Diesel conversion in California

Trailnewt

Well-known member
Joined
May 27, 2007
Location
Northern California
TDI
'87 TDI Vanagon Syncro, 2009 Jetta Sportwagen
Update on registering a diesel conversion in California. As of January 1, 2008 you must take your diesel conversion to the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) State Referee to have them verify that you have indeed put a diesel motor into your vehicle. This morning I took my Syncro Vanagon 1Z TDI conversion to my appointment with the Referee at a local community college. He looked in the engine compartment, said "Yup, that's a diesel," entered the VIN and some other information into his computer and gave me a slip to take to the DMV where they will change my registration from gas to diesel. He was not interested in the motor numbers, any of the components on the motor, or any of the details of the conversion. He was only interested in verifying that it was now a diesel vehicle. The only question he asked me about the conversion was where I got the motor? Perhaps they want to know that the motor was originally built for the U.S. market.
I hope this information is usefull to any of you in California who are working on conversions. I guess the system could change anytime but right now it's pretty painless. I did a squeaky clean conversion, full electronic with all sensors installed, catalytic converter, egr valve; but didn't get the chance to show off any of it to the referee.
The power band from the 1Z motor sure is sweet after all those years of driving a waterboxer.
Brent
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
Does that pertain to conversion of gasoline vehicles registered in CA, or also to conversions from anywhere else?
My 97 gasoline GLX is now titled and registered in MA as a diesel. If I were to move to CA (ain't happening), or sell to a CA resident, would the same confirmation be required since the VIN is still indicating a VR6?
 

rallyruss

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Location
Bay Area CA
TDI
98 TDI jetta, 05 passat wagon
Trailnewt- Thank you for posting I have been looking for confirmation on this new change.
 

istewart

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Joined
Feb 20, 2006
What referee did you visit? I'm in the Bay Area like rallyruss, and I'd like to get in touch with a referee before I go ahead with my swap.
 

12MPGHWY

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Location
el California
TDI
none
Just a piece of advice, if they ask what year the motor is out of tell them its out of a car from the same year as your vehicle. Rules state it must be same year or newer, however CA is thinking about instituting a smog program for 97 and newer diesels. You want to be able to avoid that if it comes to fruition.

They have no way of verifying the year and will take your word for it when it comes to this.

Also, if you where to have gotten a conversion of a 97 1Z into say your 85 GTI, and you did it by mechanicalizing the pump and getting rid of the computer controls. If you told the smog reps the engine was from a 97 and they ever do institute smog requirments, your car won't pass and you will have to re engineer your car to pass for it to be legal, even if the car passes the tailpipe test (if they create one) they will allmost certainly want to hook the car up to an OBD2 code reader if they think it has OBD2 (all TDI engines) 96 1z from passat might skirt this requirment because it wasn't mandated in diesels till 97.
 
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Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
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idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
Further to that: OBD II for diesels wasn't mandated until the November 1996 production. OBD II was implemented for 97 TDI built prior to November, but the requirement for OBD II for diesels didn't take effect until November.
That was my saving grace for installing my May 1996 1Z and OBD-D ECU on my June 1996 build date 1997 conversion: The engine and ECU I have are a valid, and CARB certified, combination approved for the VW diesel models built through October of 1996.
MA, a CARB adopting state, didn't seem to care one bit as long as I proved I paid for insurance, and then paid the sales tax, title fee, registration fee, safety inspection fee, emission inspection fee, ....fi-fo-fum-fee...
 

12MPGHWY

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Location
el California
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The documents I have seen (see the emissions section for links I think) don't make the line of demarkation OBD2, but rather the 1997 model year. I'm sure that OBD2 is the reason for this.

And if the car has OBDII and requires a smog then they are going to hook it up to a scanner.

Model year is how they draw the line.

Example, they draw the line at 1975 for smog in CA cars, the real reason for this is that by 75 virtually all cars had converters, and 75 was the major change year for emissions regulations.

However some 74's and 73's meet the 75 emission regulations, and yet they are still smog exempt.

Lug_Nut said:
Further to that: OBD II for diesels wasn't mandated until the November 1996 production. OBD II was implemented for 97 TDI built prior to November, but the requirement for OBD II for diesels didn't take effect until November.
That was my saving grace for installing my May 1996 1Z and OBD-D ECU on my June 1996 build date 1997 conversion: The engine and ECU I have are a valid, and CARB certified, combination approved for the VW diesel models built through October of 1996.
MA, a CARB adopting state, didn't seem to care one bit as long as I proved I paid for insurance, and then paid the sales tax, title fee, registration fee, safety inspection fee, emission inspection fee, ....fi-fo-fum-fee...
 
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sdturbo

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Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Location
san diego
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none
Registering my tdi volvo was just a trip to the dmv. They looked under the hood "yep, that looks like a diesel to me" and I was on my way.
 

shortysclimbin

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Virginia currently
TDI
Kubvan, mk2 golf, mk6 golf
I asked here in vermont and they said just bring it on down and we can change your title for you. thats for color and engine changes. LOL got to love vermont! we dont even need a title for anything 95 and older...
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
There are two separate differentiations of ECU and 1Z TDI engines listed in the Bentley service manual: Those with the "BK" OBD-D ECU from August 1995, and those with "FA" OBD II ECU from November 1996.
The crux is the federal certification sticker statement that the vehicle meets all applicable safety, bumper, anti-theft and emissions regulations IN EFFECT ON DATE OF MANUFACTURE (emphasis mine). My 1997 has a date of manufacture in June of 1996, at least 4 months before the date for requirement of diesel OBD II compliance.
The 'smoke fix' "GQ" ECU, because that was produced after November of 1996, has to be OBD II compliant, but the original BK is "grandfathered" and legal for use on Passat TDI built through October 1996.
This is not the first time VW bumped output in advance of tightening limits. The 2006 Jetta TDI output was ramped up from September through December of 2005 to 'beat' the toughened emissions limits for new cars manufactured in calendar year 2006.
12MPGHWY said:
The documents I have seen (see the emissions section for links I think) don't make the line of demarkation OBD2, but rather the 1997 model year. I'm sure that OBD2 is the reason for this.
And if the car has OBDII and requires a smog then they are going to hook it up to a scanner.
Model year is how they draw the line.
Example, they draw the line at 1975 for smog in CA cars, the real reason for this is that by 75 virtually all cars had converters, and 75 was the major change year for emissions regulations.
However some 74's and 73's meet the 75 emission regulations, and yet they are still smog exempt.
 

gamblinfool

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Joined
May 1, 2008
Location
Belmont, CA
TDI
Still Searching
(pardon the total noob question; I'm just getting my feet wet here) A friend of mine said he remembered seeing something in the DMV regs that said an originally non-diesel car cannot be legally converted to a diesel.

The information in this thread obviously contradicts that. Does anyone have a DMV reference that supports this?

thx, JT (currently on a quest to convert a mk1 Scirocco to TDi or mTDi)
 

12MPGHWY

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Location
el California
TDI
none
That very well could be true in your state, these are state requirments, check with your dmv.

It is legal in CA and most other states

gamblinfool said:
(pardon the total noob question; I'm just getting my feet wet here) A friend of mine said he remembered seeing something in the DMV regs that said an originally non-diesel car cannot be legally converted to a diesel.

The information in this thread obviously contradicts that. Does anyone have a DMV reference that supports this?

thx, JT (currently on a quest to convert a mk1 Scirocco to TDi or mTDi)
 

G60ING

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 5, 2001
Location
Alexandria, VA
TDI
No TDIs Currently, I have an R36 Corrado. I've had an ALH Corrado swap, AHU Corrado swap and 2003 TDI Jetta
Trailnewt said:
Update on registering a diesel conversion in California. As of January 1, 2008 you must take your diesel conversion to the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) State Referee to have them verify that you have indeed put a diesel motor into your vehicle. This morning I took my Syncro Vanagon 1Z TDI conversion to my appointment with the Referee at a local community college. He looked in the engine compartment, said "Yup, that's a diesel," entered the VIN and some other information into his computer and gave me a slip to take to the DMV where they will change my registration from gas to diesel. He was not interested in the motor numbers, any of the components on the motor, or any of the details of the conversion. He was only interested in verifying that it was now a diesel vehicle. The only question he asked me about the conversion was where I got the motor? Perhaps they want to know that the motor was originally built for the U.S. market.
I hope this information is usefull to any of you in California who are working on conversions. I guess the system could change anytime but right now it's pretty painless. I did a squeaky clean conversion, full electronic with all sensors installed, catalytic converter, egr valve; but didn't get the chance to show off any of it to the referee.
The power band from the 1Z motor sure is sweet after all those years of driving a waterboxer.
Brent
Thank you, I might have somebody from Ca buying my TDI Corrado that will love to hear about your experiance
 

e*clipse

Veteran Member
Joined
May 9, 2007
Location
Chico, CA
TDI
Toyota TDI swap
I am concerned about the new rules.

My engine is a '96 1Z. I don't plan to show off any smog equipment...:rolleyes:

The problem is my ECU is a newer European model w/ some mods.

Does anyone have any idea how they might look @ this? If I get it registered as a 1996 1Z, could I slip through the cracks??
 

Lug_Nut

TDIClub Enthusiast, Pre-Forum Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 20, 1998
Location
Sterling, Massachusetts. USA
TDI
idi: 1988 Bolens DGT1700H
Be aware that the VIN determines the vehicle model year and which emission levels to which it will need to comply.
The 1997 and newer light duty diesels have to be OBD II compliant just like 1996 and newer gasoline light duty vehicles.
Mass is also a C.A.R.B. state, and just this past fall began actually checking for OBD II compliance on 1997 and newer diesels. My 1996 diesel swap into a 1997 body has the 1996 ECU which is not, and did not need to be, OBD II compliant in a 1996 vehicle. Now that it's in a 1997 I have to pass the requirements for 1997. And now, after a ten year period of no check of diesel emission compliance, the state is actually checking.

and my non-OBD II conversion failed because the state's OBD II scanner can't communicate with it.
 
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gagrice

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2004
Location
San Diego, CA
TDI
Passat 2005 Stonehenge Gray
sdturbo said:
Registering my tdi volvo was just a trip to the dmv. They looked under the hood "yep, that looks like a diesel to me" and I was on my way.
Who did your conversion in San Diego? Or did you do it yourself?
 

thelodestone

New member
Joined
Dec 8, 2012
Location
Boston
TDI
2006 Jetta
49-State 2006 Jetta TDI in California?

I am moving to California next month and I'd like to keep my 2006 Jetta TDI. Does anybody have a sense of whether these vehicles are able to pass the "smog test"? I just passed my emissions test in Massachusetts.
 

Rockwell

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2009
Location
Manchester, NH
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI (R.I.P.), 1.6TD Toyota pickup, 2011 BMW 335d, 1996 Passat TDI
I am moving to California next month and I'd like to keep my 2006 Jetta TDI. Does anybody have a sense of whether these vehicles are able to pass the "smog test"? I just passed my emissions test in Massachusetts.
Of course it will
 

SuperAdellic

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Joined
Dec 5, 2008
Location
Beaufort, SC
TDI
None
Why would you want to come to California???? I'm just kidding. I've been here five years now and it's not that bad.
Any vehicle that was manufactured to meed the federal emission standards (your 2006 Jetta meets those standards) may be legally brought into California for sale and/or use after it has 7500 miles (you read that right) on the odometer, regardless if it was a 50 state, 49 state, or 45 state emission legal vehicle. Now that I've made that statement, Rockwell is right: it will pass no problem, provided that you haven't done anything that would make it through codes, have the readiness modules not set, or belch black smoke. The emission test is pretty much a joke. The last one I had done, the guys opened the hood (didn't even look around the engine bay to see if the egr stuff was all there), didn't hook up the obd scanner, revved it once, and called it good. If you want to read more about the emission test here, check out the below link. Good luck with the move.
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=270949
 

markd89

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
Location
Los Angeles
TDI
1978 VW Bus 1Z TDI
I just had to go to the DMV and have them do the "verification". They wrote down that the turn signals worked, how many doors, etc., and the fuel type. It was so much easier than I expected. This was all done at the DMV.

I was expecting a detailed examination, so I had all pieces working -- stock EGR, CAT, etc. I also used a pre-98 engine. None of that was checked for me. YMMV.

For other (non-diesel) swaps you have to go to the referee and they check those things.

Now my registration & title look the same, but have D as the fuel type. Note: I tried to do this at AAA but the paperwork was kicked back because the physical verification is required from CHP or DMV.

Mark
 

G60ING

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 5, 2001
Location
Alexandria, VA
TDI
No TDIs Currently, I have an R36 Corrado. I've had an ALH Corrado swap, AHU Corrado swap and 2003 TDI Jetta
I just got back from the CA DMV with my 1990 corrado tdi, it was uneventful and no smog is required. I went and filled out the registration form and verification form. I think it helped that the car was titled in North Carolina as a diesel.

I drove to the verification line and the biggest issue was whether the car was a coupe or 2dr hatchback. The person asked to see the emissions sticker and I told her that it was a swap car and it didn't have one. She had to turn on the car to verify it was a diesel...there were snickers from one or two of the kids waiting for their driving tests when they heard the corrado fire up and the dmv person said "it sounds like a diesel"



The car is smog free now.

SIPNBIO will be delivered in 8-12 weeks
 

G60ING

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 5, 2001
Location
Alexandria, VA
TDI
No TDIs Currently, I have an R36 Corrado. I've had an ALH Corrado swap, AHU Corrado swap and 2003 TDI Jetta
I'm south of San Diego, I plan to attend the the socaleuros gtg/show September 14. Are there any other more Tdi related shows or GTGs?
 

SuperAdellic

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2008
Location
Beaufort, SC
TDI
None
One gtg that is held in late fall in ontario area by kooyajerms. This year, it was held at the beginning of december. There is a thread for it each year in the west coast forum. The rest are up in NorCal.
 
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