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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Welp, yearly CA DMV renewal was due next month. Finally received my tags after about a week or so. I submitted the renewal online. Wanted to re-cap my experience as this was my first year of the bi-annual smog required renewal. I have an 09 that I picked up in early '10. Some of you driving 10's will be due soon. Smog stations have different inspectors with varying degrees of anal-ness so YMMV.

My DMV reg came in the mail about a month and a half to two months before registration was due which gave me plenty of time. I was a bit too busy the first couple of weeks so I decided to just to take the car in and see what kind of stuff they dinged me on. The car is fairly well modified. I added stuff early on and kept most of my stock parts since I knew smog would eventually get here. As the years passed I kept modding and modding, and well, you know.

Car setup:
Boost/AFR Gauges
AEM Cold Air Intake
Cobb catted downpipe
Invidia Q300 catback
DW65c fuel pump
id1000s injectors
Grimmspeed up-pipe
CA91/E85 tune

Round 1
For my first go around I decided to stop by A Plus Smog in San Jose on Winchester. They had a ton of pretty good reviews and it was in between my commute path to work. There was a yelp voucher you can buy online that says $40 for $69. I stopped by early in the morning, close to when they opened and pulled up as a car was leaving. The location is housed within a Shell gas station. There wasn't anyone ahead of me. I didn't have time to order and print it out the voucher but mentioned yelp. The guy offered a discount to come close to that price, I think it ended up being something like $44.99. He had the car in the bay pretty quick and I sat at a nearby bench waiting. Needless to say I failed. he took a lot longer than expected. Probably because he did emissions first, then visual and followed up by looking at the EO# listed on my AEM intake.

I had bought the AEM so long ago that the EO# on the sticker was D-670. That particular EO was old and did not cover 08 or newer STI's. At the time I hadn't looked it up but didn't argue as he had a number of other visuals to ding. Emissions, which is fairly basic all passed. Under "Emission Control Systems Functional" they look for: liquid fuel leak check, smoke check, ODBII.

Visual has a much larger list:

  • Air Injection System
  • Computers, Sensors, Switches and Wiring
  • Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)
  • Fuel Metering System
  • Turbocharger/Supercharger
  • Catalyst
  • Crankcase Emissions Controls
  • Fuel Evaporative System (EVAP)
  • Other Emission Related Components/Systems
  • Vacuum lines to Sensors/Switches
I failed:

  • Computers, Sensors, Switches and wiring (Reason: AFR sensor being located too close to the turbo.)
  • Catalyst (Reason: Any high flow downpipe will fail visual, catted or not. Only OEM is permitted.)
  • Other Emission Related Components/Systems (Reason: inspector stated that AFR sensor/gauge translates to a likely altered/tampered ECU.)
Aside from that, up-pipe was fine and car passed emissions on e85 without issue.

Round 2
Was actually in the process of updating the e85 tune and spoke to my tuner about driving around temporarily with the stock downpipe/air box. Was told that you just lose high end HP with the OEM downpipe. You will not get a CEL. The intake would require a temp limp map but that was the time I found the correct EO# so I left the AEM installed.

Set aside a weekday afternoon to go to the shop, have them throw my OEM on, drive to a smog station for the inspection, then back to the shop to change it all back. I printed out a copy of my EO approved AEM Intake EO# D-670-6, threw my OEM downpipe in the car and went to the shop.

The whole process to go stock dp, unplug/hide AFR, get inspected then back to "normal" took about 3-4 hours. A little bit of that was waiting for the smog guys to inspect two cars ahead of me. I even had the shop throw on a PTP Lava turbo blanket when throwing the Cobb DP back on. I paid the DMV reg the next day and received my tags in a little over a week.

Hope this helps anyone due up soon.

46 Posts
FYI they don't do emission / tail pipe sniffing on 2K and newer cars anymore.

But yes they do a visual inspection and anything that is not approved / looks odd will fail.
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