1 2
poopshovel
poopshovel SuperDork
10/16/10 12:22 p.m.

I was looking up requirements for emissions exemptions, and stumbled upon this. Maybe it's old news (1991,) but it was news to me:

http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/policies/civil/caa/mobile/engswitch.pdf

I'm just absolutely berkeleying dumbfounded right now. Even if it's one of those "silly" laws that's not enforced, I can't believe it exists. And just as our tax policy is often written by a bunch of tax-evading idiots who've never worked in the private sector, much less written a payroll check, this E36 M3 sounds like it was written by someone who's never turned a wrench.

ENGINE SWITCHING FACT SHEET UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460 March 13, 1991 OFFICE OF AIR AND RADIATION Pursuant to frequent requests for information received by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the legality and effects of engine switching, this document will summarize federal law and policy pertaining to this matter, and will discuss other related issues. A. Federal Law The federal tampering prohibition is contained in section 203(a)(3) of the Clean Air Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 7522(a)(3). Section 203(a)(3)(A) of the Act prohibits any person from removing or rendering inoperative any emission control device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine prior to its sale and delivery to an ultimate purchaser and prohibits any person from knowingly removing or rendering inoperative any such device or element of design after such sale and delivery, and the causing thereof. The maximum civil penalty for a violation of this section by a manufacturer or dealer is $25,000; for any other person, $2,500. Section 203(a)(3)(B) of the Act prohibits any person from manufacturing or selling, or offering to sell, or installing, any part or component intended for use with, or as part of, any motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine where a principal effect of the part or component is to bypass, defeat, or render inoperative any device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine, and where the person knows or should know that such part or component is being offered for sale or is being installed for such use. The maximum civil penalty for a violation of this section is $2,500. EPA received many questions regarding the application of this law to a situation where one engine is removed from a vehicle and another engine is installed in its place. EPA's policy regarding "engine switching" is covered under the provisions of Mobile Source Enforcement Memorandum No. lA (Attachment 1). This policy states that EPA will not consider any modification to a "certified configuration" to be a violation of federal law if there is a reasonable basis for knowing that emissions are not adversely affected. In many cases, proper emission testing according to the Federal Test Procedure would be necessary to make this determination. 2 A "certified configuration" is an engine or engine chassis design which has been "certified" (approved) by EPA prior to the production of vehicles with that design. Generally, the manufacturer submits an application for certification of the designs of each engine or vehicle it proposes to manufacture prior to production. The application includes design requirements for all emission related parts, engine calibrations, and other design parameters for each different type of engine (in heavy-duty vehicles), or engine chassis combination (in light-duty vehicles). EPA then "certifies" each acceptable design for use, in vehicles of the upcoming model year. For light-duty vehicles, installation of a light-duty eng~ne into a different light-duty vehicle by any person would be considered tampering unless the resulting vehicle is identical (with regard to all emission related parts, engine design parameters, and engine calibrations) to a certified configuration of the same or newer model year as the vehicle chassis, or if there is a reasonable basis for knowing that emissions are not adversely affected as described in Memo 1A. The appropriate source for technical information regarding the certified configuration of a vehicle of a particular model year is the vehicle manufacturer. For heavy-duty vehicles, the resulting vehicle must contain a heavy-duty engine which is identical to a certified configura- tion of a heavy-duty engine of the same model year or newer as the year of the installed engine. Under no circumstances, however, may a heavy-duty engine ever be installed in a light-duty vehicle. The most common engine replacement involves replacing a gasoline engine in a light-duty vehicle with another gasoline engine. Another type of engine switching which commonly occurs, however, involves diesel powered vehicles where the diesel engine is removed and replaced with a gasoline engine. Applying the above policy, such a replacement is legal only if the resulting engine-chassis configuration is equivalent to a certified configuration of the same model year or newer as the chassis. If the vehicle chassis in question has been certified with gasoline, as well as diesel engines(as is common), such a conversion could be done legally. Another situation recently brought to EPA's attention involves the offering for sale of used foreign-built engines. These engines are often not covered by a certified configuration for any vehicle sold in this country. In such a case, there is no way to install such an engine legally. EPA has recently brought enforcement actions against certain parties who have violated the tampering prohibition by performing illegal engine switches. It should be noted that while EPA's policy allows engine switches as long as the resulting vehicle matches exactly to anv certified configuration of the same or newer model year as the chassis, there are some substantial practical limitations to performing such a replacement. Vehicle chassis and engine designs of one vehicle manufacturer are very distinct from those of another, such that it is generally not possible to put an engine into a chassis of a different manufacturer and have it match up to a certified configuration. Therefore, practical considerations will generally limit engine switches to installation of another engine which was certified to be used in that same make and model (or a "twin" of that make and model, e.g., Pontiac Grand Am and Oldsmobile Calais). In addition, converting a vehicle into a different certified configuration is likely to be very difficult, and the cost may prove prohibitive. B. State Laws Many states also have statutes or regulations prohibiting tampering in general. Most of these laws specifically prohibit tampering by individuals. A few specifically prohibit engine switching, using provisions similar to those stated in EPA's policy. To determine the state law in any given state, the state's Attorney General's office should be contacted. In addition, many states have state or local antitampering inspection programs which require a periodic inspection of vehicles in that area, to determine the integrity of emission control systems. Many programs have established policies for vehicles which have been engine switched. While EPA does not require these programs to fail engine switched vehicles which are not in compliance with federal policy, the Agency does strongly recommend that these programs set their requirements so as to be consistent with the federal law. State or local programs which pass illegally engine switched vehicles may mislead federally regulated parties into believing that engine switching is allowed by federal law.

.

z31maniac
z31maniac SuperDork
10/16/10 1:41 p.m.

Cliffs?

Not reading all that.

Ranger50
Ranger50 Reader
10/16/10 2:28 p.m.

Basically with a quick read means you can't modify the emissions equipment on a vehicle through engine swapping to a vehicle without any or less equipment.

Brian

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/16/10 2:41 p.m.

yes.. no foreign engines that are not somehow certified for use in the US and you are not allowed to bolt an engine from a different make into a car.. as then there is no way to have all the cerftified emissions controls in place

Knurled
Knurled HalfDork
10/16/10 3:11 p.m.
Ranger50 wrote: Basically with a quick read means you can't modify the emissions equipment on a vehicle through engine swapping to a vehicle without any or less equipment. Brian

Yep.

You can only do an engine swap involving a newer engine, and you must include all of the emissions equipment from that newer chassis.

Most people don't do this.

See, now, this is why I only play with cars older than OBD-II. Easy-to-pass sniffer test, and that's it. And, if it's AWD, they don't run rollers either, just a 2000rpm high idle test.

And if it's more than 25 years old, they don't care at all...

Travis_K
Travis_K Dork
10/16/10 3:27 p.m.

That law actually applies to everything newer than what, 1965 isnt it?

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/16/10 3:33 p.m.

I'll comment on the claim that people at the EPA have not worked in the private sector- a very large percentage who write the rules for mobile sources have worked in the auto industry outside of the government. On top of that, many of them are pretty serious car enthusiests- at their annual cars show, there's some pretty serious machines in the parking lot.

As for the rule- what do honestly expect? OEM's are supposed to make cars that meet specific emission rules, and should not be tampered with, unless you can prove that they are compliant. And if you can prove it- it's quite legal.

so, I don't exactly understand your beef with the rule.

Travis_K
Travis_K Dork
10/16/10 3:46 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: so, I don't exactly understand your beef with the rule.

What you described makes sense. But here is the problem, say you have a 1976 el camino, and you rebuild a 1980 chevy truck engine (both 350s) and you put it in the el camino with all the stock parts from the elcamino. Illegal, due to the date code on the block causing drastic changes in emissions.
It works the other way too, every LS swapped pre 75 vehicle must have all the stock parts (gauge cluster, cats, stock evap stuff, everything) from the year vehicle the LS came out of.

IMO the law should be that every chassis is allowed a max amount of emissions, and you can modify it however you want as long as it is the same of cleaner than when it was new. but of course that makes too much sense, and might keep more older cars on the road (or so the people who make the laws think).

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/16/10 3:53 p.m.
Travis_K wrote:
alfadriver wrote: so, I don't exactly understand your beef with the rule.
What you described makes sense. But here is the problem, say you have a 1976 el camino, and you rebuild a 1980 chevy truck engine (both 350s) and you put it in the el camino with all the stock parts from the elcamino. Illegal, due to the date code on the block causing drastic changes in emissions. It works the other way too, every LS swapped pre 75 vehicle must have all the stock parts (gauge cluster, cats, stock evap stuff, everything) from the year vehicle the LS came out of. IMO the law should be that every chassis is allowed a max amount of emissions, and you can modify it however you want as long as it is the same of cleaner than when it was new. but of course that makes too much sense, and might keep more older cars on the road (or so the people who make the laws think).

If you read more of the rules than just the basic swap rule, you'll find rules that also state that if you can proove that the emissions are better, it's allowed.

None the less- the intention is to make sure certified packages are kept in tact. Basically because it's not realistic to be able to prove that the emissions are equal or better.

BTW- the rule is basically what you say- the car has a emission standard that it must meet. If you can't prove it, you can't do it. Aftermarket kits- catalyts, turbos, superchargers, etc- have to meet the same rules. That standard also includes OBD (depending on the year) and evaporative emissions.

Knurled
Knurled HalfDork
10/16/10 4:47 p.m.
Travis_K wrote: What you described makes sense. But here is the problem, say you have a 1976 el camino, and you rebuild a 1980 chevy truck engine (both 350s) and you put it in the el camino with all the stock parts from the elcamino. Illegal, due to the date code on the block causing drastic changes in emissions.

IIRC, if it's built to the original engine's specs, it's considered to be the same engine. Mass-market engine rebuilders would have been fined out of existence a long time ago if it wasn't.

The only time the engine's date code really comes into play is for kit cars/other homebuilts. Even so, this is falling out of favor. IIRC, in Ohio, it was recently passed into law that you can register a replica as the year vehicle it is intended to represent. So that Lotus clone, or T-bucket, or even the new-stampings Camaro can be registered as a '65, or a '21, or a '69, regardless of the drivetrain.

It works the other way too, every LS swapped pre 75 vehicle must have all the stock parts (gauge cluster, cats, stock evap stuff, everything) from the year vehicle the LS came out of. IMO the law should be that every chassis is allowed a max amount of emissions, and you can modify it however you want as long as it is the same of cleaner than when it was new.

That is, in a nutshell, what the law says.

However, the easiest way to prove that the engine that you put in is cleaner is to use everything from the newer engine. The Federal emissions test is hideously expensive to do, it'd probably be cheaper to just buy a new car.

Travis_K
Travis_K Dork
10/17/10 3:27 a.m.

I live in california, and at least a few years ago the kit car thing was still an issue from what i was told by a referee (it wasnt my car, but i watched one being inspected to be registered, and if the engine had not been a pre emissions date code it would have not passed the inspection.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/17/10 6:40 a.m.
Travis_K wrote: I live in california, and at least a few years ago the kit car thing was still an issue from what i was told by a referee (it wasnt my car, but i watched one being inspected to be registered, and if the engine had not been a pre emissions date code it would have not passed the inspection.

You should be aware that California's laws are not the same as the EPA. Since their laws predate the EPA's- they are the only state that is allowed to write their own rules- which are more strict than the federal laws. Each state can choose either Federal or California's rules.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
10/17/10 11:11 a.m.

My understanding is this: if you swap an engine, the resulting vehicle has to meet the emissions covering the newer of the two, i.e. if you stick a 1995 engine into a 1980 car, the resulting vehicle has to pass 1995 emissions standards. If you swap a 1980 engine into a 1995 car, it too must pass 1995 standards.

Federal rules are also applied based on air quality standards. Here in South Cackalacke, we don't have emissions testing because through a lucky set of circumstances there are no areas which don't meet Federal air quality standards, although there is some discussion that Charleston and possibly Columbia may have problems soon, meaning the implementation of more strict Fed rules which could lead to yearly emissions testing. It has mostly to do with diesel particulates from the port down here and Columbia sitting in a 'bowl' which can trap and stagnate air masses. But it will wind up being statewide. I understand Georgia has statewide testing mostly due to Atlanta's air quality issues, the rest of the state doesn't share the problem.

I also understand Kalifornia has an exemption for alternative fueled vehicles. So you can build a blown big block Chevy and run it on methanol on the street legally with no emission worries. Works for me.

Travis_K
Travis_K Dork
10/17/10 1:47 p.m.

I thought that the federal laws for emissions equipment were the same or more strict in most cases (other than a few exceptions, like cats and a few other replacement parts), but just not enforced in most other states. But say even a 1970 camaro still is required to have all the evap, crankcase ventilation, etc functional or technically would be illegal according to that law.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
10/17/10 6:51 p.m.

I'm surprised we have to make this so complicated. I think this has been said above, but why not create a system where there is an emissions standard across the board for each year vehicle. There should be no difference between the requirements for an SUV, truck, or car. Set a maximum limit for whatever range of categories. Have biennial emissions checks. Don't care what the engine looks like, what controls it has etc. Just judge it off what allegedly matters: the standards you came up with.

Knurled
Knurled HalfDork
10/17/10 7:53 p.m.

As a rule of thumb, California emissions limits are at 75% of Federal. Every time Federal makes them lower, California ratchets them lower as well.

There are different warranty restrictions which can make Federal more difficult (one has a max limit, the other says the emissions can't be more than 150% of new, which penalizes ultra-clean cars) but for the most part, California emissions are much tougher.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/17/10 8:23 p.m.
Teh E36 M3 wrote: I'm surprised we have to make this so complicated. I think this has been said above, but why not create a system where there is an emissions standard across the board for each year vehicle. There should be no difference between the requirements for an SUV, truck, or car. Set a maximum limit for whatever range of categories. Have biennial emissions checks. Don't care what the engine looks like, what controls it has etc. Just judge it off what allegedly matters: the standards you came up with.

Outside of the emissions testing, that is the rule. And since OBDII is so effective, that's why there's no need for testing.

That's why a 2010 Navigator is (much) cleaner than a 1990 Miata.

The only "complication" is the difference between CARB and EPA.

Where emissions rules change is for Medium duty and Heavy Duty vehicles- which is 7000+ work vehicles. Only a hanful of those are available to you. And the rules are more taylored to their usage.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/17/10 8:26 p.m.
Knurled wrote: As a rule of thumb, California emissions limits are at 75% of Federal. Every time Federal makes them lower, California ratchets them lower as well. There are different warranty restrictions which can make Federal more difficult (one has a max limit, the other says the emissions can't be more than 150% of new, which penalizes ultra-clean cars) but for the most part, California emissions are much tougher.

Not 100% true- while I don't have the numbers in front of me, I do know that California favors cleaner NMOG than EPA, but EPA's general NOx numbers are lower. Especially taking into account fleet average.

When I get to work in the morning, I'll post what the current standards are if anyone cares.

I also know that LEVIII is probably coming in 2015, and that Tier 3 may happen in 2016. (and Euro V and VI will spell the death of small, cheap diesels).

Eric

Ranger50
Ranger50 Reader
10/17/10 8:42 p.m.

OBD2 and emissions testing = No MIL/CEL or emissions readiness flags when the check stations plugs up and reads the PCM, your vehicle is "clean" and can pass go.

Most of the gains in emissions control is from increased computing power to crunch the numbers and make the necessary adjustments to keep it running in spec, IMO.

But I have a question, has emissions testing really done anything except make some people feel good about doing something?

Brian

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/17/10 8:49 p.m.
Ranger50 wrote: Most of the gains in emissions control is from increased computing power to crunch the numbers and make the necessary adjustments to keep it running in spec, IMO.

I would disagree with that. Computers have helped, indeed. But so has advanced wash coats that use precious metals more effectively, and creative air fuel control has done wonders to increase catalyst efficiency.

But I have a question, has emissions testing really done anything except make some people feel good about doing something? Brian

Testing or rules?

For much of the in use testing, the measurement taken in most states is a waste of time, IMHO- what passes is a very badly running car. California has a much better testing program, but with OBDII, actual testing gets less, since the car monitors itself. (oh, and OBDII detection standards are quite a bit tighter than most in use emissions testing...

The rules, on the other hand... They have done a lot.

ww
ww SuperDork
10/17/10 9:01 p.m.

Federal emissions testing is ridiculously expensive for a reason. It's targeted at new vehicle manufacturers.

Once the emissions standard has been set for a vehicle, it shouldn't matter what engine you put in it as long as it passes the sniffer test.

My 1972 Datsun 240Z with a motor from 1996 in it is WAY cleaner than the stock motor that it came with. If I ever get pulled over and have my hood popped, I'll get sent to a referee station and they won't even attempt to put it on a smog machine because it doesn't have the 38 year old emissions equipment that is no longer available. This is the government and the emissions Nazi's way of creating "planned obsolescence" in order to eliminate old cars from the road and that's according to Kalifornia CARB "regulations".

If I weren't in California, as I read those regulations, I would have to submit my car to a Federal emissions test that would cost in the THOUSANDS of dollars to prove that my car is cleaner than original.

I fail to see how that's reasonable.

The point here is that once the emissions parameters are set for any given make or model vehicle, as long as that vehicle can blow that or better numbers on a sniffer test alone, no visual, no equipment check then it will be a reasonable system.

Until then, it's all political BS.

Not that I'm bitter or anything... :)

redzcstandardhatch
redzcstandardhatch Reader
10/17/10 9:22 p.m.

my old civic (90) passed the illinois emissions test with a 2.3 liter f23 engine (accord engine), turbocharged, no cat, with 350-ish WHP.

its tuned very well, and passed with flying colors actually.

i dont know how.

NO PROBLEM

Ranger50
Ranger50 Reader
10/17/10 9:29 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: Testing or rules? For much of the in use testing, the measurement taken in most states is a waste of time, IMHO- what passes is a very badly running car. California has a much better testing program, but with OBDII, actual testing gets less, since the car monitors itself. (oh, and OBDII detection standards are quite a bit tighter than most in use emissions testing... The rules, on the other hand... They have done a lot.

Both really. But you already answered the one. Oh I know all about OBD2 "standards". People are absolutely amazed at how small of a "hole" you can have to trip the CEL for an evaporative emissions leak and how long it takes to find them. Let's not even talk about misfires....

For the other, proof? Reason I ask, is this are the rules for testing really helping or maintaining the status quo? Are we really "decreasing" overall emissions or are we essentially peeing into the wind with an increase of vehicles on the road from new drivers driving and keeping the overall emission numbers rising?

Brian

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/18/10 6:47 a.m.
redzcstandardhatch wrote: my old civic (90) passed the illinois emissions test with a 2.3 liter f23 engine (accord engine), turbocharged, no cat, with 350-ish WHP. its tuned very well, and passed with flying colors actually. i dont know how. NO PROBLEM

Which is a good example of how in use testing isn't very helpful. The standard that you have to pass is so weak that there's little point in the test.

you are probably emitting roughly 20-30x what the car originally did. And that is if the engine is running dead on perfect.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/18/10 6:55 a.m.
Ranger50 wrote: For the other, proof? Reason I ask, is this are the rules for testing really helping or maintaining the status quo? Are we really "decreasing" overall emissions or are we essentially peeing into the wind with an increase of vehicles on the road from new drivers driving and keeping the overall emission numbers rising? Brian

The problem with the proof is that you'll think it's biased, when it's actually not. The EPA does generate reports on air quality, and bases all of their rules on improvement vs. cost- and I know they do factor in cost into the equation. It's in their mandate, and they do good job at it. CARB, OTOH, has been pretty objective, but you can see a lot of politics in their rules. So you have to filter their reports accordingly.

In terms of the improvement- it is a little of both- a reasonable decrease in pollutants with an increase in vehicle usage. One other issue is that the "clean" target keeps moving- the more we learn about the health effects of various pollutants, what is considered clean changes. For instance, we expect the ground level ozone to drop some more thanks to some studies linking it to asthma.

www.epa.gov is a good site. If you look, you can also find the actual test results from certified vehicles (which is where I get a lot of my comparison data between older and newer cars.). It might take some searching, but you will probably find the reports, since they are always submitted to the public, and they really would like to have public input to the rules. Rational input, for sure....

Eric

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
g2CsZRSZusP67p8ACWI2krt129HMRZLHvYs7niIGANiSW5qM6rVyJ8xT3i1ZVnz6