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    Thread: Passing SMOG in California

    1. Member
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      05-22-2012 04:49 PM #1
      This post is really just so people know there is a huge difference between 49 state Cats and 50 state CARB cats. My Rado passed Smog two years ago just fine with a NOS cat from my shop's parts supplier. I measured at 710ppm and the max allowed was 800ppm. Fast forward two years and California has lowered the acceptable numbers again, down to under 600ppm for NOX. I failed, this led me on the warpath to make the Corrado pass without replacing the cat. I tuned the car to a running state that was cleaner than it was when purchased new. Still not good enough. The fix, a CARB legal pre-OBDII catalytic converter. My NOX dropped from 710ppm to 3ppm. HELLO! Now I can finally start the body work on this car and lay some fresh coats of Nugget Yellow.

    2. Member G0to60's Avatar
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      05-23-2012 06:36 PM #2
      Glad you got it to pass but damn. I know that people rag on CA (I grew up there) but I am so glad that I'm not living down there. It's got to be such a pain to be a car enthusiast with such strict standards.

    3. Member petethepug's Avatar
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      05-23-2012 07:15 PM #3
      Corrado VR6 cats rock. They're ceramic and still plentiful. I just tortured mine by running it on full pig rich mode through two tanks of fuel. I had a broken MFA that caused the condition on my 90 G60. They hold up great on Corrado VRT too.

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    4. Member lnoriel's Avatar
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      05-26-2012 02:06 AM #4
      Going through exactly that with my Corrado.
      Everything checks out on my motor. Every sensor, timing, no vacuum leaks, no exhaust leaks, and every fuel injector was checked for consistency.

      Mine does fine on the dyne until I reach 15mph then the NOX goes over the limit.


      Currently replacing the Catalytic Converter.
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    5. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      06-03-2012 07:43 PM #5
      Well, something has to be said about the fact that the op is in a enhanced area, which has stricter standards than say, a non enhanced, two speed idle test area. 90 percent of the time we have to get the consumer to precondition the cat temp by driving on the freeway. When the cats lit, then your numbers get lower.
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      06-09-2012 05:49 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by vwuberalles2003 View Post
      Well, something has to be said about the fact that the op is in a enhanced area, which has stricter standards than say, a non enhanced, two speed idle test area. 90 percent of the time we have to get the consumer to precondition the cat temp by driving on the freeway. When the cats lit, then your numbers get lower.


      Very true, CA emissions is a hurdle I'm not looking forward to.

    7. Member tklies's Avatar
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      06-10-2012 10:24 PM #7
      Having the same problem and I replaced my cat 3 years ago. Did you use a Corrado VR6 cat?

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      06-11-2012 01:49 PM #8
      Hey guys, I have a follow up on the info for the cat I used. Magnaflow 36915 Direct Fit Catalytic Converter - CARB Compliant is what went on my car. I bought it from Amazon. With shipping, it rang up at $240. You can just buy the cat and weld it up if you want but, it doesn't cost much less than the direct fit. California's Smog laws are what they are, if you play by their rules, you'll be fine. My 21 year old Corrado is running awesome with all the emissions parts intact, all day, everyday, not just when she's in the mood. There really aren't many Smog related parts on these cars to worry about anyway. You have a 3-way Cat, computer and O2 sensor. If all that is intact along with a working fuel system and no vacuum leaks, you're good. I hope to see you guys all out on the road. We seem to be a shrinking community.

    9. Member tklies's Avatar
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      06-11-2012 02:19 PM #9
      Thanks for the info.

    10. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      06-12-2012 05:51 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by JazzBlu#93 View Post
      Hey guys, I have a follow up on the info for the cat I used. Magnaflow 36915 Direct Fit Catalytic Converter - CARB Compliant is what went on my car. I bought it from Amazon. With shipping, it rang up at $240. You can just buy the cat and weld it up if you want but, it doesn't cost much less than the direct fit. California's Smog laws are what they are, if you play by their rules, you'll be fine. My 21 year old Corrado is running awesome with all the emissions parts intact, all day, everyday, not just when she's in the mood. There really aren't many Smog related parts on these cars to worry about anyway. You have a 3-way Cat, computer and O2 sensor. If all that is intact along with a working fuel system and no vacuum leaks, you're good. I hope to see you guys all out on the road. We seem to be a shrinking community.
      Right on! the unlucky ones are the obd 1 corrado vr6 california vin titled cars, since the egr valve is NLA! (the one with the sensor). The real trick is keeping the cat monolith lit, which is easier with the newer housings. 53i forever
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      08-10-2012 04:22 PM #11
      Thanks for the heads up. Was supposed to get my corrado smogged this year but due to coolant leaks had to put it on non-op till I can fix it (stupid plastic flanges! ). Anyways just looked at my song results from 2010 and my NOX was 661. Did you also replace your O2 sensor?

      Noticed Techtonics has a CARB legal cat now...wonder if it's a rebranded Magnaflow thats a bit pricier?

    12. 08-12-2012 01:09 AM #12
      never had an issue with nox and an old cat.

      you guys need to check your ignition timing and seafoam your motor.

    13. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      08-16-2012 01:20 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by wed3k View Post
      never had an issue with nox and an old cat.

      you guys need to check your ignition timing and seafoam your motor.
      sea foam + g60 charger seals = 6psi. just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it cant! Rather than use seafoam, just change oil frequently and change your coolant. seafoam is very overrated, and not suggested for use in an catalytic converter car, since when combusted it emits lead and heavy metals into the air and your cat.

      There are other factors which contribute to high nox, which many wouldn't suspect until they
      actually do the research. Sometimes the winter blend to fall or spring blend change period (gasoline octane quality and detergents) especially in cali can contribute to the nox number at load; if the guy who non op'd his car had coolant leaks/ problems, that would certainly contribute to nox at load; remember that exhaust valve and chamber temps are why there are egr valves, to cool down the front, and reduce nox at high load . Since g60s don't have egr, when they are in enhanced areas they fail ASM tests quite often, as do vr6 cars ( which do have egr ) for nox.
      Either way The cat cant compensate for a mixture after a certain point.

      if everything mechanical checks out in spec check the ecm grounds at the battery terminal, make sure they are shiny and bright and tight as f.
      Last edited by vwuberalles2003; 08-16-2012 at 01:24 PM.
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    14. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      08-16-2012 02:07 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by amerikaner79 View Post
      Thanks for the heads up. Was supposed to get my corrado smogged this year but due to coolant leaks had to put it on non-op till I can fix it (stupid plastic flanges! ). Anyways just looked at my song results from 2010 and my NOX was 661. Did you also replace your O2 sensor?

      Noticed Techtonics has a CARB legal cat now...wonder if it's a rebranded Magnaflow thats a bit pricier?


      Magnaflow is actually known as car-sound, when it comes to catalysts. Theyre no different than before, CA law just required that obd 2 cats are marked specifically if theyre legal for CA emissions applications and to have the obd 2 stamp on the exterior. the "corrado vr6" cat is actually a passat catalyst. its not a 1h number, for instance on my vr6 gti, its a passat number. it would just be more expensive and harder to find if everyone knew it was a passat catalyst..
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    15. 08-16-2012 04:15 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by vwuberalles2003 View Post
      sea foam + g60 charger seals = 6psi. just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it cant! Rather than use seafoam, just change oil frequently and change your coolant. seafoam is very overrated, and not suggested for use in an catalytic converter car, since when combusted it emits lead and heavy metals into the air and your cat.

      There are other factors which contribute to high nox, which many wouldn't suspect until they
      actually do the research. Sometimes the winter blend to fall or spring blend change period (gasoline octane quality and detergents) especially in cali can contribute to the nox number at load; if the guy who non op'd his car had coolant leaks/ problems, that would certainly contribute to nox at load; remember that exhaust valve and chamber temps are why there are egr valves, to cool down the front, and reduce nox at high load . Since g60s don't have egr, when they are in enhanced areas they fail ASM tests quite often, as do vr6 cars ( which do have egr ) for nox.
      Either way The cat cant compensate for a mixture after a certain point.

      if everything mechanical checks out in spec check the ecm grounds at the battery terminal, make sure they are shiny and bright and tight as f.
      so what kind of idiot would pour seafoam into the charger?

      i work at a smog station and a machine shop. seafoam is proven both with cleaning combustion chambers and numbers.

      ask me how i know.

    16. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      08-17-2012 02:17 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by wed3k View Post
      so what kind of idiot would pour seafoam into the charger?

      i work at a smog station and a machine shop. seafoam is proven both with cleaning combustion chambers and numbers.

      ask me how i know.
      I'm not worried about what you "know". If you understand basic chemistry, and understand the chemical processes inside your engine, you'd understand why seafoam is bad for a catalytic converter engine..If you can read, look at the label on the can of seafoam; it says explicitly on it not to use on a catalytic converter equipped engine- its actually not legal for use in CA because it contains heavy metals which are oxidized in the combustion chamber and released into the atmosphere. If you think seafoam is good just mix napthate and kerosene. ( that's what you're getting anyway and is 80 % cheaper) But either way, you deposit the seafoam in a number of different ways, all of which expose the oil of the crankcase to this solvent, which is corrosive to the g laders seals, which eventually get oil on them, either through blow by or the boost return system or the oil feed line. The oil feed line can also be weakened by the solvents in the seafoam since the line is constructed of extruded ptfe liner, not nitrile hose. Either way the seafoam will weaken nitrile and ptfe liners.

      If you want to further C 0ck measure with vocational credibility, I work at a referee site, so top that! Unless you can back up what you say with science, don't confront logic with anecdotal evidence. its not very rational.
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    17. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      08-17-2012 02:22 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by wed3k View Post
      never had an issue with nox and an old cat.

      you guys need to check your ignition timing and seafoam your motor.
      So why are you commenting on this issue? oil is fed into the charger,wed3k. from the block. the three most common ways of using seafoam are into the intake tract as a de carbonizer, (which ends up in the crankcase), into the oil, or into the fuel. the all end up in the oiling system either way, and get fed into the g lader. Thats why g lader cars have a bad rap+ alot of failed seals.

      Not trying do be a dick, but shouldnt a emissions tech know that seafoams illegal

      http://www.arb.ca.gov/enf/casesett/sea.htm
      Last edited by vwuberalles2003; 08-17-2012 at 02:39 PM. Reason: addition of link
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    18. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      08-17-2012 02:25 PM #18
      either way, Load, lean fuel conditions,cylinder head-and combustion temps contribute the most to Nox, so thats what to keep in mind when diagnosing a nox failure.
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    19. 08-17-2012 08:36 PM #19
      if it is illegal then why is it still sold in california. i can walk into autozone and purchase a case of it.

      it does harm the cat but if the oil change is done right after doing seafoam then id highly doubt it will harm seals.

      All i know is that ive done experiments and it is proven to work to help lower nox. i don't care about the scientific background or how it is illegal.

      so seafoam paid a punch of fees? it doesn't say it is ban from the shelves. Trust me, it was hard to obtain carb cleaner from my shop...

      ref huh? boy id love to have your job

    20. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      08-19-2012 11:19 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by wed3k View Post
      if it is illegal then why is it still sold in california. i can walk into autozone and purchase a case of it.

      it does harm the cat but if the oil change is done right after doing seafoam then id highly doubt it will harm seals.

      All i know is that ive done experiments and it is proven to work to help lower nox. i don't care about the scientific background or how it is illegal.

      so seafoam paid a punch of fees? it doesn't say it is ban from the shelves. Trust me, it was hard to obtain carb cleaner from my shop...

      ref huh? boy id love to have your job
      1. well you can buy cocaine in cali- does that make it legal?
      2.the cat is the point- read the original post again
      3.wow! just...wow! Maybe the state of Ca should be regulating more!
      4.yeah, it does. Its manufactured out of state and brought in illegally, mainly by people who don't want to rebuild and hone their cylinders correctly, and don't care about smog. IT KILLS CATALYTIC CONVERTORS by saturating the element with tetra ethyl lead.
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    21. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      08-20-2012 09:51 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by wed3k View Post
      if it is illegal then why is it still sold in california. i can walk into autozone and purchase a case of it.

      it does harm the cat but if the oil change is done right after doing seafoam then id highly doubt it will harm seals.

      All i know is that ive done experiments and it is proven to work to help lower nox. i don't care about the scientific background or how it is illegal.

      so seafoam paid a punch of fees? it doesn't say it is ban from the shelves. Trust me, it was hard to obtain carb cleaner from my shop...

      ref huh? boy id love to have your job


      Well, with comments like the ones above, dont worry, it wont be an issue, since you have to both care and know about the science of what you're doing to get the job.

      Either way seafoam is illegal in California. The reason the previously posted link matters is because the only way the state of CA can sue Seafoam (and win) is if they shipped it to this state knowing it was illegal, which they did. In addition to that fact, the knowledge that seafoam has consistently been proven to load catalytic convertor elements with lead and magnesium, which hinders the cerium elements ability to generate oxygen from the conversion of hc's and co into O2 and water vapor. thats why the gas flap says unleaded only; leaded gas will clog the cat!
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    22. 08-21-2012 12:24 AM #22
      leaded gas will also destroy oxygen sensor and the back of the can says it is oxygen sensor safe!

      if it is a big issue, i can recommend something else but i just don't see anything else more readily available and as effective.

      ive also seen it done with a spray bottle with water and engine at 2500-3k.

    23. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      08-24-2012 09:54 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by wed3k View Post
      leaded gas will also destroy oxygen sensor and the back of the can says it is oxygen sensor safe!

      if it is a big issue, i can recommend something else but i just don't see anything else more readily available and as effective.

      ive also seen it done with a spray bottle with water and engine at 2500-3k.
      aside from the apparent lack of conjunctions, what does this have to do with the original post?
      What does this have to do with nox? If de-carbonization is what you're talking about, what does that have to do with the catalytic convertor? Excessive carbon in the valve area is only one factor that leads to high nox, and seafoam cant compensate for ignition related misfires, WHAT THE F ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT????

      Back to the issue at hand; The catalysts for Corrados/vr6 GTIs are i think, Passat numbers. Anyone have a vr6 corrado to compare?
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    24. 08-30-2012 03:04 PM #24
      been playing around with mine today and nox is sitting at 1700

      retarded timing
      adjusted co pot
      91 octane
      3.5bar fpr unplugged from vacuum


      even unplugged o2 and blue cts but the CO is too high.

      running a stage 4 chip, but my pistons are 9:1 instead of the factory 8:1

      going to change to 30lb injectors and then might have to dish out for a carb legal cat

      disgusted with california smog.

    25. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      09-04-2012 10:34 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by wed3k View Post
      been playing around with mine today and nox is sitting at 1700

      retarded timing
      adjusted co pot
      91 octane
      3.5bar fpr unplugged from vacuum


      even unplugged o2 and blue cts but the CO is too high.

      running a stage 4 chip, but my pistons are 9:1 instead of the factory 8:1

      going to change to 30lb injectors and then might have to dish out for a carb legal cat

      disgusted with california smog.
      Wow! what does the smog system have to do with your illegally modified POS? Dont blame the CARB when you obviously cant figure out how to get an engine to run correctly in the first place!

      The co is too high because your fueling is way too extreme. DUH high compression in a g60 motor is dumb.
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    26. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      09-04-2012 10:36 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by wed3k View Post
      been playing around with mine today and nox is sitting at 1700

      retarded timing
      adjusted co pot
      91 octane
      3.5bar fpr unplugged from vacuum


      even unplugged o2 and blue cts but the CO is too high.

      running a stage 4 chip, but my pistons are 9:1 instead of the factory 8:1

      going to change to 30lb injectors and then might have to dish out for a carb legal cat

      disgusted with california smog.
      this part should say "disgusted with my inablity to tune a car"
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