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Old 02-08-2007, 12:30 AM
Ara T.'s Avatar
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Location: Santa Rosa, CA
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Anyone with smog experience

My buddy's got a 78 Trans Am with an Oldsmobile 403 engine in it we are currently fully restoring. We've pulled everything off of it including the drive train. He has the opportunity to buy a 1976 Pontiac 455 engine for 500 bucks and it has everything, manifolds, top end, everything. The problem is that in California he is past the smog exempt year by a bit. So it will always have to be smogged, there is no more "past 30 years old now i dont have to smog my car anymore" deal.

Now if we were to install that 455 in there, would the smog guy be able to tell right off the bat? And has anyone ever paid off a smog inspector?

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Old 02-08-2007, 12:41 AM
LaRondo's Avatar
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Location: West Coast
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On a 78 model you can almost be sure sooner or later they will send you to a 'smog only' station. That's a raw experience.
But your friend should be able to swap the engine legally as long as it smogs ok he'll get his sticker.
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:02 AM
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Should be fine if the basic emissions stuff is in the same place. The guide will tell them what specifically to check including where to look and which vacuum lines to plug or connect to a vacuun source.

Get the biggest honking factory air cleaner over the engine so no one's tempted to see what's below

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Old 02-08-2007, 01:13 AM
Ara T.'s Avatar
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Well I believe... that in CA you cannot legally put an engine into your car that is not the same engine as before. SO that's the big IF. If he notices it the car will not pass smog.
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:19 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: N. California./ N. Nevada
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It's tough in California

Ara T.,

In California cars subject to the smog test you can't put in an engine older than the car, so a 1976 engine in a 1978 car isn't legal - it might not have all the 1978 smog control devices it would need. This definately is applicable in your county, Sonoma.....

The smog inspection places won't take bribes, because it would be a criminal offense, huge fines, ($10,000 I think) imposed and loss of their smog license, maybe their shop, it's just not worth it to them

www.smogcheck.ca.gov is as good a place as any for you to start. Be sure your car is street legal, the DMV will have the regulations for you to check...

I don't blame your friend for wanting to ditch the emasculated 403 engine and go for the 455, the 403 was known as the "stationwagon engine" that was in the Caprice, Bonneville and Olds Custom Cruiser wagons back then. It was way underpowered for all that displacement, and loaded with emissions controls that robbed it of power and economy

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