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Old 08-06-2009, 04:14 PM
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Registering an '80's car with a '60's engine

I have an 1981 Bonneville with a 1968 Olds 455 W-30 engine in it. After MANY years and a lot of dough getting this thing together, I'm finally at the point where I can drive it.
Has anyone tried to register a car like mine? Did you have to get it to pass emissions?

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Old 08-06-2009, 04:23 PM
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I am from ny... And in ny anything before a certain year (94 I think) does not have to pass emissions... I know my 78 Monte and My 86 Prelude did not have to pass anything except a safety test... I quess you would have to check you states requirements.

Oh and as far as the year of the engine...To my knowledge it does not make any difference... I goes by the vin of the car... My 78 Has a 91 350 in it.
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:26 PM
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Most places you can install a newer engine but not an older one,they really do not care here .... yet
Shane
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:23 PM
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In Texas it's a county by county thing.
In the counties surrounding Dallas & Ft Worth you have stricter rules on emissions than in other, more outlying counties.
Basically, anything '75 or newer has to meet SOME form of emissions testing.
I suspect the counties around Austin would have a similar setup.
The emissions testing/inspection are part of the annual safety inspection.
There's an antique registration available that doesn't require the annual safety inspection, therefore no emissions testing, either. I think the vehicle has to be at least 25 years old.
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSleeper2
I am from ny... And in ny anything before a certain year (94 I think) does not have to pass emissions... I know my 78 Monte and My 86 Prelude did not have to pass anything except a safety test... I quess you would have to check you states requirements.

Oh and as far as the year of the engine...To my knowledge it does not make any difference... I goes by the vin of the car... My 78 Has a 91 350 in it.
all emissions equipment must be there and vac hose routing according to the tag
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:45 PM
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This is (as Chevrolet4x4s pointed out) a HUGELY complex issue that varies not only from state to state, but even county to county and town to town in some areas.

By the strictest word of Federal law, you cannot alter, tamper with, disable, or remove any emissions equipment. To the letter, you are not even technically allowed to use a muffler that is not a factory replacement. But, since the only people who could enforce that is the FBI and the NSA, its a non-issue. I can just imagine an NSA agent citing you for having a vacuum leak; "sorry, sir, but your intake gasket is a threat to national security."

In CA, vehicles manufactured prior to 1976 or diesel vehicles do not have to submit to the bi-annual smog check. So, while not technically legal, you could buy a 95 diesel pickup and put a blown, nitroused, nitro-burning 587 cubic inch engine in it and register it on the street. Here in Austin, TX (which is different from many other parts of TX) I believe its 1984 that is the cutoff for smog exemption. We do smog tests every year, though. You know the old saying, "everything is bigger in texas." We have to out-do everyone else.

For the most part, engines are classified by emissions profiles by year. The EPA mandates that starting in 19xx, every car must have fewer than ____ emissions. What that means for most smog enforcement rules is that you can change engines as long as the new engine is the same year or newer. Your engine change must pollute the same as before or less than before. For smog check reasons, your car must retain all the smog equipment from the donor vehicle. For instance, I put an LS1 in an 84 Camaro with a buddy in CA. In order for it to be legal, he had to retain all of the LS1 smog equipment and have functioning OBD2 diagnostics, because when he went for smog testing, his car was now treated as if it were a 2001 vehicle. He had to conform to emissions profiles for 2001 vehicles since that was the year of his engine.

In most areas this also means that engine swaps within the option tree were perfectly fine. Let's say you have a 4-cylinder mustang from the 80s. Since the V6 and V8 were both options in that car, you can swap without problems (as long as you keep the smog equipment from the new engine). The 4-cylinder and V8 from the same year both had to conform to the same EPA restrictions, so its a no-brainer. But, lets say you want to put an engine in it that wasn't offered in that vehicle, like a BMW motor; or the LS1 example I gave above. It would still have to be swapped the same way (same year or newer with all the newer smog equipment) but most ares require that you have it taken to a referee station to have it certified. Then they will stamp a plate for your car that identifies the new engine and year. You also can't swap engines between classes of vehicle. In that 80's Mustang example, you couldn't legally put a big block Ford in it because the only vehicles that came with big block Fords in that era were trucks. Can't put a truck engine in a car because they have different emissions requirements.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:08 AM
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I think shane focused on the key word: Yet.
There`s no emissions testing or vehicle inspection here,, yet.
But at the rate this town is growing there will be in the future.
I remember when I was a kid, everything here closed at 5. It was a small town and maybe 1 gas station was open 24 hours. Now it`s grown and developed more and more. My town is in the top 10 of fastest growing cities in the nation. More businesses are coming in, in a few years they expect to have the largest mall in the nation built here, I think it`s called "spirit of america" or something like that. Big manufactuers are pouring in for the cheap labour of this state. Car companies and all the companies that supply them are moving in, with jobs comes more people and with more people come more problems. In time it`ll be another detroit and flint. A abandoned, polluted, filthy waste land full of people without jobs and the crime rate will go through the ceiling.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:59 AM
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A good place to start is your Texas DMV web site. Most states have the info posted regarding any requirements governing engine swaps or other major changes made to your car. As others have noted, the rules vary from state to state so what I might tell you about Wisconsin will have absolutely not bearing on what you need to do in Texas. So start with your DMV.

You might also want to read the Wiki article on "How to title a Hot Rod" which you can find here.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:52 AM
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This is why you need to research local laws before spending a dime. First question is, how far back does emissions testing go where you live? Here in VA it is only 25 years, so an 81 would not require testing, thus no problem.

If you DO have to be tested, what engine was originally installed in the Bonne? If it was an Olds 307, the 455 looks VERY similar from the outside (only the deck height is different). Others have done this swap, dressed the 455 to look like the 307, and skated past. Failing that, try bribery.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 81RocketBonneville
I have an 1981 Bonneville with a 1968 Olds 455 W-30 engine in it. After MANY years and a lot of dough getting this thing together, I'm finally at the point where I can drive it.
Has anyone tried to register a car like mine? Did you have to get it to pass emissions?

If you have to pass emissions, you've got a problem as it's illegal to install an engine older than the chassis where emissions certified vehicles are concerned. You can always go the other way, a newer engine in an older chassis with the newer engine's emissions equipment. But to back date with an engine which doesn't use emissions equivalent to the year of the chassis is not going to be acceptable to the emissions people if you have to qualify this thing.

The law on this reads that the engine must use the emissions systems that are the most stringent, either those of the year of the chassis or the for the year of the engine.

Bogie
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbogie
The law on this reads that the engine must use the emissions systems that are the most stringent, either those of the year of the chassis or the for the year of the engine.

Bogie
Well, actually, since the engine CAN'T be older than the car, by definition the emission equipment must be for the year of the engine. More importantly, since the emissions equipment is designed to work with a specific engine, you really must install the equipment that goes with the engine anyway to make it work. Now of course, the original question was about how to get the car inspected vs. what is technically legal. Clearly this swap is not legal either under the anti-tampering provisions of current federal law or under any state law. Can you get it to pass? Maybe. As I noted above, the 307 Olds was an optional engine in the 81 B-body cars. The emissions controls included catalyst, CCC Qjet, EGR, AIR, and evaporative cannister. To the untrained eye, the 455 Olds looks just like the 307, assuming one does not start checking casting numbers. The 307 equipment can all be installed sufficiently well to pass a visual inspection and in most cases a tailpipe inspection. Of course, as I noted, that would be illegal - so I could not advocate that someone do this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 81RocketBonneville
I have an 1981 Bonneville with a 1968 Olds 455 W-30 engine in it.
No, you don't, since there is no such thing as a 1968 455 W-30. In 1968 the W-30 was a long stroke 400 cu in motor using the "G" block and the "D" heads. It was not until 1970 that the W-30 motor grew to 455 cu in.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:14 PM
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I personally don't think you will have a problem registering it as the people at the tax office don't care what engine you have in it, heck they don't even care if it's running. Just provide proof of insurance....if you have a title. For inspection if your county requires the sniff test just drive to a neighboring county that does not do the sniff test for your inspection.

The county I live in is Collin and they require the test. When I had our 04 Tahoe last inspected it cost almost $50, so I will be driving to Grayson county (about 15 miles) to get it inspected next time.

Now if you do not have a title....that is an entirely different can of worms .

Vince
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:26 PM
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:35 PM
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In Texas registering a car is generally referred as getting the license plates for it. Registration requires proof of insurance and either the last license receipt or the title.

Requesting a title (if you do not have one) is a completely different animal.

Vince
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:15 PM
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Registering it won't be the issue. I have only bought one vehicle since I moved here to Austin. It was a 98 F150. You just walk in with the title and other paperwork and they do it on the spot. Takes about 3 minutes once your number is called. They plug in the VIN and you're done. They don't even look at the vehicle. It doesn't even have to be there to register it.

The issue would be continuing to legally drive it if you don't pass your next emissions test... but since your car is older than the cutoff, you shouldn't have to smog it.
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