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Index > @ the Pickup Bed (General Topics) > Thread: Consumer Assistance Program - SMOG
Thread: Consumer Assistance Program - SMOG
dhood


Hauling
Posts: 134
posted February 22, 2005 03:42 PM

Consumer Assistance Program - SMOG

Warning, kinda long message here! But the good news is today my truck went from GROSS POLLUTER to PASSED!

California has a program that pays consumers $500 to fix their smog (minus a $100 deductible). Since I was having trouble and couldn't find anybody who knew much about rotary smog, I thought I'd apply to see what expert smog shop the State might know of. The State approved the truck for the program which gave me some credibility so a smog shop (GOLD STANDARD no less) would be willing to take on the project. After all, any other guy showing up with a 27 year old smog problem would get shown to the door.

After being through it, my advice is don't. I got a list of all the CAP approved shops in California and the reality is the State really doesn't know of a shop that can fix rotaries. Few shops want to touch them since the program limits the amount of reimbursement the shop can collect. The consumer is only obligated for a maximum of $100 up front, the shop gets $400 more and the State wants to see compliance in the end. A shop does not want to take that money and fail a lot of cars, kinda like biting the hand that feeds them. The money is to be used primarily for smog related parts, but other parts can be fixed or installed based on technician recommendation and state approval, but in all practicality, $500 is the limiting factor, especially for a classic or vintage specimen.

So I put my cash on the barrelhead and the only useful information from them was some advice on how an air pump might be within pressure specs, but still fail on the volume of air. So for a total bill of $178, they told me the air pump was weak, my carb had a leak and was most likely tampered with, ie. somebody jetted it up. I did complain about that; I'm the second owner last 15 years and the first was a married woman who used it for camping trips. They returned the truck to me to make the repairs myself and offered to retest it when I was done, explainging they would work with me, they are pro consumer. But being the best carb shop in the county doesn't mean they were willing to rebuild the Hitachi for me. (This gets better).

I adjusted the oil meter pump (it was 400% over normal), adjusted the floats, fixed the carb leak, and hooked up the ecu so the trailing plugs would cut out in mid range (standard spec). Upon return, the shop said I would be responsible for the retest fee if it failed and it probably would, since, they could not be state reimbursed for owner guessing at repairs. And, they added, there was no way what I did would pass smog. Furthermore, since I adjusted the floats, considered tampering, he wouldn't report me because he is pro-consumer. I did ask exactly how he was helping me and his answer, he spent over half an hour on the phone with a CAP rep (state employee who used to race rotaries) and who stated unequivically the carb had to come off. The rep also suggested I retire the vehicle.

So I took my key back and brought it to a regular test only station. It passed with flying colors. I took the report back to the expert who said something like, I didn't think the oil injection could cause so much emissions.

It was truly a waste, and frustrating too, so just remember, its probably better to limit your experience with government sponsored programs. And I might add, it would be pretty lonely out here without the support of this forum. Long live MAZDAREPU.com.

       
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bliffle


Revvin Up
Posts: 95
posted February 22, 2005 08:19 PM

Outstanding post! Thank you. That info is invaluable for my collection of 3 FBs, that I always worry through smog (my REPU is a 74 so it's just into the no-smog-test zone).

B

       
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klaus42


Rotorhead
Posts: 1877
posted February 23, 2005 10:08 AM

Not to rain on ...

...what sounds like your good fortune (in the end), but perhaps the possibility bears mentioning that perhaps there are some smog shops that will pass some, when others won't...?

       
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dhood


Hauling
Posts: 134
posted February 23, 2005 10:27 AM

I suppose so

but I've never found one of them so far. I hate to mess with beaurocrats too, they can ask you to bring the car to a ref without apparent cause.

The same shop failed me twice, then passed on the third try after I completed all the repairs. Failed the first time on timing; I exchanged the dizzy then couldn't find TDC due to wrong pully. Funny, it ran OK.

The numbers were 10X higher on the fails, from 2 different shops. The pass numbers are in line with what I used to get. I talked to the owner and asked him how much one of those machines costs, he has two. They are nearly $50,000 each and they are only getting $50 for a test. Quite an investment to put at risk if found falsifying the results.


       
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klaus42


Rotorhead
Posts: 1877
posted February 23, 2005 01:35 PM

I hear ya

...on the beaurocrats! Funny thing about the 'truth', though... it tends to have a 'sliding floor'...
Especially when the documentation that's spit out by a $50K electronic box is merely and ostensibly an accounting of facts deemed accurate at the time of testing... which *could* be deemed inaccurate an hour, day, week, or month later.
RE: What is considered 'tampering'...(even if that's what was needed to fix the problem).

       
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dhood


Hauling
Posts: 134
posted February 23, 2005 06:53 PM

They don't have to grant us any favors

Compared to my wife's 94 Pontiac which has an engine management system and OBD2 diagnostics, check out these numbers (15mph/25mph):

REPU Failed: HC 242/322, CO 2.65/2.95
REPU Passed: HC 13/90, CO 0.13/0.08 (makes your eyes water)
Pontiac: HC 40/8, CO 0.09/0.03

The floor can slide a little and there isn't anything they can do about it. I always did want to put on a header and do some other stuff, but I worried what that would read at the tailpipe.

In this state an owner has the right to work on his or her own car, so I think the so called expert (a carb specialist) just didn't like the idea of me tackling something he was going to do himself. He really was full of it.

As for bureaucrats, I used to wuz one. About ten years ago or so I called one of the state techs myself about parts availibility and used a state phone (which really confused him, he didn't know who the hell I was). And it was fun. The guy let me know how much he hated rotaries because when he had one he got some speeding tickets and it blew up on him after 75k miles. He actually yelled at me insults about the Mazda corporation. He finally had to catch a bus so he didn't have time to report me for using state property for personal business :)

       
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klaus42


Rotorhead
Posts: 1877
posted March 01, 2005 09:45 AM

Great story...

...about why some folks shouldn't be driving! A well-deserved bus ride for that guy...

       
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Brad


Rotorhead
Posts: 1671
posted March 01, 2005 03:20 PM

dhood

u must have a 76 or 77?

75 and earlier are smog EXEMPT in the beautiful state of Khalifornia.
____________
-brad-
74 REPU Lawn Green
81 Rx-7 racecar. 12a J-
Bridge

       
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