Need some emissions help, my 328 failed, but then passed...?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by battman, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. battman

    battman Karting

    Dec 1, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI
    Full Name:
    Jeff Batt
    Hello all (sorry, it's a long one),

    So today was the big day for my first emissions test on my new (to me) '86 328. (Major svc about 1.5 years ago, 21K miles). First of all, I hate to rip on the dudes that run these emissions places...but this kid actually had to get the manager because I kept insisting that it wasn't a Pontiac Fiero (and that's what he wanted to test my 328 as). Anyway, it ended up going in as a Fiat 124, which apparently doesn't matter as the allowable emission ratings are all based on the year of the vehicle?...or so the Einstein running the place told me.

    I'll skip my complaints about this kid messing up the parking break, not getting the P brake off all the way and grinding into 2nd - and go right to the story.

    So in WI they put your car on the dyno and run it up to a bunch of MPH in several gears while measuring HC, CO, NOx CO2 and Purge rate (I don't know what all of these are, I'm reading off my report). But apparently you only get evaluated on 3 things: HC, CO and NOx. The acceptable limits are (repectively) 2, 30, and 3. My car blew a 5.256, 23.3, and 2.45. So I failed on the HC (hydrocarbons in grams/mile) test. Additionally, from the 'comparison to other cars' chart, I'm actually running high (but acceptable) across the other 2 tests .

    As the $$ signs are flashing before my eyes and I'm wondering what the waiver fee is to get out of this, I left wondering if the guy running the test had anything to do with it. He was in the car driving on the dyno for over 10 min and I think he restarted the test 3 times. Additionally, he had the car going 59mph (according to my graph)...which peggged the chart and is quicker than any car I've owned was ever tested to.

    As you all know, a little knowledge is a dangrous thing...but playing with ones toys is half the I was wondering if my recent adjustement of the 'idle speed adjustment screw' (the one at the bottom of the air snorkle) had anything to do with my failure? The charts they gave me for a failed HC test included a chart that showed the car to be running "rich" in several columns of the I figured more air could be the solution.

    Side note: I had adjusted the idle speed screw back (to lower the idle) just a few weeks ago. My idle had been running close to 1300-1400, so I took it down to 1100 (which was about 1/4 turn on the adj screw). I actually thought you needed to pass and idle rpm test too (1100), but I don't see it anywhere on my test report.

    So I went out to the parking lot at the DMV, turned the screw back to it's orig position (I had it marked), the rpm went back to 1400 and I got back in line for another test (they are free and you get 3 before...something happens?...I figured I'd try this before just dropping it off at the shop with a blank check). So I filled out my paperwork while in line (The back of the failure report) that I had done some work (by owner) and was ready to retest. Note: don't write on steering wheel (on the horn) when there's a cute chick in an Eclipse next to you in line...when you hit the horn, you look like an idiot.

    My next DMV tester dude was 2000% better. He laughed out loud when he read "Fiat" on the failed report and took it in to the manager (same manager by the way)...and he had my first test voided. Apparently if you have a car that's not in their system (which would be all Ferraris by the way), it's supposed to go in as "other". Unfortunately, the punk from test 1 did the actual driving again...I just got a better guy on the computer/paperwork side of things. So punk #1 drove my 328 on the dyno to 60mph again for another 10 min, restarting the test again at least 3 times (at least he didn't grind into 2nd this time).

    So on his 3rd try, the computer read "stop test now" after like 10 sec. The other guy (good paperwork/computer guy who knew I didn't have a Fiat 124 and was standing in the waiting booth with me) said, congratulations, you "Fast" passed.

    I'm like, what's that mean? He said "the computer killed the test right away, you have no chart readings and you passed". I didn't get it, but I wasn't going to argue. So I thanked the guy and left before he could change his mind.

    So (sorry so long), does anyone know what this "fast pass" is all about? Anyone have any thoughts as to whether my idle screw might have been the problem? Although I can't tell the difference in how the engine runs with the idle screw in either position (other than the RPM idle), I guess I should leave my car in the fast idle position, which I don't really like...? Sadly, I have to go through this every 2 years...I want to make sure next time is easier and not a fluke!

    Any and all thoughts appreciated. Thanks! Battman
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  3. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    Usually HC failure is a sign of a miss on a cyl or 2, HC is raw fuel.

    Maybe the car had a chance to warm up fully or a miss went away, the idle speed has no relation on HC.
  4. battman

    battman Karting

    Dec 1, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI
    Full Name:
    Jeff Batt
    Hmmm...Thanks Jeff R...the car was very warmed up. I ran it for over 30 min before the 1st test, and then it idled for 10 more min in line. Additionally, it ran for an additional 20 min plus 20 more min in line before the second test.

    I would have tought I'd notice a miss? It seems to run/sound find (no backfires/misses)...

    But thanks for the tought. Jeff B (Battman)
  5. ChrisfromRI

    ChrisfromRI Karting

    Jan 28, 2003
    Foster, RI
    Full Name:
    Chris F
    One old trick I used to do when I lived in a state with state inspection stations was to sit in line with the RPMs at 3-4K waiting for my turn, so my car would run clean when its turn came to get probed.

    Kind Regards, Chris

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