WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

XR4Ti cars and parts - Please state your asking price and item location. Preface wanted ads with "WTB" in the subject.

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WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by JayC » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:00 am

To all,

New member from S. California (the Mighty Inland Empire) and looking to buy my first XR. I've been trolling Craigslist (Search Tempest is the bomb) for last several weeks and not finding one that ticks the boxes.

I'm hoping to find a 5-speed with air conditioning (yeah, that might be asking too much...) that runs/drives for use as a daily-driver (and to fix-up as time/budget permits). Not looking for a heavy restoration project (or a museum quality example) right now.

Thanks in advance

Jay

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by john keefe » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:45 pm

You should be able to find something in this section.

I sometimes see one on Craigslist up here near San Jose. But, there's a guy, or a couple guys who seem to always have ones for sale in the Lake Tahoe area. Don't know if that's too far out of your way, but you might try expanding your Craigslist search for all of CA., if you want something more "local."

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by dunhamr1 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:50 pm

I swear there was one that popped up on Craigslist in socal recently. If you're on the Facebook MCA group, Ed Lijewski posts up what he finds a lot. There's a nice one in Tucson as well, not *too* far away if you're really serious...
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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by john keefe » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:19 pm

One thing about the Sac. & Lake Tahoe area XRs... usually its the same guy(s), and the cars are almost all intact, but not running, or have been registered non-Op for a while. They're usually sold as "For Parts Only." From the descriptions, it looks like the cars will run well.

Caveat... CA changed the selling/smog requirements a couple years ago. Used to be 90 days: it was up to the Seller to smog it within 60 days of the sale, or the Buyer within 30 days after the sale. Now its strictly 60 days in advance of selling, and the responsibility on the Seller. A Seller can't pass the testing it off to even a willing Buyer.

You could get around that by some arrangement with the Seller, where you'll reimburse him for the cost if it passes, prior to sale. Maybe give him a post-dated check. If it passes, you ask to knock the cost of the test off the price?

CA's idea is that a Seller who doesn't/can't put the effort into smogging it, will be more likely to sell it to Pick-N-Pull, donate it (still gets scrapped), part it out, etc., just generally get it off the road for good.

So, if you buy a "Parts" car, you'll have to first get the title for a non-Op, pay any back-due fees, get the title in-hand, and then reapply to DMV to get a temporary permit to allow you to drive it to a test station. Or, you could have it towed to a smog ref, pass a visual and dyno test, then tow it back and revisit the DMV to change the registration.

Problem is, for an older, non-Op "parts" car, most smog shops are loath to test it because they'll have to do a thorough examination and cross-referencing to make sure all original smog parts are on the car. Too many "sting" operations by CARB, and too many penalties, so now everyone is gun-shy about even hooking up the computer before putting such a car on the dyno. Once its hooked up to the computer, then CARB is alerted, and the shop is on the hook. I'll wager 90% of the shops you take it to will tell you they won't touch it, and that you have to take it to a smog ref.

Which is not bad, so long as you've got everything back to stock. So, unless its got a Rapido IC with a CARB-exempt #, or its an earlier XR with a later SVO or TC intercooler and PCM, and you can prove to the Ref those were factory-offered parts, then forget about any performance stuff from the CAT forward.

Actually, same holds true for an out-of-state XR. I think all of them came as 50-State Legal, so you have good odds of getting approved provided you again have all original, or OEM approved replacement parts. BTW, a good smog shop will look under the car at the CAT to see if it has the CARB stamp/boss on it, especially it if comes up as never registered in CA before.

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by JayC » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:03 pm

Thanks-much for the feedback (especially the heads-up on the updated CA smog requirements).

I'll need to study-up on the factory smog equipment (and cost of replacing said equipment) before diving into an out 'o state car. I had one heck of a time getting my '85 BMW e24 to pass smog this year and having access to troubleshooting info (the e28 crowd is very supportive) and affordable parts saved it from being put out to pasture.
dunhamr1 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:50 pm
I swear there was one that popped up on Craigslist in socal recently. If you're on the Facebook MCA group, Ed Lijewski posts up what he finds a lot. There's a nice one in Tucson as well, not *too* far away if you're really serious...
I've joined a couple of the merkur/Ford 2.3 FB groups and will keep an eye on them as well as my daily 1K mile radius search on Search Tempest!

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by thesameguy » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:53 pm

john keefe wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:19 pm
So, if you buy a "Parts" car, you'll have to first get the title for a non-Op, pay any back-due fees, get the title in-hand, and then reapply to DMV to get a temporary permit to allow you to drive it to a test station. Or, you could have it towed to a smog ref, pass a visual and dyno test, then tow it back and revisit the DMV to change the registration.

Problem is, for an older, non-Op "parts" car, most smog shops are loath to test it because they'll have to do a thorough examination and cross-referencing to make sure all original smog parts are on the car. Too many "sting" operations by CARB, and too many penalties, so now everyone is gun-shy about even hooking up the computer before putting such a car on the dyno. Once its hooked up to the computer, then CARB is alerted, and the shop is on the hook. I'll wager 90% of the shops you take it to will tell you they won't touch it, and that you have to take it to a smog ref.

Which is not bad, so long as you've got everything back to stock. So, unless its got a Rapido IC with a CARB-exempt #, or its an earlier XR with a later SVO or TC intercooler and PCM, and you can prove to the Ref those were factory-offered parts, then forget about any performance stuff from the CAT forward.
Eh... it's not even remotely that bad. I have bought literally dozens of cars in the last ten years without valid smog certificates. There are three in my driveway right now - an '01 9-3, an '02 9-3, and an '88 XR4Ti.

The law requires the seller the provide a valid certificate to protect the buyer. If the average person ends up with a car that can't be smogged they could have a real problem - inability to use the car. By requiring the paperwork exist in advance, buyers are protected. You can still buy a car without a valid smog - the risk is to the SELLER because if you decide you don't want it anymore, you can go back to him and require he smog it or take it back. Again, the law protects the buyer. For cheap or oddball cars where you want the car no matter what and are willing to take on all risk, your sole option is a "gentleman's agreement" where the seller agrees to sell, and you agree to never come back. The law is still on your side, your agreement can't override the law... you just agree with each other and make a promise.

The law requires that the DMV be notified of a sale within 10 days. Failure to do so results in penalties and fees. The seller is required to send in a release of liability, and you are required to register the car within that 10 days. Unfortunately they won't issue a title without a valid smog, so your car ends up in limbo. Registered to you, but still titled to the previous owner, but your liability. A car can essentially exist that way forever but it becomes problematic keeping registration current.

Most people don't know the laws, so most sellers will happily sell you a crap car without a smog and assume their part is done, not realizing you can come back at them for a smog AT ANY TIME. Assuming you're not an a$$h0l3 and you wouldn't do that to someone, my personal advice is to hold the registration paperwork until you have the smog. The penalties for failing to notify the DMV are tiny, not worth worrying about. I've held that paperwork for *months* without a tangible penalty. Often, just telling the DMV employee that the car didn't run is enough to have them waive the fees. That '01 9-3 I purchased is still in my driveway waiting for a new transmission. It'll have been about 50 days since purchase before I register it. It won't be an issue.

The sticky wicket is this: If the registration is expired or expires while you're working on it, you have no way to legally move the car around. The DMV no longer issues extended temporary operating permits like they used to, they only issue "day passes" and IIRC they charge for them. This can suck, since you have no legal way to test your work, or set OBDII monitors, or anything else. You gotta fix the car, get a day pass, (hopefully) get the smog, and then register it. If it fails, you do it all over again. It's a hassle for sure.

Smog shops are OBLIGATED to test your car. They cannot legally turn you away provided it's the right type of shop. Some are only outfitted for e-tests (MY2000+) but assuming that's not the case they MUST test your car if you present it. They don't know the history or how long it's been sitting - each test is performed the same for each and every car... the same tests, the same visual inspection, etc. You get exactly the same time and effort as the guy before and the guy after you. In fact, even if the car is going to fail due to something wrong, they still run the ENTIRE test battery. They must test it. Some shops may give you grief (I've never personally experienced that, but I've heard it) - my advice is to go somewhere else AND report them to the BAR. They should not do that. I actually know a couple good shops (and a couple bad ones) in Rancho - my MIL has my E320 (purchased without a smog, BTW) and I test it for her every other year. Hey, that E320 is getting replaced this Christmas with the '01 9-3 I just mentioned. Good times.

Pre OBDII cars (1995 and earlier) have a lot of built-in exemptions. The entire intake system is exempt (from air filter to cylinder head) as long as all original emissions provisions are present. You can run a K&N, any intercooler you like, whatever manifold you want, etc. as long as the EGR is present. Don't worry about that. The exhaust side of the equation is still scrutinized - you can't mess with the cat (or its placement), the manifold, the O2 sensor, etc. Internal engine components (valve train, pistons, etc.) are also inspected, though obviously they really have no way of knowing if you're running a non-stock cam or a ported exhaust manifold. They are not allowed to take anything apart - it's all visual.

IMHO, the risk to you in buying a "parts car" is just going to be the hassle. If you aren't familiar with the cars and/or don't have one to compare against putting everything back together could be very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. A running, driving car with a smog cert means at least you know everything worked *once* and that's not a bad place to be. Even sans cert, but otherwise running and driving isn't all bad because at least the major stuff works. '80s cars are very simple, with relatively few parts so putting the smog equipment back (which on an XR is essentially limited to the cat, O2 sensor and the EGR system) is hardly bad. My advice would be that *regardless* of what car you find, be sure you've got an extra grand in the bank to fix stuff. Stuff will need to be fixed. For sure. :)

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by Esteban » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:15 pm

There is a black one in Temecula. Let me see if it's still available though.

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by JayC » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:55 am

Thanks for the heads-up! I've got a couple leads that I need to follow-up on and am still looking.
Esteban wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:15 pm
There is a black one in Temecula. Let me see if it's still available though.

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by john keefe » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:08 pm

thesameguy wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:53 pm


Eh... it's not even remotely that bad. I have bought literally dozens of cars in the last ten years without valid smog certificates. There are three in my driveway right now - an '01 9-3, an '02 9-3, and an '88 XR4Ti.

The law requires the seller the provide a valid certificate to protect the buyer. If the average person ends up with a car that can't be smogged they could have a real problem - inability to use the car. By requiring the paperwork exist in advance, buyers are protected. You can still buy a car without a valid smog - the risk is to the SELLER because if you decide you don't want it anymore, you can go back to him and require he smog it or take it back. Again, the law protects the buyer. For cheap or oddball cars where you want the car no matter what and are willing to take on all risk, your sole option is a "gentleman's agreement" where the seller agrees to sell, and you agree to never come back. The law is still on your side, your agreement can't override the law... you just agree with each other and make a promise.

The law requires that the DMV be notified of a sale within 10 days. Failure to do so results in penalties and fees. The seller is required to send in a release of liability, and you are required to register the car within that 10 days. Unfortunately they won't issue a title without a valid smog, so your car ends up in limbo. Registered to you, but still titled to the previous owner, but your liability. A car can essentially exist that way forever but it becomes problematic keeping registration current.

Most people don't know the laws, so most sellers will happily sell you a crap car without a smog and assume their part is done, not realizing you can come back at them for a smog AT ANY TIME. Assuming you're not an a$$h0l3 and you wouldn't do that to someone, my personal advice is to hold the registration paperwork until you have the smog. The penalties for failing to notify the DMV are tiny, not worth worrying about. I've held that paperwork for *months* without a tangible penalty. Often, just telling the DMV employee that the car didn't run is enough to have them waive the fees. That '01 9-3 I purchased is still in my driveway waiting for a new transmission. It'll have been about 50 days since purchase before I register it. It won't be an issue.

The sticky wicket is this: If the registration is expired or expires while you're working on it, you have no way to legally move the car around. The DMV no longer issues extended temporary operating permits like they used to, they only issue "day passes" and IIRC they charge for them. This can suck, since you have no legal way to test your work, or set OBDII monitors, or anything else. You gotta fix the car, get a day pass, (hopefully) get the smog, and then register it. If it fails, you do it all over again. It's a hassle for sure.

Smog shops are OBLIGATED to test your car. They cannot legally turn you away provided it's the right type of shop. Some are only outfitted for e-tests (MY2000+) but assuming that's not the case they MUST test your car if you present it. They don't know the history or how long it's been sitting - each test is performed the same for each and every car... the same tests, the same visual inspection, etc. You get exactly the same time and effort as the guy before and the guy after you. In fact, even if the car is going to fail due to something wrong, they still run the ENTIRE test battery. They must test it. Some shops may give you grief (I've never personally experienced that, but I've heard it) - my advice is to go somewhere else AND report them to the BAR. They should not do that. I actually know a couple good shops (and a couple bad ones) in Rancho - my MIL has my E320 (purchased without a smog, BTW) and I test it for her every other year. Hey, that E320 is getting replaced this Christmas with the '01 9-3 I just mentioned. Good times.

Pre OBDII cars (1995 and earlier) have a lot of built-in exemptions. The entire intake system is exempt (from air filter to cylinder head) as long as all original emissions provisions are present. You can run a K&N, any intercooler you like, whatever manifold you want, etc. as long as the EGR is present. Don't worry about that. The exhaust side of the equation is still scrutinized - you can't mess with the cat (or its placement), the manifold, the O2 sensor, etc. Internal engine components (valve train, pistons, etc.) are also inspected, though obviously they really have no way of knowing if you're running a non-stock cam or a ported exhaust manifold. They are not allowed to take anything apart - it's all visual.

IMHO, the risk to you in buying a "parts car" is just going to be the hassle. If you aren't familiar with the cars and/or don't have one to compare against putting everything back together could be very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. A running, driving car with a smog cert means at least you know everything worked *once* and that's not a bad place to be. Even sans cert, but otherwise running and driving isn't all bad because at least the major stuff works. '80s cars are very simple, with relatively few parts so putting the smog equipment back (which on an XR is essentially limited to the cat, O2 sensor and the EGR system) is hardly bad. My advice would be that *regardless* of what car you find, be sure you've got an extra grand in the bank to fix stuff. Stuff will need to be fixed. For sure. :)

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by john keefe » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:21 pm

thesameguy wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:53 pm


Eh... it's not even remotely that bad. I have bought literally dozens of cars in the last ten years without valid smog certificates. There are three in my driveway right now - an '01 9-3, an '02 9-3, and an '88 XR4Ti.

The law requires the seller the provide a valid certificate to protect the buyer. If the average person ends up with a car that can't be smogged they could have a real problem - inability to use the car. By requiring the paperwork exist in advance, buyers are protected. You can still buy a car without a valid smog - the risk is to the SELLER because if you decide you don't want it anymore, you can go back to him and require he smog it or take it back. Again, the law protects the buyer. For cheap or oddball cars where you want the car no matter what and are willing to take on all risk, your sole option is a "gentleman's agreement" where the seller agrees to sell, and you agree to never come back. The law is still on your side, your agreement can't override the law... you just agree with each other and make a promise.

The law requires that the DMV be notified of a sale within 10 days. Failure to do so results in penalties and fees. The seller is required to send in a release of liability, and you are required to register the car within that 10 days. Unfortunately they won't issue a title without a valid smog, so your car ends up in limbo. Registered to you, but still titled to the previous owner, but your liability. A car can essentially exist that way forever but it becomes problematic keeping registration current.

Most people don't know the laws, so most sellers will happily sell you a crap car without a smog and assume their part is done, not realizing you can come back at them for a smog AT ANY TIME. Assuming you're not an a$$h0l3 and you wouldn't do that to someone, my personal advice is to hold the registration paperwork until you have the smog. The penalties for failing to notify the DMV are tiny, not worth worrying about. I've held that paperwork for *months* without a tangible penalty. Often, just telling the DMV employee that the car didn't run is enough to have them waive the fees. That '01 9-3 I purchased is still in my driveway waiting for a new transmission. It'll have been about 50 days since purchase before I register it. It won't be an issue.

The sticky wicket is this: If the registration is expired or expires while you're working on it, you have no way to legally move the car around. The DMV no longer issues extended temporary operating permits like they used to, they only issue "day passes" and IIRC they charge for them. This can suck, since you have no legal way to test your work, or set OBDII monitors, or anything else. You gotta fix the car, get a day pass, (hopefully) get the smog, and then register it. If it fails, you do it all over again. It's a hassle for sure.

Smog shops are OBLIGATED to test your car. They cannot legally turn you away provided it's the right type of shop. Some are only outfitted for e-tests (MY2000+) but assuming that's not the case they MUST test your car if you present it. They don't know the history or how long it's been sitting - each test is performed the same for each and every car... the same tests, the same visual inspection, etc. You get exactly the same time and effort as the guy before and the guy after you. In fact, even if the car is going to fail due to something wrong, they still run the ENTIRE test battery. They must test it. Some shops may give you grief (I've never personally experienced that, but I've heard it) - my advice is to go somewhere else AND report them to the BAR. They should not do that. I actually know a couple good shops (and a couple bad ones) in Rancho - my MIL has my E320 (purchased without a smog, BTW) and I test it for her every other year. Hey, that E320 is getting replaced this Christmas with the '01 9-3 I just mentioned. Good times.

Pre OBDII cars (1995 and earlier) have a lot of built-in exemptions. The entire intake system is exempt (from air filter to cylinder head) as long as all original emissions provisions are present. You can run a K&N, any intercooler you like, whatever manifold you want, etc. as long as the EGR is present. Don't worry about that. The exhaust side of the equation is still scrutinized - you can't mess with the cat (or its placement), the manifold, the O2 sensor, etc. Internal engine components (valve train, pistons, etc.) are also inspected, though obviously they really have no way of knowing if you're running a non-stock cam or a ported exhaust manifold. They are not allowed to take anything apart - it's all visual.

IMHO, the risk to you in buying a "parts car" is just going to be the hassle. If you aren't familiar with the cars and/or don't have one to compare against putting everything back together could be very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. A running, driving car with a smog cert means at least you know everything worked *once* and that's not a bad place to be. Even sans cert, but otherwise running and driving isn't all bad because at least the major stuff works. '80s cars are very simple, with relatively few parts so putting the smog equipment back (which on an XR is essentially limited to the cat, O2 sensor and the EGR system) is hardly bad. My advice would be that *regardless* of what car you find, be sure you've got an extra grand in the bank to fix stuff. Stuff will need to be fixed. For sure. :)
All well and true... except from my own experience here in the Bay Area. Perhaps its just the wacko mind bent up here, but things are very, very strict in the last two years, and shops will look for any reason they think to be legitimate to not test a vehicle. And trust me, threatening to contact the BAR if they won't test it doesn't work. They're more worried about being flagged for infractions, or BAR stings. If the tech thinks there's something which is not 100% the way it should be, BAR will back them, not the consumer. As well, most are just too damn lazy to look up the CARB exemption and note it in the test.

One of several examples... My 5.0L is from a 1990, pre-OBDII. I have a custom, aluminum filter housing for a K&N conical filter. The smog ref would not allow it. Yes, pre-OBDII. Fortunately, before bringing it in, somebody advised me that this would be a problem, and I had a complete stock Mustang air-filter setup, which the ref allowed me to swap out before the first test. Of the many shops which have since then refused to smog this car, all of them site the intake and the CARB OE exempt tubular exhaust w/ the exemption # stamped right on it, plainly visible, as reason for refusing to test. The one shop owned by a former Ford SAE certified mechanic who will and has done my smogs since, also would not do the test unless I swapped out the air filter combo.

He's also told me that unless I can find a cross-reference to any 5.0L of the same or later pre-OBDII year, he could not test it the next time if I've put back on the GT40 intake. That's probably because, although smog legal, those only came on 5.8L motors (Saleen, etc.). So, for the next smog, I'll have to swap that out too for a stock intake. PITA, but that's the reality up here. Yes, I know that an extrude-honed Cobra intake supposedly flows better at higher RPMs, but that's not what I want on the car.

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by thesameguy » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:19 pm

The economies in the bay area are certainly different and I understand why a shop wouldn't want to "waste time" checking out a questionable vehicle when they could work on easier cars, but they are still obligated to test. I wouldn't bother wasting time arguing with them - the last thing you want is an angry smog tech working on your car, but you *should* report them to the BAR. Don't threaten, just report. Don't let them continue to do business not knowing the law. They could really do someone else some damage.

I keep a copy of Appendix G in any car where I've done visually suspicious but totally legal mods - my FMIC'd XR4Ti or SPG for example - and before I hand the keys over to the shop I pull it out of the glove box and show them the Appendix and we look at the "no EO needed" chart and agree K&Ns and intercoolers and intake manifold changes are all explicitly legal. If they don't agree, I scoot and call the BAR. I haven't needed to do that in *years* as I have a shop that knows me and knows my cars... every year the tech writes notes on my smog report and I show it to the next guy next time. Works great.

FWIW, I had this exact conversation with a few Fiero owners in the Bay Area - a couple with engine swaps but a couple stock cars - and they reported exactly the same thing... One of them got failed for having a "Holley throttle body" on his car... Holley made the FACTORY throttle bodies! Idjits. Maybe the area is busy enough that enforcement can't keep up with dumb shops, but I think in all cases these guys found Gold Shield shops and had no further issues. So, that'd be my recommendation. Those guys do not mess around and stick to the letter of the law. If they get complaints, they lose their status so they won't jerk you around. They also tend to be better educated as they are closely monitored and, I think, have access to better resources. My shop up here became a Gold Shield shop after I started using them - they were the best in the area to start, and now they've gotten recognition (and perks) for it. :)

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by eaton53 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:40 pm

I have no doubt my car would pass any test, but I'm still glad I don't have to go though any of this.
Mark Copeland - I'm 50 miles west of Kewanee, IL

'89 XR4Ti
Car was the 2014 MCA Merkur Preservation Award Winner
I'm just the latest caretaker and I'm keepin' it REAL shiny!! 8)

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by john keefe » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:09 pm

Ah... didn't know about Appendix G and Gold Shield shops. Great advice. I'll have to get ahold of a copy. Might make a difference with the 5.0L swap, but I've found a good guy to do them now, and they'll get all my business. Have at any time, including work trucks, about 6 registered vehicles. Stupid thing was that one shop where I've been getting all my smogs as a loyal customer, was the first one I went to and got rejected. New tech I hadn't seen before. I called BS on him, and told him to look up my profile in shop computer, and look at all the business they were getting from me. He couldn't care less. So, after finding a good shop, I went back and told the owner of the first that I wasn't taking any cars back there, and I'd be telling everyone I knew about it. That's all you can do.

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by thesameguy » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:04 am

Check the second page:

https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/APPENDIX%20G ... 2-2009.pdf

Air cleaner, intake manifold, and intercooler are all explicitly excluded from EO verification. Easy peasy.

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Re: WTB: XR4Ti in/around SoCal

Post by john keefe » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:43 pm

thesameguy wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:04 am
Check the second page:

https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/APPENDIX%20G ... 2-2009.pdf

Air cleaner, intake manifold, and intercooler are all explicitly excluded from EO verification. Easy peasy.
Great! Thanks. Pisses me off that I've had to swap air cleaners, but nice to know I can leave the GT40 intake on. Now, if I ever get time to build that 347 stroker...

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