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Old 02-11-2014, 10:47 AM   #1
AyB88
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Default Upgrading Exhaust system, but still pass emissions in VA

Hi,

As i'm slowly fixing issues on my car that I just got, I want to already start a plan as far as modifying my car. 02 wagon stock 135k.

I want to start saving for it, and have a plan layed out, but my question always leads to emissions.

I live in Virginia, loudoun county to be exact.

If I'm not mistaken, our cars have 3 cat's, in the up pipe, and dp.

I know I can do the resistor mod on the up pipe that will prevent the cel to come on.

For the downpipe, are most people in VA getting a highflow cat? I just want to purchase an exhaust system that will enable me to pass the emissions tests without having to swap between exhaust systems when it's time for inspections.

I do realize that "technically" the only legal thing is catback.

thanks,
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:12 AM   #2
Mach V Dan
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In my experience, there's no "resistor mod" that works. The car's on-board diagnostic test for the cats is more complicated than that.

Generally, if you get a high-flow cat-equipped downpipe, you will likely pass. Note that there are TWO different aspects of the cat test -- one is a visual inspection just to see if there is a cat present. You may have to point out to your inspector exactly where the cat is if they can't easily see it under the car. The other is an OBD-II based test where the inspection system queries the car to see if it has passed all its readiness tests. USUALLY a car with a high flow cat will pass these tests, but not always.

Note also that there is a visual inspection for the presence of a catalytic converter at the annual SAFETY inspection as well. That's different from the emissions inspection, which is generally done every two years.

Some of our customers just swap in a factory exhaust every two years for the emissions inspection...

Give me a call if you'd like more details on all of this stuff.

--Dan
Mach V
FastWRX.com
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:28 PM   #3
AyB88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach V Dan View Post
In my experience, there's no "resistor mod" that works. The car's on-board diagnostic test for the cats is more complicated than that.

Generally, if you get a high-flow cat-equipped downpipe, you will likely pass. Note that there are TWO different aspects of the cat test -- one is a visual inspection just to see if there is a cat present. You may have to point out to your inspector exactly where the cat is if they can't easily see it under the car. The other is an OBD-II based test where the inspection system queries the car to see if it has passed all its readiness tests. USUALLY a car with a high flow cat will pass these tests, but not always.

Note also that there is a visual inspection for the presence of a catalytic converter at the annual SAFETY inspection as well. That's different from the emissions inspection, which is generally done every two years.

Some of our customers just swap in a factory exhaust every two years for the emissions inspection...

Give me a call if you'd like more details on all of this stuff.

--Dan
Mach V
FastWRX.com

Nice, thanks for the detail. I also live in sterling. In fact, there or was a guy in my neighborhood with a 2 door rs, and a wagon...across the street from potowmack elementary. Also had mach V decal on his RS...by any chance....?
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:05 PM   #4
Dr. octagon
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Research more.........and more.

No need to reinvent the wheel on this exhaust/emmisons thing.

I have been running the 2.2kohm resistor mod for the up pipe since it was introduced back in 02.

There is somone selling a vishnu dp (he is asking $150) on craigs list Richmond..........buy it, bolt on your stock 3rd cat and close thread. I am feeling generous, the posting has been up for months....i am sure he would let it go for $100.

If question arises on how to run an aftermarket catback to donut flange, buy grimmspeeds $33 adaptor.

I just sold a bosal shorty dp, which would have let you accomplish the same task.

If you are not keen on the idea.........still buy the vishnu, have a shop create you a test pipe and simply swap the cat out when you need to.

Turbo xs system does the same thing if you were to buy the test pipe......just in case someone i here wants to act exhaust christian today.

Or you could always spend beyond $300 for a catted dp
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:18 PM   #5
Mach V Dan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. octagon View Post
I have been running the 2.2kohm resistor mod for the up pipe since it was introduced back in 02.
D'oh! I mis-read. YES, the 2.2K ohm resistor DOES serve to keep the ECU happy when you remove the up pipe cat, but the resistor is to replace the EGT sensor. (For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the OEM ECU has logic to try to save the up pip cat from fiery death if it overheats, and if you take the up pipe cat out, that EGT sensor WILL get too hot and the ECU will get mad and throw a code and/or go into "limp home" mode. A resistor of exactly 2.2K Ohms will keep the ECU thinking the cat temp is just fine, always.)

In my hasty reading I thought we were talking about a resistor for the oxygen sensors further down -- sorry, my mistake. Reading > me.

--Dan
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:21 AM   #6
EVL RS-T
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Open source tunes can permanently set the readiness test result to pass. Dan's comment about needing to pass visual inspection during both safety and emission test is right on the money. Either buy an after market catted downpipe or have someone weld a cat shell on for looks.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:20 PM   #7
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As long as you have a catted downpipe, don't have a check engine light, and you don't take the car to the dealer for emissions/inspection, you shouldn't have an issue at all. Tuning the car will take care of any exhaust change related CEL's.
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:14 PM   #8
Mc29xMc
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Are OBDII testing parameters the same for every state that does them? Not worried about having to do emissions tests here, but we have them now in CA to replace the sniffer.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:09 AM   #9
Butt Dyno
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Tactrix cable FTW.
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:18 AM   #10
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I recently failed an emissions test for not having ALL of the stock cats in the exhaust system. I then immediately changed my garage jurisdiction to my moms lake house in southern virginia where they don't DO emissions testing.

We'll see about the safety inspection in July...

Also, my last Subaru was full catless... The previous owner slapped some stock (gutted) cats on the straight pipes and then heat wrapped the whole shebang. Passed easily.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:33 AM   #11
07wrxstage2
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I can't speak for Va so I guess I shouldn't bother posting but will anyhow. I've always lived in MD and from what I seen is more strict than VA when it comes to emissions/inspections. Anyhow I had a full catless tbe on both my wrx and sti with a cobb stage 2 ots tune. I have never failed emissions and no one has ever said a word.

I think it's because the people that work there are usually to lazy or careless to even look for cats. They walk around mine with that mirror thing always but never actually look. They just plug the obd reader in and pretty much as long as you have no cel and the person doesn't look hard you'll be fine.

Just get your new set up and keep the stock parts as well. When it comes time for emissions just go and see what happens. If you fail worst case scenario have a shop swap the system out before and after. Can easily do yourself or have a shop do it for around $80(to take off and put back on). That was my original plan but like I said i've never had a problem. Good luck!
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:05 AM   #12
AyB88
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Lot's of useful and information stuff on here. Appreciate everyone's feedback. 07wrxstage2, where did you find a shop that will swap an entire turbo back system for $80??

I should have all the issues with my 02 wagon addressed by the end of next weekend, and then I can start putting together a list.

thanks again ya'll.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:32 PM   #13
BAouttaVA
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This makes me glad I live in front royal. We don't have emissions. Come down here for inspection maybe? It's an hour and a half from sterling
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAouttaVA View Post
This makes me glad I live in front royal. We don't have emissions. Come down here for inspection maybe? It's an hour and a half from sterling
Are you talking about safety inspections?

The stations out west still need to pass you on the visual inspection. Plus I haven't found one out west that performs emissions tests since they aren't required.

The one solution I have found is that you can have your vehicle garaged in a county other than where your mailing address is... but I wouldn't recommend it since that probably wouldn't work for very long and you'd get hit with personal property tax from both counties.

You could use it as a temp solution while getting your exhaust handled the right way, but that's about it.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EVL RS-T View Post
Are you talking about safety inspections? The stations out west still need to pass you on the visual inspection. Plus I haven't found one out west that performs emissions tests since they aren't required. The one solution I have found is that you can have your vehicle garaged in a county other than where your mailing address is... but I wouldn't recommend it since that probably wouldn't work for very long and you'd get hit with personal property tax from both counties. You could use it as a temp solution while getting your exhaust handled the right way, but that's about it.
Yeah, they don't even do a visual at the garages I go to. I pass every year with a completely catless header-back exhaust.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:29 PM   #16
KManZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ResidentR View Post
As long as you have a catted downpipe, don't have a check engine light, and you don't take the car to the dealer for emissions/inspection, you shouldn't have an issue at all. Tuning the car will take care of any exhaust change related CEL's.
Yup, they failed me even with my catted DP So I took it to a Merchants and passed without issue.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:16 AM   #17
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I live in Virginia, loudoun county to be exact.
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:05 PM   #18
AyB88
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I'll probably go catless and then do the swap when it's time to do the inspection, if I can indeed get those swapped out for $80 bucks.
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:06 PM   #19
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Why don't you just get a catted exhaust? Why do you hate America and freedom?
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:43 PM   #20
V8sPFFF06sti
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Lowes island sunoco in sterling. They will pass you as long as you have a visible cat. And when you do your emissions you don't have check engine light. Some places are more strick then others. 2 modded STis never had a problem there.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:35 PM   #21
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The further South West you go the better off you are, you can actually get by where Im at with no cats. Theres a couple of places where you hand them the cash and in return you get an inspection sticker and razor blade.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:43 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pux888 View Post
The further South West you go the better off you are, you can actually get by where Im at with no cats. Theres a couple of places where you hand them the cash and in return you get an inspection sticker and razor blade.
It's still a federal offense, no matter where you live, to remove the emissions regulating equipment on any vehicle in the entirety of the US of A.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:48 PM   #23
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Im simply providing info, its not up to me to interpret the law.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:16 PM   #24
Abnormal
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Quote:
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It's still a federal offense, no matter where you live, to remove the emissions regulating equipment on any vehicle in the entirety of the US of A.
Unless it's faulty or some such BS... But it's not stopping anybody


Like it's been said, it's just a visual inspection for the cat and then an OBDII scan for the ECU. A tactrix cable and a friendly moderator (who's often hungry or thirsty....) OR another friendly MAIC member can set the ECU up in such a way that the catalytic converter codes, EGT sensor codes, and most other emissions related codes are not a problem in the future... Nor are drive cycles associated with making your car emissions testing ready.

Ignore the legality debate, just get a catted DP because they sound better for daily driving and leave less stink coming out of your tail pipe.

You'll be happy spending the money now instead of swapping to a stock DP on your back in your driveway when it's snowing just so you can pass emissions
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:22 PM   #25
AyB88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abnormal View Post
Unless it's faulty or some such BS... But it's not stopping anybody

You'll be happy spending the money now instead of swapping to a stock DP on your back in your driveway when it's snowing just so you can pass emissions

That's a good point, might be better off in the long run....

I plan on getting an AP anyways at some point down the road once I am able to scrape up enough money to do a TB change, along with replacing rear struts, rotors, rear calipers, cross-member aannndddd rack and pinion.

Besides replacing the rotors, I'll have to outsource these jobs to my local mechanic i don't have a garage/driveway, the proper tools, or knowledge to do it myself.

Maybe I should start a "Make a WRX reliable functional,again" foundation? Or a "Derek Zoolander foundation for WRX's that don't work, good".
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