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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My 1988 USA Federal Lotus Esprit Turbo had a disastrous time getting a smog test here in California 8/12/2014.

I bought the car in California in 2011 (a smog test required for any change of ownership).

It required ANOTHER smog test 2012 (because the car coincidentally is tested EVEN years).

Both times, it passed just fine.

2014 - California changed the rules making it more stringent to test pre 1990 cars.

To make matters worse, the official smog book lists the USA Federal 1988-04 Lotus Esprit Turbo has having a MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light, aka 'Check Engine' light) - this is incorrect as 1988 had Bosch CIS fuel injection (mechanical and no MIL). It should read '1989-04 Lotus Esprit...'

The same shop (same owner) that tested in 2012 refused to test my car in 2014 due to the difficulty.
The 2nd shop refused; the 3rd shop tried and found the MIL error in the book - unable to test.
The 4th shop also confirmed the MIL error in the book and could not test the car either.

So, my 88 Esprit can not be certified at the 'Star Certified' smog stations UNTIL I go to the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (CA BAR) referee station and prove that my 88 Esprit does not have a MIL.

They will put a sticker on the car and I will then be able to certify at any California Test only station.
Hopefully tomorrow's appointment will be uneventful.

Here's the main page that shows 1989 is the year of the MIL, not 1988:



I took pictures and highlighted the supporting factory Service manual pages that show the MIL as 1989 ONLY for any 1988 California owners who may need it.


California_BAR_Lotus_Esprit_1988_MIL Photos by eberin | Photobucket
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My 88 passed with flying colors - nearly 8X-10X cleaner than the standard - 62K miles, bone stock engine.

Curiously, they didn't even need my factory manuals - they put 'N/A' for the MIL/Check Engine light since the Tech seemed familiar with the car.

They did scour the engine compartment, looking at the various bolt-on bits. I provided the service page that located the Bosch CIS components, etc as well as any smog gear.

They also looked under the chassis (from the wheel wells) for the catalyst and other random bits. I got the impression they were looking for modifications (e.g. BOVs or anything non-factory like anodized aluminum accessories) - if it looked factory, they were OK with it. They had an inspection mirror they were sticking in all the crevices.

They pressure tested both gas caps too.

No sticker, but I do have a test report that says 'N/A' for the 'Check Engine Light/MIL'.

And the killer part - it only cost me $8.25. They don't charge the $50+ that a commercial facility would do (my California tax dollars at work ;-)).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
[snip]
(and contact your state rep to get the '88 info correctly applied to the state inspection book!)
Are you kidding me? Contact a California politician and get something done?:evil:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
[snip]
Here in NJ we had a "classic car" status wherein you only needed limited mileage insurance and your odometer had to work.:panic:

Lately they have tightened that up so it's a regular inspection for me.:UK:
California USED to have a law that said any car 30 years or older did not need smog inspection (but were 'required' to have their smog gear intact - presumably if they decide to change the law - which they did).

Now the law was revised as all cars 1975 and older are exempt from smog inspection (the gear part still stands). All cars 1976 and up must have operational smog gear :huh: and be inspected every 2 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Actually...that used to be 20 years or older. I know people that were looking forward to their car's twenty year birthday and then the law was changed. :(

Sorry, Eddie! 1976 cars are subject to smog inspection...it is 1975 and older that are exempt from the biannual smog test here in Californica. (intentional sp.)

Roy
Hmmm...I thought it was 1975 too; then I saw 1976 somewhere. It makes sense to be 1975 - 1976 being an uneven year.

I still remember it as 30 years because it seem too long to me. But my memory isn't what it use to be :scratchhead:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good gawd! The level of bureaucracy in California is mind-boggling.
[snip]
If you're old enough like me *cough*, you'll remember the 70s where there was a concept of a 'California' smog standard and a '49 state' smog standard for cars.

My 76 VW Scirocco was a California compliant car with 71HP 1.6 liter Zenith carburetor, EGR, air pump AND a catalyst. I believe the 49 state car did not have a catalyst nor the EGR.

And the rest is history - all cars now are '50' state cars - meeting California's higher standard and not dealing with complexity of CA vs. 49 state standards.
 
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