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IM 240 emissions test update

Just thought I'd post an update re: my experience trying to get my '87 5000s
to pass the new IM240 emission test that was introduced here on January 1st.

After resetting the timing, fixing a small vacuum leak (the molded hose that
connect the idle stablizer to the valve cover cracked) and checking the fuel
injection system out, I decided the car was running as well as I knew how to
make it run and took it back for a re-test this past Thursday.

Although the results were a bit better, it failed again.  This meant I could
now take it to a waiver inspection station, show them that I really tried to
fix it, produce receipts proving that I spent at least $450 doing so, and if
they felt the car was otherwise running correctly but wouldn't pass the test
for whatever reason, they could issue a waiver.

Needless to say, I went there prepared for the worst:

1) the waiver station is located four miles from the testing station.  I was
first in line at both places and the car ended up being tested twice in less
than 10 minutes.  To say I was surprised by the second test results would be
an understatement: compared to the first test at the inspection station, the
HC and CO readings were less than HALF of what they had been and the NOX was
fully ONE-THIRD lower!

If the testing devices at both places ARE truly accurate, then it's clear to
me this test is worthless at measuring how a car performs in the real world;
and if they're NOT accurate, how many people will be forced to pay BIG BUCKS
(the law requires you to spend up to $450 on a post-'80 car) repairing a car
that doesn't really need repairing?

I tried to discuss this with the guy who tested my car but he said it wasn't
really a problem since they were being pretty liberal granting waivers ... I
reminded him that according to the printed material I was given at the first
station, I was required to provide copies of my receipts and/or repair bills
to the waiver station before a waiver could be granted and that meant that I
should, in theory, have already spent the money on repairs before taking the
car there...

He shrugged his shoulders and gave me one of those "Hey, give-me-a-break-I'm
just-doing-my-job" looks and since the fate of MY waiver was in his hands, I
decided not to push the issue any further.  He asked me about what repairs I
had performed on the car since the first test and whether I had any receipts
to verify this.  I told him, step-by-step, what I'd done and explained there
was no way I could spend another $450 to fix the car at this point since I'd
already replaced many of the suspect parts (cat, O2 sensor, etc.) during the
past six months or so as part of my normal maintenance and all that was left
was to rebuild the motor.

He poked around under the hood, took off the oil filler cap (checking for an
aftermarket cam, perhaps?) and finally said that because the car appeared to
be in good shape and he could find nothing obviously wrong, he would give me
a waiver.  Unfortunately, this waiver is only good for this renewal and I'll
have to go through the whole process again in two years, when the car is due
to be tested again.

I'm all for clean air but this new testing program is bound to draw a lot of
criticism from people because of the way it's being administered.  If you're
not yet having to deal with it where you live, I suspect you will eventually
and I hope they have all the bugs worked out by then so YOU won't have to go
through all the grief that I have...

                /| | | |\  |   |\  | | |\  |  AudiDudi@delphi.com
               /-| | | | | | = | | | | | | |  Jeffrey Goggin
              /  | |_| |/  |   |/  |_| |/  |  Scottsdale, Arizona