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  #1  
Old 04-23-2004, 03:48 PM
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My car is due for smog at a Cali Test Only Station!?

What does that mean?

This is the first time I'm smogging this car so I don't know the previous smog history but does this mean it's bad?

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  #2  
Old 04-23-2004, 04:01 PM
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California emissions testing is stricter than emissions testing in other states.

I'm a bit ignorant on this one, but I believe some manufacturers modify the emissions equipment on new vehicles sold in Cali to meet the stricter requirements....again I'm not sure.

But I would think that most vehicles sold in the US in the last decade or so are designed to meet emission standards for every state...
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2004, 05:24 PM
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A "test only station" is an inspection station that only does emission inpections/tests, not test and repair. Eventually all will probably be test only because of the incidence of fraud at test and repair stations.

Most M103 engined Mercs are being referred to test only stations because the engine family has been tagged as a "high emitter profile".

The low cost drive through places are test only, and the inspection and test is the same regardless of whether you go to a test only station or test and repair. The test only stations are convenient because many are set up as a production line (like a car wash), so the whole thing only takes ten or fifteen minutes if there's no line.

Back in the seventies and eighties California certification limits were a little tighter than 49 state. The CA ASM (accleration simulation mode) field emission test bogies are the same regardless of whether you have a 49 state or CA certified car. The field test bogies have no direct relationship to the original certification limits. The field limits are established by statistical analysis of all the field test data.

Suggest you search on this topic. There have been several recent discussions about how to "manage" your test to increase your chances of passing. Most M103s are on the ragged edge of failing, and many fail, though the failures are often just marginal. In these cases there is usually nothing really wrong. The owner just didn't manage their test properly.

Duke

Last edited by Duke2.6; 04-23-2004 at 05:34 PM.
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  #4  
Old 04-24-2004, 12:43 AM
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All older vehicles are required to use 'test only' test stations. No other bias involved.

Steve
SoCal
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  #5  
Old 04-24-2004, 02:51 AM
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I understand that a test only station requirement can be a random thing. I subscribe to a couple other enthusiast forums and a sampling of late 90s cars are referred to test only stations for seemingly no rhyme or reason. I suspect it's so the state can track a control population to see how much cheating goes on in the industry. It could well be that certain models or vintages are targeted for test only stations but the couple of shop owners I know say they're not aware of such selectivity. County rules may vary.

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  #6  
Old 04-24-2004, 11:04 AM
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Not all older cars are required to go to test only stations. The BAR uses a forumla to identify test only, which includes "high emitter profile" engine families. About 15 percent are chosen randomly from the entire vehicle population, and there may be some other criteria. The BAR web site should explain it in more detail if you are interested.

Counties have no input. The entire field emission test program is managed by the CA Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).

Duke
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  #7  
Old 04-24-2004, 12:35 PM
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one good thing about a test only is the station can not work on your car so they cannot fail you to make your bill higher.and they are not supposed to tell you were to get your car repaired. so they don't send you to a friends shop.
what i have seen is cars that should be failed are passing.
this is good for the owners.
we had a 2000 vw the other day that went to a test only,random.

good luck
rich
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  #8  
Old 04-24-2004, 02:41 PM
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I have a 91 560SEL and I have been selected twice in a row to go to a Test only center. According to the Inspection reason on my inspection report, my model year vehicle was picked because it has a High Emitter Profile (HEP). The test center showed me a flier saying that your vehicle will be picked either in random or on the basis of your vehicle profile. I pass the test but noticed that my HC levels were high in the max levels.
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  #9  
Old 04-24-2004, 03:13 PM
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I think all the KE equipped engines have been tagged HEP, and they all seem to be high on HC, particularly on the 15 MPH test, which can be a real squeaker.

The converters on these cars run fairly cool at idle, and, unfortunately, on models with the EZL ignition the initial timing cannot be retarded, which would increase EGT and converter temperature at idle. I've seen as little as 300F with an IR gun at the converter inlet after five minutes of idling on a mild day.

This is why it's important to have these cars FULLY warmed up prior to the test. Don't drop the car off someplace and pick it up later. Go to a drivethrough place (which are typically "test only") and keep the engine at 2000 revs before the tech is ready to drive the car onto the rollers.

If your numbers are marginal, test on a rainy day, if possible, and ask them specifically to run the "tire dry procedure", which involves running the car on the rollers with no load at about 25 MPH for about a minute. Based on my experience this will reduce the HC count on the 15 MPH test by about 20 percent, which can be the difference between a pass and fail.

Duke

Last edited by Duke2.6; 04-24-2004 at 03:21 PM.
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  #10  
Old 04-26-2004, 01:05 PM
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Mine failed cause of the gas cap. As a percaution you could get a new one before you go.

Funny thing was my car had real good numbers with a "bad" gas cap and was one count away from failing with an off the shelf cap they had.
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  #11  
Old 04-26-2004, 02:43 PM
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Fuel cap pressure is a standalone test, and if you fail it, yes, you fail the entire test and have to go through the whole emission inspection/test procedure again.

If the fuel cap fails the gasket is the most likely culprit, so you don't need to buy a new cap - maybe just a gasket. The internal pressure and vacuum relieve valves in the cap rarely fail, but the gasket wears, and test errors are not unknown.

If your fuel cap fits snuggly on the filler neck and the gasket appears undamaged to visual inspection, it is probably okay.

A couple of tests ago my fuel cap failed the test. I asked the tech to remove and reinstall the adapter and cap on the tester and retest it. He did. It passed, and no problems since.

Seems to me that a failure should automatically require and immediate verfication that the test adapter and cap are properly secured to the tester and a retest, but I guess that's not what they teach these guys in emission tech school. A big DUHHHHH!!!

In my time as an aerospace test engineer, if a test failed the first thing we did was a complete verification of the test setup and rerun the test, but what do I know?

Duke

Last edited by Duke2.6; 04-26-2004 at 03:01 PM.
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  #12  
Old 04-26-2004, 09:36 PM
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Well, this seems to be good news. I was under the assumption that the "test only" stations were only for specific cars that had problems passing previous tests.

Luckily my car doesn't have the M103 engine, its got a M119 so I don't think I'll have to worry too much, but I'll still keep that cat heated.
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  #13  
Old 04-26-2004, 10:10 PM
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as alrady mentioned, if your car "fits the profile" of a gross polluter (as my 1976 BMW 2002 did) you may get randomly targeted to go to a test only center. a small percentage of all the cars also get selected at random.

when i took the 02 it failed coz stuff was disconnected or missing. then of course he hooked it up to the sniffer and it passed. but i still have a fail for my test. aint that a b!tch? thats like failing an english exam coz i held the pen the wrong way.

i went to dmv, got my temporary extension (i wasnt going to pay over $1100 to get a thermo reactor, pcv valve and other stuff replaced to pass a test my engine already passed!!!) and explained to every policeman who stopped me why i was driving a car wih tags that were overdue. even had a copy of my smog certificate just in case. most just let me go and said "take care of it."
now all im waiting for, with bated breath, is my 2004 registration. i hope i dont have to smog it again although i suspect i might have to seeing as i didnt bother to get it to pass. i know for sure that as of 2005 its considered 30 model years old and exempt from smog. i just hope i dont have to wait a whole year.

this emissions test procedure of californias is not about smog as far as im concerned. its more about money, and making people pay extra for stuff they dont need and having companies pay to certify their aftermarket stuff. just as the artificially low speed limits is just another form of taxation.

this normally law abiding citizen will make the most of finding a crooked station from now on. fight the power.

insert angry fuming smilie here.
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  #14  
Old 04-27-2004, 12:13 PM
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Always look at your test report "Inspection reason" in the upper RH corner. If the engine family has been tagged HEP the reason will read:
"High Emitter Profile".

Duke

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