Do you have a sticker under your hood?

Dave Haupt quattrodave at
Tue Jun 1 21:31:11 EDT 2004

Finally got this whole California emissions nonsense
figured out.

According to California emissions law, the emissions
technicians are REQUIRED to follow any instructions
provided on the manufacturer-supplied emissions
sticker under the hood of a vehicle.

If there is no such sticker, they follow instructions
according to whatever their emissions computer tells
them, or they refer to a set of manuals that appear to
be supplied by the Mitchell company, famous for
inaccurately-written after-market manuals for
servicing automobiles.

My 1989 200 quattro sedan has no sticker under the
hood.  Neither does the '89 200 quattro avant owned by
a neighbor.  Both vehicles have the 10 valve turbo 5
cylinder engine.  No active timing adjustment is
performed on these engines - in other words, there is
no official Audi "reading" that one expects when using
a timing light.  One can certainly attach a timing
light to plug wire #1, and there's an alignment mark
on the flywheel against the transmission housing, but
Audi does not provide an expected condition for

However, the non-turbo 5 cylinder engines of the same
year do have such a timing spec, and it is 10 degrees

Since neither my car nor my neighbor's car have a
sticker indicating the absence of a timing adjustment,
the emissions tech goes to his computer - which does
not differentiate between turbo and non-turbo.  Turns
out that if you errantly attach a timing light to a
turbo engine, you will "read" 5 degrees BTDC, or maybe
zero, depending on temperature and other conditions,
but you won't read 10 degrees BTDC.  So the car was
flunked on the basis of the timing "reading" wrong.

In my case, I argued with the tech, showing him in the
service manual that there is no timing adjustment to
do.  He reluctantly waived the timing test.

I looked under the hood of a neighbor's Volvo.  There
is a sticker there that explicitly states "Ignition
timing not adjustable.  Idle speed not adjustable." 
Those two statements waive both the timing and idle
speed measurement at emissions time.

The sticker under the Audi's hood only shows vacuum
hose routing, and says nothing at all about idle speed
or timing.  That's why the emissions techs have so
much agony over it - the sticker is not explicit.

My local Audi dealer wants $200 to "research" the
issue to find out if there is supposed to be such a
sticker that waives these adjustments.

Instead, can those few list members who own 1989s
check to see if they have a sticker that says any such

The worse news is this: having slogged through the
grief of paying for an emissions test twice (they're
outrageously expensive in California), making gobs of
phone calls and basically losing a good six to eight
useful productive hours, we have been advised that it
won't be any easier next year.  There's no final
letter in our hands waiving the test for next year!



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