recommendation for star smog station?

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    ricardo jamin

    Anyone has recommendation for star smog station in South Bay (I’m in Santa Clara) ?
    For some reason most of the star station is a test and repair station. Which makes me a little bit worried going to a random one.

    My car is not heavily modified. The only emission related difference between now and the last smog test is exhaust. I replaced stock exhaust with a uuc corsa. Its supposed to be legal in CA so I’m not too worried about that.
    However on my last test I was borderline on both HC and NO at 15mph.

    And if anyone has any tips of helpful things before doing smog inspection, I would like to hear that.
    The most common one is to get the cat really hot. Any other tips?


    Jeff Roberts

    Do some googleing on the topic. I’ve read about the hot cat and also about adding a large percentage of ethanol to the fuel.

    I live in Santa Cruz county and we don’t have these “dyno” type smog requirements here. Even my 14yo ford truck passes with flying colors. Not sure why you’re so close on yours. An exhaust upgrade won’t effect your smog output.

    O2 sensors OK? If they have 100k or more miles on them, best to replace at least the pre-cat sensors. Even tho they don’t throw a code, they can be inefficient and cause your car to run rich. You can google on that too.

    ricardo jamin

    I didn’t know that each county do it differently. Does that mean I can just go to Santa Cruz to do a smog test, and they won’t do a dyno?

    Good point on O2 sensor even if it doesn’t throw code. I’ll check how old they are.

    Oh and I forgot to ask if there is any side effect from the habit of overfilling by half quarts (to avoid oil starvation on s52 engine). I’m wondering if this might have any impact on HC?

    Jeff Roberts

    AFAIK, if the county your car is registered in requires the more advanced smog test then you must pass that type of certification.

    On the oil overfill… I doubt it has anything to do with it. I’d be more inclined to look at the O2 sensors and, hopefully not, the cats.

    Maybe clean the MAF, new air filter, new plugs, anything you can do to make it run as efficiently as possible. Does it have an oil separator like the E46 does? If so, and it’s tired/failing, it could be sending much more oil to the intake than normal. Perhaps that has something to do with it too.

    ricardo jamin

    thanks for the suggestions Jeff.

    I took the car for inspection on sunday. I figured best to just see how its doing and attack the problem from there.
    It passed. but HC and NO at 15 mph still at borderline and NO at 25mph doubled from last time.

    I learned that Santa Clara Valley(and LA basin and San Diego) are the county that requires enhanced smog check. and some county like Lake County doesn’t even do bi-annual smog check. Like you said the car must follow the type of test it registered at.

    Yes e36 has cyclone separator too. it seems that also maintenance item on 100k+ miles car.

    Justin Tsang

    Just make sure the exhaust is hot before you get it tested.

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