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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I just got a new job in northern Tucson (Saddlebrook, actually) and plan on moving into town as soon as I can find a place. But it just occurred to me that I'm suddenly going to have to face the huge mess of political tripe known as emissions testing.......

I'm not really sure what to expect with my Spider, as the title search seemed to indicate it had been a Tucson car for years, if I remember correctly. But, it has an aftermarket exhaust (ANSA muffler, cat of unknown origin, IAP headers). Apparently it passed emissions with all this stuff at some point, but it sat undrivable for a while due to fuel pump issues when the previous-previous owner had it (the guy I bought it from only had it a few weeks and got it running/barely-drivable again). I've been doing some work on it to make it run nice, but I'm not at all sure it will pass emissions yet. Even if it does, think there's a chance the aftermarket exhaust (particularly the headers) will raise eyebrows?

I'm even more worried about my daily-driver 280ZX...I *know* it wouldn't pass emissions, but it's a real beater and I don't want to have to pour hundreds of dollars into it just to get past. I plan on replacing it at some point, but for now cash is pretty tight with moving expenses and all.

Another thing, when you do the change of address thing, does the DMV typically send you a testing notice right away even if your registration isn't due for a while? Or does it not come up until registration time? The Alfa isn't due until like June or so, and the Z was just renewed....I'll (hopefully) be in better financial shape by then.

Of course if anyone has particular experience with testing in Tucson, I'd appreciate any info you could give. The actual testing procedure is also a concern of mine, ditto for any remedial repairs in the event of a failed test.....I don't want a bunch of clueless DMV hacks abusing my baby, nor do I care to be forced to take it to an "authorized repair shop" if it fails (I've done all work myself thus far, and would never take it to a shop I don't know).
 

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This is just a general comment, as I have never lived in your area. With aftermarket headers and a cat, your Spider should have no trouble meeting emissions requirements at the tailpipe, and at all different speeds. You just have to make sure that it is in overall good working order. In other words, that it isn't running overly rich, and that the O2 sensor is good. (The O2 sensor should be replaced every 30,000 miles.) I am also assuming that your car has never overheated to the point where the head may have been slightly warped. I don't know if this is possible in your area, but could you have it tested for emissions before it is time for you to take it in?

As far as a visual examination for the proper equipment, although I have no idea how they do it there, I wouldn't worry at all. Your headers look like OEM equipment, particularly because of the finish (or lack thereof). Even if you decide to re-do them or change them in the future, you can have them coated by Jet-Hot with something like a cast-iron grey, and they will look OEM.

Best regards,
 

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I did 20 years in Flagstaff. Here is some insight about the area. When I was there only the metro areas had smog checks. My buddies who lived in the Phoenix area just got a PO box in the next county where they didn't have a smog check. They used that as an excuse for a sunday drive. Another option is to use a friends address.

BTW not only do they check to see if a cat converter is present they will check the gas filler for the flap. They will also test the tailpipe for the presence of lead. It was common during the change over to unleaded to make modifications to the car so it could burn leaded gas.

Since you'll be in Tucson be sure to take in the Pima Air Museum and tour the mothball fleet at Davis Moffit AFB. Also take in the Eloy Grand Prix, should be happening about now (if they are still doing it).
 

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Well I live in Phoenix and I don't know if it's going to be the same down in Tucson, but I can give you my experience. First off I know when you move, you are supposed to register your car within the first 90 days (or someting like that) reguardless of the current registrations expiration. That being said both my truck and the Milano are still registered in New Mexico.

The truck is not emissions legal as it has no cat, but the Milano passed emissions with flying colors in New Mexico. However, Arizona is crazy with their emissions standards. The car went down in a ball of flames...yes half of it's cat has been scraped out...but still.

Now, it did fail and they do give you options on fixing it. You can take it to a shop and have them sign off the repairs, or you can fix it yourself and include receipts for parts bought to fix the car. Money being tight, I haven't had a chance to get the car fixed. Needless to say, I have gotten a few letters about the New Mexico registration, but I have a line of very valid excuses as to why they can be registered in New Mexico.

I think you'll be fine with the additions to the car, as long as it passes the smog test. They didn't even look under the hood of my car. Hope this helps...and welcome to the heat!
 

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Arizona now has an emissions testing exemption for cars 25 years old or older that have collector car insurance on them. Governor Napolitano signed it into law during the annual British European Auto Tour a couple of years ago. Your 83 Spider might just sneak in since it is 2008 now.

Arno Leskinen
AROC-USA National Concours Chair
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When I was stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson I had a 78 Spider that passed the test...................once.
The second time the inspector noticed the air pump was missing! It all depends on the inspector, the tailpipe emissions should be fine if you have a cat.
Because of the Air Force Base/University being there a lot of vehicles have out of state plates. I kept Ohio plates on one of my cars for a full year without any hassle but I never was stopped for a violation either!
I believe the law is 90 days. But I always interpret those silly law things as guidelines.........probably not the smartest thing to do but it does make life more interesting!!:cool:

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input.........on the 90 days thing, it sounds like you all are talking about when moving to AZ from another state? I'm actually already in AZ, and both cars have valid AZ registrations, just in a non-smog area. That's why I'm wondering, when I do the change of address for the DMV to the new address (in a smog area), if they'll send me something in the mail saying I have to get emissions tests done on the cars in the immediate future (that is, well before registration is due). Of course if it's 90 days for moving into the state (though I was thinking it was 30 days, when I looked online after moving here), surely the time limit for getting emissions tests upon moving into an emissions area wouldn't be any less.

For that matter, I haven't found any specifics yet on requirements to update your address with the DMV if you're moving just within the state. My current address will still be valid after I move (it's my dad's place, been staying here a year until I could get on my feet), I guess I could just put it off until renewal time.

Geezer: Yep, I'm actually only about 20 miles south of Tucson now (as of a year ago) plus I came out here to visit my dad a couple times in years past, I've checked out the air museum and boneyard a couple times. No way you could keep a plane-nut like me away from that place when it's just a short drive away. :)

Good to know about the self-repair thing, that should cover my Alfa ok. I'm afraid the Z's worst engine problems are beyond my resources at the moment (burns oil like crazy in high RPM + high throttle situations, and a little the rest of the time, but compression is good....I assume this will be fairly intense head work at the least), but if I can postpone the emissions thing for a few months while I get some cash built back up after the move, I can replace the Z with something in better condition....like, ohhhh, another Z. :) Perfect excuse to buy the replacement 81-83 280ZX I've been wanting for a while, and use my current Z for parts.
 
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