Need help interpreting CA smog test results

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Randall Fox, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. Randall Fox

    Randall Fox Guest

    I just passed my smog test, but just barely.. I have both the new and
    old numbers (recent test, and test from 1.5 years ago). Wondering if
    anyone can tell me if I have a developing car problem I can fix before
    it gets bad.. I was targeted as a "High Profile Emitter" and forced
    to go to a test only center. Preparations listed below..

    Note the HC, I barely made it.

    Auto: 1996 Honda Prelude, VTEC H22A
    Test: June 2004
    CO2 O2
    15mph 1802 14.9 0.0
    25mph 2106 14.9 0.0

    15mph 1802 58 9 56
    25mph 2106 42 7 38

    15mph 1802 0.52 0.02 0.08
    25mph 2106 0.50 0.03 0.05

    15mph 1802 451 57 204
    25mph 2106 738 50 139

    For the test itself, I changed the PCV, Air Filter, Changed the oil
    and oil filter, put in a full tank of 91 octane gas (actually, my car
    takes 91 octane, so that's what I normally use).. I also drove it on
    the freeway for 30+ miles (45 mins) and then brought it in.. I was
    forced to wait, but I went and topped off my tank instead of waiting,
    and then sat in traffic, which hopefully kept the car hot..

    I didn't put any additives in to clean the injectors, which is
    something I wish I had done..

    I also changed the plugs about a year ago, they are the expensive 60k
    mile plugs, and I only put 15,000 on them...

    I also may need a valve adjustment (or have them checked).. I don't
    know if that would throw it off much, I hope to do it myself, but
    haven't had the time. I don't think they are out of specs though..

    The original owner (I bought it 1.5 years ago) brought it to the
    dealership regularly and had all the records. He seemed to take good
    care of it, and the title xfer smog test kinda indicated that, plus I
    don't think he warmed the car up enough for his test..

    Here is the Original change of title Test that I got with the car.

    Test Date: Jan 2003

    CO2 O2
    15mph 1946 14.9 0.0
    25mph 2200 14.9 0.0

    15mph 1946 58 9 19
    25mph 2200 42 7 15

    15mph 1946 0.52 0.02 0.01
    25mph 2200 0.50 0.02 0.01

    15mph 1946 804 66 81
    25mph 2200 738 55 106
    Randall Fox, Jun 30, 2004
  2. Randall Fox

    SoCalMike Guest

    topping off the tank may have introduced excessive vapors into the
    recovery system.... which gets burned by the engine. so theres your high
    HC number.

    and idling actually cools the car down.

    i wouldnt worry about the test results- you passed.
    SoCalMike, Jun 30, 2004
  3. Randall Fox

    Randall Fox Guest

    I agree, but I really like the car, and I want it to last...

    And if I didn't worry, I might not have taken any precautions before
    the test, and been just a few numbers over the max, which would have
    hurt.. But then, who's to say?

    Randall Fox
    Randall Fox, Jun 30, 2004
  4. Randall Fox

    jim beam Guest

    the one thing you don't tell us is the mileage you have! hc can be
    excess fuel [o2 sensor], weak catalyst [excess fuel/oil] or oil [old age].
    jim beam, Jun 30, 2004
  5. Randall Fox

    SoCalMike Guest

    well, ya took the precautions, and it worked. do the same thing next
    time- except for topping off the tank :)
    SoCalMike, Jun 30, 2004
  6. Randall Fox

    Randall Fox Guest

    The car has about 127,000 miles... It doesn't seem to burn oil. At
    least I don't need to feed it oil between changes, if that is any

    I am more worried about the change. I put on 15,000 miles in about
    1.5 years, and the smog numbers seem to have gone up
    disproportionate... I haven't had any warning lamps or anything..
    Gas mileage seems to have been stable during that time as well..


    Randall Fox
    Randall Fox, Jun 30, 2004
  7. Randall Fox

    SoCalMike Guest

    its OBDII so anything seriously out of whack would store a code.
    SoCalMike, Jun 30, 2004
  8. Randall Fox

    jim beam Guest

    agreed, but a sensor may be "within limits" but on its way out. that's
    my bet anyway.
    jim beam, Jun 30, 2004
  9. Randall Fox

    jim beam Guest

    ok, oil should be ok at that mileage if it's been well maintained.
    overall, i agree with mike - you passed this time. just drive & worry
    about it when you get a code or if it fails next time.

    thing is, despite its good history, you still don't really know the full
    story. i had a civic with a problem similar to this. it turned out to
    be a very slight coolant leak i'd not bothered to fix. the coolant temp
    sensor was not getting fully immersed as the fluid level fell thereby
    sending lower temp data that was actual. this fooled the ecu into
    injecting the wrong fuel mixture. excess fuel = excess hc in the
    exhaust! sometimes it's the little things...

    jim beam, Jun 30, 2004
  10. Randall Fox

    Randall Fox Guest

    Ya, I closely watch for leaks, but I get your point..

    As far as the history, I totally agree. A new car is always better
    because you aren't stuck with a question mark for the history, but
    the price of a used car is really a good deal.. and I never have to
    go through the hell of seeing the "first ding" on the car.. Someone
    already paid me to put a ding on it... :)

    Randall Fox
    Randall Fox, Jun 30, 2004
  11. I llike Jim's theory. It seems to precisely match a condition that I
    encountered recently on my 1994 Mazda '626 as well. Like Randall, I barely
    scraped through my smog test; and that was on the second go-around. (I
    changed out the fuel filter and the plugs and also used the highest octane
    gasoline possible before the test). A couple weeks later I smelled coolant
    when I parked the car on a slight slope - sure enough I saw a few drips when
    I peered under the car. I still haven't fixed the leak, I just top off the
    coolant+H2O mix in the coolant reservoir every 4 or 5 weeks. I guess I'll
    need to fix it before the next smog check in 22 months though ;-) ;-)

    Warning: diatribe against Smog2 follows -

    I'm very very PO'd at the state of California for changing the test
    conditions under which these measurements are made. Almost seems like they
    deliberately did this because they knew a very large number of cars built in
    the mid 90s and earlier would most likely have a hard time passing the new
    Smog2 limits. Not only does this measure put a lot more dollars into the
    (severely depleted) coffers of the state but it also lines the pockets of
    umpteen station owners in regions of the state where the new law has been in
    effect since 2003. Call me a cynic but I can't help believing that these
    scoundrels were probably responsible for lobbying Sacramento to enforce the
    new law over a much wider part of the state. (Used to be that only the LA
    basin was subject to the stricter test). What I object to is the change in
    test conditions from RPM to mph (which largely explains the reason for the
    much higher absolute number measurements) ; it's just not very likely that
    the average commuter spends more than 50% of their time going at 20mph or
    below. That is just silly.

    Ram Ganapathi, Jul 1, 2004
  12. Randall Fox

    SoCalMike Guest

    ever been on a freeway in so cal during rush hour?
    SoCalMike, Jul 1, 2004
  13. Randall Fox

    Randall Fox Guest

    I believe that the smog check penalizes people who like to save a
    buck. I have an older car because it is just cheaper. I also work on
    it for the same reason (and so I know when the mechanic is screwing me
    over) . Seems like the state is forcing us to get new cars

    I just wished they would give free "pre-tests" so that I could work on
    the car and get it up to specs.. But I suppose that would be abused..

    I know for the next smog check, I will definitely get a pretest and
    make sure the thing is compliant before the actual test.

    Randall Fox
    Randall Fox, Jul 1, 2004
  14. There's something strange about the low speed HC test.

    Two years ago, my wife's '87 Toyota FX passed it by 1 ppm. This time, I was
    obviously sure it would fail as it is starting to burn a fair amount of oil.
    And as luck would have it, I was chosen to be sent to one of those test-only
    stations, that are allegedly more rigorous.

    You could have picked my jaw off the floor when it passed easily, with low
    speed HC way under the limit.

    Then my '85 Camry passed low speed HC literally on the limit value. (I sold
    it and bought a Honda Element, which is why I'm reading this newsgroup.)

    I really think a lot depends on how warm the car is when they do the test. I
    had told the folks how I did not expect the FX to pass, and they told me not
    to be so concerned, as they ensure the car is completely up to operating temp
    prior to starting the test.

    Arthur Shapiro, Jul 1, 2004
  15. Randall Fox

    SoCalMike Guest

    pre-75 is exempt, as are diesels. you could always buy the title for a
    diesel rabbit, and switch the VIN to a non-diesel one :)
    SoCalMike, Jul 2, 2004
  16. Randall Fox

    SoCalMike Guest

    was any maintenance done the second time vs the first? even gas
    formulations can make a difference.
    SoCalMike, Jul 2, 2004
  17. No, In fact the first time the car had recently received its 90K service.
    (And I know what you're thinking, but I deal with a shop whose reputation in
    this this part of the woods is impeccable.) The second time it hadn't reached
    105K, so it had had absolutely zero service in the intervening time span.

    Obviously I can't speak for the circumstances of the poster's vehicle, but the
    incident with my wife's car didn't surprise the smog check folks whatsoever.
    So I thought it worth mentioning.


    Temporary usercode - to be deleted when spam starts. Use MyBrainHurts at this ISP to reach me
    Arthur Shapiro, Jul 2, 2004
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