gofstbuick? smog-related, but fringe & almost off-topic ...

jiho2

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Apr 4, 2004
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I recently stumbled across the archive of new car "engine family" certifications on the ARB site, all the "A" and "P" series EOs all the way back into the '70s. I noticed two things: 1) the 1984 Riviera turbo had a "P" series EO -- certified under federal limits because it flunked the California NOx limit; 2) there is NOTHING for any 1985 Buick turbo -- meaning they were NOT certified for sale in California, which agrees with information in the Buick parts catalog and in EPA databases.

Digging around, I find stuff about AB965 (from 1981) and the "NOx offsets" program under which the '84 Riviera was certified. So I assume that the '85s fell victim to some quirk of that program, since according to EPA data the '85s otherwise should have passed. But I can't find any information specific to the case, or even specific to GM.

AFAIK, this would only impact engine swaps. The Engine Change Guidelines specify that if you have a California-certified vehicle, then the engine you swap in must be California-certified too, and the '85s aren't.

Do I have all of this right? Am I missing something? Do you know where I might find out more, specifically about the '85s in California?
 

TType85

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May 25, 2001
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For what is worth, I did a 86 swap in to my old 85 WH1 and had it certified through the a BAR referee. It hat to be 100% stock down to the correct California chip for an 86 TR (yes, they checked the actual chip).
 

jiho2

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How did they check the chip? Did they physically pull out the ECM, take off the cover and look at it? Or plug in to the under-dash connector and scan the code?
 
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dank GN

BlackArts Automotive (661)993-8277
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You really just need to find a friend in the smog game to handle this for you for acouple bucks . The state is cracking down though so those friends are getting harder and harder to find .
 

jiho2

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You really just need to find a friend in the smog game to handle this for you for acouple bucks . The state is cracking down though so those friends are getting harder and harder to find .
Uh, that's not what this thread is about. I'm looking for Joe's knowledge and expertise on the historical issue in post #1.

I am curious how they check the chip, though. Not looking to cheat, but I didn't think they were supposed to disassemble anything.
 

TType85

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May 25, 2001
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For what is worth, I did a 86 swap in to my old 85 WH1 and had it certified through the a BAR referee. It hat to be 100% stock down to the correct California chip for an 86 TR (yes, they checked the actual chip).
Physically looked at the chip and also the checksum I believe with a scanner.
 

jiho2

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Man, that's drastic. Must be because of all the TT chips. Actually went to the trouble of pulling the ECM out and unscrewing the plate?

Anyway, Joe doesn't seem to come around here much any more. Either that, or after years of hassling with it I've arrived at the point where I know about as much as he does .... o_O
 

jiho2

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Anyway, the PROM is why I wanted to find out about the '85 certification (or rather lack thereof). There were ONLY two (2) differences between '84 and '85: the MAF sensor and the Calibration PROM. The difference in the MAF sensor was the screen (chicken wire for '84, honeycomb for '85). The '84 Calibration PROM went through a few revisions, but the main difference there was, the '85 got a somewhat more aggressive calibration profile.

I'm guessing the different tune was due to the EPA gas mileage sticker. For '84 it was based on Regular (87), while for '85 it was based on Premium (92).

Nevertheless, both years met the California emissions requirements, according to Federal testing data.
 
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jiho2

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Physically looked at the chip and also the checksum I believe with a scanner.
Not to be a nuisance, LOL, but I've been thinking about this, and I still have a couple problems.

1. You are prohibited by regulation (with legal force) from being present in the area where the Referee is working while he inspects your vehicle. So how do you know what he did? Did he tell you? Why would he do that?

2. In order to learn anything from physically looking at the chip, the Referee would need access to a list of part numbers and associated broadcast codes -- for every chip for every engine ever made. And even with that, the chip could have been erased and re-written, so nothing would be verified.

3. I'm not aware of any scanner than can get any kind of checksum information from one of these chips. The ECM can run a checksum check during powerup, and if satisfied with the chip will report its scan ID code, but that's all.

4. I'm not sure how useful even a scan ID code would be. There's an aftermarket chip with a CARB EO, but the EO only lists part numbers, no scan ID codes. What does the referee match for that chip?

This is giving me deja vu, like I've seen this discussion somewhere ....
 

TType85

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May 25, 2001
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Not to be a nuisance, LOL, but I've been thinking about this, and I still have a couple problems.

1. You are prohibited by regulation (with legal force) from being present in the area where the Referee is working while he inspects your vehicle. So how do you know what he did? Did he tell you? Why would he do that?

2. In order to learn anything from physically looking at the chip, the Referee would need access to a list of part numbers and associated broadcast codes -- for every chip for every engine ever made. And even with that, the chip could have been erased and re-written, so nothing would be verified.

3. I'm not aware of any scanner than can get any kind of checksum information from one of these chips. The ECM can run a checksum check during powerup, and if satisfied with the chip will report its scan ID code, but that's all.

4. I'm not sure how useful even a scan ID code would be. There's an aftermarket chip with a CARB EO, but the EO only lists part numbers, no scan ID codes. What does the referee match for that chip?

This is giving me deja vu, like I've seen this discussion somewhere ....
I am going by what gofstbuick told me on the chip. I specifically needed a CA chip for the car, which I borrowed from gofstbuick and went by his advice for getting it done legally. I would think any chip that can be re-programmed would be a red-flag for them though, especially if it didn't have an EO sticker.
 

jiho2

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The GM FACTORY chips can be re-programmed. They are EPROMS, Intel 2732A. You can erase them completely with an ultraviolet EPROM eraser, then zap all-new contents with any garden variety PROM programmer. So there's no red flag there. And factory chips are covered by the certification EOs this thread is inquiring about -- including the GM "service" update chips.

Was your borrowed chip aftermarket? J.E.T. has an EO, but the Referee might want to look at it, for lack of info on what the scan ID is supposed to be.
 

TType85

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May 25, 2001
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Hmm, looks like you must have done that '85-to-'86 swap a loooooong time ago ....
2002 is when I did it. The borrowed chip was a stock one from a CA Emissions 86 Turbo Buick. I didn't recall that the stock chip could be erased. It has been MANY years since I burned a chip.

I wish I had some detailed pics from my 85 when it was stock. It was an original CA car and should of had a "CA emissions" label not a federal one. The best pic I have of the emissions label is this:
P5130007.JPG


Too blurry zooming in on it but I think it says California Emissions.

Here is the BAR sticker (not worried about the info, the car was stolen and never recovered.
337445
 

jiho2

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It was an original CA car and should of had a "CA emissions" label not a federal one.
By "original CA car" you mean sold new in California by a Buick dealer?

That's what the archive of EOs is about, referred to in post #1. Those EOs were issued to allow dealers to sell new cars in California. There are EOs in the archive for every year of Buick turbo EXCEPT 1985.

Now we might assume the '85 EOs are just missing in the archive, and were actually issued at the time. But the Buick parts catalogs list the '85 Calibration PROMs as "Fed" only, while the others have both or combined "Fed,Calif" versions. And the EPA certification database, which carries the test data for both Federal and California certifications, shows both sets of data for Buick turbos for all years EXCEPT 1985, where it only has Federal data.

Without that EO, a new car would have to be bought and registered in another state first, then brought in. You can register Federal cars in California, as long as they pass California smogcheck.

So I can only wonder how you know that '85 was sold new in California. If that could be proven it would certainly raise problems for all of this other information.

Personally, I only know of a few other years sold here, no '85s.

This is all kind of getting out there somewhere, LOL. But I said it was "fringe" ....
 

jiho2

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The fact that the Referee sticker says "CA" doesn't prove the car was. It proves the '86 motor was, by virtue of the chip. It shows the end result of the swap.

The current rule is, you can swap a CA motor into a CA car or Fed car, and a Fed motor into a Fed car, but not a Fed motor into a CA car. The rule may have been different in 2002, like maybe the motor had to be CA no matter what the car was.
 

jiho2

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Apr 4, 2004
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For a while I thought about moving to Oregon, but they have a law there says a gas station attendant has to pump your gas for you. I just don't think I could get used to that.
 

TType85

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May 25, 2001
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The fact that the Referee sticker says "CA" doesn't prove the car was. It proves the '86 motor was, by virtue of the chip. It shows the end result of the swap.

The current rule is, you can swap a CA motor into a CA car or Fed car, and a Fed motor into a Fed car, but not a Fed motor into a CA car. The rule may have been different in 2002, like maybe the motor had to be CA no matter what the car was.
The car was purchased from a dealer in so-cal new. I was the 2nd owner, the lady I bought it off of went in to a nursing home so she had to sell it. (it had about 50K miles on it)

I wish the sticker on fan shroud was clearer but I am 95% sure it said California for the emissions. That may be why Joe made sure I got a CA chip not a 49 state one.
 
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