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I have a 49 state 1976 spider that was converted to webers and I live in CA so you know where this is going. I am wondering what is the difference between the 49 state car and the 50 state car. I know that the 49 state car didn't have a cat but it appears to have a smog pump and injection system (along with the SPICA of course).
 

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Alfa was a late holdout, like a couple other companies, on unleaded. So up through I think 1977 they could meet 49-state regs with air pump and engine settings, and still run leaded gas. For California they could not, so air pump, engine settings, and catalytic converter. If you can get ahold of a 49 state and Calif owner's manual for 76/77 I think that'd show the difference.

Yes, absolutely, all 69-81 US Alfas had Spica. But not all had cats, I think 1977 being the last non-cat year. There were different Calif Spica pumps some of these years. Papajam would know or could look it up, too bad he's gone.

Andrew
 

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I have a 49 state 1976 spider that was converted to webers and I live in CA so you know where this is going.
Actually, I don't know where this is going. Is the problem that you want to convert it back to Spica and have it pass an emissions inspection?

I formerly owned a '76 spider - I assume it was a California car - and it did have a cat. Also a weird, dual-point distributor (were those 49 or 50 state?).

I'm not sure that an emissions testing station would know to look for every little component and sticker. My guess is that if the major systems were in place (Spica, cat, pump) AND the numbers came in OK, they'd pass your car. Which isn't to say that it's easy to get a Spica car through California emissions.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes that is the plan. I have a lead on a 78 wreck that has working parts to bring this car back to a 49 state spec. I know it isn't a simple process but I think it is worth it in the long run. Even if it were smog exempt I would consider it but 76 means it has to be done to be legal in CA.
 

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Most smog techs are not going to know this stuff that well on a 42-year-old Alfa. We smogged a friend's 77 Alfetta, which I believe should not have had a cat but we put one on. Legally, you can't do that but (1) we didn't realize and (2) he didn't notice. So if you go in with "all smog devices in place," including Spica, hot air hose, right exhaust, air pump hooked up and working, and cat or not cat, if it passes on the tailpipe and the tech is not a stickler, as long as it's basically all there I think you'd be home free.

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I took it to the Alfaman in Novato this morning. If anyone can do it he can. I'll need to call my state rep about AB210 though that is probably hopeless.
 

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California is going to mandate that these cars continue to pass smog even when they are more than 50 years old and will be considered a gross polluter. They were excellent when they came out, to pass the tests, but CA keeps tightening down on our cars hoping we can get them off the road. With the rolling tests at 2500 rpm, vacuum checks on the tank/cap, and lack of replacement parts it is only a matter of time.

Here is some of the differences mostly for CA: dual point distributor with a vacuum retard device on the driver's side fender, catalytic convertor, heavily retarded cams, an air pump that fed into the exhaust manifold. The 75/76 had the air shoot directly into the exhaust port, the 77-19 re-angled the air to be more downstream allowing the exhaust gases to more freely move. There was also under the dash on the passenger side a small block that had a sensor in the cat, that when it got overly hot it would kick the light on the dashboard saying 'overheat" or something like that. The gas tank inlet had a restriction to keep it from putting anything in it but unleaded gas. The gas cap was unvented if I recall. Also, the cam for the injection pump was a different curve with a different number on the pump compared to the 49 states. The timing was different instead of being ATDC it was BTDC. That way the fuel would burn leaner. There was also a different air cleaner with a vacuum-operated inlet flap so it would draw from the heat riser on the exhaust making it burn to lean on startup.

The 75-76 cars were slow due to the heavy restrictions when compared to the 74. Alfa went back to the drawing board and came up with a fix with the exhaust manifold, and cams. Much more driveable car.

They ran and passed smog but they barely got out of their own way they were so heavily smogged down. A friends VW Rabbit would outrun it at a light They took the spider and rabbit down to ARI EL Segundo to show them just how bad the 75 was compared to the 74. That was when they knew they needed to fix it.

We took some of the stuff off the cars or disabled them until the next smog check 2 years later. Made them run so much better. A day at the shop to put things back in place, smog it and then back to put ti back to drive it. The only caveat was that sometimes the state would pull a fast one and do a random check. Never met anyone that had that happen. It was only when they put the on-ramp smog checks they caught people.

I wonder if I missed anything?
 

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I wonder if I missed anything?
Gee, I don't think so - that seemed like a pretty comprehensive list. Reading it brought back some memories. Like knocking the restrictor out of the gas filler. That stupid thing! They had long since stopped making gas pumps with separate nozzles for regular and premium, so the whole purpose of the restrictor went away.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow This is all great info! Jim at Alfaman said he has gotten the 49 state cars to pass but it takes some work. You lean them way out for the test then tune it back to reality.
 

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Wow This is all great info! Jim at Alfaman said he has gotten the 49 state cars to pass but it takes some work. You lean them way out for the test then tune it back to reality.
The problem rears its ugly head when you lean to much. One it drives like a sick dog. The other is that the car is no longer being tested just for CO2 it is tested for carbon and hydrocarbons. When you get to lean the hydrocarbons go up. Since the car is not being tested on the 76 restrictions, the hydrocarbons can put the car out of compliance.

The cars were only tested at idle to see if they were under 2.5% if I recall. The Alfa's passed easily with the Spica system when others were using all kinds of hoses, valves and recirculation and a cat right at the exhaust manifold. Later as the emissions in CA tightened the floor was down to 2% and then to 1.8% or something like that. It became harder to pass. Everything had to be better than perfect. For me, it was some injector cleaner, new plugs, check the tailpipe to be under the limit, give it an Italian tune-up on the way over so the cat was super hot and call it good.

The last time I took in the wife's 76 spider it didn't pass. The exhaust manifolds were cracked, so I put on a set of headers that didn't have the CARB plate on them. So I had to find a set with the CARB sticker and the car passed.

It is stupid stuff like that. Our cars should be exempt by now. The parts are getting harder and harder to find and the restrictions are getting tighter. The car should be tested for the year it was made...end of story.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I agree they should exempt them at this point. The rolling 35 year thing made sense but now that it is frozen it looks like it will never change. The collector car lobby is almost non existent.
 

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I'm not advocating one view or the other; it's easiest for a legislative body to leave something alone than to touch it. It's also not high on very many legislators' priority list in spite of the organized campaigns to change the exemption.
Andrew
 

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Update. Jim got me converted back to SPICA and the car passed smog. The smog tech was persnickety as well. He even checked out the vapor recovery in the trunk. It was a 7 page invoice but worth it.
 

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I just bought a Calif-market 78 Spider, by which time they used a cat and the cars were 50-state. We'll see how I do on smog. Car has its original "banjo" Alfa cat, will probably need to go with something that's not 40 years old.

Andrew
 

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I would suggest some more research on a "'76 California Car." When California clamped down in 1975, there were no '75 Spiders imported to Calif. Alfa continued to see brand new "74" models. No smog pump. No catalyst, no big bumpers. This continued into 1976. I bought my first new Alfa in 1976 when I heard that the State had finally caught up with them. In early July of 1976 the dealer in Pasadena on a Saturday had 8 brand new "'74" models in stock. The ruling had just came down. By Wednesday when I called they were down to 3. I was there first thing Thursday morning and got one of two left.
At that point there was no "'76 Alfa Spider" scheduled to be imported into Calif. After July I have no idea what they did. That is where some research needs to be done.
So beware when someone presents a '75 or '76 California car. There were none in '75. They were all '74's." I seem to remember there were no smogged, bumpered, Alfas until 1977.
 

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Keeth, I want to say you are correct. The 76 spiders were so badly set up to pass smog they would not get out of their own way. I think AR pulled the sale of any further 76 cars until they could resolve how to get more power out of the engine and still pass smog. That might have been only for CA cars, and the 49 state cars were exempt as they were not set up as bad. The 77 cars ran so much better. I don't remember exactly what they did, whether it was a different cam profile in the Spica pump and cams. Switching out the "banjo" cat beads was part of it for the more free flowing ceramic.

Those that have a banjo cat might want to hang on to it for those that are seeking a perfect show car. It would be a delight to look under and see one installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The 49 state cars have no cat. They do have a smog pump. The 1976 California cars appear to have had 2 different unique SPICAs. T261 and T260/1 according to a post that alfabb wont let me link to yet. My understanding is they got leaner with time.
My 49 state car now has a T261 SPICA in it. It passed smog with this setup without the cat.
 

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