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      05-28-2020, 02:08 AM   #1
VF-1J
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CA Smog Referee

I got flagged driving my F80 and had to make a visit to the CA Referee for emissions and noise test. So here's a little PSA that anyone else going through this can keep in their back pocket.

First, DON'T let them pop your hood. No matter how cool the cop pretends to be!! Don't pop that hood!! They'll ticket you for your intake that isn't CARB legal.

Second, exhaust Max decibel reading is 95 dbA. Stock exhaust measured in at 89 dbA, so even if a modified exhaust can pass smog, it "might" not pass the exhaust noise test.

Third, aftermarket intercooler are completely legal. Passed. Definitely useful and much needed for higher boost and upgraded turbo setups. That said, my BMS intercooler and PS2 passed the visual test, as expected.

Fourth, Before you go, make sure you complete a Drive Cycle so ALL monitors check out.

Last thing, beware of your tuned DME. IF you have a problem with this, you can go through BPM Sport. Mike there really knows his stuff!!! And after you pass, you can ask him to custom tune your car. Anyhow, even though my car would pass a standard smog test, the referee hooks up and reads the DME. I flashed back to stock and the referee still saw that the DME was tampered with. BMW dealership could not reprogram my car and tried to get me to buy a new one for $2,000 plus labor. No thanks! Other places wanted $1000+ to pull out DME, bench it, and reprogram it. Plus, they said it would take a day, maybe two .... BPM Sport took care of it in minutes, they were reasonably priced, and it was done perfectly! So, I completed a Drive Cycle the next morning, went to referee, and passed with flying colors.

Good luck everyone!!

Last edited by VF-1J; 05-28-2020 at 02:13 AM..
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      05-28-2020, 03:43 AM   #2
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This reads like an advertisement for that tuner
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      05-28-2020, 10:27 AM   #3
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Question. How sophisticated is the "referee's" DME eval? If you use BM3, and flash back to stock and lock it...I find it difficult to believe they can see it was "tampered with". Am I wrong
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      05-28-2020, 12:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by nioh_lbbm2 View Post
This reads like an advertisement for that tuner
More like an advertisement to leave California...
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      05-28-2020, 12:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blockdoc View Post
Question. How sophisticated is the "referee's" DME eval? If you use BM3, and flash back to stock and lock it...I find it difficult to believe they can see it was "tampered with". Am I wrong
I think it largely has to do with the referee. Mine failed every test they had other than the smog sniffer.

The issue with the BM3 is that if you go stage 1 it turns off your O2 sensors which would cause it to fail. I've talked to a guy who brought his car into the state tuned and he couldn't get it to pass smog because the sensors would not turn on. He drove almost 1000 miles still weren't on and he had to a dealership to have them turned back on. I don't know if that has changed since then but I am nervous that it will be something I have to deal with in the future.

The other fail could also possibly be that the manufacturer issues each car a ID number, it is cross checked in the data base. It's just a pass fail number. My car passed smog sniffer fine.

I have an active autowerkes full exhaust, he told me that the instructions are to test it basically half of red line or where the engine makes max power (his example for that being a s2k because the rev's would be way up there). Mine did a sweeping number which would be louder. I think mine clocked in somewhere around 109 db when the car was warm. I drove about 40 minutes to my station for that reason. I also failed the visual inspection due to the lack of cats in my exhaust. I'm switching to MPE for that reason even though the exhaust is louder. And weirdly because it's made by BMW they should be fine with it since it is OEM equipment. It seems incredibly silly to me.
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      05-28-2020, 12:21 PM   #6
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Better PSA - Unless they changed the rules recently, if you rolled through a sniffer checkpoint, you do not need to consent to be checked no matter how cool or how persistent the police is.
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      05-28-2020, 12:23 PM   #7
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RE: the referee referral:

A close friend just went through this. The issue is, when the car is tested and an scanned via OBDII, the system analyzes known ECU / DME calibration IDs, and one is not matched from the manufacturer, you get flagged.

Best advice before testing, flash back to stock, do NOT reset the "Learned adaptives", then drive around a bit. Check for system readiness and go get your once every 2 year test done.

It's not that complicated.
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      05-28-2020, 12:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blockdoc View Post
Question. How sophisticated is the "referee's" DME eval? If you use BM3, and flash back to stock and lock it...I find it difficult to believe they can see it was "tampered with". Am I wrong
That's what I thought too. I flashed back to stock and the referee still saw the CID and CVN didn't match what they have as a stock BMW reading. I honestly can't go much deeper into that, not my domain. But BPM Sport reprogrammed it for me. I just thought I'd put out the good word because I couldn't find any other solutions that didn't break the bank. It was stressful. All because I made the mistake of popping my hood and showing my intake!
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      05-28-2020, 12:26 PM   #9
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From my past readings, Mike is one of the few that can unbrick DMEís etc. so itís no surprise that he was able to help you out. I truly think heís a DME savant lol.
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      05-28-2020, 12:27 PM   #10
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Any more context as to how you got cherry picked? Was it a pop up sniffing checkpoint, a police pull over etc? Where?
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      05-28-2020, 03:18 PM   #11
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This thread makes me question if i want to move to California or not
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      05-28-2020, 03:42 PM   #12
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Very helpful thread, does anyone know the rules for bi-annual smog checks in California for newer cars? I thought there was a grace period of around 7 years on a new car...? I purchased a 2018 last month, does that mean I have 5 years until my next smog? Just wondering because I took my cats off a week ago
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      05-28-2020, 03:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase__M4 View Post
Very helpful thread, does anyone know the rules for bi-annual smog checks in California for newer cars? I thought there was a grace period of around 7 years on a new car...? I purchased a 2018 last month, does that mean I have 5 years until my next smog? Just wondering because I took my cats off a week ago
Smog is every 8 years now
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      05-28-2020, 03:57 PM   #14
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This thread makes me question if i want to move to California or not
There will be an exodus out of CA this year, at least for Northern California. So many of my colleagues are shifting to full remote work and packing up. Both my office and my wife's office don't expect to open back up this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase__M4 View Post
Very helpful thread, does anyone know the rules for bi-annual smog checks in California for newer cars? I thought there was a grace period of around 7 years on a new car...? I purchased a 2018 last month, does that mean I have 5 years until my next smog? Just wondering because I took my cats off a week ago
Yes, you are correct about the smog abatement fee program, but your car is still non-compliant so if you get pulled over for noise or whatever they can mess your day up as this thread proves. Here's the link to the chart that shows when you need to get smogged again: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/co...=AJPERES&CVID=

I'm also catless and it's just a calculated risk :|
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      05-28-2020, 04:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BzsBimmer View Post
Any more context as to how you got cherry picked? Was it a pop up sniffing checkpoint, a police pull over etc? Where?
Pulled me over because of my exhaust tips, saying I have modified exhaust (which I had). But I wasn't speeding it revving. I saw the cop as I crossed by an intersection and he rolled up on me. Chatted like he was interested in the car, being cool about it, then asked to pop the hood, and that was it.... yes, I fell for it! That's why I posted this.

This was in Riverside County, daytime.
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      05-28-2020, 07:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walmart Parking Lot View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase__M4 View Post
Very helpful thread, does anyone know the rules for bi-annual smog checks in California for newer cars? I thought there was a grace period of around 7 years on a new car...? I purchased a 2018 last month, does that mean I have 5 years until my next smog? Just wondering because I took my cats off a week ago
Smog is every 8 years now
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walmart Parking Lot View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase__M4 View Post
Very helpful thread, does anyone know the rules for bi-annual smog checks in California for newer cars? I thought there was a grace period of around 7 years on a new car...? I purchased a 2018 last month, does that mean I have 5 years until my next smog? Just wondering because I took my cats off a week ago
Smog is every 8 years now
I had to smog my 15 this year. I believe is 5 years.
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      05-28-2020, 07:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbonly21 View Post
I had to smog my 15 this year. I believe is 5 years.
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/vr/smogfaq

"Owners of vehicles eight or less model years old will pay an annual smog abatement fee for the first eight registration years instead of being required to provide a biennial smog certification."
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      05-28-2020, 10:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcpatters View Post
RE: the referee referral:

A close friend just went through this. The issue is, when the car is tested and an scanned via OBDII, the system analyzes known ECU / DME calibration IDs, and one is not matched from the manufacturer, you get flagged.

Best advice before testing, flash back to stock, do NOT reset the "Learned adaptives", then drive around a bit. Check for system readiness and go get your once every 2 year test done.

It's not that complicated.
Learned adaptive values really have no relevance here.

Thanks OP for the good words, glad we were able to solve this for you easily and quickly!

We've done quite a lot of development on the new checks being performed. All BPM customers should have no issues passing after loading the stock software. Any non customers that have DME issues are free to reach out to us for expert help!
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      05-29-2020, 02:28 AM   #19
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California is stupid
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      05-29-2020, 08:45 AM   #20
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California is ridiculous...
I stumbled on this post and now I'm a little worried. I have a 335i that I installed the MHD tune on two years ago, it's due for SMOG in August. I didn't know about the DME check, just the drive cycle test which is fine. Also, my wife's 535d warranty finally ends next month and I was planning on putting a Malone tune on it. Maybe the piggyback (Race chip or other) is a better approach in Cali?...
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      05-29-2020, 09:29 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BzsBimmer View Post
Better PSA - Unless they changed the rules recently, if you rolled through a sniffer checkpoint, you do not need to consent to be checked no matter how cool or how persistent the police is.
What's a sniffer checkpoint. Could you elaborate more on this please as I am interested. Thanks!
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      05-29-2020, 11:17 AM   #22
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Smog check is different than going to a state referee station.

If just a smog check, as long as your tune doesnít defeat the DME from showing ready states, and visual smog defeat devices are in place you should be fine. Get a reader and check your ready states. In CA youíre only allowed up to 2 incomplete monitors.

Sniffer checkpoints are set up randomly along roads. As you drive thru, the sniffers will check for excess emissions. If you get flagged, it should be optional for you to have your car further inspected.

More info here
https://www.bar.ca.gov/Consumer/Road...n_Program.aspx
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