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Old 07-21-2008, 04:57 PM   #1
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Adding Headers - Legal????

Im new to modding the engine/exhaust/intake. I live in CA and use my box as a weekend ride and autoX beast.

Im thinking of adding some headers/deleting some cats etc.... However, what will this do to my street legal status? Will i still be able to pass a smog check?

Thoughts on best bang (HP) for buck regarding brands and applications would be nice as well.

Thx

TJ Galati
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:54 PM   #2
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I think in CA they do both a "sniffer" test and visual inspection, depending on where you get your inspection done. Most companies will tell you if their product will pass the sniffer test, however if you go to an inspection station that is strict about the visual inspection part (even though its a bit harder sometimes on a boxster), you wont pass with anything but the muffler modified. It all depends on the station you go to. Some don't care, some will pass you if you pay them a bit extra.

Hope this helps
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Old 07-21-2008, 08:10 PM   #3
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Is it legal? No, it's not legal to delete cats in any state. I think the question that you're really looking to answer is whether or not you'll get caught! As fragdude explained that depends on where you take your car and whether or not they do a visual check along with the tail pipe check. I've had three smog inspections since I moved to Cali and not once did they do a visual on my Boxster or SUV.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:31 AM   #4
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I have a 1997 that has had 5 inspections. First when it was sold in 1999 when I bought it, and 4 inspections after that.

As others have said, the issue could be with a visual inspection. A smog guy told me that soon there will be a video camera so the state can watch what he does.

2 inspections ago I had to pull the engine lid and you can see Felix the smog guy with a flashlight. He also got on the ground and looked under the car. He was not looking for drugs....

I have know Felix for years and he had smogged my car several times before without looking. But that one time several mechanics, myself, and the service manager was watching. Felix thought I had altered the car and tried to set him up, to see if he could find a modification, and that is why all the people were watching him. So he went by the book and did the visual inspection.

So for California people - let's see how lax the visual inspection will be once the camera goes in.
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:08 PM   #5
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big brother is watching....
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:26 PM   #6
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my boxster have no cats nor any resonator...
it smells and but sounds good...but never had problem with the law....
I say F*** them... and do what you like on your car... it's yours not there's
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:49 PM   #7
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Not legal in any state. Any change in the emissions system (which by federal law is from intake to tale pipe) is a violation on the clean air act. CA has their CARB cert program which is NOT approved or covered by the federal law, but the federal government has been slow to offer there own similar program so they just leave CA alone. Most other states just don't have any enforcement and the federal government doesn't have any enforcement leaving you to do whatever you want in most states. However, the feds have been threatening some vendors and manufactures that clearly market to street cars, but give the obligatory "for off road use only".

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Old 07-22-2008, 04:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fu03steve
my boxster have no cats nor any resonator...
it smells and but sounds good...but never had problem with the law....
I say F*** them... and do what you like on your car... it's yours not there's
Hey Steve,

I was running straight pipes on an integra many years back, and the smell was there, but wasn't too bad inside the car... Smelled bad behind it of course...

I was driving next to a 997 GT3 RS with straight pipes on the freeway over the weekend and it smelled really really bad...

Since you aren't running any cats, how bad is the smell, and does it get into the cabin while driving on the freeway?
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:13 AM   #9
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It is definitely getting sticky out there. A few months ago the CHP showed up at a performance car meet. Cars were visually inspected and those that were not in smog compliance were impounded. Once in a while I see a roadside CHP random inspection. Same story. Cars with modified emissions are impounded.
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaudanova
Hey Steve,

I was running straight pipes on an integra many years back, and the smell was there, but wasn't too bad inside the car... Smelled bad behind it of course...

I was driving next to a 997 GT3 RS with straight pipes on the freeway over the weekend and it smelled really really bad...

Since you aren't running any cats, how bad is the smell, and does it get into the cabin while driving on the freeway?
no smell in the cabin at all... from the back it smells of course because no cats but it is not very bad because the engine is not very old... my 92' 3000GT, it smelled very bad because it had old engine...

you can't smell it unless your face are one foot away from the exhaust
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topless
It is definitely getting sticky out there. A few months ago the CHP showed up at a performance car meet. Cars were visually inspected and those that were not in smog compliance were impounded. Once in a while I see a roadside CHP random inspection. Same story. Cars with modified emissions are impounded.
never had or experience the problem with cops...

they only give me ticket for speeding and UNSAFE LANE CHANGE!!
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fu03steve
never had or experience the problem with cops...

they only give me ticket for speeding and UNSAFE LANE CHANGE!!
The regular patrol cars generally will not look for emissions mods, just hand out tickets. The ones to watch out for are the CHP in the pickup w/camper shell. Those are the compliance guys. The last random inspection I saw was on Carnellian and Avalon just below 19th. 1/4 mile from my house. Compliance team complete with mobile dyno. As I drove by they were towing away a hot rod Honda Civic with CF hood and wing on the back. Sad day for that guy.

Here is info on the car enthusiast meet in Riverside that was raided, some cars impounded. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/23/2302.asp
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:09 AM   #13
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Wow, thanks for the link Topless. It was nice to see an article that wasn't written totally pro-police and anti-modification. That's really sad that they were cracking down on modified cars PARKED in a parking lot. I wonder if people could claim they towed their cars there.... It makes me wonder if I need to be worried about the next modern modified car show that I'm planning to attend. They could raid the car show too and haul off most of the cars. This is just sad. I've lived most of my life in the Mid-west and I've been loving the last three years I've lived in California, but this is one aspect of Cali I HATE - strict vehicle codes and emission laws. I'm still modding my car, but I'm also keeping it legal so I don't have hassles like this.

The cop questioning someone as to why they increased their car's horsepower if not for street racing is just idiotic. That would suggest that the only purpose for the Corvette, 911, and any other exotic is for street racing only as those are high horsepower machines....

Thanks for the tip on the CHP pickups with camper shell. I've seen them plenty of times, but I did not realize they were specifically targeted towards emissions compliance. That's good to know.

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Old 07-24-2008, 08:35 AM   #14
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It is really getting crazy. Next they will start raiding Starbucks meets and PCA breakfasts.

I do have mixed feelings about emission compliance. I grew up in the 60's in So Cal when air quality was unbearable. Every night in summer you went to sleep with a sore throat and shortness of breath from air pollution. Today air quality is 100 times better and I am sure emissions controls have a lot to do with that. On the other hand I have tuned and modified a bunch of cars over the years that would never pass a smog test.

Today my goal is to have a high performance street car and a clean tailpipe. A set of working cats is a small price to pay for clear skies. I'll save the headers and straight pipes for the track monster. Everyone must decide for themselves where to draw that line.
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:27 AM   #15
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I just read the link and it said "Officers then began a warrantless search and interrogation operation of the 150 vehicles that were present."

WTH. Hows that legal ?

I thought they either needed a warrant or your permission to search the car !?

And "at around 11pm police surprised participants by blocking all exits with fifty police cruisers."

50 cruisers to block in 150 cars in a parking lot .. ok .. sure there was 50 exits from that parking lot .. why didn't they bring out 1 cop for every car at the meet if that was the case.

What a waste of tax $.

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