Smog test replaced (stolen) cat

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by pasadena_commut, May 12, 2021.

  1. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Active Member

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    Our 2007's stolen cat was replaced about a month ago by Pasadena Toyota and a shield installed. Mechanically that repair seems to have been done correctly. California registration is now due and this time it requires a smog test. (For those of you not familiar with CA's requirements this is needed every other year,) Expecting problems, I brought all the repair paperwork from the repair. Sure enough the smog test shop went over it with a fine tooth comb looking for some sort of CARB notation, and there was none. They looked around under the car using a big mirror on a stick and were eventually satisfied and passed the vehicle. Note that smog tests nowadays are based on OBD2 readings, not tailpipe tests.

    Seems like some i's were not dotted and some t's were not crossed by the repair shop, in terms of paperwork. So when I got home I started searching online for some sort of CARB related paperwork which maybe they should have filed. Ran into this on RockAuto:

    https://www.rockauto.com/genImages/warrantycard.pdf

    I do not have a copy of anything that looks like that.

    Anybody know for sure what CARB related paperwork a repair shop should give the owner after a cat replacement?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Samuel Williams Jr

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    So was that an OEM Cat or an aftermarket cat that failed? Aftermarket cat's can pass the smog test but they can't pass the "Visual Inspection," in Ca.

    If they replaced one OEM part with another, they would need no paper work. In my opinion. Because in Ca, a legitimate shop won't touch a non stock cat. It's a huge fine if they get caught.

    You could take a print out of that form back to the shop and have them fill it out if you like. I doubt that they would have an issue with it. But since you've already passed you should be good going forward.
     
  3. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Active Member

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    Nothing failed, the original OEM cat was stolen and replaced with another OEM cat. It must have passed visual inspection, although the view would have been very much obstructed by the cat shield. I guess the smog guys could see what they needed through the cut outs in it.
     
  4. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    That was true for many years, but CARB recently approved specific models of aftermarket catalytic converters for Prius cars, which would pass the visual inspection. I don’t know their prices or availability, however.
     
  5. Samuel Williams Jr

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    Hmm, the link is not working for me? And the Cat makes no difference to me. But I am no longer in Ca and where I am in NV, they don't care as in no Smog required. :)

    But lot's of other folks are in Carb states and the (Visual Inspection) will kill them! So if you have a less then a grand plus, Cat that will pass? People would like to know exactly what it was? :)
     
  6. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Living in Arcadia, I don't remember ever having a shop go through the steps to visually inspect a Cat on my Prius cars. I usually hand over $40 and if there are no warning lights on, I would get a pass.
     
  7. Samuel Williams Jr

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    The visual inspection, is most likely a relic from back in the day? Low compression smog bound motor's strangled with vacuum lines and using a smog pump.

    To make the engine more efficient, you could raise the compression to at least 9 something so it could tolerate the lower octane fuel, change the cam to something reasonable but moderate and put a real carb on it. Such a motor could pass a tail pass.

    But it could not pass a (visual inspection,) You lift the hood and if all the "crap," is not there you fail, case closed. It does not matter if the engine burns cleaner because you won't get to the tailpipe test.

    And you can't/couldn't put a truck motor into a car and you can't swap a foreign engine into a car that was not an engine originally installed in an America, import car. And you can't put a turbo or supercharger on a car that did not have that available as a factory option.

    That last one would catch out the ( few freakishly fast) Toyota Tercels back in the day. 85 hps stock and 135 hp (to start) with an import JDM 4efte. A motor that was never available in America. And if you only did a tailpipe test, it could pass. But a "visual inspection," not a chance! They'd lift the hood, see the top mount intercooler (stock) and your done. That's kind of the why of the visual inspection. It can catch out the most obvious of violations still.

    But times change car's change and so do tuner's. Case in point and mostly likely close to "zero after market value," cause the car's are rare and lot's of them get "modded," and hit tree or other immovable objects and stuff. But a modded 89 Porsche 951 turbo, has a cat with freakishly low mileage on it as a rule.

    Most ran with a chip and no cat and even at that could pass tail a tail pipe test but would not pass a "Visual." So as long as your in Ca. Every two year's the cat goes on.

    That is the (why) of the mess the Prii, and the "Cat Thefts) is caught up in. In CA (Carb states) Prii will most likely start getting a closer look at the Cat's?

    And if they are only doing a OBD 2, check? LOL good luck with that. With new car's that have an Aftermarket Tuner or (Hard Core an aftermarket ECU) you can set a "Smog Tune," every two years, you set the car back to the stock tune. Kinda why aftermarket ECU's or (some plug in) aftermarket ECU tuner's are also illegal. But you know your at a general smog check ... they are not gonna find that level of tampering. :)

    Back in the day what did sit a chill up the spine of "modded," car owner's was report's that the CHP, would sit on on ramps and shoot the exhaust of (certain car's with an infrared reader!") Wide Open Throttle, would show the true state of tune! And they would send you a ticket to come to a "Bar Station!"

    But even still that gave you time to fix it or take out the mod's. So they stopped doing that. But it did the scare the crap out of some of us for awhile. :)

    Oh and for awhile in the late 90's I was a "Smog Tech," but I was always a Car Guy, first. And I'll just say it worked out well for some owners that they found me! Yeah I had to quit that job before I fell into a "Bar Trap," Ca does not play with that kinda crap! My bad I suppose?
     
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