Emissions failure High HydroCarbon Levels

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  #1  
Old 06-17-02, 05:44 PM
mr_bidinkle
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Emissions failure High HydroCarbon Levels

I have a 97 Chevy Cavalier with a 2.2L engine. I tried to get it inspected, i live in utah and they control this, this week and the HydroCarbon levels were extremely High. I would like to know what i should look for to fix this problem and how to test what ever it is i need to check. I.e. how can i test the catalytic converter to tell if it is bad? I have never worked on this particular problem before and i am not sure what to look into, but i want to fix it myself if possible.
Thank you,

steve
 
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  #2  
Old 06-18-02, 10:30 AM
Joe_F
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HC is really unburned fuel out of the back of the vehicle. Think of it as a huge fuel leak, because that is what it really is.

Look at all the tuneup items, plugs, wires, cap and rotor (if equipped), O2 sensor and all other tune up type items. Incorrect fuel pressure can also cause this. If you cannot remember the last time most of the tune up items were changed, pitch them all in favor of new ones.

How much did you fail by?
 
  #3  
Old 06-18-02, 01:59 PM
mr_bidinkle
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Thank you, i'll check those things out first. my car is allowed to be at 98 and it was about 297. I changed the oil, air filter, spark plugs and wires, and the fuel filter today. It ran better. I am just hoping it's not the catalytic convertor or the timing. are there easy ways to tell? Thank you for your help! I want to do everything i can to fix, before i take it back. the place will do one free retest after it fails.
again, thanks,

steve
 
  #4  
Old 06-18-02, 02:11 PM
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Check the EGR valve, to ensure it is working properly. You will need to get a good repair book and run through all the tune up and adjustments....check the timing. Make sure all the vacumn lines are connected and going to the right spot, with no leaks.
This can be a time consuming task, but well worth the effort. Here in CA they do the same thing and it is hard to track these things down sometimes. Ask the attendent if he can stop the test if it looks like you are going to fail. We to only get two trys and than it is off to the mederator for another test and the orders on what to do with the car. If the attendent can abort the test it doesn't go into the computer as a completed test and you will be able to go back and have another test ran. Some stations will do it, others will not.
 
  #5  
Old 06-18-02, 03:24 PM
Joe_F
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The timing is computer controlled, don't mess with it. More harm than good by doing that.

Check the fuel pressure to be sure it's running within spec. Any black smoke? How does the exhaust smell? Change your gas cap, evaporative emissions can cause HC leaks too, although it's usually measured out of the tailpipe...the cap is just subjected to an integrity check.

A bad EGR valve usually exhibits itself in the form of high NOx (Oxides of Nitrogen), but it could cause other woes. You probably licked it with the full tune up though. I do that before EVERY inspection.

The converter very rarely goes bad, and if it does, something causes it to go bad which must be fixed or the new converter gets the same fate.

They may allow you a pretest to see if it will pass again before they test it. My guy can "usually tell" by the exhaust smell and running it on the dyno for a few minutes.
 
  #6  
Old 11-04-02, 06:52 PM
mr_bidinkle
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after changing all of those things suggested, it runs great! Hydrocarbons were cut well below the required amount.
thank you!
 
  #7  
Old 11-05-02, 08:56 AM
Joe_F
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Thumbs up

Good job. It's usually the basics that cause it to be out of compliance.

Way to go.
 
  #8  
Old 11-05-02, 05:44 PM
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I'm sorry to say this,I'm glad your car passed but the suggstion of having the emission inspector abort the test is a big no no.The EPA expects a certain fail rate.So you ask a person for a favor they get a fine.The EPA keeps very good records and aborts point a finger at you.I'm not saying you did this but it was suggested.I've been through the EPA sting operations before they could care less if your were helping your dying mother or father,and yes they cheat,to nab you.Emission control is here to stay.I don't like it,but I want my kids to be able to breathe later in life.I could go on and explain upcoming emission controls but we will save that for later.Yes Joe Older GMs are the most practical cars for emission concerns and reliability.
 
  #9  
Old 11-05-02, 08:35 PM
mr_bidinkle
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Your right! it is. it's illegal. I didn't know that, so i asked the guy when i took it in. He told me he couldn't cuz it's illegal. I guess i wasn't too surprised, honestly. I told him i didn't want to do anything illegal. So I asked him to run it anyway and i just crossed my fingers and held my breath. And to my amazement, it passed. I about fell over. I could hardly believe that little ol' me was able to fix something. I was grateful he was so nice about my asking him to stop the test. I had no intention of doing anything illegal. I don't like some of the stuff the epa makes us do, like emissions test, when i have to do it, but i am glad that they exist. We need people to help watch out for the environment. I live in salt lake city and the polution gets stuck in this valley and you can watch it getting worse over time. I won't go off on a save the environment tyraid, but i will say it's good to have someone like the epa watching out!

thanks,
steve
 
  #10  
Old 11-06-02, 05:53 AM
redneck
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What? Your car fails twice and then what? You gotta junk it and buy another? Please tell me how this works--I am in a no emissions state (actually we had it then they did away with it years ago) One thing about MI--they love their pollution! I will not comment on the last statement about feeling good about any branch of the government "looking over something" especially the EPA!
 
  #11  
Old 11-06-02, 10:02 AM
Joe_F
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In NY you can keep going back (they will charge you, unless you apply for a waiver) until it passes. Technically, you can be stopped or ticketed for driving an uninspected vehicle.

Depending on the political clout and lobby, your state WILL be on board unless they do not want federal pollution money and funds for programs . Those that aren't on board lose out. That is how the feds get your state to comply with enhanced testing.

In all theory, if the car runs correctly, it should pass the test . Good maintenance and upkeep are key to this.

Trying2help: The state can and does get a hold of pretest data, so even if you put it there at idle to see how it might run, the state can audit the test and ask questions .

Not only that, but here in NYS the inspections are taped with a camera to prevent any hokey-pokey .
 
  #12  
Old 11-06-02, 07:14 PM
mr_bidinkle
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If it fails again, it's not as drastic as throwing your car away. Different vehicles have different specs, too. If your car fails, then you have to pay to have it retested again. Here in Utah, some places will test it a second time free if it fails the first time. Once a test is started it has to be done, no stopping, it seems. So, if it fails a second time, then you go back and fix it. Once it is "fixed" you take it back and pay for the test, which is $30. I haven't seen any cameras out here. and yes, a temporary permit is also available here too.

steve
 
  #13  
Old 11-07-02, 09:56 AM
redneck
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All this emissions crap really makes it hard on the hotrodders (which only account for a fraction of the overall pollution) they really want to clean up the air they will crack down on the big trucks spewing diesel exhausts into the air buy the tons all day everyday. Us hotrodders only drive our cars once in a while. I sold my 10th anni t/a to a poor fella from Tenn. I say poor fella not because he got ripped (I sold it for less than I had into it), but because I told him it would not pass emissions. Other than duals and no cat--the car looked stock, but would run high 13 sec quarters. The modifications I did to the carb alone would keep it from ever passing emissions. He called me for months after I sold it to him trying to get it to pass, new exhaust, new carb, playing with timing, I think his next step was the cam, 270H comp cams is never going to pass emissions, then you got the Ram air exhaust manifols I had on there--they ain't stock! You see where I'm going?--this was a well tuned street machine, that I had alot of $ into, but he had to sink tons more into--and sacrifice the performance! Why, because some liberal tree huger got there way in that state. I also ride a Harley, and the government is now trying to put emissions on bikes!? I get over 40mph, I think I am doing my good environmental deed by riding the bike instead of driving my truck which would pass emissions, but puts out alot more pollution and sucks ALOT more gas than my bike! Ok I'm done now.
 
  #14  
Old 11-07-02, 07:38 PM
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Redneck if you really want to know about emissions with cars and the the trucking industry.I suggest you email me I will enlighten you.I will not post it here because it is rather lengthy and most people would be willing to do the most for their enviroment.Basically you are the one that is the problem,narrow minded thinking.Almost forgot it's crap(our air).Belongs to people after us also.
 
  #15  
Old 11-07-02, 11:11 PM
knuckles
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Thumbs up

Redneck:

Liberal tree huggers have precious little to do with enhanced emissions testing.

The 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act brought us OBD-II and enhanced emission testing. These amendments were signed in to law by President George H.W. Bush. I don't think anyone would call him a 'tree hugger' or a liberal.

Bush also signed the Montreal Protocol, which is responsible for the elimination of R-12.

I understand your frustration with emissions laws, but I think it stems from a lack of understanding. You describe emission control devices & regulations as "crap". Newsflash: This 'crap' helps keep the air clean.

Take your T/A for example. With that big cam, modified carb & no emission controls, it's spewing WAY more HCs than a modern car. It would probably qualify as a 'gross polluter'. Gross polluters make up a small percentage of the nation's fleet, yet they are responsible for a large percentage of the emissions output. The T/A would still be 'dirty' by modern standards even if it was equipped with all of its original emission controls, correct carb calibration and correct camshaft, but it would be FAR cleaner than it was when you sold it.

The days of hacking off the catalytic convertor, disabling the EGR & removing the A.I.R. pump belt are gone. Thank God!

Most 'hot rodders' still don't understand that the EGR valve has NO EFFECT on Wide Open Throttle performance & can actually IMPROVE part throttle performance on high compression engines.

The A.I.R. pump has a such a low parasitic drag that disabling it provides virtually NO improvement in performance.

The early style cats originally installed on your T/A were very restrictive, but it is perfectly legal to replace them with new high flow cats that flow nearly as well as an open pipe. The new high flow cats also do a better job of cleaning the exhaust than the crappy old 'bead bed' GM cats ever did.

BTW, high 13 second 1/4 mile times are nothing to brag about. A nearly stock (recurved distributor, recalibrated Q-jet carb, 4.10:1 rear axle ratio & 9" wide M&H Racemaster slicks) 403 powered '79 T/A could turn mid 13s all day long. It would also pass PA emissions with flying colors. This very same car used to peg our old Clayton chassis dyno on a regular basis. It also used to eat TH350 transmissions on a regular basis, but that's a different story for a different thread.

Perhaps you should research exhaust emission controls more thoroughly. I think you'll find that it is more efficient to build a clean burning engine than it is a 'dirty' engine. Well thought-out, carefully assembled & maintained engines are more efficient and therefore cleaner than engines that are tossed together using yesterday's technology. These engines make more power and burn cleaner than an 'old school' engine.

I also suggest you e-mail davo & get the info on diesel emissions. You might be surprised at the upcoming diesel emissions regs & fuel requirements.

I agree with davo in that as long as you view emissions laws & control devices as "crap", you're part of the problem.
 
  #16  
Old 11-08-02, 03:54 AM
Joe_F
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I just got my 80 Trans Am inspected this month. NYS requires an idle test for that vehicle. It is a 26,000 mile original car.

Results: 0.06 CO, 36 HC. The limits are probably triple that. The inspector said he tested a newer vehicle than that with less mileage----wasn't that clean .

Sure on the whole, modern vehicles are cleaner and more efficient, but keeping your car within the law's confines is doing your part for cleaner air.

Knuckles: You aren't running A/C in that 403 with 4.10 gears . Was it in full street trim? The T/A that Redneck and I are talking about has EVERY option that Pontiac offered in the Firebird, and some that they did not .

The bottom line is understanding and I agree. Everyone has to do their part. I own six cars. I walk everywhere I can to save the air and get exercise at the same time. . I carpool with another guy and we drive 22 miles each way to work. We are the only people that carpool in our lot!

With modern technology, you can improve on an old car's performance and emission controls, I do agree there. Most folks don't understand how things work and this gets them into trouble.

I do agree that it's frustrating to do your part and then see a truck spewing smoke into the air .
 
  #17  
Old 11-08-02, 07:01 AM
redneck
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You guys got me all wrong, I was just stirrin up crap with that post and trying to make a point. I am very familar with the EPA regs, and no, president Bush is not a tree hugger. I actually maintain all my current cars very well, and am sure if they had to pass emissions, they would(would just need to slide the old "pellet" convertor back on the firebird). The point I am tying to make is Trucks are a major part of the total--yes diesel emissions are different, but still contribute to smog. One thing I do not understand is how they regulate actual hotrods (custom built cars) in emissions states? How do you hold a custom built car to a particular year emission standard? Here in MI, we have HUGE cruises "Woodward obviously the biggie" all summer long. This is a very large part of the economy and heritage around here--but would be nearly impossible with emissions. You have to experience one of these if you are a true "car guy". ps. I was born and raised in PA and lived there until about 4years ago--and we never had emissions tests. And until atleast 50% of the new vehicle sold get 40mph--I believe the EPA should leave the motorcyclists alone.
 
  #18  
Old 11-08-02, 04:07 PM
Joe_F
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Anything older than 25 years in NYS gets a safety inspection, no emission check. There are supposedly visual checks on older than 25 year old cars (if they originally had the emissions stuff), but frankly, most people won't notice on the older cars. There were many combinations, deletions, and exceptions...not really possible to nail them all down.

It is frustrating to do your part and then be behind a large truck spewing out crap out of the exhaust....I think that is Redneck's point.

Beyond that, even with cleaner running cars, the air quality gains are lackluster. Why? We are driving more.

The trick is conservation (carpooling, using the car less, walking, biking, etc) over just getting into the car and driving three blocks to get the newspaper.

After all, I found a 300 dollar Snap On air rachet in the street one cold Sunday when walking to the bagel store. Now had I drove there, I wouldn't have found it .
 
  #19  
Old 11-08-02, 06:48 PM
knuckles
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"It is frustrating to do your part and then be behind a large truck spewing out crap out of the exhaust....I think that is Redneck's point. "

It would be his point if he actually DID HIS PART. By his own admission he modified the carb, exhaust & camshaft to the point that the car would not pass.

I think the numbers prove you wrong as far as the air quality gains being "lackluster". Examine the data from CARB & you'll see that the air quality in Los Angeles is actually BETTER today than it was in 1955, despite the fact that there are millions more cars on the road today & today's cars are being driven millions more miles per year (in total) than in 1955.

No one can argue w/ conservation. Less fuel burned=less opportunity for harmful emissions to enter the air we breathe.
 
  #20  
Old 11-09-02, 07:29 AM
Joe_F
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Sure, because half of the industry has left Los Angeles since 1955 . There's your air quality gain .

Los Angeles is only one city in the nation. I read it elsewhere (can't remember where) that air quality gains weren't great due to more mile being driven.

A lot can be done to keep a car within the confines of the law and still perform like a champ. It just takes know-how to do it.

Beyond that, the SUV's are becoming a larger part of the fleet, dragging efficiency numbers down.

Some of those behemoths get the same gas mileage as my 79 Trans Am .
 
  #21  
Old 11-09-02, 09:21 PM
knuckles
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Wow, this thread has turned in to an interesting debate.

I tend to agree that there are many reasons that L.A.'s air quality has improved. I would point out that the population has increased tremendously despite the decline in industry & industrial air pollution. These folks drive by necessity as L.A. is not a walking/biking/mass transit friendly city.

"Los Angeles is only one city..." True. It is also uniquely situated in a valley that traps pollutants which cause photochemical smog. CA was the first state to mandate any kind of emission controls & there's 40 or more years worth of air quality data available for study, so it makes for a nice verifiable example.

CARB monitors mobile emissions sources & SCAQMD monitors stationary sources in Los Angeles. It would be interesting to review the data compiled from each agency & compare the increase/decrease in emissions vs. population vs. industrial population vs. #vehicles on the road vs. # of miles driven annually.

The trouble with the above is that the ARB has been in existence far longer that the SCAQMD & the number of pollutants monitored as well as the test equipment used over the years has not remained constant, so accurate comparative data is extremely difficult to obtain.

As for the T/A I spoke of earlier...

It wasn't my car, but it was a full option screaming chicken T/A. The a/c was operable & the car was used as daily transportation. It belonged to a guy I went to tech school with. He drove the car like a 19 year old idiot, which he was. Someone laid the tag of "Mario" (as in Andretti) on him. I always called him Mario & can't even remember his real name. LOL
His T/A was a regular at Atco raceway in the late 1980s. It was dead stock internally & would easily peg our 220 rear wheel HP Clayton chassis dyno.

SUVs & efficiency:

I hear ya there! My old S-10 pickup gets 25-27 MPG on the highway. A new midsize or full size SUV gets 19 MPG Hwy. on a good day.

Redneck...

PA has had emission testing in the 5 county Philadelphia metro area since 1983 or 1984. PA mandated enhanced emissions inspection in October 1997. The type of inspection your car receives depends on your ZIP code. The 'dirtiest' ZIP codes receive the toughest inspections.

All cars, including hot rods, are regulated by model year. For example, it's no problem if you drop a blown 455 with a 1050 Dominator in to your '65 GTO. It would be a big problem if you tried something similar with a 1985 T/A. Street Rods & kit cars have their own set of regs & frankly I 'd have to look them up as I don't deal with these cars in the inspection bay.

I have to agree that some of the air quality regulations are stupid. For example, it is illegal to vent R-12, but it is perfectly legal to recharge a leaking R-12 refrigerant system! What's the difference? In either case, a full charge of R-12 winds up in the atmosphere. Stupid!
 
  #22  
Old 11-10-02, 08:55 AM
Joe_F
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4.10 rear end and working air? GM's edict is 3.42 is probably the highest with A/C.

Believe it or not, you had to do all that to get 220 HP out of a 403, when a bone stock 400 has that out of the box . Yes, there was a 40 HP deficit at the FACTORY level in 1979.

When I contacted one of the prior owners of my T/A he stated it was a modern Mustang eater. Not bad for a smogged up 1979 simple carbed 400 with a 1000+ pound weight disadvantage .

This vehicle you are talking about had mods done to it. A 403 in 79 comes 2.73 equipped, a 400 comes 3.23. The 403's are always at a deficit and usually need the Joe Mondello treatment (Olds guru) to wake them up. Pound for pound a Poncho 400 is probably cheaper to build than an Olds 403.

As I mentioned earlier, if the states/cities/municipalities want federal funds for air quality, they WILL dance the enhanced emissions dance or else be left in the wind with no money.

If I ever work in the city in my working career, it will be the bus and train for me .
 
  #23  
Old 11-12-02, 05:40 PM
redneck
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Wow, I love this stuff. I lived in rural Pa. Laural Highlands--hence no emissions. Joe is 100% correct on the firebird stuff. I have owned firebirds and ta's stock and modified. A bone stock 4004spd will run circles around a bone stock 403auto. Yes, read my older posts a bone stock '77 W-72 400 4spd will run with 4.6 auto mustangs, a modified 5.0 5spd will take me. My '77 will pass emissions if I slip the convertor back in(original owner had it out, with test pipe in) and I plan on keeping it stock--for the very reason I do not want to get stuck somewhere down the road in a different state, and can't drive it due to emissions! I was aware of the year model emission requirements (ie. don't put a '66 motor in a '86), but what about "hotrods" ie. a kit car, or hand built? Michigan must not need federal funds because we are pumping pollution baby!
 
  #24  
Old 11-13-02, 05:05 AM
Joe_F
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No, the automaker lobbyists are VERY strong there. If GM said, "Well guess what, we're pulling out of MI to build cars and moving it IN or AL or wherever it's more friendly to do business", you can bet the MI gov't will dance the GM dance (or Ford, or Chrysler, etc).

Everyone should just do their part. Most times it's not hard and your wallet and lungs will thank you for it .
 
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