Passing the Test

Sharka studied hard.

Sharka studied hard.

It’s that time again… emissions testing. It is not my very favorite time of year, let me tell you. I’ll be honest, it fills me with dread. I get stressed out. I worry. I fidget. And that’s no good at all.

Thing is, Sharka passed quite easily three times before. And that was with the aftermarket ECU installed and everything. No problems. The last time, Sharka had the turbo installed and passed no problem. Nope… the problem is me. See, I have never written down the Link settings I used to pass the test.

Yeah. Me? Not so smart.

So, here’s my little ritual that I follow to pass emissions. It has worked pretty well so far. I’ve been passing these things for 12 years, and for five with the sniffer test on the 95 OBDI car.

Stock wheels. Mmmm... sunken.

Stock wheels. Mmmm… sunken.

This one has more to do with the fact that an autocross was the weekend prior and I’ve not swapped out my “race” wheels yet. But really, it makes sense. These wheels are far less blingy and attention-drawing than my Star Sharks. Less attention at the testing place is GOOD. So I left these wheels installed, brake dust and all.

An odd gauge surround.

An odd gauge surround.

My KG Works gauge surround is gorgeous. I love it. But it has one flaw – there’s no marked CHECK ENGINE light. It has a “EX HEAT” light instead. And that… bothers me. In 12 years, I’ve never had an inspector look for the CEL, but I’ve never left the KGW cluster installed either. Having an actual CHECK ENGINE light is a good thing. I recommend it.

My lucky steering wheel.

My lucky steering wheel.

I always install my MOMO Master around e-test time. It’s understated and not shiny and has thumb buttons for the horn. It’s very non-offensive. I’ve been swapping this wheel in for testing ever since I stopped using the stock wheel.

Yeah, I’m not exactly sane. I realize how loosely wrapped I sound while I’m typing this. But this is my little ritual for passing emissions. Sharka is blingy and loud enough. I try to do a few small things to make him stick out a little less.

And finally, my Link settings: (this part is pretty much meant for me to read two years from now)

Master fuel Z1: Decrease by ~5 points (decreased from 110 to 105)
Disable L4 (set Z800 to 4)
Decrease prime fuel to keep the cat as happy as possible (Z715 goes down to 115 or lower)
Slightly lower Lambda row 1 to lean out targets (decrease from 76 to 75).
They test idle, so make sure it is reading nice and low on both O2 and W2 sensors (ZF100 = 53)
They test between 2200 and 2800, so ZF120 and ZF125 need attention (lowered zf120 to 55 from 58 and zf125 to 54 from 56).
Let the engine run a bit warmer, so increase fan temp setting (Z9 = 96 instead of 94).

After all that…



Seriously, you guys. You have no idea how happy I am about this. Passing is fantastic, but passing with such numbers? Holy crap. 11 hydrocarbons?!? That’s NOTHING. And this is all without any EGR system. This is cleaner than it ever was with the stock ECU and extra exhaust gasses flowing through the intake. And this wasn’t any special “almost dying” super lean setting. I drove the car over there with these ECU settings. About 40 miles total. And it ran fine! Very smooth, no bad behavior.

Seriously. So happy.

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  • Paul says:

    One of the first things I noticed when we moved to Alabama from North Carolina is that there are no emissions tests and no maintenance inspections required. Is this a good thing? Maybe not. It sure makes life simpler though.

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