Pennsylvania Emissions Testing
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This is a discussion on Pennsylvania Emissions Testing within the Tri-State forums, part of the Regional Discussion category; So, my 2005 WRX has been throwing a steady CEL for a few months. I asked the dealership to check ...

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    Pennsylvania Emissions Testing

    So, my 2005 WRX has been throwing a steady CEL for a few months. I asked the dealership to check the codes for me and they said my catalytic converter is shot. Its at 157K miles, so I guess that's not a stretch.

    Anyway, I'm considering doing a full turbo-back system...either the full Cobb/Access Port setup with catted downpipe, or a pieced together setup using the Cobb catted downpipe/Blitz Nur-Spec RX cat-back/Access Port.

    And I'm sure you all know what my question is - Will I (or a reputable shop) be able to tune this system to pass PA State Emissions Testing? I've been trying to find an answer to this question all over, and most people suggest using a stock cat for the test and swap out for your favorite flavor DP for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, I don't have a good stocker to start with, and buying two isn't financially possible right now. To make matters worse...my inspection is due in Feb, so I've got to get this done asap.

    I don't know whether the testing varies across the state or not, so for reference I live in the Pittsburgh area.

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    Registered User nsibanez's Avatar
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    Depending on how your state does testing. ..you're best bet is obviously staying stock and replacing the cat but it's pricey
    A turbo back with a catted downpipe and proper tune will work just fine as well
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    Yeah, I thought about just replacing the cat. This car has been my daily driver for near 10 years. That's 9 Pennsylvania winters and its still the factory exhaust. After climbing under there and looking at things, its obvious that, once I start trying to take things apart, the whole system is going to have to come off. That's why I figured a full (catted) TBE would be the best bet. I was just concerned about whether I'd be able to tune it to "passable" with that setup and the AP3.
    Last edited by Led Boots; 11-18-2014 at 10:40 AM.

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Technically, it's illegal to alter any emissions related component (exhaust, ECU, air pump, etc).

    That being said:

    1. There are holes in the rules that allow you to use a different catalytic converter if it is difficult to find a stock replacement.
    2. There is technically a visual check for cats/air pump/etc. It is not rigorously followed in my experience in Allegheny county.
    3. Aside from the visual check (which should be okay with a 'suitable' catalytic converter, regardless), the catalytic converter performance is 'measured' by an o2 sensor in the exhaust after the converter. In other words... the converter does not have a direct impact on whether you pass OBDII emissions - the ECU determines whether or not the converter is performing adequately and PA emissions only care about the ECU's 'opinion' after the visual inspection.

    In summary:
    -Replacing your catalytic converter with a stock replacement should fix the issue, provided that is the issue at hand. It could be other issues such as an o2 sensor or fueling issues.
    -Replacing the stock catalytic converter with a high flow cat will most likely still throw a check engine light, hence failing your emissions testing. This does not mean that your high flow cat is performing better/worse, it more so reflects that you are moving more air & fuel than intended past the o2 sensor.
    -Or... go get your car tuned (basically required with the exhaust anyhow). A Cobb AP or an open source tune can 'remove' and 'block' that check engine light.

    I'm not going to say what to do... But if a small birdy was to whisper anything in your ear... it would be to get a nice catted exhaust and a good quality tune. If you go with a catless exhaust, you technically won't pass, depending on whether or not the mechanic actually cares.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
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    Thank you...that's is what I needed to know.

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Led Boots View Post
    Thank you...that's is what I needed to know.
    Yup. I'm from Allegheny county, for what it's worth. We do have emissions testing. The visual inspection (formally known as the anti-tampering check) is part of the emissions testing portion of the inspection. In counties in PA that don't have emissions testing, to many peoples dismay, there is still an anti-tampering check, but it is then part of the safety inspection.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heide264 View Post
    Yup. I'm from Allegheny county, for what it's worth. We do have emissions testing. The visual inspection (formally known as the anti-tampering check) is part of the emissions testing portion of the inspection. In counties in PA that don't have emissions testing, to many peoples dismay, there is still an anti-tampering check, but it is then part of the safety inspection.
    The area I live in (Delmont) used to be right on the border in Westmoreland county where the emissions requirement ended. Our borough, had to have them, but literally right up the street (2 blocks) Salem Township didn't. Used to be ways to get around it if you had a family member that lived in an exempt area. Just register your vehicle under their address. It has since been expanded to include all of Westmoreland County.

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Led Boots View Post
    The area I live in (Delmont) used to be right on the border in Westmoreland county where the emissions requirement ended. Our borough, had to have them, but literally right up the street (2 blocks) Salem Township didn't. Used to be ways to get around it if you had a family member that lived in an exempt area. Just register your vehicle under their address. It has since been expanded to include all of Westmoreland County.
    Really since OBDII has become the standard, it's become a null point in PA. Only pre-OBDII cars require a sniffer test, even if emissions testing is required. Both emissions and non-emissions county have a visual check (which in my experience has been poorly reinforced). With OBDII, its all up to what the car's ECU says is wrong - the ECU is easily 'modified' any more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

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    Registered User lytlec's Avatar
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    I pass emissions with an EWG in PA at a dealership...only had one issue once and that was with the monitors not being ready because I unplugged my battery to replace headlight.
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    Registered User Hold_Fast's Avatar
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    I've passed emissions catless as well, but it really depends on if the tech does a tamper check as mentioned above. I have a shop by me that will turn a blind eye to it, but then there are some who won't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lytlec View Post
    I pass emissions with an EWG in PA at a dealership...only had one issue once and that was with the monitors not being ready because I unplugged my battery to replace headlight.
    I one time had an issue where I dropped mine off after recently working on my tune. The readiness monitor issue was cleared rather quickly with a trip back to the shop with my laptop.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hold_Fast View Post
    I've passed emissions catless as well, but it really depends on if the tech does a tamper check as mentioned above. I have a shop by me that will turn a blind eye to it, but then there are some who won't.
    Yup. Agreed 100%. Firestone/PepBoys are good places to find a friend.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

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    Well, I guess I ain't doin it myself

    The plan was predicated on being able to remove the heat shield. I had a feeling this was going to be a problem, so before I ordered any parts, I decided to take a look today to see if there was any possibility of getting it off of there without any issues. Well, forget that. I can't believe the garbage hardware on this thing. The bolt heads are rusted so bad, a wrench or socket pretty much just crumbles them to nothing. The one bolt directly on the back of the shield...well, a 9mm spun on that one. Rounded the head off real nice. And of the two nearest the motor...the 10mm spun on the top one. I didn't try any more as to avoid messing them all up. So much for doing it myself.

    I guess I gotta find a shop now, or take it to the stealership. There's a shop in Blairsville that's listed as a Cobb retailer. Might be giving them a call to see if they want to do it. Really don't want to go to the dealership. Didn't really want to spend that kind of cash to go stock.

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