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Rotaryracer
Rotaryracer New Reader
6/21/17 6:17 p.m.

I've come across a 1997 Civic that someone has thrown too much money at...enough that it makes financial sense to sell off my 2000 Civic I've been fixing up for rallycross and road rallies and swap the best bits onto this new-to-me chassis. The car has a H22 swap with a Euro H22 head and cams, a Type S pistons and other internals, etc. While it all sounds fun, my issue in the People's Republik of Tax York is the annual inspection. They plug into the OBD2 port (needs to have completed the drive cycle), check for codes, and hopefully pass it. This car is changed over to OBD1 with a chipped P28 ECU, and the NYS computer will most likely cough up a hairball when it tries to talk to it.

Anyone speak fluent Hondese? I'm wondering if I plug a USDM OBD2 Prelude ECU into the harness and leave it in there long enough to complete the drive cycle, would I be able to pass inspection? I will drive it like a grandmother to/from the inspection station, so it just needs to run it long enough to pass spec.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
6/21/17 6:21 p.m.

Depends on the state. In California, as I understand it- swaps are ok as long as the motor is newer than the car, retains emissions, and passes the butt pipe. In florida, and minnesota it passes as long as it has registration.

In new york...hrm. plug in a prelude ecu amd rebage the Car? Are there good ol boy shops that will pass you as long as your one port has a 50$ in it?

Rotaryracer
Rotaryracer New Reader
6/21/17 6:51 p.m.

Yeah, I may be able to find a sympathetic shop, although I think they still need to plug it in and run the program that allows it to pass. The computer phones home to the Death Star in Albany and gives it a pass/fail, which is tied to NYS DMV for registration renewal. It's all very Orwellian.

What are the odds my stock P2P Civic ECU might run an H22 well enough to not melt down during 13 miles for the drive cycle and a few miles to/from the inspection station?

Really wishing this car was a 1995 or earlier native OBD1....

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
6/21/17 6:54 p.m.

You already have the only solution which is running an OBD2 prelude ECU. That or keep a stock motor/ECU around and get really good at engine swaps. Or register the car in an area without emissions..

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
6/21/17 7:24 p.m.

In reply to clutchsmoke:

Number three... At least one of the states that starts with m is huge and few people live there. I hear you can register a car with nothing more than a p.o. box.

codrus
codrus UltraDork
6/21/17 7:34 p.m.
mndsm wrote: Depends on the state. In California, as I understand it- swaps are ok as long as the motor is newer than the car, retains emissions, and passes the butt pipe. In florida, and minnesota it passes as long as it has registration.

It's quite a bit more extensive than that in CA. Car needs to have all emissions-related components from the donor vehicle and needs to be individually certified by a state smog refereee. It's a major PITA.

(not relevant to the original question, though.)

drdisque
drdisque HalfDork
6/21/17 7:44 p.m.

In Montana you can actually form an LLC to register your cars through with no physical presence in Montana. It is totally legal. There are companies that can guide you through the process and file the paperwork for you.

Registering your car there with a PO Box and no LLC is not legal, but possible.

aw614
aw614 New Reader
6/22/17 7:40 a.m.

if you do smog it with the obd2 ecu you might need to get an immobilizer delete done

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
6/22/17 9:14 a.m.
drdisque wrote: In Montana you can actually form an LLC to register your cars through with no physical presence in Montana. It is totally legal. There are companies that can guide you through the process and file the paperwork for you. Registering your car there with a PO Box and no LLC is not legal, but possible.

There are an obnoxious amountof supercars registered there for very similar reasons. Same with yachts and the Cayman.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
6/22/17 9:47 a.m.

If it has been changed to OBD1 the motor harness has almost certainly been changed. It will throw codes if you hook up an OBD2 ECU. You see a lot of swapped 96+ Hondas for sale because people go through the trouble of a swap and then say "oh E36 M3" when they realize it will need to pass emissions.

If you want to try you will also need the extremely rare 96 Prelude VTEC ECU as everything newer has an immobilized that can't be defeated. But really that car is probably fated to live in a non-emissions (or at least a tailpipe sniffer) area only.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
6/22/17 9:54 a.m.

What are the classic registration rules in NY? In PA if you can tag something as Classic or Antique, it will be exempt from emissions testing. You will be more limited in how you can use the car (cannot be your daily driver), but otherwise it's not a big deal. A 1997 car might just be on the cusp of Antique eligibility (20 or 25 years, depending on the state).

Sky_Render
Sky_Render SuperDork
6/22/17 10:06 a.m.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the chance of you getting that car to pass an OBD-II emissions check is infinitesimally small.

Your best chance would be to find out if your state has a "limited use" registration that allows you to skip emissions tests. Maryland has one, for instance, that lets vehicles driven less than 1,000 miles a year skip emissions tests. "Historic" vehicles are also not required to take the tests.

steronz
steronz Reader
6/22/17 10:23 a.m.

It's likely that the car still has the OBD-2 engine harness, and simply has an adapter to make that harness fit the OBD-1 P28. Maybe look into an OBD-2 CR-V ECU? Should plug right in and run the H22 well enough, just without VTEC. You could also run a stock P72 from the civic but I'd worry that it'd be too lean, running something for a 1.6 on a 2.2. The CR-V is a 2.0 so as long as you keep the revs down you should be OK.

rslifkin
rslifkin Dork
6/22/17 10:38 a.m.

The Prelude ECU would probably be the closest match for running it decently. The big question is this: Is there any OBDII Honda ECU you could put in the car that could be tuned so you could just use that full-time?

steronz
steronz Reader
6/22/17 11:45 a.m.

The OBD-2 ECUs from that era were never really cracked for reasons I don't fully understand, but there was probably no motivation to overcome those hurdles since the OBD-1 ECUs were so plentiful and easy to chip.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
6/22/17 11:51 a.m.
Robbie wrote: In reply to clutchsmoke: Number three... At least one of the states that starts with m is huge and few people live there. I hear you can register a car with nothing more than a p.o. box.

Dunno about New York, but in Ohio you are required to transfer your vehicle registration if you're in the state for longer than a certain period of time (6 weeks I think) unless you're a student or active military. I'd think most states have provisions like that.

The easy button is OBD-II computer.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
6/22/17 11:58 a.m.
pointofdeparture wrote: If it has been changed to OBD1 the motor harness has almost certainly been changed. It will throw codes if you hook up an OBD2 ECU. You see a lot of swapped 96+ Hondas for sale because people go through the trouble of a swap and then say "oh E36 M3" when they realize it will need to pass emissions.

I understand, but the mindset is confusing to me. Not just the idea of leaping before looking, but the idea that OBD-II makes it hard to pass emissions. I've seen cars that sound like gigantic popcorn poppers go through a scantool emissions test with flying colors...

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
6/22/17 12:00 p.m.
steronz wrote: The OBD-2 ECUs from that era were never really cracked for reasons I don't fully understand, but there was probably no motivation to overcome those hurdles since the OBD-1 ECUs were so plentiful and easy to chip.

I wonder if that's why someone I know had his supercharged Civic running on an EEC. Seeing a Ford mass airflow sensor in a Civic is a bit of an attention getter.

BrokenYugo
BrokenYugo MegaDork
6/22/17 12:13 p.m.
Knurled wrote:
Robbie wrote: In reply to clutchsmoke: Number three... At least one of the states that starts with m is huge and few people live there. I hear you can register a car with nothing more than a p.o. box.

Dunno about New York, but in Ohio you are required to transfer your vehicle registration if you're in the state for longer than a certain period of time (6 weeks I think) unless you're a student or active military. I'd think most states have provisions like that.

I think it works because it isn't your car in that situation, it's your Montana LLC's car.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
6/22/17 12:29 p.m.

In reply to Knurled:

It can look and sound like hell if it makes the scan tool happy. Inversely it can run flawlessly but if it's throwing a code, you're screwed. It is dumb, in some ways I miss the old tailpipe tests.

It could go either way as far as a motor vs adapter harness. I've seen both, really depends on who did the build. If it's a full OBD1 harness it will be missing some sensor inputs and will fail on that technicality. If it's just an adapter it could be OK with a little work, provided there's even a bung for a secondary O2 there or that the conversion wasn't done to bypass a bunch of deleted emissions equipment.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider SuperDork
6/22/17 1:24 p.m.

I know in Texas, As long as it submits an OBD II signal and does has the minimum of the level of not ready flags met then there is no issues. I just passed in Texas with a LS3 Miata with no problems.

I would make sure there is no visual inspection. If so, you can run an ODB II ecu that can run the motor with no codes being thrown and all of the readiness flags are clear then you are usually good.

GroupSects
GroupSects New Reader
6/22/17 2:02 p.m.

I've been looking at Hondas recently and have basically decided on something before 1996 or something that came from the factory pretty close to what I'd want just because of emissions.

That said if it's that good of a deal and they didn't hack the wiring getting it through an inspection is doable. As someone else mentioned OBD2 ecus either have immobilizers or are pretty hard to find, but people offer services for disabling the immobilizer. http://www.hamotorsports.com/37820-p5m-a02.html should be a pretty direct solution for the ECU. You've also got make sure you've got the correct/functioning sensors for the computer as well.

Worst comes to worst buy a 95 or older civic and move everything into that car.

Aspen
Aspen Reader
6/23/17 9:36 a.m.

1997 was the last year that some cars still had OBD1 or a dumb version of OBD2. In Ontario, 1997 cars or older do not have to link up to OBD2 emission tests, but instead have to pass a sniffer test. Check the details for your state.

NickD
NickD SuperDork
6/23/17 9:41 a.m.
rslifkin wrote: The Prelude ECU would probably be the closest match for running it decently. The big question is this: Is there any OBDII Honda ECU you could put in the car that could be tuned so you could just use that full-time?

Using an ECU from another car wouldn't work. At the beginning of the inspection, the inspector scans the VIN of the car from the registration, which enters the vehicle into the NY State Inspection computer. When you get to the OBDII test, the computer reads the VIN from the ECU and if it sees a mismatch (say, the vehicle is a 1.6L 1997 Civic and the ECU is for a 2.2L 1999 Prelude) it flags the inspection for audit and then the state gets someone out to the site and gets involved.

This is why I only play with OBD0/OBDI cars in NY

rslifkin
rslifkin Dork
6/23/17 9:47 a.m.

In reply to NickD:

The VIN set in the ECU can usually be changed. Just requires the right (sometimes dealer-only) scan tool.

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