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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So if things in my life go as planned, I will be moving (back) to the Eastern Bay Area, come summer. In preparation for that, I am a little concerned with modification restrictions (not that I have much currently done to my X, but I would like to do more).

I have searched on here & found some basic info. Such as there's a $2500 fine for tampering w/emissions systems (if not fixed), non-stock cats are illegal, & performance cars are likely to be searched for aftermarket parts.

So that leaves quite a few questions (some of which I know I am forgetting atm). Current mods are at the bottom. Also, excuse my ignorance, as I haven't had to deal w/any of these issues here.

1. What kind of fine would I be looking at if an HFC was discovered on my car & I returned it to stock after the "fix-it" ticket? Would these fines increase if I were a repeat offender?

2. Would leaving my minimal "performance" mods as they are still get me a ticket, even w/o an HFC? I mean, would having a shiny UICP, BOV pipe, or red coolant hoses be something ticket-worthy? If so, what kind of :$: are we talking?

3. During a smog inspection, should I leave my AP tune on my car or return it to stock?

4. What can I likely add to my X w/o anyone noticing? Drop-in filter, LICP, Intercooler (w/o stencil), etc?

5. Other tips/suggestions?

Mods: UICP, BOV pipe, CNT cbe, & Cobb AP. Like I said, pretty damn minimal for now. (Note the blue exhaust tips... would that be something of concern if I don't want attention?)





Thank you :thumbup:

(I like planning ahead for things. :D )
 

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non-stock cats are illegal
As you know, non-stock CATs are illegal everywhere. HFC's are non-stock CATs, so they're illegal. Re-install your stock CAT and leave it that way (for returning to California, where things are actually checked).

I mean, would having a shiny UICP, BOV pipe, or red coolant hoses be something ticket-worthy?
UICP - no problem. That was a factory option, btw.

BOV pipe? with a BOV? BOV's are illegal for engines that use airflow sensing (MAF based).

Red coolant hoses? No problem. And, YES, California smog techs are smart enough (trained enough?) to know a coolant hose from an intake air hose.

CBE shouldn't be a problem as far as emissions testing/legality is concerned as long as there are no leaks. Might be too loud though.

During a smog inspection, should I leave my AP tune on my car or return it to stock?
Currently no state short tests include capturing an image of your current tune (ECU binary) and comparing that to MD5SUMs of factory images approved for your specific model/year, but this is coming (for OBD-2). Re-flash back to stock before any testing. Just like when taking it into a dealer for ANY service.

What can I likely add to my X w/o anyone noticing? Drop-in filter, LICP, Intercooler (w/o stencil), etc?
Stock-location air filter elements shouldn't be a problem, afaik. IC piping also shouldn't be a problem either although bright, painted and flashy things do draw more attention. Replacement charge coolers on cars that came with charge coolers should be a legal mod - but again it may draw attention.

Not drawing attention is the best plan. Like not getting stopped - ever - by the PO-PO means fewer tickets.

HTH!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes it does help. I was just unsure if most any aftermarket part that has anything to do with performance could be a ticketable offense (even down to a non-stock UICP).

I'm also wondering if an HFC would most likely be an issue only during an annual smog check vs. a pull-over & road side inspection.

Are people w/ performance cars in CA really as paranoid about possibly getting ticketed (for these things) as it sounds they should be? Here, I just make sure to not mash the pedal down next to an officer & I am fine.
 

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From what I've experienced there's a few concerns with YOUR car/setup.
-First and foremost, the smoked lights are a huge no-no in California. Those will get you pulled over faster than anything else. Haha. People still do it all day long, but they'll get you.
-Exhaust is only an issue if it's crazy loud. Most will do a db test on the spot to check and see if the level actually exceeds the legal limit.
-They'll never check for the high flow cat.
-Only issues on induction I've heard are with open-element intakes. They don't care about anything else if the air-box is stock like yours.
-Stencilling, logos, nameplates all don't matter. Police understand the tuning world in general.
-You have a MAJOR advantage being a girl. Feign ignorance and tell then you borrowed the boyfriend's car and you didn't know.
-Always recommended to get a CHP officer as a friend. Everyone in California knows one because there are so many. Buddy up and get 'em written off.

Hope any of that helps. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hahaha! I like some of your points. ;)

I no longer have tinted tail lights, so that's one less thing to worry about. & my cousin works for a Sheriff's department (either Martinez or Pleasant Hill). I'll try & prod her about assisting with write-offs, but I really hope that never happens.
 

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Basically in other words, dont bother moving back to cali lol. I thought cops were dicks around DFW (dallas fort worth, tx) for spotting you from a mile away and follow you for 5 miles to see if you do something so they can pull you over.

Still very smart for posting like this though, at least you know whats coming haha.
 

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Good luck! I'm worried about all this stuff too. It's crazy because there are so many highly modded cars in CA and at the same time their laws are the most strict. I really don't get how people get away with front facing turbos and equal length manifold setups on their cars meanwhile others get ticketed for their catbacks. There's a clause in there about cars 4 Model years old and newer not requiring smog when you register them and that's how I'm avoiding the issue for now. But I'm very concerned about what's going to happen if/when I get pulled over and sent to the ref or when I do have to pass smog in another year.
 

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I realize the law and the smog issues but there are plenty of people going around with extremely modded cars here in the Bay Area. I don't know specifically about the east bay but in SF I get the feeling they don't care as much. Keep the exhaust low and the BOV noise to a minimum.

Also the HFC issue and tune reading (can't imagine they are going to do this anytime soon) seems like it's always a secondary check after suspicions are aroused. Never once have I seen a Smog tech in the last 20 years get under my vehicle and look at the cat.

It's always a crap shoot, but get info from people IN THE ACTUAL AREA your going to be living and smoging. There are different attitudes based on the location, California is a BIG state.

There are plenty of big Evo shops in the East Bay, I would ask advice there, like GST, etc.
 

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I realize the law and the smog issues but there are plenty of people going around with extremely modded cars here in the Bay Area. I don't know specifically about the east bay but in SF I get the feeling they don't care as much. Keep the exhaust low and the BOV noise to a minimum.
The part about the exhaust and the BOV is very important for not drawing attention.

Also the HFC issue and tune reading (can't imagine they are going to do this anytime soon) seems like it's always a secondary check after suspicions are aroused. Never once have I seen a Smog tech in the last 20 years get under my vehicle and look at the cat.
They will only start comparing your stock parts to the pictures the State Referee keeps if it doesnt pass the sniffer off the bat. If you dont pass sniff they begin the EYE vs Picture test, not a good one.

If had to Smog or visit the state Ref: Personally I would remove the UICP and the BOV, replace with OEM, and reflash a stock tune, pass then R&R again.
Its the only way to get close to a safe pass. Although plenty of people pass with the HFC and a good tune.
It's always a crap shoot, but get info from people IN THE ACTUAL AREA your going to be living and smoging. There are different attitudes based on the location, California is a BIG state.
There are plenty of big Evo shops in the East Bay, I would ask advice there, like GST, etc.
I would ask the local community but stay away from shops, at least in my experience shops want money not your well being :) after all its a business and noise restrictions and emissions dont help the tune/build sales.

I will add one thing that I cant prove :innocent: I feel that in my city which is pretty nice; I dont get harrassed cause every other car is a brabus, M, AMG, Ferrari, Lambo, etc. I literally have the cheapest car on my street by 60k. So when they used to spot me it didnt phase them. But in a more populated, lower income area, I feel your car will stand out against a sea of toyota corr, cams, hondas etc.
 
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As you know, non-stock CATs are illegal everywhere. HFC's are non-stock CATs, so they're illegal. Re-install your stock CAT and leave it that way (for returning to California, where things are actually checked).
?

I've run test pipes on EVERY single car I have had since I started tweaking cars. Almost 20 years now.

Don't be a jackass, don't call attention to your car and make it stealthy and you shouldn't have any issues.

Obviously, come smog time, you will need to put on your stock cat for testing.

People that don't live in California think it's a communist state where your car gets checked at every single stop light. Guess what, it isn't.

If you are stealthy, you can even pass smog running E85 with large injectors, etc.

OP, welcome back to the Bay Area. We have cookies here, unless you live in boring cities on the other side of the tunnel. ;)
 

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I would say you are fine except for the hfc and bov...I would return those to stock...especially the bov since it is an obvious sound that will most definitely get you pulled over if a cop is driving by and hears it...

in the mean time, just turn your car off when pulled over so coppers can't smell the exhaust fume smell from the hfc...welcome back to cali!
 

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Also the HFC issue and tune reading (can't imagine they are going to do this anytime soon) seems like it's always a secondary check after suspicions are aroused.
It's about 5 years away. If you follow the SAE papers, design specs for the equipment are already on paper.

Many states already do OBD-2 code checks (most of those have done away with tailpipe testing), which include verifying the VIN, so it's not much more complicated to grab the ECU image, calculate an md5/sha1 checksum value then compare that to what is available for the model and year.

It's certainly coming. Might as well be prepared beforehand.
 

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I thought cops were dicks around DFW (dallas fort worth, tx).
Ah, but the DFW cops ARE dicks.

I've run test pipes on EVERY single car I have had since I started tweaking cars. Almost 20 years now.
And, as you know, all of those cars have been illegal in all 48 states. 20 years? A young-in.

I also have run test pipes on occasion. And every one of my cars would easily pass a short state sniffer test in any state. I can guarantee that NONE of them (mine or yours) would pass an FTP/CVS test without a cat.

Also the HFC issue and tune reading (can't imagine they are going to do this anytime soon) seems like it's always a secondary check after suspicions are aroused.
It's about 5 years away. If you follow the SAE papers, design specs for the equipment are already on paper.

Many states already do OBD-2 code checks (most of those have done away with tailpipe testing), which include verifying the VIN, so it's not much more complicated to grab the ECU image, calculate an md5/sha1 checksum value then compare that to what is available for the model and year.

It's certainly coming. Might as well be prepared beforehand.

There's a clause in there about cars 4 Model years old and newer not requiring smog when you register them and that's how I'm avoiding the issue for now.
That's true for new cars when first registered (in any state). However it doesn ot apply to "prevoioiusly-owned" cars when moving registration between states. That's entirely up to the state. Obviously they're assuming that a new car meets new car specs.
 

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?

I've run test pipes on EVERY single car I have had since I started tweaking cars. Almost 20 years now.

Don't be a jackass, don't call attention to your car and make it stealthy and you shouldn't have any issues.

Obviously, come smog time, you will need to put on your stock cat for testing.

People that don't live in California think it's a communist state where your car gets checked at every single stop light. Guess what, it isn't.

If you are stealthy, you can even pass smog running E85 with large injectors, etc.
^^This. I've lived in the east bay area for 11 years now. Just don't get caught driving like an idiot, or street racing and you'll be ok. I even got stopped by a cop once a couple of years back, in my GSX (fmic, single exit catback), and the cop just told me to slow down and didn't even care about checking the car out! I even smogged it twice with a HFC and passed both times easily. Def not nazi like "out of state" folks make it out to be.
 

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I thought they couldnt check emissions on our cars because they are awd? Smog stations only have 2wd dynos?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I even smogged it twice with a HFC and passed both times easily. Def not nazi like "out of state" folks make it out to be.
LOL! I wasn't labeling CA inspections & auto policies as nazi or communist at all. They just appear to be a good amount stricter than where I currently live, based upon what I've read on here & other auto forums. But then again, people usually post up complaints w/officers & inspections vs. good encounters.

Here, when I was pulled over for speeding (which really was bullshit, I'm not just saying it was), the officer mentioned my tint was a bit dark up front, but did nothing & had no issues w/ my nearly black tail light tint. I would assume it would go a bit differently in CA (particularly w/ the tinted front windows).
 

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Nor Cal is was more lax than So Cal as far as daily driving goes. street racing isnt as big of an issue. Like razor said, don't start none, won't get none!
 

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I can't believe that you are leaving me
 
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