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  • Registering a CNG kit car

    Has anyone contemplated using the kit car registering procedures to import a salvage non-US market car body (with cng fuel system attached) and drivetrain separately and then register it as a kit car?

    By the very definition of a kit car from CA law, it is "built for private use, not for resale, and is not constructed by a licensed manufacturer or remanufacturer."

    Here's a link for CA DMV regs on the topic, see section 8.030:
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/reg_hdbk_pdf/ch08.pdf

    Here's another link from a private site that appears to have good info on the topic:
    http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/custom-built-cars.php

    I know there is currently a sport car manufacturer from Europe using this separate body and drivetrain import approach to bypass the requirements into the US for "manufacturers" cars set by DOT and the EPA, but I can't remember their name.
    Last edited by Adrian; 01-25-2009, 12:07 AM.
    Adrian

    Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
    Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
    Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

  • #2
    Re: Registering a CNG kit car

    Good research Adrian.

    On the power train components, especially engines, you might look at how the SMOG referees hadle "dock engine". I know they have to be equipped with all components that came on the U.S. engines. If all of the equipment is there it woun't raise a flag with the regular SMOG techs and the vehicle won't have to go to the referee. What this means is that engines with different compression ratios or cam shafts will get by if they pass the tail pipe test (along with visual and functional)

    If the vehicle with a "doc engine" of any other engine that does not match what was produced for the U.S. market will go the referee. The referees are good, they have books with casting numbers and other information that allow them to pick out a "dock engine" or identify which year block or heads you are using. This is where you might run into a problem importing a factory CNG engine to put into a kit car (SPCN)

    Bringing in "factory cng engines" (not conversion kit engines) might be a route to getting more CNG vehicles on the road. I'm also considering the "engine change" route, (putting an good Ford engine a junk chevy).

    Actually if you get a factory U.S. CNG engine and install it in another chassis that would go throught CA SMOG via referee, that would work. You would need to take the COMPUTER, wiring and all SMOG components to be installed and working in the new vehicle/chassis. It would have to work like factory. Actually, you might have to back as far as the HP regulator? The remainder of the CNG system the CA SMOG boys wouldn't care about (most wouldn't know). Utah would look for the the NFPA 52 things -- If they have that in force.

    Enough rambling

    Larrycng

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    • #3
      Re: Registering a CNG kit car

      Larry, thanks for the response. I'd like to bring in a Mercedes E-200 NGT Bifuel body with CNG fuel system attached; then bring in the CNG engine and tranny separately, assemble, add US headlights, turn signals, stop lights, speedometer and then register as a kit car per CA procedure in first post links . I have no doubt it will pass a smog check, I think it conforms to Euro 4 or 5 emission standards. Would that have a good chance of working? If not, what would have to change to make it work?

      I remembered the kit car sports car I was thinking about. it's called a Noble. Here's a link from a Car and Driver review of that car:

      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...specialty_file

      Once interesting quote from the article:

      "......car of questionable lineage that doesn't pass U.S. emissions or crash regulations and gets registered for road use as a home-built kit. But on the other, it is one of the most satisfying cars we've ever driven, and it is ferociously fast, snapping to 60 in a minuscule 3.3 seconds, the same as a Ford GT.

      "Actually, it's a component car," clarified Dean Rosen, the president of 1G Racing and importer of the Noble kit. "The car comes in two crates—one with the completely assembled car, and the other with the powertrain. You can join the two in about 40 hours."


      Here's a link for a Noble M400 recently for sale on ebay, proving US registration for these cars is possible (AZ):

      http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Other...3A1|240%3A1308

      If they can do it, with enough research to make sure all steps satisfy US and CA law, I should be able to do it too for a Mercedes E-200 NGT.

      What does everyone think?
      Last edited by Adrian; 01-25-2009, 09:23 AM.
      Adrian

      Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
      Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
      Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Registering a CNG kit car

        Adrian,

        I love it when people think out of the box or find loop holes in the current system. I think the headlights and tail lights are ok as Europe uses glass headlights don't they? I know US headlights are now mostly plastic junk that is NOT allowed in Europe. You need to look into the windshield glass I believe?

        Larry Wow I did not know I could put a US EPA CARB CNG engine in any car and pass smog. Now what if I go through all that with a dedicated CNG engine could I get Carpool stickers for the car I put it in?

        I would love to use a GX drivetrain on a Honda Odyssey minivan. We need a CNG minivan in the USA like yesterday!
        Mario
        AAA CNG SYSTEMS
        CSA Certified CNG Cylinder & Fuel System Inspector

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Registering a CNG kit car

          Adrian, check the rules and laws, but Mecerdes you're thinking about is a production vehicle. I believe the DMV rules states that it can't be registered as a kit car even if it is brought in in pieces. If you're engine could meet CA SMOG requirements (probably with some modification) you might get one and stick it in a U.S. chassis as an engine change. Check with your local referee, You will probably find him at one of the local community college if they have an Automotive Program. They won't take walk-ins, but you wonder in to ask a few hypotherical question.

          Mario, as far as the engine change goes, it can't degrade the vehicles emission system. In other words the engine must be of the same year as the chassis or newer. All equipment that came on the engine must be in place and operational. That means from the first device which could be the air cleaner if it has an air temperature sensor back to the last catalytic converter. Watch trying to put a truck engine in a passenger car, sometimes they have a problem with that -- ASK.

          I don't know about the HOV lane sticker, but it would hirt to ask the question.

          Larrycng

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Registering a CNG kit car

            Originally posted by larrycng View Post
            Adrian, check the rules and laws, but Mecerdes you're thinking about is a production vehicle. I believe the DMV rules states that it can't be registered as a kit car even if it is brought in in pieces. If you're engine could meet CA SMOG requirements (probably with some modification) you might get one and stick it in a U.S. chassis as an engine change. Check with your local referee, You will probably find him at one of the local community college if they have an Automotive Program. They won't take walk-ins, but you wonder in to ask a few hypotherical question.
            Larrycng
            Larry, the Noble sports car is also a production vehicle in England, yet somehow they are able to import the frame and drive train separately and register it according to the Car and Driver article. If using a U.S. Mercedes E-chassis would be easier to do, then so be it, I would be happy with that as well. It might take a while to figure out where the local referee is and talk to him. Thanks for the feedback.
            Adrian

            Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
            Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
            Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

            Comment


            • #7
              Smog referee procedure dictated by Bureau of Automotive Repair

              I found a link to an article that details the procedure BAR dictates for the smog referees to follow when registering a kit car in CA. The link is below. I also pasted the relevant part of the article below the link.

              Looks like for an E-series Mercedes, if one elected the body of the car under option (1), Larry's suggestion in the post above would work great: just use a U.S. chassis and bolt on the European CNG Bifuel drivetrain (which is a 4 cylinder).

              I still wonder how they are able to get the Noble sports cars into the U.S. the way they do in case that can be applied to importing European CNG vehicles into the US as kit cars.

              http://www.kitcarmag.com/hotnews/060...eck/index.html

              "Under the BAR policy, the emissions controls of specially constructed vehicles are determined by one of two separate processes: (1) based on what the vehicle body or engine most resembles, or (2) model year or configuration of the engine installed. In the first case, under the provisions of the Specially Constructed Vehicle Emission Control Program (commonly known as CA Senate Bill 100), a smog test referee compares the vehicle to those of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles to determine its model year. The vehicle's owner can then choose whether the inspector will certify the vehicle per the year of the body or the engine. If there is no close resemblance, the vehicle is classified as a 1960 model year. The Senate Bill 100 registration program is limited, however, to the first 500 applications for registrations of specially constructed vehicles submitted to California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) per year that meet the criteria. The DMV doesn't categorize the vehicles into SB100 or not; the applicant does that.

              In the second case, for specially constructed vehicles without a Senate Bill 100 sequence number, the only emissions controls required are those used when the engine was originally manufactured. For example, a Cobra kit car using a '68 351C Ford V-8 would require all emissions equipment originally required for that model year engine. A dune buggy upgraded with a '91 L79 TPI GM V-8 would require all emissions equipment used on that engine. More generally, if a configuration precedes '66, no exhaust emissions controls would be required. If the configuration precedes '61, no PCV system would be required.

              If a range of model years applies to any particular engine configuration, vehicle owners will have the option to select the model year of emissions controls to be used. Further, according to the BAR, new and rebuilt "crate" engines fall into this "range of model years" category. As an example in this category, using a Chevrolet 5.7L ZZ4 V-8 engine in a replica of a '32 Ford roadster would require emissions equipment found on the first 5.7L engines used in '67. Finally, in some instances vehicle owners may be required to provide engine information to aid in the identification and inspection process."
              Last edited by Adrian; 01-26-2009, 09:56 AM.
              Adrian

              Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
              Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
              Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

              Comment

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