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Shocker: California to Start Checking for ECU Tunes During Smog.

zucchinies

Go Kart Newbie
Location
San Diego
Car(s)
2020 A3
Money? Do you seriously think this is about money?
How many tuners are there right now that are active across all brands.. 100? 1000? They are the ones paying the fees, not residents. We already have smog checks, so there isn't any additional income there. CA won't get any additional income from this, except maybe a fraction from sales tax.

Without going political, CA will get abandoned just like the "drop safe" handgun list. My guess is they'll do the same as the drop safe handgun list. Initial compliance check to certifiy and then a relitively low yearly retention fee. So APR will be good for this engine type, as soon as there is a new engine/ECU code, they'll have to recertify for the new engine and pay a yearly for that one as well. Cobb already stopped selling to CA residents, I'd assume they heard something from the grapevine.
Those fees will definitely get passed to us consumers. To me this adds another layer of bureaucracy in which CARB gets paid by vendors to get certified, and the vendors pass the cost along to consumers. I am all for curbing pollution especially since I grew up in the late 90's early 2000's where I couldn't even do PE because the smog was so bad and there was a warning out. I haven't seen that happen in a long time and am grateful. I just don't get why a tune which could still pass emissions is an automatic failure.
 

StorableComa

Autocross Champion
Location
Long Beach, USA
Car(s)
17 GSW S
Those fees will definitely get passed to us consumers. To me this adds another layer of bureaucracy in which CARB gets paid by vendors to get certified, and the vendors pass the cost along to consumers. I am all for curbing pollution especially since I grew up in the late 90's early 2000's where I couldn't even do PE because the smog was so bad and there was a warning out. I haven't seen that happen in a long time and am grateful. I just don't get why a tune which could still pass emissions is an automatic failure.
It's more than likely them coming to the understanding that a tune can hide emission lights and determining that's bad. I'd be really surprised if they had a real understanding of what most tunes do. They probably looked at a few key points and drew some large lines and generically applied it to -everything- tune related across all vehicles.

That dude rolling coal with his tune? That guy in his 4cyl DI gas 4runner can do the same if we don't stop it, kinda BS where they assume they understand the situation but don't. Or they somewhat do, but decide to use that understanding to create blanket legislation that just screws everyone regardless because it's easier.
 

StorableComa

Autocross Champion
Location
Long Beach, USA
Car(s)
17 GSW S
I suppose this means we'll see more engine swaps again rather than squeezing the most out of engines - unless evereyone switches over to supercars in the rich areas like the 90s again. Even though CA still has ridiculous laws on swaps, you can still make good power and be legal with swaps.

E36 M3 with a S54 swap(E46 motor), or First Gen Miata with a LS3 crate are the most interesting legal CA swaps I've recently seen. LS3 Crates have gone through CARB and can be swapped into any chassis '95 and older with proper cat and emissions equipment, but they start around $9K-10K 🤷‍♂️ ..
 

nosmirk

Go Kart Newbie
Location
SoCal SGV
Car(s)
19 GT DSG, Cat7?
Those fees will definitely get passed to us consumers. To me this adds another layer of bureaucracy in which CARB gets paid by vendors to get certified, and the vendors pass the cost along to consumers. I am all for curbing pollution especially since I grew up in the late 90's early 2000's where I couldn't even do PE because the smog was so bad and there was a warning out. I haven't seen that happen in a long time and am grateful. I just don't get why a tune which could still pass emissions is an automatic failure.
See what StorableComa said, hit it right on the money. We got rid of rollers because ECUs are good enough to not need them. Some tunes circumvent this, and that's really what's caused this. When you can roll up spitting flames and still pass smog, they'll take notice. Same with the exhaust noise level laws from last year. Same with 'ghost guns' and off-roster ar-15 receivers. Someone finds a loophole, every exploits it and that comes to the attention of gov.
At the very least, we don't have to deal with a congested freeway full of leaded gas fumes anymore.
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
If things like this bother you, make sure to contact your elected officials or vote for those who mirror your views on your lifestyle. Other states are looking to follow suite and implement similar tests.
It would be a waste of time there's no way California is going to go backwards on emissions. No company can come close to affording to get tunes approved.
 

Sparky589

Go Kart Champion
It would be a waste of time there's no way California is going to go backwards on emissions. No company can come close to affording to get tunes approved.
Flyin' Miata, APR, Dinan, and Weistec all off the top of my head offer CARB legal stage 1 tunes across a variety of makes and models. Though really what I feel this will accelerate is demand for Cobb style access ports and (hopefully) do away with the outdated dealer centric model of tuning (looking at you APR). If people are able to flash back to stock in 20 minutes from the comfort of their garage before putzing down to the shop this really isn't much of an issue.
 

loopless

New member
Location
San Diego
I've also lived in So Cal (mostly in the San Fernando Valley) all my life. I remember back in the 80's...we'd have something called a "Smog Alert". Those are the days where there would be an orange haze around the city. We still have our bad days...but not nearly as bad as it was back then. I also have asthma...the cleaner the air...the better off I am.

My GTI is modded...but I think flashing my car back to stock every couple years isn't that much work. I don't have to smog till 2025. New CA cars do not have to smog for 8 years...so you got plenty of time to mod your car before you got to smog.

There are also parts of CA that do not require a smog check.

Also...how is the smog station going to check for a tune? The VW dealer can't even do that. The ECU data has to be sent to Germany to see if its been flashed. Is VW going to give the state the ability to check if the ECU has been flashed? That's how VW checks if the ECU has been modified.
I suspect they can just do a checksum comparison. Perhaps VW has to supply checksums to be looked up by VIN.
APR stage 1 tunes are CARB approved, but it sounds like you have to appeal after being denied to prove it.
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
Flyin' Miata, APR, Dinan, and Weistec all off the top of my head offer CARB legal stage 1 tunes across a variety of makes and models. Though really what I feel this will accelerate is demand for Cobb style access ports and (hopefully) do away with the outdated dealer centric model of tuning (looking at you APR). If people are able to flash back to stock in 20 minutes from the comfort of their garage before putzing down to the shop this really isn't much of an issue.
Unfortunately Cobb isn't going to spend the money necessary for that to happen with limited years left before electric cars take over.
 

Sparky589

Go Kart Champion
Unfortunately Cobb isn't going to spend the money necessary for that to happen with limited years left before electric cars take over.
But this is also acting like Cobb is the only game in town. APR, Eurodyne, HP Tuners, and Unitronic all offer bespoke flashing tools for use at home. And with the ICE ban still floating all the way out in 2035, it's not like these companies are going to abandon the market, especially considering we have another good ~8 years out of the Mk8 platform at the very least. Tuning was a huge scene for the Mk7, and I don't really see it slowing down with the Mk8 either.

And besides, if the Model 3/Y powertrain is anything to go by, there will still be people out there tuning and providing results for EV drivetrains as well.
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
But this is also acting like Cobb is the only game in town. APR, Eurodyne, HP Tuners, and Unitronic all offer bespoke flashing tools for use at home. And with the ICE ban still floating all the way out in 2035, it's not like these companies are going to abandon the market, especially considering we have another good ~8 years out of the Mk8 platform at the very least. Tuning was a huge scene for the Mk7, and I don't really see it slowing down with the Mk8 either.

And besides, if the Model 3/Y powertrain is anything to go by, there will still be people out there tuning and providing results for EV drivetrains as well.
Good luck getting any of those companies to spend the money for CARB approval. If they were going to do that it would have happened years ago not when the days are numbered. And isn't the 2035 date the one that California stated?
 

anotero

Autocross Champion
Location
Hither and thither
Car(s)
Mk7 GTI
It would be a waste of time there's no way California is going to go backwards on emissions. No company can come close to affording to get tunes approved.
And elected officials don't care to listen. They usually go into politics not to serve.
 

aaronc7

Autocross Champion
Location
Clovis, NM

Chogokin

Autocross Champion
Location
So Cal
Car(s)
GTI Sport | Audi A3
I suspect they can just do a checksum comparison. Perhaps VW has to supply checksums to be looked up by VIN.
APR stage 1 tunes are CARB approved, but it sounds like you have to appeal after being denied to prove it.
If a part has CARB approval...it should come with a sticker with the EO number on it. I have a Neuspeed intercooler and it came with a CARB sticker. All their CARB approved parts have an sticker with the EO number.

APR looks to have parts that are CARB approved. If you buy the part new...it should come with paperwork saying that it is.

Germany needs to have "TUV" approval for all aftermarket parts you put on your car. I mean every part. If you have a trivial part like a lip spoiler...you need to have the TUV paperwork in the car. If a cop pulls you over and you don't have the TUV papers...you're in trouble. I remember getting body kit pieces from Germany...they all came with TUV papers. Abt, Oettinger, Rieger, all came with papers. If the US ever does something like that...people would really flip their lids. The Commie criers would really lose their minds.
 

2slowvw

Moderator
Location
VA
Car(s)
2016 GTI
And elected officials don't care to listen. They usually go into politics not to serve.
Im more or less saying vote for officials who dont have it on their agenda to pass these types of laws. Once they are already in office and its passed its a lost cause, but certain types of candidates generally dont push these carb mandates and other types do.
 
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