I'm contemplating a 1.8T/2.0T Mk1 Rabbit Gti swap for a dead Mk1 Gti I am eying and would like to get the current take on making it CA smog legal. My goal is a stock looking sleeper with about 250-300 WHP for fun canyon carving but to not ever be concerned about having the car confiscated by the CHP and getting fined. It seems the Honda boys have figured out the BAR referee process with their late model engine swaps but I'm not seeing much of anything in the VW Mk1 community. Most of the builds I've followed gave up due to the complexity and volume parts needed in the "stock" location to keep the BAR (CA bureau of automotive repair) referee happy. Is this a non-starter still or has anyone blazed this trail and can give some guidance?
I'd like to go as simple as possible to keep it reliable with cost being secondary but still important. I get that this is at least a $10K+ project even if I get a good donor car and do 90% of the work myself. There are several swap kits available (S&P, Eurowise, etc.) for the fabrication of mounts, clutch cable, and front reinforcement items so I think much of that has been figured out. The super tricky part is the smog and then late model engine management integration OBDII to the body harness.
Appreciate any insight from others who may have successfully navigated this!
Edit- from BAR book:
4. Smog Check Tests- The vehicle must pass ALL of the following Smog Check tests (regardless of model year) using the donor vehicle Smog Check test type requirements:
a. BAR - 97 tailpipe test (this item does not apply to diesel and hybrid vehicles). Acceleration Simulation Mode (ASM) test unless the vehicle is not compatible with dynamometer testing. In such cases, the Two Speed Idle (TSI) test shall apply. Emission standards appropriate for the model year of the donor vehicle will be applied. Note that Smog Check program area test types do not apply to engine changes i.e. Basic area vehicles will receive an ASM test
b. BAR-OIS test when an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD-II) certified donor engine is installed (ALL Smog check program areas)
c. Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) (“CHECK ENGINE" light) must pass the bulb check, and full OBD functionality. This includes donor engines equipped with OBD-I (1995 and older OBD equipped engines) capabilities
d. Visual inspection of all emissions control systems
e. Functional tests when applicable for the donor vehicle (this item does not apply to diesel or hybrid vehicles), including:
i. Ignition Timing Test
ii. EGR System Functional Test
iii. Low Pressure Fuel Evaporative Test (LPFET)
iv. Fuel Cap Integrity Test
f. Visible Smoke Test (this item does not apply to hybrid vehicles)
g. Liquid Fuel Leak (this item does not apply to diesel vehicles
7. OBD-II System-
Any vehicle with a replacement engine from a donor vehicle that was originally equipped with an OBD-II system must support all OBD-II functionality from the donor vehicle:
a. Calibration Identification (CalID) and Calibration Verification Number (CVN) must match a certified configuration for the donor engine
b. ALL supported OBD readiness monitors must be in a ready (complete) condition. Vehicle owners may need to work with the manufacturer, dealer or repair shop with necessary tools and expertise to get potentially difficult monitors to be ready (complete)
c. Readiness monitors must clear and reset properly
d. The Original Equipment Manufacturer Diagnostic Link Connector (DLC) must be accessible and fully functional. No devices may be plugged into the DLC at the time of inspection.
e. All sensors, switches, and wiring harnesses needed to make the system fully functional must be properly connected
f. MIL must be in a visible location on the vehicle’s instrument cluster and be clearly labeled as a MIL and functioning.
All emissions systems (including the evaporative system monitoring) from the donor vehicle must be installed and fully functional. For example, the evaporative system components, i.e. plumbing, canister, tanks, valves, etc. must be present and functioning. If a non-OBD II certified vehicle is receiving an OBD II certified replacement engine, the transmission and fuel storage/evaporative system from the recipient vehicle may still be used. However, these components and systems must be integrated with the engine’s OBD II system such that the OBD system’s transmission and evaporative system monitoring strategies remain operational.