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Old 10-01-2022, 09:32 PM
RuidosoKid RuidosoKid is offline
232 I6
 
Join Date: May 30, 2016
Location: SoCal
Posts: 34
California Smog vs. 5.3/LS swap??

I could not find much but I am looking for anyone in California that has completed a 5.3/LS swap and somehow managed to pass smog and what it all entails. I have a 1978 J20 and was hoping to do the 5.3/4L65e/NP241 combo but then I started thinking about the smog requirements since it is still technically a 1978, not 1975 and below like my other vehicles. I watched 1 yutube guy explain that he has to pull all the smog equipment off of the donor truck and reinstall it so that everything down to the air intake looked OEM... Had to have a visible check engine light, etc, etc.. Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can share. I would hate to spend all that money only to find out it will never pass here in this state.

- A.J.
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Old 10-02-2022, 10:08 AM
MysticRob MysticRob is online now
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I know it's possible to do, but many CA'ians end up keeping the stock 360 and just putting a Howell 50-state legal TBI kit on it. The best part is you still get to rip all the smog crap out of the engine compartment, which really cleans things up.
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My build thread:
https://ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=189245
My Howell TBI Install How-To:
https://ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=189877
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Old 10-03-2022, 08:04 PM
RuidosoKid RuidosoKid is offline
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Join Date: May 30, 2016
Location: SoCal
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Yea, it's possible. I need to get a list of all the smog items that came on the 2003 Silverado and try some of the few Pick-a-parts that are left. Another thing they are trying to get rid of is all the parts yards... It's funny because they push clean air so hard, yet we have thousands of diesels running around smoking like crazy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticRob
I know it's possible to do, but many CA'ians end up keeping the stock 360 and just putting a Howell 50-state legal TBI kit on it. The best part is you still get to rip all the smog crap out of the engine compartment, which really cleans things up.
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  #4  
Old 10-04-2022, 01:02 PM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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Join Date: Oct 31, 2016
Location: Camarillo, CA/Boise, ID
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I had an 89 Ranger with a 90 5.0HO from a mustang and AOD in it. It was all legit, legal, and worked.

Some high level requirements to get you in the ball park.
1) the engine you are installing must be the same model year or newer. So you cannot install a 1985 engine in a 1995 vehicle. This is not an issue to your question since you are looking to install an LS in a 78.
2) the engine must meet ALLLLLLL smog requirements for the year it is from. So if your 5.3L is from a 2004 Yukon, it must match the smog configuration for a 2004 Yukon. This means, if the 2004 Yukon had EGR, EVAP, and cam phasing, that must all be there and working when you go to the smog Ref.
3) Everything on your 5.3L MUST meet CARB rules. So, if you have MSD Coils on your engine, you better have an MSD CARB exemption sticker on your truck. This gets sticky becuase the engine control pack has to meet CARB. On my Ranger I just used a factory 5.0 computer and the smog ref was happy. You MUST be OBD2 and the check engine light and OBD2 port MUST work.
4) Your 5.3L cats must match the configuration of the vehicle they came with. So if the Yukon you got the had 2 pre-cats (Upstream) and two post-cats, (down-stream), you must have 4 cats on your truck.
5) Once you have it running/driving, you need to get it Ref'ed. This is where they check EVERYTHING. My Ranger took 3 trips to get through but none of what they caught on mine was a big deal on the first 2 trips (it passed on the third trip). Once you pass the ref, you get a sticker in your door jam and the truck smogs at any smog check station for the rest of it's life. The smog tech smogs it like they would the 2004 Yukon.
6) generally speaking, Ref's do not care 2WD or 4WD or what transmission.

Advice:
A) KEEP IT STOCK until you get through the ref. No headers, nothing aftermarket (even if it has a CARB sticker), nothing shiny or custom until you get your ref sticker. THEY FIND stuff. Don't think if you paint a set of headers black or an aftermarket throttle body grey, that they will miss it. They won't and they will send you packing.
B) If you stick to the big items in this list and expect to make a trip or 3 to the ref, getting your sticker is not a big deal. Just EXPECT to make a few trips and keep some cash on the side for parts to meet the ref's requirements. For example, maybe the Yukon you bought had a vented gas cap and your 78 does not. You want to have some money left to fix what they find rather than get POed/frustrated and just give up.
C) Find your ref NOW and contact them before you start and talk to them. Maybe even drive over there in your truck and talk to them. Don't come at them like a guy trying to sneak a cam'ed turbo/alcohol/catless/EGR'less demon pass them, come at them like a guy with a cool truck that wants it to be much more efficient and reliable. Establish a relationship with them so you can ask them questions as you go.
D) When you are done (you have your Ref sticker), it will be MUCCCCH easier to smog. It will be like smogging your daily driver vs an engine with discontinued smog parts, missing/cracked vacuum lines, manual timing curves, etc.
E) It is not cheap. Cats alone are going to be a grand or two. Then a full custom exhaust after that. It will be a HUGE cost savings if you can buy a wrecked vehicle and swap parts vs. buying a take out or a getting it all piecemeal. As you know, you cannot buy or sell used cats in CA so if you can get a used Yukon/Tahoe or whatever, swap everything over (including the cats), get it through the ref, THEN pull the engine back out for your rebuild, cam, headwork, etc. you will be glad you did it that way. I see Yokons/Tahoes/Burbs show up on craigslist for $2500 all the time. Just get one with 190k miles that runs and drives (and hopefully a smog cert) and use that. You can part the rest out and get some money back too.
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  #5  
Old 10-04-2022, 08:50 PM
RuidosoKid RuidosoKid is offline
232 I6
 
Join Date: May 30, 2016
Location: SoCal
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Wow, Rang-a-stang.... That was the most proficient and lucid explanation I have seen yet. Hopefully others will read this with the same aspirations I have and decide it is the better way to go now that they have a guide to follow. I already have an engine, but I see the problem is I have no idea where it came from. An old friend who passed away recently gave it to me without any history soooo I guess I will give that one away and do as you stated and get a Silverado or something that has the vin intact as well as the engine, smog equip, etc... great plan.. Thanks again..
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Old 10-08-2022, 02:57 PM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
Join Date: May 29, 2003
Location: Medford MA USA
Posts: 11,674
Quote:
Originally Posted by rang-a-stang
I had an 89 Ranger with a 90 5.0HO from a mustang and AOD in it. It was all legit, legal, and worked.

Some high level requirements to get you in the ball park. ...
No like button here, but it deserves recognition. Both interesting and informative.
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