Project V8 RX-7: Part 13 – Getting it Smogged


Problem Number 1:  Right off the bat the ref wants to see an EO for the K&N intake bellow thing I’m using.  For some reason we could not see eye to eye on this one..  I argued that there is no “original equipment” or anything I am supposed to be using.  The E-ROD kit only comes with a MAF sensor and the bung to weld it to a tube.  So in theory as long as I do everything the instructions say I should be able to cobble together anything I want, right?  Well, no..  We spent most of the hour in the ref’s office on the line with Sacramento trying to get a ruling from some higher up who can’t even see my handiwork on what the language is intended to mean. 

Problem Number 2:  The referee’s job is to look at my E-ROD installation instructions that we brought with us and confirm that we’ve done everything by the book.  Unfortunately, all the “book” has for intake is the diagram below and the language about having the Mass Airflow Sensor mounted at least 1o inches away from the throttle body in the center of a straight 4” diameter tube at least 6” long.


Now the way the ref sees it, because of the way it looks like it’s laid out in the diagram, there probably shouldn’t be any bends in the tube—it should just come straight out of the front of the engine.  We suggest that that would be impossible in most applications to have a big old honkin’ intake stick straight outta the throttle body but the fact remained that he wasn’t comfortable with it and he didn’t want to sign off on that part.

The longer we sat there the more it became clear we weren’t leaving with a smog certification.  All that said though the referee was very reasonable and cool and assured us he wasn’t going to fail the car, just recommended we take it to the local smog shop instead because there’s no way they’ll nit pick the stuff like he had to.  We agreed and he let us be on my way with one condition—that we do a burnout upon leaving the ref station.  We obliged, with a little 2nd gear rolling action on our dry rotten pirelli’s.In the following few hours we visited 4 other smog shops.  The first said he only did 96 and newer vehicles, the second said he didn’t have time to do it—the gas cap test would take him forever (seriously?) and the 3rd flat out said he didn’t want to touch a swap.  Feeling discouraged I hit one more smog station on the way home… “No problem” the guy said, rolled it on the dyno and tested it without looking at a thing except the EO number for the engine!  20 minutes later I had my smog certificate and I was off to the DMV for my sticker!


So what’s the takeaway here?  That little sticker you get with the E-ROD kit that you don’t get with a regular engine pull can save you an assload of time and trouble if you’re willing to pay for it!  It’s a get out of Ref free card!  I could have cut a lot of corners if I wanted to too, but then what fun would that have been? 


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