Author Topic: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings  (Read 7003 times)

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Offline 72blackbird

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2010, 01:53:44 AM »
I am a bit concerned about the proposed engine to be swapped in being considered an 'engine change' instead of a 'replacement engine'- it's a smogger 403 w/ what appears to be all of the smog gear and an air pump. But since it's a V-6 to V-8 swap I'm not sure how the referee station will call it, even if the motor will pass the emissions testing.

I don't think I'm going to take any chances with this swap, considering how much money it costs just to obtain the donor engine, new exhaust and emissions equipment, as well as the associated labor cost to install everything. Another issue is that my customer wants a used but running engine to keep the swap cost low, and I can't guarantee the results with such an unknown factor as a 30+ yr. old used motor.

Geno


Offline Craig

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2010, 02:00:52 AM »
this is what concerns me:

"that the change does not increase pollution from the vehicle"

going from a V6 to a V8 will probably increase pollution.
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Offline Gunner

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2010, 07:16:40 AM »
Oh MAN am I glad I left California when I got out of the Corps. I feel so sorry for you guys out there. You have to put up with that CRAP just to keep treehuggers happy. I'd be postal by now if I'd stayed.

Gunner
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Offline 72blackbird

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #33 on: February 15, 2010, 10:12:24 AM »
The V-8 (403) will put out more emissions than the V-6 (231), but no more than other 403's since it would be stock. But I'm thinking the V-8 will be ruled an 'engine change' since it's an upgrade and not the same size as the original engine. Oh well.

Gunner- it's a total PITA, but I'm in the same boat as Craig, as I have a 76 T/A (49 state car) and it needs an engine. I'm thinking I could get a W72 shortblock and go from there. At least w/ the T/A a 400 is just a replacement engine.

Geno

Offline Craig

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2010, 10:37:49 AM »
In the big picture this has nothing to do with California. What this is, is interpretation of the laws, which are written by lawyers, so we can pay them to interpret what the law says. Most laws can be seen in different ways and therefore, interpretation.

I guess I'm a tree hugger because I appreciate that we're trying to keep the air clean. It's all about playing by the rules. These are the rules for a '76 and newer car here in California, so get over it. If you don't want to play by those rules, go buy a '75 or older car, then you can do what you want. These laws aren't something new, they've been around for a while. It's really not that big of a deal.
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Offline ta78w72

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2010, 11:29:29 AM »
Actually the laws were changed about four or five years ago.  Prior to the law change, one additional model year was exempt each year.  If the law hadn't been changed, probably the 1980 model years and prior would be exempt.  The old law kept the last 30 model years under the smog testing requirements.  The new law keeps all model years from 1976 and on under the smog testing requirements.

What's funny is California was one of the last states to enact emissions test.  The federal government had to threaten to withhold transportation funding before California caved in and began testing.  Now California leads the nation in emissions requirements.

I'm not one that sits backs and "gets over it".  I'll keep working on our representatives to change the law.

Geno, I don't blame you for being cautious.  But a phone call to CARB would shed light on whether you can do what you want to do or not.

Offline Rick

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2010, 11:45:56 AM »
In the big picture this has nothing to do with California. What this is, is interpretation of the laws, which are written by lawyers, so we can pay them to interpret what the law says. Most laws can be seen in different ways and therefore, interpretation.

But you have to look at the entire big picture.  The only interpretation of the law that matters is the one adopted by the state regulator.  However they decide to interpret it IS the way it is -- unless or until you seek legal recourse through the court system to have that interpretation changed.  If the CARB says "no", then you can't do it until either a court instructs them to change their mind or the law is changed.

Life is easier for the regulators if they just say "no".  They aren't pestered by endless requests for permission, and they don't have to worry about whether or not the exception is well-done or just thrown together.  It's a fact of life in the bureaucracy that "no" and "no exceptions" is the rule.

So... you are faced with 4 alternatives.  You either hire a lawyer to try and force them to reinterpret the law in a way that benefits you, OR you try to lobby legislators to change the law to something more favorable to you, OR you accept the prevailing interpretation and live with it, OR you just move out of the jurisdiction.  Most people find that the last alternative is the one that's cheapest and most effective if they REALLY want to do something that's not readily accepted.

Offline Craig

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #37 on: February 15, 2010, 12:48:13 PM »
ta78w72- The law I was referring to were the CAFE laws for converters in 1976. What are you trying to change the law to?

1976 is when cats were installed so it seems like a good year to start tighter emissions regulations.  IIRC there was a representative in Sam Mateo county that proposed getting rid of all cars 1975 and older a year or two ago.

I have a '74 BMW with a 2.0 liter engine that is perfectly tuned. I'm a bit embarrassed when I stop at a light and smell all the unburned gas smell coming from my tailpipe.

"If the CARB says "no", then you can't do it until either a court instructs them to change their mind or the law is changed."---That's what I'm saying. What CARB says, or at least what's posted above, is up for interpretation. It says that an engine change can't result in more pollution. To me that means you can't put a V8 in place of a V6, but most on here didn't see it that way. Probably the same thing if you call CARB on the phone. The information is only as good as the person at the other end.

So again, buy a '75 and do whatever you want to, then you don't have to worry about any of this.

I was 16 when Smokey came out and I wanted a black '77 or '78 TA. I thought about buying a '75 but it doesn't have a meaning to me. I knew that the '78 I have now would have to pass smog, so because I want that car, I'll play by the rules.
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Offline Rick

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #38 on: February 15, 2010, 12:59:18 PM »
1976 is when cats were installed so it seems like a good year to start tighter emissions regulations.

Minor bit of correction:  1975 was the first year that catalytic converters were required.  The EPA emissions standards changed between the 1974 model year and the 1975 model year, and they were the same for the 1975 and 1976 model years.  They changed again for the 1977 model year.


Offline 72blackbird

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #39 on: February 15, 2010, 01:03:01 PM »
I know you can't fight City Hall, or more specifically Sacramento- since I'm not going anywhere and my customers often request this type of work it's in my best interests to become proficient in making 76 and later T/A's and Firebirds smog compliant. It's more work of course, but I have no problems with doing the work or complying with the emissions laws - it just takes time to do it right. And we're dealing with 30+ year-old cars here- if the fuel system or exhaust isn't 100% the car won't pass.

Older vehicles sometimes with high mileage sometimes have a harder time passing emissions testing, so even after all of the appropriate work is done they sometimes don't pass. Extensive tuning is often needed, which only works on an engine that still has good seals, proper clearances, and  good compression. If you're swapping in a used motor with unknown history and condition, there are no guarantees- it may even need an minor overhaul to make it run decent. It's very unrealistic to expect a tired old motor to run like a new one and still run clean.

Knowing what I know now I don't have alot of big concerns getting my '76 T/A smogged and certified when the time comes, but as for the '78 Firebird, that remains to be seen, since the owner wants a used motor.

Geno

Offline Craig

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #40 on: February 15, 2010, 01:11:24 PM »
Do '75 Firebirds have cats? I know the '75 BMW's like mine don't, they started in '76.

Geno- That's a great point. A tired engine will have trouble passing no matter what you do to it.
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Offline Rick

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2010, 01:14:45 PM »
Yes, all 1975 GM products used catalytic converters and required the use of unleaded gasoline.

Offline Craig

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2010, 01:26:17 PM »
I didn't know that. Why did BMW not start until '75?
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Offline ta78w72

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #43 on: February 15, 2010, 01:43:30 PM »
CAFE standards are Federal.  I wasn't referring to those that changed.  I was referring to the state law that exempted each year one more model year.  That state law was repealed and the model year for requiring emissions testing was frozen with the 1976 model year.  Otherwise, each year the exemption would have moved up one model year.

I think emissions requirements started with the 1969 model year  They weren't that severe though.  That's correct, isn't it Rick?

Offline Rick

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Re: 1978 CA Firebird drivetrain offerings
« Reply #44 on: February 15, 2010, 02:02:43 PM »
From what I've gathered, the first tailpipe emissions standards were set by the predecessor of CARB for the 1966 model year in California.  It's not like the industry ignored air quality, though -- as the PCV systems were introduced in 1961 and quickly became standard equipment.  The CARB was formed legislatively in 1967 by merging a couple of entities together, so they started merrily marching along as soon as the regulations could be promulagated.  The US EPA was formed in 1970, and the rest is history.