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Discussion Starter #1
so i finally located a cat for my alfetta. now i know that CA changed their rules and now require the CA cats with the proper number but my alfetta has a bolted in test pipe so i located a cat i can just bolt in. problem is that my cat needs a 3 bolt flange welded to one of the ends to allow this. so i figured i would take off the test pipe and bring it and the new cat to a muffler shop and have them match the proper length, etc.

so what i want to know is if bolt in converters are even allowed in CA? or if a muffler shop will be able to help me since the converter is not a CA certified? since it's not attached to the car, i thought maybe there is some latitude on this. and of course i can always find a small private shop which will just do it anyways. but anyone know the actual restrictions or laws regarding this?

also, the cat looks pretty new and just wondering if i should lean out the mixture or just try it as it is first? not sure how much a new cat can make up for a rich mixture? car is spica, of course, and runs very well, starts easily every time but from the smell of the exhaust without the cat, it is running rich.

and of course i've located all the other smog requirements such as the air pump belt, hosing, and the preheater hose.

and finally, will i have any problems with the gas cap and the new pressure test? my cap seems fine but not sure how tough the test is? is it just checking for a good seal? or is it pressurized to a higher extent that the OEM cap was designed for? my cap is a metal cap which twists about half a turn to take on or off and has a rubber O ring seal/gasket inside which looks to be in proper shape.

thanks
 

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re: non Calif cat - my muffler guy says a non Calif cat may not remove enough of whatever they remove to pass. The cats are not built the same. But only 1 way to find out, install and run the test. A good muffler shop should know the rules. Start making a friend of the shop. They can also be helpful fixing broken metal stuff later on other projects.
re: new air pump, etc. Start installing it and enjoy getting the bracket and the air pump mounted. Get it plumbed into the header air rail.
re: Gas cap. I don't remember any problem, but I don't remember if he did the cap pressure test, or ignored it as it was probably did not fit any of his test equip. (same story with my Milano gas cap).
If the smog shop will, ask for a pre-test to see how close you are. I remember having trouble with my smog guy about this so you may have to shop around. My Alfetta is "Test Only" so that may be my problem. Do you have the mixture adjustment socket?? You can make some on the spot adjustments, when the guy is not looking.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
re: non Calif cat - my muffler guy says a non Calif cat may not remove enough of whatever they remove to pass. The cats are not built the same. But only 1 way to find out, install and run the test. A good muffler shop should know the rules. Start making a friend of the shop. They can also be helpful fixing broken metal stuff later on other projects.
re: new air pump, etc. Start installing it and enjoy getting the bracket and the air pump mounted. Get it plumbed into the header air rail.
re: Gas cap. I don't remember any problem, but I don't remember if he did the cap pressure test, or ignored it as it was probably did not fit any of his test equip. (same story with my Milano gas cap).
If the smog shop will, ask for a pre-test to see how close you are. I remember having trouble with my smog guy about this so you may have to shop around. My Alfetta is "Test Only" so that may be my problem. Do you have the mixture adjustment socket?? You can make some on the spot adjustments, when the guy is not looking.
Good luck.

air pump was mounted already. just needed a belt and hosing to complete. all assembled and pumping. i don't think the CA cats are any different. they are just certified with the proper number and way more expensive. my milano passed with flying colors with it's OEM cat so i don't think things have gotten any stricter as everyone seems to think.

also, 2 of my cars require test only which i think is because the cats are getting weak. i think a healthy cat will clean up a lot. of course, a cat will only live so long if it is cleaning up a rich mixture and will start to die and then you will stuck at the test only center. i guess we'll see with the alfetta.
 

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Bob,

My smog guy looks for the "EO Number" on the replacement cat and will not test a car that is equipped with a replacement cat that does not show that number. A bolt-in unit is OK, as long as it has that number and the smog guy can see it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well, but only cars with new cats will have the number. there are still millions of cars with older cats which work fine. so that makes no sense.
 

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There is a date that any cat without the number must have been installed by. You can get legal ones for pre obd II cars for $100 now, so its not that big a deal either way. Its still $500+ for a obd II cat thats california legal though.
 

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Travis, where can you get a legal cat for our cars for that price?

To the OP:

My experience has been that smog guys don't look at the cat. They just do a visual in your engine bay, test EGR type stuff, test for tank pressure, and run the car on the dyno.

As long as you know the cat is good (I always start with a new cat) and IF the muffler shop is willing to weld a used cat on, then take your car to the smog dyno. They don't ever check if the cat is 3 bolt or 2 bolt or weld on, I don't know if that's even illegal.
 

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well, but only cars with new cats will have the number. there are still millions of cars with older cats which work fine. so that makes no sense.
Just trying to help by letting you know what my experience was.

I replaced my OEM cat with a replacement that wasn't even supposed to have been sold in California. My smog guy DOES check the catalytic converter and, IF it is a replacement that was manufactured after a certain date, then it must have the "EO number". I had to change the replacement to a California-legal replacement catalytic converter that I bought at Kragen's for about $150 - $175.

So, yes, it DOES make sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just trying to help by letting you know what my experience was.

I replaced my OEM cat with a replacement that wasn't even supposed to have been sold in California. My smog guy DOES check the catalytic converter and, IF it is a replacement that was manufactured after a certain date, then it must have the "EO number". I had to change the replacement to a California-legal replacement catalytic converter that I bought at Kragen's for about $150 - $175.

So, yes, it DOES make sense.

didn't mean to sound arrogant in my last reply; just posted it quickly without giving it much thought so forgive me if i was downplaying your advice. i just reread my message and didn't mean to come off that way.

what i really meant was that i have 3 cars (944 turbo, 16v scirocco, and milano) which are all similar in that they have a one piece downpipe with a built in cat so it's not just a matter of replacing the cat with a universal. sure you can cut & weld anything but these cars all make it more difficult. but assuming the OEM cat is still working, it is legal to still use that to pass smog. and if there is a cutoff date for when it had to replaced by, how do they know when it was installed especially if i do it myself? my plan is to maintain the 3 bolt flange so i can replace the cat as needed without any help from a muffler shop. i prefer to do things myself without someone always trying to sell me extra "tune ups" or "lube job" or whatever they call it to make more money for doing nothing.

anyways, we'll see. i think i would try a different smog shop before buying the CA cat, although $150 at kragen seems pretty decent price.
 

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i saw the cats for sale at summit for around $100, they wouldnt fit a milano, an alfetta it may work though, I havent ever really looked at one closely.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
i saw the cats for sale at summit for around $100, they wouldnt fit a milano, an alfetta it may work though, I havent ever really looked at one closely.
not for a CA legal cat, that's for the 49 state version.
 
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