The New Pennsylvania State Emissions Law...
HOW THE NEW PENNSYLVANIA EMMISIONS RULES WILL AFFECT THE “CAR” HOBBY.
Just in case you Pennsylvania motorheads didn’t hear, there are new emissions rules in Pennsylvania, which will effect you if your toys are 1969 or newer. Your tubbed out, pro-street S-10 pickup may no longer be road worthy, according to these new rules. Your buddy’s big block ‘78 Malibu may now be an environmental road hazard & that punk kid down the street with the 11 second 5.0 Mustang might find himself driving mom’s Windstar to work because he can’t get his $20,000 sleeper inspected. Even if your pride & joy is older, your tow vehicle may still be affected.
summarize the new rules for you in one sentence. If your vehicle had
emissions from the factory, those devises must be on the vehicle. These
laws are not new. However the way the law is enforced is. Although I
grew up in an era where “ripping off the pollution junk” was proper
procedure and getting rid of the catalytic converter was a performance
enhancement, it was against the law. A law no one really enforced,
except in heavily populated counties where cars have to go through the
“sniffer test”. Now the rural counties are affected as well, but in
a different way. These counties do not have the “sniffer test” but
starting Dec. 1, 2003, they have a VISUAL TEST requirement in order to
pass a Pa. State Inspection. If your vehicle is registered in one of the
following counties, you’re affected. Apparently, the new registration
cards will have your county on it, however none of my current ones does.
rules pertain to passenger cars & light duty trucks having a
registered gross weight of 11,000 lbs or less. Yes, that’s
right………, those stinky 18 wheeler are not affected but your uncle
Joe’s ‘75 Trans-Am is. The following is an excerpt from the D.O.T.
letter from Harrisburg, received at my local inspection garage on
“Beginning December 1, 2003, passenger cars and light duty trucks registered in the 42 counties listed previously and subject to the safety inspection, will include a visual inspection of the components listed below as part of the safety inspection procedure.
being inspected shall be checked visually for the presence of the above
emission control components. These components may be original vehicle
equipment or an equivalent aftermarket replacement component meeting the
visual inspection shall be performed through direct observation or
through indirect observation, using a mirror as a visual aid.
that the make and model year of the vehicle would have originally been
equipped with the device, you will fail a vehicle for inspection if one
or more of the following apply:
may use the Vehicle Emission Control Information (VECI) label in the
engine compartment or an appropriate reference manual to determine which
emission components were originally placed on a vehicle at the time of
manufacture. Only those components (listed above) that were part of the
original certified vehicle configuration are subject to this portion of
the inspection. If a component was not originally on a vehicle at the
time of manufacture, it will pass inspection without it.”
The rest of the document goes onto tell inspection stations how to correctly use the new inspection forms.
a little emissions history lesson. If your vehicle was manufactured in
1975 or newer, it must have a catalytic converter on it. 1973 or
newer…….. EGR and the unleaded fuel inlet on your gas filler tube.
1971 or newer…….. The evaporator canister. 1969 or newer………
the A. I. R. pump. 1968 or newer….. PCV. Wow!!! How many 69 Camaros
out there still have an A.I.R pump on them yet?
now, your thinking “ Man, there’s gotta be a loop hole” or “
There has to be a way around this”. Well, according to this letter,
there is an exemption. The letter states “Vehicles
displaying a classic or collectible registration plate are not required
to be inspected for the emission control equipment listed above.
However, all other inspection requirements continue to apply for these
So now you’re thinking, “What do I have to do to get an antique,
classic, or collectible tag?” Well, I was able to pick up an
application at my local notary. It’s form MV-11 (7-97) and you check
off which plate you what to apply for. The rules around the antique
plate are, no reproductions, vehicle must be 25 years old or older, and
it must be “maintained in or restored to a condition which is
substantially in conformance with manufacturer specifications”. In
other words, original. How do you prove it’s original? 4 color
pictures showing the front, back & both sides. The classic tag works
the same way but the vehicles only have to be 15 years old or older.
These tags should get your weekend warrior back on legal street, but
what about pro-street? Your not gonna hide a 6” cowl hood, full roll
cage, and 33” Mickeys from the camera.
this case, it sounds like the “collectible plate” may be the answer.
Harrisburg’s definition of a collectible is as follows” “a
reconstructed motor vehicle, but not a reproduction thereof,
substantially modified from the manufacturer’s original specifications
and appearance and maintained in a collectible condition as
determined by the Department of Transportation. NOTE: Generally,
substantial changes to the engine and exhaust systems must be done to
qualify the vehicle as a collectible motor vehicle. If the extensive
changes are other than the engine, be sure to give very detailed and
specific information in section C on the front of this form. In
addition, the vehicle must primarily be used for show and must appear to
be in “show” condition in the photographs submitted with the
application.” To receive this plate, you must give a detailed
description of the modifications to the car and besides the 4 body
photos, 2 more pictures, one of the motor and one of the exhaust system
inspection rules for these plates are as follows: “Classic and
collectible vehicles are subject to vehicle safety inspection annually.
Antique vehicles operated exclusively between sunrise and sunset are
exempt from normal lighting requirements of the Pennsylvania Vehicle
Code, but must have their original lighting equipment. Antique vehicles
are not subject to the annual safety inspection. Antique, classic and
collectible vehicles are not subject to emissions inspection.” My
interpretation of the part about driving antiques at night is, if your
vehicle is new enough to have the “normal lighting requirements” (brake
lights, turn signals, etc.), you can drive at night.
a special plate will not help you and you decide to put emissions back
on you vehicle, you’ll need to do some shopping. I am hopeful no one
ever punched out the fuel inlet restrictor on your gas filler tube, but
if they did, you’re looking at a new gas tank. Finding a new catalytic
converter won’t be too hard. Here is a website that can help.
& EGR are real easy buy new & EGR intakes are plentiful at the
junkyards. Finding the correct A.I.R. pump and evaporative control
system my be a little harder to find. Looking in www.classicjunkyard.com
or Ebay maybe your best bet to find those items. I predict that, because
now, there is a market for old emissions parts, this stuff will start
popping up at swap meets.
all this info was helpful,