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Old 01-23-2019, 12:31 AM   #1
gw7
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Urban Grey Metallic

Question Colorado's fuel grades? Catless emissions? Altitude?

Before this even gets mentioned: yes, I searched. I could not find relevant, up-to-date information that helps me out.

Fiancee and I are looking to move to the Denver area quite soon. I have a 2007 STI speed density tuned on 93 octane (and I have an E85 map). Before I get too excited about the move, I'm trying to figure out how much money I'll have to spend to bring my STI. If I can't bring the Subaru out there, what's even the point of moving? I'm coming for your beautiful mountain roads.

Tune and Fuel Grade Questions

1. As stated before, I have a 93 oct and E85 tune on my car. I've heard CO gas is much lower octane—apparently your "Premium" is only 91 octane, and in some cases, even as low as 89 octane at the pump. Is that true?

• Is E85 readily available? If so, is it consistently an 85% blend? I do not have a flex fuel sensor, so I wouldn't be able to drive my car in the fall and winter if the blend drops. My only other map would be 93, which apparently, you do not have.

I really like the tune on my car, and it'd be nice if I could keep it. Or will I have to re-tune for the extreme change in altitude anyway?


Emissions Questions
2. My car is very modified. GT3076R, catless, Invidia Q200, TGV/air pump delete, a visually not-stock engine bay, and so on. How ****ed am I for emissions testing in Colorado?

Is it true that vehicles older than 12 years (2007) have to be hooked up to a "sniffer"?

There are a few possible solutions I could think of:

Where I live now (WI), the testing station just plugs into my OBDII, reads codes, and I'm on my way. I love it—I pass with flying colors every time. Once, literally with an open downpipe. (Not kidding).

Obviously, my tuner has tuned out any codes related to emissions.

However, I found a CO DMV site page stating that vehicles older than 12 years old need to be hooked up to a tail pipe sniffer. 2019-2007=12, so sadly, I don't make the "new car" cutoff anymore.

I'm assuming there's NO way I'll pass that catless, and I doubt a stock turboback exhaust would bolt up to my setup. (Though my turbo is still in the stock location, not rotated. Either way, I don't have a stock turboback exhaust to use, nor do I have a catted uppipe.)

My "money question": Does the Colorado vehicle registration form include a line that says "County Kept In"?

In WI, it's possible to just state that you keep your car primarily in a different location—at a family member's house, for example—in an emissions-exempt county. In other words, simply write in somewhere "up north" under the "kept-in" column.

If that doesn't work, or isn't an option in CO:

• Would I be able to borrow someone's stock turboback and uppipe while retaining the tune on my car? As in, would that be safe to do to my car temporarily?

• Would I pass on my E85 tune? I've always heard ethanol burns cleaner, but maybe that's just a wives' tale.

• If there's no way around it, would I be best off keeping my car registered in Wisconsin? There's an "exemption form" you can fill out in WI if you're temporarily out of state AND there's no testing facility nearby, or if you're simply not driving your car for a while. However, I wouldn't want to suspend my registration. I'm also not sure how long the exemption lasts.



Any and all help would be HUGELY appreciated. I was very excited about the prospect of leaving my flat, cold-as-**** state, and Denver (and its surrounding areas) seem to have it all for us. We recently spent a few weeks in South Park and fell in love with the mountains, but the fiancee (medical field) needs to be in/near a major city for work. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:26 AM   #2
GlarryHoodDIT
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We have 85, 87, 91. I've never seen 93 here and I've never seen a gas station without 91. I know of 2 E 85 stations in the entire Metro Denver area. One is C-470 and Broadway and the other is Broadway and Alameda. Don't know where you are moving from, but it's likely you could run your 93 map on our 91 octane gas and be fine due to the incredible altitude up here, but if you're moving from a place of elevation already then it might not be safe. Alternatively, Torco or some other octane booster could be helpful.

The emissions question depends on where you live. Half of the state has emissions and half of the state doesn't. Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, Portions of Adams, Portions of Arapahoe, Portion of Larimer, Portions of Weld all require emissions testing. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/gas-vehicles

According to this (https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/proof-address) new residents are required to have two proof of physical address documents, so it's unlikely just saying it's kept in an emissions free county will work if you live in one that requires testing.

http://aircarecolorado.com/index.php/about-the-test/
There's your info on testing. "Vehicles 12 years old back to model year 1996 will receive an "Advisory" OBD test in addition to the I/M 240 "treadmill-like" test."

I/M 240 "treadmill-like" test: "Vehicles are driven on a "treadmill-like" device that tests vehicles under simulated driving conditions. A cone is connected to the tailpipe to capture the vehicle's emissions. An "Advisory" OBD "plug-in" test is conducted on all 1996 and newer model year vehicles."

There is a visual inspection, so not having a cat is definitely not going to work. Kind depends on how knowledgeable the guy looking is to know if things like TGVs are deleted. Doubtful that an E85 tune without a cat would pass. If you can keep it registered in WI that'd probably be your best option if you want to keep the car modified.

Obviously, not a super-practical idea, but new cars are emissions exempt for the first seven years after purchase. If you can, upgrade to a newer model year and you can modify it as much as you want without testing for seven years. Again, I know this isn't likely practical, just brainstorming.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by GlarryHoodDIT; 01-23-2019 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:32 PM   #3
gw7
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This is absolutely awesome information, thanks so much for all of your help!

I think leaving it registered in Wisconsin is probably what I'll do. Now we just have to decide between Colorado Springs and Denver! (CO Springs might win because there's no emissions there!)
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:57 PM   #4
GlarryHoodDIT
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Probably be easiest then if you move to Denver haha! Both are great towns, Colorado Springs tends to lean much more Conservative and Denver much more Liberal, just an FYI!

Good luck! Hope to see you in Colorado soon!
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Old 01-31-2019, 10:35 AM   #5
freshazphuk
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tons of emissions exempt parts of the state and all that is needed is either a letterhead or 2 pieces of mail.....I live in northern colorado and use an estes park address which is emissions exempt never been questioned....1 idea is to find an emissions exempt area then hop on craigslist find a house for rent write down the address then print up a blank lease agreement form via the all handy google, then have a friend fill it out and you sign.....tell the dmv you are moving to this address and would like to register your vehicle there....if you already have a mailing address tell them to have your mailing address at your "moms" its an excuse to go see her hahahaha and use your current address as your mailing address...... super simple to fake the emission been at it for years!!! as for the fuel situation yes there are some stations that offer 93 octane and even some that off 100 but they are unicorns however you can get high octane fuel at just about any race track here just very expensive.
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:09 PM   #6
GlarryHoodDIT
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^^^^This is known as fraud. Do not do this.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:08 PM   #7
jaidmaster
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Location: Longmont, CO
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5250 Performance has some good info on emissions in CO and deal with lots of Subies.
I had one of these cats installed in my downpipe and passed with flying colors with a far from stock engine bay also. GT35R, TGV deletes, FMIC, aftermarket intake, AOS, MBC, hybrid EJ25, etc. running an E50 mix at the time.
The cat was expensive, but is emissions certified and flows well enough to support high hp.
Their emissions blog:
http://www.5250performance.com/blog/topic/emissions

I never have to worry about swapping exhausts like I did on my old STi every 2 years. Can even use the drive-by testing on my commute...
The E85 around here does switch to a winter E70 mix, and varies a bit from station to station. (I use an app called Alt Fuel to find stations with E85.) When I recently got my E85 tune, The Boost Creep (Harvey) told me the tune will have no issues with the winter mix. If you are planning on staying in CO, I'd probably invest in a new tune at some point. Give one of the CO tuners a call and I'm sure they would be able to advise you.
Enjoy CO! Lots of Subies on the road.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:47 PM   #8
Evoballer
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I live in Colorado Springs And there is no Emissions Testing required for cars that are 2005+.
I have never had to get any of my cars tested with the exception of my 1995 Chevy Tahoe back in the late 90’s.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:54 PM   #9
gagg maggot
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You don't need higher octane at elevation, and you'll also run less boost. The air is thinner up here and doesn't burn as fast.

Regardless, I would recommend you get a new tune. This is a small cost compared to relocation. There are plenty of great tuners around here. A flex-fuel sensor is a good idea for running E85 anywhere. If I were you I'd be doing that mod regardless.

As for emissions, you will never pass in Denver without all the stock catalytic converters. My '05 STi was all stock except for a catted downpipe & Cobb tune and that didn't even pass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gw7 View Post
(CO Springs might win because there's no emissions there!)
The trade-off is MUCH higher rates of jesus freaks and the pro-police & military crowd. CO Springs is also more of a giant suburb than a real city. People are generally more up-tight down there, comparatively.

Denver also gets sprawly outside of the Downtown area, but has a hell of a lot more going on. There is a REAL city complete with light-rail service to the HUGE international airport. if you like concerts, bars, breweries, pretty women and diversity, ease of travel it's a great place to be. If you just want twisty roads and redneck neighbors, CO Springs is my suggestion.

For what it's worth, if you put your car back to 100% stock, you'd probably still have more fun driving it here than WI.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:34 PM   #10
jaidmaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gagg maggot View Post

As for emissions, you will never pass in Denver without all the stock catalytic converters. My '05 STi was all stock except for a catted downpipe & Cobb tune and that didn't even pass.
I don't believe this is entirely true (unless Denver has more strict standards than Boulder County?). I'm guessing the cat you had in your DP was just not up to the task (most hi-flow cats will not pass). I had a stage 2 '07 STi with a catted Perrin DP that would not pass unless I put the stock cat on, but my '02 had no problems running an epa certified GESI hi-flow cat in the DP with no other cats in the system, and it's very far from stock. I was a bit worried, but 5250 performance assured me it would pass with this cat and it did with no problems. This is in Boulder County... YMMV...
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:37 PM   #11
Calamarii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gw7 View Post
Now we just have to decide between Colorado Springs and Denver! (CO Springs might win because there's no emissions there!)
If you care about your car not getting dented up by golf ball hail 3-5 times a summer skip the Springs. Moved to CoSprings from WA and had my '17 impreza totaled inside 12 months by hail. Check out north CO, Fort Collins area. Don't be seduced by the SoCo's cheap rent, it's that way for a reason.

My 2 cents.

Welcome to Colorado!
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:56 PM   #12
vica153
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Not only do they do a sniffer test on rollers, but its not even an easy steady state test. They go from zero to 55MPH and average the readings throughout.

From what I've found, an aftermarket catted downpipe (like Cobb) will usually get you to right around passing. NOx levels are usually borderline. Some people barely pass, some barely fail. They've lowered the emissions limits a few times in the last 5 years, so just because you passed before doesn't mean you pass now.

The stock downpipe with working cats very easily passes at 5-10% of the limit on NOx levels. My 205k stock cats did not pass though. NOx levels double the limit.



The visual inspection part of it seems to depend on the person running the test or maybe they have taken the visual inspection out of the requirements because I have never seen them pop the hood or look under the car with mirrors. Though maybe they get more thorough if your car looks/sounds modified.

Also, I saw 2 different vehicles (both 2010 SUVs) get simply rolled thru and pass without any testing and I know someone with a 'stage 2' 2010 STI who got a roll thru pass as well. Meanwhile my basically stock Saabaru is on the rollers for 10 minutes. So that's a bit confusing.

Last edited by vica153; 03-18-2019 at 03:14 PM.
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