Failed CA smog! Need some pointers!!
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This is a discussion on Failed CA smog! Need some pointers!! within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hey guys, alright 2002 wrx with 102,000 miles. Just bought it but it's become quite a project. Today I went ...

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    Failed CA smog! Need some pointers!!

    Hey guys, alright 2002 wrx with 102,000 miles. Just bought it but it's become quite a project. Today I went in for the CA smog test, and failed! The car passed at 2500 rpm with no problem: HC at 73 with a max of 130. However, at idle the car bombed the test. It got a measured 202 at a max of 100. The car has aftermarket headers, catless up-pipe, stock turbo, stock (surprisingly) downpipe with the large cat, and a mid-pipe back exhaust, not sure what brand. So basically the only cat is the one on the downpipe. Car is running no codes, no CEL, runs fine. I just switched the cold air intake with a stock one, as to pass the visual inspection. Idle was at 729 and the car was plenty warm before the test. I am unsure if the car has had any electronic tuning previously, but it runs and drives great.

    Any ideas what would cause this? What's my cheapest fix? I'm running out of money on this project

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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Ah CA, the worst state in the union for anyone with any interest in cars.

    The fact that there is only one cat may have something to do with it. It may also be that the one cat that you have isn't working as efficiently as it once did.

    Do you have any of the stock exhaust system?

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    Nope, I bought the car as is. Pretty sure the downpipe contains the main cat...but I've heard that it should pass just fine with one cat. Could be that it isnt working as well. Where are the other cats located? I'm thinking about buying a stock catted up pipe as well, I just don't know how it'll fit with all the other stuff on there. Kinda a headache...i wish i knew these cars better. thanks

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    I passed with a gutted up stock everything else. I would suggest getting the stock catback on there. That would give you 3 of the 4 cats. I dont see why you shouldnt pass then... also make sure the cats are nice and hot, take a good drive before you get there and hopefully they pull it right in. The 3rd cat is in the catback portion. Id try it before doing the uppipe, like i said i passed without it and it can be a headache to take on/off.
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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02_wrx View Post
    Nope, I bought the car as is. Pretty sure the downpipe contains the main cat...but I've heard that it should pass just fine with one cat. Could be that it isnt working as well. Where are the other cats located? I'm thinking about buying a stock catted up pipe as well, I just don't know how it'll fit with all the other stuff on there. Kinda a headache...i wish i knew these cars better. thanks
    Here's a diagram to maybe help you in the future:



    Yeah, it should be fine with the one cat still on the system, but I'm not familiar with CA emissions per se, just that they are rather stringent. Some guys pass emissions here with no cats at all. I'm wondering if something is going on that's causing a rich condition while idling. But another cat could help.

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    yeah that diagram is great. So maybe the cat-back then...i saw one for $150 on craigslist somewhere...i'll have to hunt that down. I think the cat back on there has a cat of some sort, but apparently it's not doing too much. Anybody know why it would pass at 2500 rpm and not idling? I thought it would be the other way around, but shows how much i know haha...

    yeah how does smog work over there in utah? I was toying around with the idea of having my car titled there. I've got an uncle who lives out east but has a residence somewhere in salt lake. Probably just easier to convert to stock though

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmm06 View Post
    I passed with a gutted up stock everything else. I would suggest getting the stock catback on there. That would give you 3 of the 4 cats. I dont see why you shouldnt pass then... also make sure the cats are nice and hot, take a good drive before you get there and hopefully they pull it right in. The 3rd cat is in the catback portion. Id try it before doing the uppipe, like i said i passed without it and it can be a headache to take on/off.
    I think you are confused.

    3 cats total, none in the cat-back. Hence the name: catalytic converter-back.

    Refer to above diagram.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 02_wrx View Post
    yeah that diagram is great. So maybe the cat-back then...i saw one for $150 on craigslist somewhere...i'll have to hunt that down. I think the cat back on there has a cat of some sort, but apparently it's not doing too much. Anybody know why it would pass at 2500 rpm and not idling? I thought it would be the other way around, but shows how much i know haha...

    yeah how does smog work over there in utah? I was toying around with the idea of having my car titled there. I've got an uncle who lives out east but has a residence somewhere in salt lake. Probably just easier to convert to stock though
    Here we still have the emissions and safety inspections, but I'm not sure how much they differ from yours as far as emissions goes. In Toelle county which is right next to Salt Lake county, you can get a PO Box, register your car there, and not have to worry about emissions testing, which is nice if you have a project car that wouldn't pass in a million years.

    Usually catbacks have just a resonator, because they rely on the downpipe (midpipe) having a cat in it (hence the name ). The downpipe/midpipe SHOULD have two cats in it, are you sure you only have one? That would mean it was modified in some way.
    Last edited by xxxxxxxAnub1s; 09-17-2009 at 01:12 AM.

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    If you have mid-pipe back exhaust then you are missing one cat. See if you can try to find a stock mid-pipe to swap in.
    Last edited by brfatal; 09-17-2009 at 01:07 AM.

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    Find a friend, or someone who can just pass it for you without really inspecting it. thats what you have to do in mass, if you dont want to keep switching your exhaust whenever you need to get it inspected.
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    you'll need at least 2 cats to pass the test. Take pics of your exhaust and post here and well help you out.
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    does anyone have a link to a cheap stock midpipe

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    Ok guys sorry it's been awhile. I'm not sure how to post pictures on here but I'll try. So I've been learning some more about these cars...I'm still not sure whats up with my exhaust setup. From what I understand, the car has a cold air intake, equal length headers, an up-pipe with no cat (but the 02 sensor is still plugged in), stock turbo, the downpipe has a cat but it's not the oem wrx one, straight pipe for the mid-pipe, and some type of cat-back exhaust. (Or maybe it's some type of turbo-back exhaust I've never seen?) Anyway, there are still no codes, so has the car been tuned so compensate? If so, am I going to run into trouble trying to replace this stuff with stock equipment? Thanks
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_9023.jpg   IMG_9026.jpg   IMG_9027.jpg   IMG_9030.jpg  

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    My biggest question is can I just directly swap a stock downpipe / midpipe on there, or will it not fit the exhaust setup thats on there...I know its hard to see but somebody more familiar with these cars might know. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 02_wrx View Post
    Ok guys sorry it's been awhile. I'm not sure how to post pictures on here but I'll try. So I've been learning some more about these cars...I'm still not sure whats up with my exhaust setup. From what I understand, the car has a cold air intake, equal length headers, an up-pipe with no cat (but the 02 sensor is still plugged in), stock turbo, the downpipe has a cat but it's not the oem wrx one, straight pipe for the mid-pipe, and some type of cat-back exhaust. (Or maybe it's some type of turbo-back exhaust I've never seen?) Anyway, there are still no codes, so has the car been tuned so compensate? If so, am I going to run into trouble trying to replace this stuff with stock equipment? Thanks
    What you have is a full MRT Turboback.
    Last edited by brfatal; 09-28-2009 at 01:16 PM.

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