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SVOboy 09-30-2008 10:31 PM

Anyone know anything about MA emissions laws?
So my girlfriend's car (98 ford coutour v6) failed smog and now they're telling her the work (replacing the cats) needs to be done my a licensed mechanic for it to pass, meaning I can't just do it can take it to get smogged.

Does anyone know if this is BS? I don't want to try wading through all the laws right now since I have homework to do and such.

Sounds like BS to me but you know, states have odd laws.


PS: or, alternatively, if you have that cat for sale, lemme know

dcb 09-30-2008 10:53 PM

Was the engine light on?

Around here (ill noise) you want to make sure that the car is together enough for that to be off before you go for emissions testing, otherwise they want you to have a "mechanic" sign off on it before bringing it back.

They basically do an obd test here, if your scanner (or the one you borrow from autozone, or your scangauge, or your hacked up obduino) indicates all the rediness monitors have passed AND your engine light is off, then you are pretty sure to pass the "real" emissions test.

Also, the monitors take a few miles to pass after the battery is disconnected, so don't unhook your battery right before a test.

SVOboy 10-01-2008 12:06 AM

Yeah, the light is on. Evidently the emissions fail certificate says that it needs to be fixed by a licensed mechanic and some sort of proof of that be provided? Sounds kinda silly...

dcb 10-01-2008 12:15 AM

It seems silly from my perspective too.

One "nice" thing about the law here is that they limit the expenses though. I forget how much, but if you pay a licensed someone, say $500, and your car still won't pass, you can get a waiver.

I think last time I looked it was conceivable that I could fix it myself, but if I didn't succeed that I wouldn't be able to use those expenses towards the waiver. Which is kinda understandable, "damn those new sub-woofers didn't make the light go out" LOL :)

Sandy 10-01-2008 04:56 PM

The inspection requirements just changed.
Not sure what they changed from/to
but be careful of the info as it could be currently wrong.
If you can get the light to shut off (via scangauge etc)
and it stays off for at least 100 miles,
you should be good to inspect.
I'm from NH, and they do OBDII testing and it seem like that's what MA went to.

dcb 10-01-2008 05:14 PM

Well, you should at least look up the code before turning it off, your car IS trying to tell you something.

SuperTrooper 10-02-2008 06:45 PM

I found the relevant set of statutes here:

It looks like emissions repairs must be done by a registered technician. I'm still trying to dope out their waiver system and how it relates to max cost vs year of the car. The good part about having the registered technician repair is it makes it easier to get a waiver if the car continues to fail re-inspection. That's my take on it.

Good luck to your GF!

(Any pictures? Not of the car, the GF.)

Ford Man 10-05-2008 08:47 PM

I'd definitely check the codes. It may be something besides the catalytic converter especially if they perform mechanical repairs. It would give them the chance to make lots of money and still may not take care of the problem. Sounds like a good time to set up a bogus garage with a receipt on company letterhead made on your computer. If the waiver is like it is in NC it only exempts the car for that year. If it doesn't pass the next year you have to fix the problem or spend that amount again trying to fix it.

Xringer 10-19-2008 03:03 PM

Error code P0171
Yeah, Mass uses code scanners. If you clear an error or loose your 'ready' code due to a dead battery, you will need to drive it, until it comes ready.
Most scanners will say "Ready for Inspection"..
The SG2 has this message:

Echo Error code P0171
My sister-in-law had a problem with her 2000 Echo and didn't want to bug me and took it to a gas station garage.
The error code P0171 (too lean) was found and the shop changed her O2 sensors. $$$$

The check engine light comes back on a week later and the guy is stumped. He resets the code.

Since the car needs inspection in July, and the check engine light is on about half the time and the engine has been running rough and is hard to start when cold etc, she breaks down and comes to me. (Since I told her I have a scan gauge now)!

I read the Obd code P0171 (too lean) and look it up on the web.
In about 20 seconds I found out that the most likely problem is dirty sensor
wires in the MAF sensor. One website even shows before and after pics of the wires.

I pulled the MAP sensor off (two screws) and sure nuff, it was gummed up just like in the pics!
One of my cans of spray stuff said 'Starting fluid'. I checked it out and it worked like a cleaner on some junk parts. Didn't melt rubber, so I sprayed the sensor wires until they looked like new.

After 50 trouble free miles, she passed inspection and reported that her old Echo is running like when it was new. It had been stalling when taking off. Plus, she got 47 MPG on her last tank..


Just lately, I found out her 'mechanic' had also changed her fuel pump in the spring. (I don't know why).

But, she has just had two new cases of the engine check light coming on.
Both times, she had just got gas at a full service station.
I checked her code and the error info was a little fuzzy. I think the gas over-fill sensor in the fill-hose is kicking on. Plus, all the gas stains on the side of the car was a clue.. :(

I've found out the Echo is one sensitive little bug.. It will drop an error code at the drop of a hat.
Some owners get so many emissions codes, they just learned to ignore the light and keep on driving..

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