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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - California Smog Requirements?

I'm in the middle of a '77 MGV8 conversion with a rover 4.0 hotwire injection. Looks like I might be moving to Califonia in the near future, and I'm wonding how this is going to effect my MG and Jeep V8 conversions? Any related advice is much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,

You need to look into this. The law has just changed and I believe all 1976 and newer vehicles will require smog, they have dropped the 30 year exclusion. there was also talk of the test including a check for "original smog equipment" which could be a problem.
Tony Bates


What part of CA/ Smog requirements vary depending on where you live (at least they did wen I lived there 2 years ago.)
greg fast

You will have to have an inspection and meet the requirements of the engine (year vehicle it was donated from). It will need all smog equipment that was originally installed on the engine, including catalytic converter. If the hot wire system is newer than the engine, you will probably have to meet the newer requirements.

In my case, a '77 with a 3.5L '80 Rover SD1 motor/gearbox, and hot wire system from a '89 Rover. I have to meet, every two years, the requirements for 1989. If I had the original SU's I would have to meet the 1980 requirements.

It is a cumbersome process, 6 months or so. And it is difficult to test the car and find out where you stand. Virtually all the smog check equipment is wired directly to the DMV computer. If you run a test on one of these, to see what tuning you need to clean things up, and fail, you are immediately red-flagged as a gross-polluter. More hoops to jump through.

BTW, it is a rolling-road test at ~2500 RPM in top gear as well as idle.

In any case, the car is still a lot of fun as well as clean running a reasonable cat.

Have fun.
Edd Weninger

OK, It's about what I thought. I looked into it a bit last night and here's what I can tell. I'll be moving to the Mojave Desert which I believe is in the eastern part of the San Bernadina (spelling?) county. This county has a BASIC requirement for cars newer than 75-76 (I forget which). The description of the BASIC said I would have to only meet a two speed emmsion test (what ever this is?). I understand that the San B. county just changed from all basic to Basic and the werstern part to higher than basic(orange on the map, extreme?).
Now for the real questions. If you have a car that passes the basic test and 10 years down the road they change the requirements, do you then have to make your car compliant? What if you can't?
Now on the emssions of the engine: I bought a new short block (4.0) from the dealer and using '87 rover parts (bougth from a strip yard). How does/will they know what year it is/came from?
Now what about my jeep? I plan on installing a new GM 350 crate engine. how do they determine what emissions you must use?
I'm sorry to bombard you with all these questions, I'm just trying to get as much information about those things that effect my only hobby before I choose to move.
OH yah,
I have a 2003 Harley and remember there being a distinction in the catalog between a "Calafornia Harley" and a "everywhere else Harley" , Would I have to change/buy anything to ride it there?

Thanks for ALL your help,

Regardless of the county you are in, the law is that any engine install other than the original has to have the original smog equipment that came in that engine. You can not install a older engine in a newer car, it has to be newer than the car were the engine is going.

First step is the referee, he will determine if you have all of the smog equipment and includes the engine check ligh, he will then test the car, if it passes, he will then install a sticker on the driver door. The car is now legal and it will be smog every two years at a smog only test station. They will look for that sticker.

Only some crate engines are legal for sale in Ca. The best swap is to find a car with TPI 87 and later for your jeep, save the paper work, you will need that pice of paper for proof. 87 and newer Also the LT1. Small block TPI engines are simpler when it comes to smog equipemnt. Any aftermarket parts install will need a Beuro Air Research (BAR #) The part will come with a sticker and it has to be place in the engine compartament to be legal in smog vehicles, plenty of those around here in Ca. specialy from Edelbrock.

It's not as bad as you may think, it's bad only when you try to fool the referee. Visit the local referee and tell him what you nwill be doing, he will guide you through all of the steps and he will be aware of you when you show with your project car, he can not take any shorcuts for you, it's all computer control by Sacramento where Arnold the Terminator resides.

1975 and older vehicles do not require any smog checks.
Bill Guzman

The two speed emmission test sounds like the idle and 2500 RPM on a rolling road as described above. As far as I know, San Bernardino county has the same requirements as downtown LA.

If your car passes initially, is in compliance, there will probably not be any changes in the 2 year test requirements. At least that is what has happened so far. Do you trust politicians? There is a considerable car-culture in California. There are car-people looking out for reasonable solutions to these issues. The result is evident at many car shows. A lot of unusual vehicles on the street with all sorts of unusual engine combos. Just several hoops to jump through.

Every car is subject to a visual inspection of the required smog equipment before the test is performed (including such things as the gas cap gasket, charcoal canister, etc.). The technician has a computer screen check list of items that he/she must attest to as being present and operating. He/she is going to be looking for a 4 cylinder motor with a carburator, air pump, etc. This is where your MGB conversion will be put in another catagory. It will not have the identifiable components unless you steal his/her glasses, therefore, the test cannot continue. You will have to announce your car in advance to the DMV through a referee system. You will need to document the systems you are running in your car. The referee will make a decision as to the requirements. If you can clearly document the motor as being an '87 you will probably be required to meet that year's spec.

How do/will they know what year it is? You will have to document that to their satisfaction.

Regarding your Jeep, if it is pre '75 you can put just about anything into it you want. If '75 or newer you better contact a 4WD group.

You will probably get by with the Harley as an original late model out-of-state vehicle newly registered in CA, but you'd better check that out elsewhere also.

Everything is do-able with perserverance. After all, we have more gear-head cars in California than any other state.

Mojave ? Better plan on air conditioning.

Good luck,
Edd Weninger

Thanks everyone for your help.
It appears that the "decision" to move to CA rests in finding the reciept for my engine, and the other parts?
Is there a special catagory for gear heads like my- self or are we all that attached to our cars?

I hope to encounter you guys in the future (car show?)so that I may repay your kindness with good beer.

I hope this can be a lesson for someone else... Receipts do more than remind you how much you how much money you spent and pose as desk litter. Probably ought to keep track of 'em.


Yet another illogical sweeping actions of the overzealous laws.
For an early car, they should only expect that the vehicle burns the same or better than the original, but no, they force you to satisfy their egos and the "limited" politicians unfairly.

To hell with them all..before I decided on doing a V6 conversion, I had given allot of thought to the Rover conversion.
Before installing the Rover, be sure to either mill off (or sand off) the engines numbers located on the drivers side (?).
When the referee asks, just tell him that it is a 62 (?) -64 Buick wildcat engine, and that the block has been milled.
There will be no way they can not prove otherwise, this way you will be exempt, unless of course the car is a later model--if this is the case, then just purchase a early model MGB (what I intend to do on a future V8 conversion)and SWITCH the I.D. plates with the newer model, keep the papers, and junk (or part)the carcass.

I have a brother who just happens to be an expert mechanic and smog man. I also have dealt with these refs in the past.

The day I start to worry what these genius's "think" is the day I die.

Correction: "no way the can prove otherwise"

jegawatt, great idea, there is a problem with that.
The junk Yard will not take a car without paper work and sometimes they even ask for plates to match the registration. You may dispose the car piece by piece.
Or make sure the ID tag that was replaced looks like it was never tamper with.

Boyd Codington,s shop was raid and removed several cars. They were removed for ID inspection. All of their records were taken, will find out the outcome soon. There are other Hot rod shops that were closed and some owners jail, yes! jail.
I totally agree with clean air, the part I do not agree with is that an engine without smog equipment can run clean and pass the test, must have the stupid smog equipment in order to get your registration.
I found the best, is to ask the referee of what you need, sometimes we asume we need more than needed.
Create a channel of communication, but do not think that they will let you slide.
Hal, bring your car to our BMC (British Modified Cars) meet in Sept, will have dates as soon as the airport using airport transfers sevenoaks gets the ok for us to be there, should have dates next week. We are located about two hours from San Berdandino.
Bill Guzman

"no way the can prove otherwise"

jegawatt, I don't think you understand. THEY do not have to prove anything. YOU have to prove your case. If you can't, you are up a creek without a paddle. In your example, if you did file off the numbers, you would have to replace them with something that matched some (probably forged) documents.

In any case, as Bill has stated, you are not permitted to install a motor older than the VIN describes the car year.

Changing VIN plates can result in seizure of the vehicle in question and fines/jail for the perp.

BTW, the DMV enforcement people carry hefty 9mm's because their main job is to track stolen vehicles via VINs. A buddy of mine had a thorough (sp?) inspection of his Vette because it was suspect. He had purchased it from a dealer, but there was some discrepancy in the VIN data entry. So a group of serious looking people from the DMV came by our work place. Technicly, they impounded the car so they could move it, jack it up and inspect it. Everything turned out OK, but it was an interesting experience for him.

There are regulation guidelines that permit the registration of modified vehicles. Best to follow them.

Also note, none of the regulations restrict horsepower. If you're clean you can buils whatever you want.

Edd Weninger

What problem?
The papers are to be 'switched' along with all of the identifying tags and that includes the plates of course.

For those considering this.
This is of course if you have the later model..with the early model, you are automatically exempt..but when and if they modify the law to screw these--remove the engine block numbers and just tell the ref that they have been milled off,and that it is a Wildcat motor (62-64 I believe).
To avoid any complications, do not drive in there with a Rover fuel injection. I would drive in with the conventional carb and intake.

Incidentally Bill, I am now looking at GM's "Bow-Tie" block (aluminum). I can not seem to find aluminum rwd heads in order to stay with a carb system.
I am currently awaiting a response from someone but it does not look good--do you have a source?

I may just end up going with a complete cast iron block (initially ?) would have been aesthetically complimenting to have an all aluminum V6 engine in a car that is so light.

The second car should be in a sad state of course.

Edd, milling of the block sometimes remove the block numbers (depending on where they are located).

I also ran this by my brother (smog mechanic) and he is smart enough to know (actually smarter than most)that this is to be expected.

But taking the worst case scenario, you can also duplicate the numbers off a wildcat. There are kits that can be purchased (Eastwood Co ?) that were intended to achieve a "numbers matching car".
I do not know what the legalities of this is, if any, but the muscle car restorers are currently doing is worth investigating.

Incidentally, politically speaking it does have alot to do with Horsepower. Primarily due to the insurance companies and then of course the 'dirty' corporations and the politicians that pander to them.

But legally, I have a problem with them requiring all of the appendages that go with a newer motor when a newer engine tends to run cleaner as is, than the original older engine. How is that for logic?..where is the incentive?

As far as a V6 or V8 running as clean or cleaner than the original is very close, if not possible.
High performance also means high efficiency, if built with a target operating range intended for the street.
Thus, one does not depress the pedal as far, especially as they would with a smaller engine.


Just to be labor this a little longer...

Do I understand this correctly: I don't "have to have" those exact parts that came from a 199? rover; I just need to meet or surpass the smog requirements for the model of the engine I'm using? Oh and, or course, the Check Engine Light.

I'm goning down over the few weeks, I'm hoping to get a chance to quary a ref. Right now I'm just trying to find out if it is possible to get a car (like mine) passed and registered without all the engine documentation? How 'bout an affidavet?

Sorry if I was not clear Hal.
Hal, you will need all of the equipment that came in the engine you are using plus engine check light and pass the smog test. You will also need proof of engine year etc.
Bill Guzman

This thread was discussed between 19/05/2005 and 21/05/2005

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