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Old 03-13-2003, 01:26 AM
stephenson stephenson is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
Posts: 856
1989 300SEL not passing updated California emissions test

My friend's 1989 300SEL, with about 160K on it (no oil burning, runs very, very well and is maintained quite well by a very interested husband and a competent independent shop) recently failed the California emissions test ... I don't know which category of emissions was the problem ... we did not connect well on the technical issue.

She took the car to three places - two indies and one dealer and got the same response ... "your car won't pass the new rules in California." Her numbers are actually lower than three years ago, but new rules put her below the line. There is nothing wrong with her numbers .... just rules change ...?

Can someone enlighten me what this means? Have they toughened up rules without grandfathering? She was told at all three places that the car likely has little value in California because of this ...

If this is true, what can she do to modify her engine (change timing, use additives, change thermostat to hotter, etc) that might get her back above the line?

Should I buy it and take it back to Virginia with me? It is nearly flawless with new transmission, tires, chromed wheels, etc.

Thanks for any advice!
George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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