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Can I Convert to Euro-spec and Keep Emissions Controls?

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silverlight7 Charles Morris Jr
Louisa, VA, USA   USA
Hi everyone,

Finally started replacing the carb and exhaust on my stock 1979 Spitfire with dual HS4's and the Bell header/exhaust, but I just found out that in Virginia, any vehicle after 1973 is supposed to have it's original emissions equipment.

From what I've heard, state inspectors will check under the hood for all the emissions crap.

I just learned about this, and I'm very disappointed. The whole reason I bought a Spitfire was to upgrade it to at least Euro-spec and drive the Spitfire the way it was meant to be.

Is there any way to keep the emissions controls when you switch to Euro-spec? Or do I need to put the stock manifolds and carbs back on and just settle with a measly 50 HP?

Anyone else from Virginia with similar experience? I didn't know the emissions regulations were that strict here.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-03-14 04:02 PM by silverlight7.

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clshore Carter Shore
Beverly Hills, FL, USA   USA
The 'Euro-spec' is far more than the manifolds.
Camshaft, carbs, compression ratio, distributor advance, etc.

That said, if the inspection is 'visual', then you have some wiggle room.

The outside may look stock, but it's what's inside that counts.

Fit the 'good' cam.
Mill the head to raise the CR, and if you have dished pistons, fit flat tops.
Reset the centrifugal advance, disconnect the vac retard. Or fit a 123 dizzy body, with dummy vac retard hung on the side.

The US catalytic converter can be 'hollowed out'.
The single ZS carb could be upgraded from CD150 to CD175.
The stock intake manifold has 1" ID runners, but the earlier 1296 motors with single ZS carb has 1-1/4" ID runners.
Low restriction exhaust pipes and muffler.

No reason you should not get close to stock Euro power.

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GriffinNC Dennis D
Greenville, SC, USA   USA
I would check with DMV. I thought anything over 25 didn’t require emissions test in VA.

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silverlight7 Charles Morris Jr
Louisa, VA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1602123 by clshore The 'Euro-spec' is far more than the manifolds.
Camshaft, carbs, compression ratio, distributor advance, etc.

That said, if the inspection is 'visual', then you have some wiggle room.

The outside may look stock, but it's what's inside that counts.

Fit the 'good' cam.
Mill the head to raise the CR, and if you have dished pistons, fit flat tops.
Reset the centrifugal advance, disconnect the vac retard. Or fit a 123 dizzy body, with dummy vac retard hung on the side.

The US catalytic converter can be 'hollowed out'.
The single ZS carb could be upgraded from CD150 to CD175.
The stock intake manifold has 1" ID runners, but the earlier 1296 motors with single ZS carb has 1-1/4" ID runners.
Low restriction exhaust pipes and muffler.

No reason you should not get close to stock Euro power.


Thank you for all the info. I'll definitely look into this, but isn't the stock US exhaust manifold too restrictive? Can I still get acceptable performance gains leaving that on? I don't believe any other exhaust manifolds have a port for the air pump.


In reply to # 1602127 by GriffinNC I would check with DMV. I thought anything over 25 didn’t require emissions test in VA.

It does say that on Wikipedia, but the Virginia State Police website has a page for antique-plated vehicles that says that vehicles after 1973 need to have all their original emissions controls in place.

I also saw a post or two on this forum about people failing VA inspections because that didn't have an air pump or whatnot.

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65or66 Jim B
Lake village, IN, USA   USA
1965 Triumph Spitfire MkII
1971 Triumph Stag
1973 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Jusanudda Munny Pit"
The pics I have seen of the Euro cast manifold have a boss cast into the 2-3 section just above the mating flange that could be drilled to add the re-circ port. it points towards the right front corner of the car but don't know what it was intended to be used for originally, if ever used at all.

It would require a custom-bent EGR pipe, but that wouldn't be too huge of a deal if you're making the commitment to the Euro set-up. That pipe could be proper size stainless and bent on standard pipe bending tools since the flow is not too critical, and the original fitting would dictate hole size and threading of the manifold. just might need to wrap it or insulate it some way to reduce the heat coming off that pipe.

It also might be used for a nice O2 sensor for setting up the carbs, unless it's too close the engine.

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clshore Carter Shore
Beverly Hills, FL, USA   USA
AFAIK, only the US California 1500 had a cat converter, which was integral with the exhaust manifold.
Others US cars used a simple 4-1 cast iron manifold, similar to the Mk III 1296 used on US & Euro cars.
Although not quite as good as the 1500 Euro 4-2-1 manifold/downpipe, it was nonetheless good enough
to allow the Mk III 1296 to make quite decent power, and so could not be particularly restrictive.

The Euro manifold/downpipe may be visually distinctive enough to get you rejected … the stock one will not.

You need only keep what you have, 1976 Emissions gear, while doing the internal mods that cannot be visually detected:
Camshaft
Head skim (flat top pistons?)
ZS Carburetor (jetted and configured to Mk III/IV specs)
Dizzy (with suitable external camouflage, ie vac retard that is disabled)
Tubes, hoses, etc. in place, but either blocked or otherwise rendered inoperative.
Larger diameter exhaust pipes (gains are to the cube of the ID increase, so a small change helps a lot)
Low restriction 'stock looking' muffler.

A properly ported/polished/flowed head with bigger valves will be nice if you can find one.

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IanF Ian Furqueron
Croydon, PA, USA   USA
Does anyone actually have a car with a functional air pump? Personally, I've never seen one. My ex's '79 came with one on the engine, but it did have a belt on it and it was locked up solid. I still have it, just in case it might be of use to someone with the need to rebuild it. I also have a catalytic converter pulled off a spare engine. I've been hesitant to throw them away in case anyone could use them, but I am starting to get tired of tripping over them.

My suggestion - join you local VTR chapter. They will be able to give real-world advice on what you will need to do to your car and what you'll need to do to make it legal on the road.



"Lisle" - '72 GT6 basically stock and original. For now... T-9 conversion pending.
"Winnie the Poo" - '79 Spitfire 1500. Rubber to chrome bumper conversion, otherwise stock at the moment.

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gcelenta Avatar
gcelenta George Celentano
Orlando, FL, USA   USA
I have to say being in Florida I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to this question.

However, when I started restoring my '80 spit I did consider also buying an early 70's junker just in case Florida became more restrictive with their emissions requirements.

After swapping all the parts between each car one could get confused on which one you put on the road. Just a thought...

Nothing illegal about it.smiling smiley

Regards,

George



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2019-03-15 03:15 PM by gcelenta.

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RobTAR Robert I
Seattle, WA, USA   USA
You could get the emissions manifold extrude honed. Not as good as the 4-2-1 would be but they can make it flow more air more evenly than it does stock.

The process basically involves shoving silly putty with abrasive media through the manifold at high pressure. It's not cheap but is very effective.

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silverlight7 Charles Morris Jr
Louisa, VA, USA   USA
Thanks for the advice, everyone!

Looks like I'll just have to make it as euro-spec as I can while leaving the emission controls visually intact.

For now, I just need to put all the stock equipment back on... spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

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clshore Carter Shore
Beverly Hills, FL, USA   USA
In reply to # 1602301 by RobTAR You could get the emissions manifold extrude honed. Not as good as the 4-2-1 would be but they can make it flow more air more evenly than it does stock.

The process basically involves shoving silly putty with abrasive media through the manifold at high pressure. It's not cheap but is very effective.

Pretty expensive way to gain maybe 2-3 HP.
Worth it if you were a racer that was forced to use the stock exhaust manifold by a rulebook, but virtually all sanctioning bodies permit headers.

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Jediscuba Avatar
Jediscuba Steven Spandorf
Southampton, NY, USA   USA
1963 Triumph Spitfire "Pussycat"
1972 Triumph GT6
1980 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "PussyCat The 4th"
Ian,
When I purchased my newly acquired 1980 Spit 1500 back last August the pump was functional.
At least it was turning and air was being pumped out the hose. Whether it was up to spec or not I can't tell you.
The pump and the rest of the emissions paraphernalia are now in a box in the event NYS ever changes it's mind about antique vehicles. and the inspection requirements.

Hopefully, this spring/summer I'll get the new Canley 1300 grind large journal cam, milled head, twin HS4, 123 distributor as well as the Euro exhaust all in place.
I'm going to be doing it in stages. I know it's more involved but this way I can do Hp improvement measurements at each stage and if something goes wrong I'll know what to look at.

With an open eye .... NYS does also require the following but most inspectors have no idea what a 40 year old car came equipped with.

https://dmv.ny.gov/brochure/new-york-state-vehicle-safetyemissions-inspection-program
The following emissions control devices are examined if the vehicle was originally manufactured with them:

Catalytic converter (CAT)
Exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR)
Positive crankcase ventilation system (PCV)
Air injection system (AIS)
Evaporative emissions control (EVAP)
Fuel inlet restrictor (FIR)
Thermostatic air cleaner (TAC)

On the up tick this is what the DMV courts have ruled:
Vehicles registered with antique plates and vehicles more than 25 years old with regular passenger plates must pass safety,
but not emissions, tests. Motorcycles and vehicles older than 1975 are exempt from testing. Vehicles 25 years and older are exempt from testing.

Steve
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In reply to # 1602281 by IanF Does anyone actually have a car with a functional air pump? Personally, I've never seen one. My ex's '79 came with one on the engine, but it did have a belt on it and it was locked up solid. I still have it, just in case it might be of use to someone with the need to rebuild it. I also have a catalytic converter pulled off a spare engine. I've been hesitant to throw them away in case anyone could use them, but I am starting to get tired of tripping over them.

My suggestion - join you local VTR chapter. They will be able to give real-world advice on what you will need to do to your car and what you'll need to do to make it legal on the road.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-03-16 11:02 AM by Jediscuba.

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Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, NV, USA   USA
In reply to # 1602240 by 65or66 ...just might need to wrap it or insulate it some way to reduce the heat coming off that pipe.

On my EGR pipe I can state that copper dissipates the heat really well and it endures the test of time.

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TheZster Avatar
TheZster Steven Z
SAINT LOUIS, MO, USA   USA
1978 Triumph 1500 "BLK-BRY"
Wow!!! I so do feel your pain.....and have little advice to provide you....

I'm lucky, I guess - My 78 requires zip/nada/nothing to get licensed in both Missouri and Texas (where I'm relocating to)….. I got rid of all that smog "stuff" the day after I bought the car... and have brought it to the brink of racing status..... Mechanically - no roll cage/restraints and such.....

I do hope you're able to figure it out without having to reinstall all that "stuff"....

Best Wishes....

Z

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RobTAR Robert I
Seattle, WA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1602375 by clshore
In reply to # 1602301 by RobTAR You could get the emissions manifold extrude honed. Not as good as the 4-2-1 would be but they can make it flow more air more evenly than it does stock.

The process basically involves shoving silly putty with abrasive media through the manifold at high pressure. It's not cheap but is very effective.

Pretty expensive way to gain maybe 2-3 HP.
Worth it if you were a racer that was forced to use the stock exhaust manifold by a rulebook, but virtually all sanctioning bodies permit headers.

I had it done on my Supra back in the day, picked up 40-ish whp on the dyno on a 300hp car. By itself on a n/a car I wouldn't expect it to do much, but if raising compression, getting a hotter cam optimizing the carbs and intake tract, and freeing up the exhaust pipe, and getting the needles/ distributor optimized with a few dyno pulls, I would expect it will help more than just 2-3hp.


His governing body (state inspector) does not allow tubular manifolds. I'd be interested to know if his test is just visual or if it has a sniffer as well. If it were me I'd probably just convert to euro spec anyways then just spend a weekend every year converting it back to stock looking, get it tested then going back to euro style. That's what all the turbo JDM guys do...

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