swap wayyy down the line. I'd like to keep the front light, but the dream setup is about 8 seconds 0-60 with an i6, flat engine, or diesel, and a dogleg 5 speed so I can lock out 1--ideally super short for bay area traffic--and R and drive it like four corners during fun time. OD would probably be necessary to daily that setup though.
You can find S50/52 motors easily there for very reasonable money.

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App with CA BAR to try to avoid 4.5K+ in lab testing to register
Holy crap that's ridiculous, especially considering they could just look up the results of another car they tested at some point in the past!

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Gauges are a bit sticky
GARGH!!!

Could you please elaborate on this issue for me? After I stop twitching I'll see if I can help you sort it out.

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Reattach driver side tweeter to door
Potholes again? They just press in, so it shouldn't take you long to reattach it.

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Brakes (at least soon, I think it's starting to squeak)
The rotors and pads should have a ton of meat left on them, so you might have picked up a stone or something similar.

You should definitely find the source of the brake fluid leak and fix that before you get air into the system. My 528e has just about no brakes left when I bought it, and it was extremely low on fluid (which was full of air and black). I had it bled, but when the A.B.S. kicked in the other day I think a lot more air was pumped into the system, and it needed more fluid again (and needs another quick bleed).

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Protect jack storage area from further rust
Could you post a picture of the rust when you get the chance?

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Do something about tear on drivers seat before it gets worse
It's torn? It was a bit worn when I last saw it, but there were no tears anywhere.

I'd source a set of sport seats for the car given how nice the rest of the interior is. We were looking for them the entire time we had the car, and missed out on two different pairs of them over the years; they should be a lot easier to find in California.

We ended up finding sports seats bolted to another touring, and thought it'd be prudent buy the entire car.

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Check driveshaft rubber
Great idea.

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Spark plugs and injectors maybe?
The plugs were changed this summer, but I don't think the injectors have ever been cleaned (and I would suggest sending them out for cleaning instead of replacement as it's a lot cheaper).

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
Pedigree: I've done brakes on a couple different cars, changed trans and diff fluid, took months to get the heads off my old car, and got a car off blocks--only dropped it once, so yeah I'm basically clueless and have a ton to do Forsure not trying to break more than I can fix with this one.
These cars have incredible support and a great community - you'll do just fine.

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It really mostly seems like nobody is actually sure how it works.
This is so typical of bureaucracy: there are so many different rules and overlap from so many different government agencies nobody you talk to follows the same process.

I would use that to your advantage and find the right person / testing location / office to make that happen. A rural county might be a good place to try if you run into too many problems locally.

Ultimately you need the forms approved and the car registered, and any route you take that gets you there is a good one.
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:40 PM   #7
Roadrunner
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YEAAHH!! I'm so excited to see this thread! I absolutely loved this car, and I'm thrilled that it ended up with such an awesome new owner.

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It may be obvious from the title that I have no idea what I'm doing and decided to jump into the deep end
Maybe it's a tradition, now! Give yourself some credit - you've already accomplished a lot.

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
I bought this car through some awesome sellers on this forum and am eternally grateful for how helpful they've been.
I'm so glad that everything worked out the way it did!

I think Shockwave covered everything already, but as for cupholders, the ones I used in that car were from Gearswitch. They're 3D printed and fit right into the center console. I've also been looking for cupholders for our E28 while taking a break from working on the mechanical issues (I have my priorities straight), and found Ultimate Cupholders which they make for E30s as well. With the low center of gravity set up, they would work well for "spirited driving" or driving on pretty much any of your local roads from the sounds of it.

I'm interested to hear if you find mudflaps for the touring - I'm considering getting them for my new touring since it's impossible to keep it clean on the roads around here.

Great job with everything so far! Love the pictures - can't wait to see more!
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Old 01-06-2017, 08:21 PM   #8
Chalk
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Originally Posted by Shock(/\)ave View Post
I just jumped into the deep end with my E28 528e - I've been working to get it to pass a safety inspection, and am now down to chasing an inoperative speedometer. More bloody gauge cluster issues! Argh!!!
Did BMW list the service intervals for replacing gauge clusters? It seems like they're a wear item! That's a shame about those inspections though, it really seems like a targeted move to subject people to that.

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Originally Posted by Shock(/\)ave View Post
The only time I managed to pop a fog light blank out was when I unexpectedly encountered a gradually increasing snow drift in our driveway. Were you aiming for potholes?
Well, there's this one really fun twisty road by my friend's house, but it's a bit bumpy. I didn't actually think it was too rough, but I guess the missing blank disagrees with me x.x

Come to think of it, the only place I didn't look is where I stopped because a bird had cut it really close (before the bumpy part of the road), but I couldn't find any signs of contact, or any bird. I wonder if I just didn't notice the blank was out there.

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Originally Posted by Shock(/\)ave View Post
GARGH!!!

Could you please elaborate on this issue for me? After I stop twitching I'll see if I can help you sort it out.
It wasn't happening at first, but now it seems like the gauges don't move until they should have gone a certain distance. So I'll be driving along and when I let off the gas the tach will stay at 2000rpm until I hit 1600rpm then drop down to where it should be. Smilar business with the temp and economy gauges. I don't think the speedo is doing it, but I'm not sure the gas gauge isn't.

One thing I thought of is I don't think I noticed that until the only cruise control wire I could find was plugged in, but online it looks like there are supposed to be two, and I haven't tested to see if it's working.

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Potholes again? They just press in, so it shouldn't take you long to reattach it.
I think one of the clips may have given way, but it definitely isn't popping back on, I'll be taking a better look at it pretty soon to see if I can just bend the tab back or something.

It's not really so much potholes though as mating between different surfaces. Like they just dump asphalt on top of a problem and don't smooth it down, and entrances are way too steep a lot of the time. The front bumper of the FR-S I'm trying to get rid of has a lot of scars because of that last one. So at night I'll be driving along on the freeway and then bam, 2 inches of asphalt to hit at 65 (conservative estimate of speed). When I went to Reno a couple years back I was shocked at how driving over concrete that had been repaired with asphalt didn't give the feeling of any imperfection at all. We need some of those road workers over here.


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Originally Posted by Shock(/\)ave View Post
Could you post a picture of the rust when you get the chance?



I'm going to have to stop quoting and just respond because I think I'm doing it wrong since it's proving very difficult difficult.

It's maybe like a 1.5" bit lengthwise along the seat, it's not separated so it might just be wear that I'm confusing with a tear in my memory. My dogs are being so crazy right now that I don't really want to walk through the house again to go look. I'm definitely putting sport seats on the list though!

I've heard either Napa, Humboldt, or Sonoma county--depending on who I'm talking to--doesn't smog test. So that might be a good route to go if I run into more trouble than I can handle. There's a big cars and coffee on the 21st so I'm sure there will be people there who've made it through this kind of issue, and I'm hoping they'll be able to steer me in the right direction.

Yeah getting the injectors cleaned seems to be the route to go, I'm mostly thinking it'll be something to do to help pass smog.

I'll check to see if I've gotten a rock stuck in there, thanks! At some point I just started adding things to the list stream of thought and I probably jumped ahead of myself in more than one case in my post. The leak really does make me nervous, I went through a whole bottle of fluid (it was only good for two top ups) in just over two weeks. I tried to do a drip test, but of course I got excited and drove through a puddle on my way to find a spot I'm actually thinking it may be the slave cylinder for the clutch, because the gear engagement feels smoother when the brake fluid is topped off. But then again that may not be how that works because I'm piecing it together from things my friends told me.

I really don't understand the lab testing thing. On top of it just being ridiculous in the first place, there's only one lab in the state and they're free to decide whether they even want to look at the car or not. Not to mention that the test is pass/fail. The estimates on cost vary a lot. I've heard, as was noted earlier in this thread, figures like 7 and 10 thousand thrown around a lot. The importer guy said 4.5k but it sounded like he either didn't know what he was talking about or knows way better than anybody else.

What's the weight like on the s50/52? It seems like it would be heavy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrunner View Post
YEAAHH!! I'm so excited to see this thread! I absolutely loved this car, and I'm thrilled that it ended up with such an awesome new owner.



Maybe it's a tradition, now! Give yourself some credit - you've already accomplished a lot.



I'm so glad that everything worked out the way it did!

I think Shockwave covered everything already, but as for cupholders, the ones I used in that car were from Gearswitch. They're 3D printed and fit right into the center console. I've also been looking for cupholders for our E28 while taking a break from working on the mechanical issues (I have my priorities straight), and found Ultimate Cupholders which they make for E30s as well. With the low center of gravity set up, they would work well for "spirited driving" or driving on pretty much any of your local roads from the sounds of it.

I'm interested to hear if you find mudflaps for the touring - I'm considering getting them for my new touring since it's impossible to keep it clean on the roads around here.

Great job with everything so far! Love the pictures - can't wait to see more!
My friend has Rallyarmor mud flaps on his e30, and it looks like they'd probably screw right on the same way, cheap too. So I'm hoping it'll work out nice and easy.

Thanks for the cupholder links! I'm planning on taking care of a lot of this stuff as soon as I can a) get the car registered and b) have more in my bank account than the coins I deposited the other day x.x

I also forgot to put on the list that I really want to get a third brake light in there before someone who's too busy with pokemon makes it a coupe!
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:02 PM   #9
Shock(/\)ave
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Arrow

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I'm going to have to stop quoting and just respond because I think I'm doing it wrong since it's proving very difficult.
Hah! It's a pain in the butt to quote the way I do it, which is to manually copy and paste the QUOTE tags repeatedly and format everything. I've been posting on forums for a long time; it's an old habit now. O.G.

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It wasn't happening at first, but now it seems like the gauges don't move until they should have gone a certain distance. So I'll be driving along and when I let off the gas the tach will stay at 2000rpm until I hit 1600rpm then drop down to where it should be. Smilar business with the temp and economy gauges. I don't think the speedo is doing it, but I'm not sure the gas gauge isn't.

One thing I thought of is I don't think I noticed that until the only cruise control wire I could find was plugged in, but online it looks like there are supposed to be two, and I haven't tested to see if it's working.
Unplug the cruise control. I don't think we ever had it hooked up, and it's definitely the cause of the issue. Troubleshooting that will be a pain, but with your future plans for the car I wouldn't even worry about it.

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So at night I'll be driving along on the freeway and then bam, 2 inches of asphalt to hit at 65 (conservative estimate of speed).
I would be royally pissed if I hit a patch of road like that.

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Yuck! We'd have replaced that jack for you if we'd caught that.

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Originally Posted by Chalk View Post
I'll check to see if I've gotten a rock stuck in there, thanks! At some point I just started adding things to the list stream of thought and I probably jumped ahead of myself in more than one case in my post. The leak really does make me nervous, I went through a whole bottle of fluid (it was only good for two top ups) in just over two weeks. I tried to do a drip test, but of course I got excited and drove through a puddle on my way to find a spot I'm actually thinking it may be the slave cylinder for the clutch, because the gear engagement feels smoother when the brake fluid is topped off. But then again that may not be how that works because I'm piecing it together from things my friends told me.
It wasn't leaking when we had the car, so it's very recent, and we've both spent more time with our heads in the footwell than we'd care to remember, so the leak has to be occurring outside of the cabin. Throw some cardboard under the entire length and width of the car and pump the brakes with the engine off, wait 15 minutes, and look for drops of brake fluid.

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I really don't understand the lab testing thing. On top of it just being ridiculous in the first place, there's only one lab in the state and they're free to decide whether they even want to look at the car or not.
It's a beautiful state, but that's one more reason I'd rather visit than move there.

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What's the weight like on the s50/52? It seems like it would be heavy
If you're weight obsessed you should definitely seek out an all aluminum M52 and make yourself a frankenmotor:

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Old 01-06-2017, 09:03 PM   #10
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It may be obvious from the title that I have no idea what I'm doing and decided to jump into the deep end I bought this car through some awesome sellers on this forum and am eternally grateful for how helpful they've been.
I've seen this touring in person and absolutely loved it. If I hadn't just purchased a 318is I would have probably jumped on this one!

And I can attest to how awesome the sellers are. Great people for sure!
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:18 PM   #11
Bmwdayz
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A friend of mine imported a 320i touring and wasn't able to get it registered in California. They said because we never got the 2.0 engine it wouldn't be allowed. He ended up swapping the motor to a 2.5 m20 and was then able to get the car bar'd and registered in California.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:50 PM   #12
MortyCrock
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A friend of mine imported a 320i touring and wasn't able to get it registered in California. They said because we never got the 2.0 engine it wouldn't be allowed. He ended up swapping the motor to a 2.5 m20 and was then able to get the car bar'd and registered in California.


Sounds like it's swap time!

And I'm with Shock(/\)ave... I'll just visit CA. Liked it when I lived there, but glad I got to keep Oregon plates on my cars.


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Old 01-07-2017, 08:17 AM   #13
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It may be obvious from the title that I have no idea what I'm doing and decided to jump into the deep end
I can't believe I almost missed that! Have you been watching The Grand Tour by any chance?
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:15 AM   #14
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When I was entertaining the idea of importing a touring from Hungary, where I'm originally from I was doing extensive research on registering the car in CA and all car import brokers told me the same thing. If it was not originally sold in the USA, California more specifically, then the car will need to undergo lab testing, which only a few places are certified to do and the cost is between 5-10k$.

A loophole people were talking about was that the car gets registered out of state and stays registered for up to a year there, then CA should be able to register without the import problems.

Either way, please do document your progress and experience so others can benefit from it too!
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:02 PM   #15
Shock(/\)ave
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I've collected a few more resources for you to check out.

I remembered reading about some of the insanity of classic car ownership in California, but there's so much of it on Bring A Trailer and other California based websites that I now tend to filter it out and create a mental summary of "typical big government making everything more difficult and expensive".

With that stated, I recalled a few excellent articles on how to completely bypass the issue - there are alternatives to dealing with the ridiculous and completely unreasonable requirements that California imposes:

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/201...ontana-plates/

DeMuro's an expert on the subject, and you'll find additional articles written by him with further details. Given what you're looking at with the insane lab testing fees, and that some companies are offering complete registered businesses with mailing addresses for very reasonable money, this looks like a great option.

With respect to your fuel injectors, here is the service I had in mind:

http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=266477

He's based in your state, too, which is great. I'm even thinking of using his service for my cars, and I have a border crossing and very poor exchange rate to contend with.
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