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Forced Induction
Aftermarket superchargers & turbos as well as tuning for stock BMW turbos (N54 motor - 135i / 335i / 535i). Force-fed discussion to make your car go faster

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  #1  
Old 04-29-2015, 11:52 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Forced induction for E46 is illegal in California--so it seems

I have a 2004 330ci--the non-M version of an E46. As near as I can tell, these are all the forced induction kits on the market for that car:

ESS Tuning: twin screw superchargers, stage 1 or stage 2
Active Autowerke: centrifugal superchargers, stage 1 or stage 2
VF Engineering: centrifugal supercharger kit, using Vortech
Technique Tuning: turbo kit

PROBLEM: None of them are street legal in California (e.g., they are not CARB certified). I have confirmed that for all them except the Technique Tuning kit, but Max psi web page says technique products aren"t street legal in California either (technique tuning hasn't answered my email inquiry about this).

Does anyone know what E46 owners living in California do to get away with having forced induction?
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  #2  
Old 04-29-2015, 02:51 PM
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mark_m5 mark_m5 is offline
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http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/smog-check.php

You might be able to take it to a STAR station and get it passed based on emissions only and not equipment check.
Quote:
Failed Vehicle Inspections

If your vehicle did not pass its smog check, the CA Department of Motor Vehicles recommends contacting the BAR Referee Program at (800) 622-7733. Here, you'll find help with smog check dispute resolution.
EDIT: I'd also love to know if anyone has done this.. If so, I'm seriously tempted to run out to AZ and have ESS Tuning install a blower on my M5

Quote:
Referee Centers

Referee Centers are state-contracted facilities that provide specialized inspection services. They perform a number of important functions for consumers, including: issuance of Smog Check repair cost waivers; assistance with certain disputes between a station and consumer; certification of vehicles issued Limited Parts Exemptions; inspection of grey market vehicles, specially constructed vehicles, and vehicles with engine changes; and assistance in the resolution of other Smog Check issues. To make an appointment at a Referee center, call 1-800-622-7733.
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Last edited by mark_m5; 04-29-2015 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 04-30-2015, 03:39 PM
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MeNoo MeNoo is offline
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I don't live in an area that enforces emissions, so I wouldn't know. However I hear about these places where you can "dirty smog" a car. Essentially meaning you bribe them and/or they put an extra cat on during testing, then take it off. Apparently that's like half the smog shops.
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  #4  
Old 04-30-2015, 04:25 PM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Quote:
EDIT: I'd also love to know if anyone has done this.. If so, I'm seriously tempted to run out to AZ and have ESS Tuning install a blower on my M5
I emailed a sales rep at ESS here in California; apparently they have no problem about installing it here. I guess they just claim that the car was meant only for track use so far as they knew, even if it obviously isn't a track car.

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Originally Posted by MeNoo View Post
I don't live in an area that enforces emissions, so I wouldn't know. However I hear about these places where you can "dirty smog" a car. Essentially meaning you bribe them and/or they put an extra cat on during testing, then take it off. Apparently that's like half the smog shops.
I need to find one of those shops.
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2015, 04:37 PM
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mark_m5 mark_m5 is offline
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I contacted Sales @ ESS via email and asked them about whether anyone had passed their system for the E39 M5 through CA smog or if it might still hit the metrics to meet smog for 2002 if they just did a sniffer test. He said no, California is too tough.

Since the kit includes larger fuel injectors to handle the increased airflow, maybe that's causing the high emission numbers. If reducing that can be done with a second set of cats, that would be a great idea. I could do a muffler delete and replace the mufflers with cats.

Did a little internet search shows that this might work. If each cat in the series reduces emissions by 98%, then having an extra set should reduce total emissions by 99.96%. If the numbers are just above the limits...

I'll email the guy at ESS again and see what he says.
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"A world that is 'idiot proof' is a world that is only fit for idiots." - Racer X / 6'er
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  #6  
Old 04-30-2015, 04:43 PM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_m5 View Post
I contacted Sales @ ESS via email and asked them about whether anyone had passed their system for the E39 M5 through CA smog or if it might still hit the metrics to meet smog for 2002 if they just did a sniffer test. He said no, California is too tough.

Since the kit includes larger fuel injectors to handle the increased airflow, maybe that's causing the high emission numbers. If reducing that can be done with a second set of cats, that would be a great idea. I could do a muffler delete and replace the mufflers with cats.

Did a little internet search shows that this might work. If each cat in the series reduces emissions by 98%, then having an extra set should reduce total emissions by 99.96%. If the numbers are just above the limits...

I'll email the guy at ESS again and see what he says.
Passing the sniffer is one part of the problem. The other is that if they look under the hood they'll see modifications that don't have a CARB label on them. They will fail you for that too, even if you smell good. I think we'd have to find a shop that was willing to overlook what's under the hood.
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  #7  
Old 04-30-2015, 06:53 PM
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mark_m5 mark_m5 is offline
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Aha!!!! This just in from ESS:

Quote:
Hi,

It does pass tailpipe and OBD2 testing, but it will fail visual in CA.

Regards,
Asbjorn Bohn
ESS Performance Products USA Inc.
Now to call the referee station number and see if I can go through that...
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Grammar: The difference between "knowing your sh*t" and "knowing you're sh*t."
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  #8  
Old 04-30-2015, 10:09 PM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_m5 View Post
Aha!!!! This just in from ESS:



Now to call the referee station number and see if I can go through that...
The referee? Do you mean you'll ask him if you can avoid the visual? I'm confused.

Anyway, if it's just the visual check I need to worry about, perhaps I can work around that... I don't feel guilty about it if the thing passes the other tests.
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2015, 09:57 AM
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mark_m5 mark_m5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Davis View Post
The referee? Do you mean you'll ask him if you can avoid the visual? I'm confused.

Anyway, if it's just the visual check I need to worry about, perhaps I can work around that... I don't feel guilty about it if the thing passes the other tests.
From my post on 4/29:
Quote:
Referee Centers

Referee Centers are state-contracted facilities that provide specialized inspection services. They perform a number of important functions for consumers, including: issuance of Smog Check repair cost waivers; assistance with certain disputes between a station and consumer; certification of vehicles issued Limited Parts Exemptions; inspection of grey market vehicles, specially constructed vehicles, and vehicles with engine changes; and assistance in the resolution of other Smog Check issues. To make an appointment at a Referee center, call 1-800-622-7733.
"Engine changes" might mean swapping like a Chevy engine into the car vs. modifying a stock engine with aftermarket parts, but it's worth a shot. I know a guy who runs a smog shop. I could ask him too.
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Mark

Grammar: The difference between "knowing your sh*t" and "knowing you're sh*t."
"A world that is 'idiot proof' is a world that is only fit for idiots." - Racer X / 6'er
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  #10  
Old 05-01-2015, 10:12 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_m5 View Post
From my post on 4/29:


"Engine changes" might mean swapping like a Chevy engine into the car vs. modifying a stock engine with aftermarket parts, but it's worth a shot. I know a guy who runs a smog shop. I could ask him too.
Ohhhh... now I get it. Yes, I'm interested in what you find out. That might be a solution.
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  #11  
Old 05-01-2015, 11:11 AM
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mark_m5 mark_m5 is offline
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Called the referee number. Apparently they just look up parts in a database to decide whether they're legal or not regardless of whether they have a CARB sticker. The lady on the phone didn't know a lot of detail, but I get the impression that they couldn't just pass a car that sniffs out ok unless the parts have CARB stickers or are in their approved parts database.

So I looked up California Air Resources Board. (CARB), and found this site: http://www.arb.ca.gov/permits/permits.htm
This is the site the Referee probably uses to look up parts: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermk...es/amquery.php
The paperwork to get an exemption is here (see "Form C" section): http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermkt/forms/forms.htm

Quote:
Manufacturers of add-on and modified parts planning to sell their product for use in California vehicles should apply for an exemption from Vehicle Code Section (VC) 27156. A VC 27156 exemption is granted if the product has been determined not to cause any increase in vehicular emissions.
So anything other than ZERO increase is unacceptable, even if the car is way under the limit for that year.

That's ridiculous.

But maybe a second set of cats could make it happen...

I think some people put on the kit and remove it when they need to get a smog check. Not that I'm endorsing that, but if I was still passing sniffer test, I don't think I'd have a moral dilemma. I think that the spirit of the law is more important than the details. Since most people drive 10+ over the speed limit, I think most people agree with that depending on the context. The only issue is the 10 hours to remove it, then get the car tested, then 10 hours to reinstall. That sounds like a hell of a lot of work.

You might be able to get it to pass while installed if you find a smog place that either has complete idiots working there, or people who are just punching a clock and don't care, or some other shady alternative. I'd have more ethical issue with that because I'd be asking or hoping that someone act dishonorably.

Another option: I wonder if ESS just needed a "guinea pig" test car with a patient owner who is willing to assist them in the process. Maybe they're short on staff and funds for a long, drawn-out process.

I'll contact them again and see if there's a way I might be able to help. I believe in supporting vendors that offer reasonably priced performance upgrades for these cars.
__________________
Mark

Grammar: The difference between "knowing your sh*t" and "knowing you're sh*t."
"A world that is 'idiot proof' is a world that is only fit for idiots." - Racer X / 6'er
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  #12  
Old 05-01-2015, 11:32 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_m5 View Post
Called the referee number. Apparently they just look up parts in a database to decide whether they're legal or not regardless of whether they have a CARB sticker. The lady on the phone didn't know a lot of detail, but I get the impression that they couldn't just pass a car that sniffs out ok unless the parts have CARB stickers or are in their approved parts database.

So I looked up California Air Resources Board. (CARB), and found this site: http://www.arb.ca.gov/permits/permits.htm
This is the site the Referee probably uses to look up parts: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermk...es/amquery.php
The paperwork to get an exemption is here (see "Form C" section): http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermkt/forms/forms.htm



So anything other than ZERO increase is unacceptable, even if the car is way under the limit for that year.

That's ridiculous.

But maybe a second set of cats could make it happen...

I think some people put on the kit and remove it when they need to get a smog check. Not that I'm endorsing that, but if I was still passing sniffer test, I don't think I'd have a moral dilemma. I think that the spirit of the law is more important than the details. Since most people drive 10+ over the speed limit, I think most people agree with that depending on the context. The only issue is the 10 hours to remove it, then get the car tested, then 10 hours to reinstall. That sounds like a hell of a lot of work.

You might be able to get it to pass while installed if you find a smog place that either has complete idiots working there, or people who are just punching a clock and don't care, or some other shady alternative. I'd have more ethical issue with that because I'd be asking or hoping that someone act dishonorably.

Another option: I wonder if ESS just needed a "guinea pig" test car with a patient owner who is willing to assist them in the process. Maybe they're short on staff and funds for a long, drawn-out process.

I'll contact them again and see if there's a way I might be able to help. I believe in supporting vendors that offer reasonably priced performance upgrades for these cars.
Thanks, Mark. I agree with everything you've said (except that I might be more tolerant of shady smog shops than you are, if they help me do what I consider otherwise morally permissible).

I've considered just taking the equipment off and putting it right back on every two years, but unfortunately I'd have to pay someone to do that for me.

Getting a second set of cats might be worth it, if that doesn't impair the performance of the car in any way. Any ideas on how feasible that might be?

Tell ESS that if they can help you make this legal, they've got a second customer in me!
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  #13  
Old 05-01-2015, 11:39 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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I just now looked over the exemption form (C) in your links. I guess it's a form submitted by the manufacturer, not one of us, but it doesn't look all that hard to deal with, if their device is clean enough. I wonder if this is the paperwork that gets the kit CARB certified, or whether this is some alternative to CARB certification that's just as good.

Do you live in the LA area? I work just a mile or so from the largest ESS retailer/installer in California: European Auto Source, in Anaheim: https://europeanautosource.com/contact-us

I've been corresponding with one of the EAS sales reps about CARB issues on their twin screw supercharger: Tom ( Tom@europeanautosource.com) EAS might be a good place to try to work this out, if they're willing to be ESS's authorized representative for this purpose.

If I can help in some way, let me know.
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  #14  
Old 05-01-2015, 11:44 AM
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I'd say that 2 "race cats" > stock cats, but this is speculation, not flow tested.
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