Another carb legal question

Scoob

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Mar 29, 2018
15
0
1
Sacramento California
#1
Hello everyone,
So I've been doing my homework on engine swaps for my 1979 el camino that came with the 305. Living in California, there sure are a lot of regulations. My original plan was to pull a 454 out of my dad' single cab 94 chevy. I think I've hit a wall with that since I'm pretty sure they consider the truck heavy duty due to the weight of the truck. So now I have my mind set on a sbc 350. Now I was expecting to have to bar and ref anything that I was going to swap in but I found this section on carbs website regarding replacement engines

Engine Change Vehicles
An engine change is the installation of an engine in a vehicle that is different from the one originally installed in the vehicle. A Referee inspection is required for all vehicles that have had an engine change.

Replacement of a vehicle's engine with the same engine size or an engine offered by the manufacturer for that year, make and model is considered an engine replacement and does not require a Referee inspection.


Now since there was a 350 available for a 1979 el camino from the factory, would it be considered a replacement engine and not have to get a ref inspection?

Thanks for any help and insight
 

CaliWagon83

G-Body Guru
Supporting Member
Nov 12, 2017
916
356
63
Orange County, CA
#2
I believe any engine change other than a direct 1-to-1 replacement of the original stock engine is supposed to be ref-approved. If it was a factory option, and has all the factory smog and emissions equipment, you might be able to get away with just normal smog checks, as long as it passes the test.

However, they cross-check the VIN, so if you're going from say a 3.8 or 4.3L V-6, and you put a 350 in, it will show up in the VIN search that it should have a V-6. But if you're going from V-8 --> V-8, I don't know if anyone would be the wiser. 305s and 350s are nearly indistinguishable externally.
 

ck80

G-Body Guru
Feb 18, 2014
621
276
63
#3
I'd expect it depends what your plan is...

If you put a 350 vortec from a GMT 400 in, then switched it to a carb setup... yeah, you probably would have trouble if caught and not refd.

But if you stuck an originally carbed 350 in it with a carb on it... you're probably fine.

I'd think they will recognize the difference between a center bolt valve cover engine, or an ls with a carb, and an original smogger 350 with perimeter bolt valve covers.remember - they look at engines all day long.
 

lilbowtie

Royal Smart Person
Jan 7, 2006
2,013
947
113
Canton Mi
#4
Scoob - keep your fingers crossed help on the way

A new bill proposed by California Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) that would change the California smog exemption year cutoff from 1975 to 1980 passed through the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing earlier this week. The next step for SB 1239 is to be approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
 

Scoob

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Mar 29, 2018
15
0
1
Sacramento California
#6
Ahh yea I like the sound of that bill. So long story short, the engine replacement guidelines still doesn't seem real cut and dry it sounds like.

So in theory, what if I bought a gm long block, one of the most basic, ditched the heads and cam and went with carb approved heads and cam and used my same carberater or edit, I know I've seen a few with eo#s Nothing flashy and over the top. Now I'd have no idea what truck it would have come from but it would look pretty darn legit right?
 

pagrunt

Royal Smart Person
Sep 14, 2014
2,144
969
113
Shelocta, Pa
#7

DRIVEN

Comic Book Super Hero
Apr 25, 2009
4,590
1,537
113
Owyhee County
#8
Oh, you poor, poor Californians
 

CaliWagon83

G-Body Guru
Supporting Member
Nov 12, 2017
916
356
63
Orange County, CA
#9
It really depends on the ref or the smog tech. Like I said, as long as you’re not going from a V-6 to V-8, you should have a fair amount of leeway, as long as you have cats, air pump, or whatever it had stock.

If you’re going to a later-model engine, remember it has to have all the emissions equipment that originally came with that engine. That includes the fuel delivery system (i.e. if it was fuel-injected from the factory, you can’t put a carburetor on it.)
 

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