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#1 2014-07-24 23:58:56

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1906

Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

I'm planning on getting emissions tested tomorrow. The question is: will it possibly help to flash back to the stock map (leaving my aftermarket DP on) or leave it at stage 2 for the test?

My engine mods are:
- K&N intake filter
- Grimspeed AOS
- Helix downpipe w/ high-flow cat welded in just after the bellmouth
- STi catback

I know there are people who have passed with stage 2 mods in place. I've heard from some people that flashing back to stock map can help. I'm not sure, though. It seems to me I should leave the tune on that is designed for my car's setup. On the other hand, it will go into open-loop fueling and a lot more boost on the stage 2 map, so maybe I should flash back to stock.

Any thoughts?

Ultimately, if I can't pass with the DP and the high-flow cat, I'll have to swap my my stock DP back on (actually get it swapped - all my tools are in storage and I have no place to work on my car anymore) to get it done. I'd really prefer to not have to do that.

Regardless of what map I'm on, I plan on driving for at least 20 minutes prior to the test to make sure the cat is good and hot. I just put in a fresh tank of fuel, and two tanks ago I ran a bottle of Techron through it. Wish me luck.

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#2 2014-07-25 10:26:28

n_r_child
MFIC
Supporter
From: Denver. Past: Detroit & NM
Registered: 2005-06-14
User Number: 215
Posts: 4070

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

How long have you had your aftermarket DP?

Since you get one retake included in the test price, you can always try it and see- it will cost you the hour or so of waiting in line / standing around. But you only have 10 days (not business days) to get back in, so I would make the appointment to swap DPs in advance of your test. If you pass, cancel the appointment.

FWIW, I passed once with my aftermarket exhaust, though I did throw the stock map on. Since then (after failing the second time) I've had to swap DPs, and I've paid SubaPerformance to do it and I still swap maps. I thought I had a high flow DP, but after reading some old PMs, it may be that I have an catless shorty with whatever factory third cat is in an STi exhaust; there's a gutted STi UP in the stream, too.


le sigh

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#3 2014-07-25 10:33:05

john_matrix
Administrator
SupporterModerator
From: Asheville, NC
Registered: 2005-06-06
User Number: 168
Posts: 23438

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

In IL if you don't have any CELs, you pass. So I left mine alone.

I pass every time. Stage 2.

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#4 2014-07-25 12:05:54

Nicholast
ReMember
From: Colorado
Registered: 2013-12-15
User Number: 13073
Posts: 284

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

Do the Denver/Boulder emissions tests put the engine under enough load and get the RPMs high enough to get into open loop?  It has been 12 years since I have had to do a JeffCo emissions test and cannot remember.

I will give El Paso County some credit here for convenience; they perform sniff tests on interstate on ramps to ensure cars passing are compliant.  I have no idea what they do if they detect a failed test though.


2000 A4 1.8T 5MT Stage 2
2001 allroad 2.7T ultra-rare 6MT Stage 1
2005 92x Aero EJ207 V8 swapped 5MT - #3438
2005 Outback XT 5AT Stock

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#5 2014-07-25 12:18:23

n_r_child
MFIC
Supporter
From: Denver. Past: Detroit & NM
Registered: 2005-06-14
User Number: 215
Posts: 4070

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

Nicholast wrote:

Do the Denver/Boulder emissions tests put the engine under enough load and get the RPMs high enough to get into open loop?  It has been 12 years since I have had to do a JeffCo emissions test and cannot remember.

I will give El Paso County some credit here for convenience; they perform sniff tests on interstate on ramps to ensure cars passing are compliant.  I have no idea what they do if they detect a failed test though.

Denver has the roadside sniffers, too. They don't do anything if you fail at the time, but you will have to go to an emissions center to get tested when it is time for renewal. If you pass by the sniffer vans frequently enough within a certain time near renewal, and you pass frequently enough, they waive the need to visit the center.

As for open loop, I'm not sure where that hits but they do load the vehicles decently on the dyno. They actually end the test early if the vehicle meets certain performance characteristics up front; if your car is spewing beyond predetermined thresholds in any of several categories (and no, I don't know their tolerance), they'll run the vehicle through a longer, more rigorous test.

Last edited by n_r_child (2014-07-25 12:21:19)


le sigh

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#6 2014-07-25 13:17:21

Snaab9-2
Your Arms Off
From: Delaware
Registered: 2005-06-20
User Number: 283
Posts: 4211

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

I have gone through several times at Stage 2 with no problems in DE.  Got the mirrors under my car by my DP looks kind of stock if you don't know what you are looking for.  They just hook into the computer and as Stage 2 = no cels from mods - I pass with no problems.


05 Red SAAB 9-2 Aero 5 Speed: AP Stage 2 93 - FHI 20mm Rear Sway Bar - Stromung Shorty DP - STI UP - STI Axle Back

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#7 2014-07-25 13:54:29

n_r_child
MFIC
Supporter
From: Denver. Past: Detroit & NM
Registered: 2005-06-14
User Number: 215
Posts: 4070

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

Snaab9-2 wrote:

I have gone through several times at Stage 2 with no problems in DE.  Got the mirrors under my car by my DP looks kind of stock if you don't know what you are looking for.  They just hook into the computer and as Stage 2 = no cels from mods - I pass with no problems.

Registration requirements vary greatly from state to state. Within Colorado, it actually varies from county to county (as in some require a smog check to grant registration; others, not so much, the lucky bastages). The emissions check used in Denver and Boulder for modern vehicles not only plugs in to OBDII to check for CELs, but they run the vehicle on a dyno. There isn't much of a visual inspection that I've noticed, so it would have to be exceedingly obvious. And unlike some other states, this isn't an inspection- they don't check for any safety issues, such as taillights or bald tires.


le sigh

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#8 2014-07-25 19:43:45

zyncl19
Member
From: San Jose, CA
Registered: 2011-05-19
User Number: 5509
Posts: 67

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

I passed (barely) CA smog at stage 2.  I'm guessing it's as strict or stricter than CO, but I don't know for sure.


2006 Saab 9-2x Aero 5MT Stage 2

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#9 2014-07-25 20:48:58

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1906

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

Okay, holy shit. This is not a result I was thinking would be possible.

I went in and got tested with my Helix downpipe still on. They ran it on the dyno. Then they brought it outside for the inspection. I had to stay in a booth and watch from afar the whole time. They called me out of the booth and had me pay my $25. The guy hands me my paper and says "I failed you for not having a cat on the car." I look at the paper - here's what it says:

Emissions test information
                 Reading         Limit         Result
HC GPM:    0.2085           1.2000      Pass
CO GPM:    4.2805           15.000      Pass
NOx GPM:  0.5060           1.5000      Pass

Equipment inspection

Catalytic Converter Presence:       FAIL
Air Injection System Presence:      Pass
Oxygen Sensor Presence:             Pass
Gas Cap Presence:                       Pass
Gas Cap Integrity:                       Pass

So, ultimate result? FAIL

What the fuck.

I told the guy I do have a cat, and he said "oh okay, show it to me and I'll change it," I show it to him. See where the downpipe expands out right next to the foil covered A/C drain line? That's the cat. I have a picture of it showing the numbers engraved on it if you want to look it up.

He calls his manager over, who is approximately 80 years old. The manager looks at what I say is the cat and says '"That can't be a cat. It's too small. I don't believe you." They call a third guy over - he says the same thing. I'm really working hard to remain calm and respectful, but it's hard. I'm not a hot headed guy. My left eye is literally twitching. I have never experienced that before. I ask them "So, you think that it's somehow possible that I passed all of the emissions test levels with a minimum margin of 66% WITHOUT A CATALYTIC CONVERTER IN THE EXHAUST? How could that be possible? How do you explain that?"

Old guy says "There's two parts to the test. The emissions reading, and the inspection. You failed one of the parts, that means you failed the test." I did not punch his face somehow.

So, that's that. Once you fail a test, you have 10 days to get it 'fixed' and get a free re-test at any CO Air Care facility. Here are my options as I see them:

- Go to another Air Care facility tomorrow morning (open Saturday from 9am to 1pm) and get retested in the same configuration that I did today and hope the person doing my inspection doesn't think that my catalytic converter 'looks too small.' The risk here is if I claim my free retest, they will be rightfully suspicious that I have changed nothing about my car since failing the day before and so they'll be extra scrutinizing and I'll basically be wasting my time. If I don't claim my free retest, I don't know if they have a computer system to tell them that I just failed anyway. They did take an automated picture of my license plate and entered my VIN into a computer during the test today. I don't know how that works. Maybe it would flag me. Maybe it wouldn't.

- Get my stock downpipe swapped on by a shop next Friday (I have the day off), go get tested, and get my Helix DP swapped back on for $250 total.

I'm leaning towards getting tested at a different place tomorrow. I need to figure out the reputations of the various places to get the best shot of passing the inspection, so if anybody has some experience with regard to that to lend, I'm all ears.

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#10 2014-07-26 12:43:33

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1906

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

I got retested this morning at the Broomfield station. It took 15 minutes total and I passed easily. My numbers were basically the same as yesterday (shocking, I know). I didn't claim my free retest, but my info was indeed in the computer so they didn't charge me.

roxor

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#11 2014-07-26 18:11:59

racerjim
Headroom is overrated...
Supporter
From: Boulder CO
Registered: 2005-06-16
User Number: 247
Posts: 2954

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

Sweet.  Glad to hear it.  Was your first test at the Airport Rd location?


My Car:  2009 Mercedes Benz SLK55 AMG
SOLD August 2016:  2005 Saab 9-2x Aero 5-Speed, Cold, Premium, Arctic Silver
Her Car:  2013 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

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#12 2014-07-27 17:00:00

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1906

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

The first test was at the Denver Lipan street location. I moved to Denver about a month ago after graduation, and the Lipan street place is right between my new home and work.

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#13 2014-07-27 23:29:29

racerjim
Headroom is overrated...
Supporter
From: Boulder CO
Registered: 2005-06-16
User Number: 247
Posts: 2954

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

I'm from Boulder.  I have no freakin idea where that is!  smile


My Car:  2009 Mercedes Benz SLK55 AMG
SOLD August 2016:  2005 Saab 9-2x Aero 5-Speed, Cold, Premium, Arctic Silver
Her Car:  2013 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ

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#14 2014-07-28 08:43:35

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1906

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

lol I wouldn't either if not for GPS.

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#15 2014-07-28 16:18:50

Nicholast
ReMember
From: Colorado
Registered: 2013-12-15
User Number: 13073
Posts: 284

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

What an experience.  I'm all for being a responsible car owner, but that seems a little ridiculous to me.  Your emissions numbers are what affect the air we breath, not whether you have a catalytic converter or not.  Do they really think the environment cares whether or not you have a cat?  Glad the end result was positive, but crappy that you had such a negative experience to get there.  El Paso county emissions testing FTW.


2000 A4 1.8T 5MT Stage 2
2001 allroad 2.7T ultra-rare 6MT Stage 1
2005 92x Aero EJ207 V8 swapped 5MT - #3438
2005 Outback XT 5AT Stock

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#16 2014-07-28 21:08:03

dotmaster206
Member
From: Denver, CO
Registered: 2012-03-10
User Number: 7123
Posts: 1906

Re: Emissions test - flash back to stock or leave at stage 2?

Exactly.  checkmark

It could have been worse. When I failed on Friday I thought I was likely to have to spend a good chunk of change and/or time to get my car prepped to pass with the stock DP. I'm obviously very glad I decided to give it another shot in Broomfield before investing in the nuclear option.

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