• WOW! A Graduate level course on the esoteric and unfathomable unknown of California Smog Emissions Testing!

    Nice job guys! Now what did you say? The irony and unfathomable stupidity of this is that certain areas are completely exempt from biennial testing. The unpolluted areas! Go figure!

    I live at 4,000 ft altitude….and no testing is required! Huh? So you can imagine the number of polluting diesel duallies, 80's diesel trucks and every form of carbon spewer you can imagine we have here.

    Makes no sense whatsoever. Oh well………

  • ~ wow, what an ordeal. although the need for these laws is important i feel very sorry for the folks that can't afford this type of maintenance or don't understand the process.

  • For this car specifically, a lot of the repair costs were really necessary anyways given the issues it had, but the smog test just accelerated my timeline on getting them done.

    One bone that CA throws to low-income vehicle owners is the Consumer Assistance Program, which can provide $500 for emissions related repairs. Unfortunately it's tied with a vehicle "retirement" incentive that gives people $1,000 or $1500 (depending on income) to scrap their cars after failing smog. Another way for the legislators to get older vehicles off the road and stimulate the new/used car sales markets, but I'm sure it does help a lot of folks out of a jam.


    • To me the benefits of living here outweigh the drawbacks of smog testing. Moving out of state is a solution that's often thrown back when discussing the ins & outs of laws here. But for many, that's not an option.

      For those of us who do *want* to live here, it pays to understand the laws & regulations and be aware of how legislation affects our daily lives.

      I'd argue that's a duty that all US citizens have, anyways.

    • CA's state motto ought to be "Where all the old cars get to live a second, third or fourth life". Easiest way to avoid the smog issues is to not own anything newer than a 1975 model!

  • I had to go through a similar ordeal last time I smogged my 91 780. It failed twice due to nox. Cat was new, but the vehicle was non-egr like yours. I would urge readers to be cautious with timing as certain counties will check timing (if it says to in the book) and you will fail if it's not within Volvo's 10-12 or so range. My 780 didn't have "adjustable timing" according to the books, so they didn't bother to check. Little did they know that grounding out certain pins on the ignition module retards it. That is what allowed me to smog my car in California–a loophole.

    p.s. i'm about to smog my 83 242 DL as well. It has lh 2.2, but also has the EZK (no more vacuum-based ignition). Hopefully I pass.

    • Thanks for adding that. I set the timing on this Chrysler ignition system to the most retard allowed by the Volvo spec (12 degrees I believe, but this is from memory a few months ago). So it still passes just fine when the smog tech checks timing with the inductive light gun.

      The pin grounding retard trick worked for a colleague on his '91 745 Turbo, when all else failed. I've considered an EZK ignition upgrade for this car – so feel free to reply again in the comments once you get yours tested. Good luck…

    • Smogged the 242 and sold it yesterday 🙁 . I actually smogged it with a cat only, no mufflers :-P. I will post/msg you the numbers, but it did insanely well. Key difference between it and your car is EZH and k cam, maybe gearing (has 3:31s). I had ignition timing exactly at 12 degrees.

  • 1983 244 DL M46. That is a good write up thank you. Like you I fixed all possible items as necessary to get it smogged in CA. Still NOX was a fail. I found this write up about exhaust leaks, VERY IMPORTANT especially on older cars! and often over looked are small cracks or leaks in the exhaust down pipe, overlooked and hard to detect


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