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View Full Version : Spitfire Kalifornia smog and the Spitfire



Mojo
09-13-2001, 03:05 AM
I have to get the Spit smogged. Currently, it spews black smoke under load. I know that at the very least the carb is out of adjustment, and may possibly need a rebuild. What do I need to do to make it smog-nazi friendly enough to pass the inspection? I'm willing to go as far as a top end rebuild, but I have to pass smog to get it registered before I can do an engine swap.

Any help would be appreciated.

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Basil
10-01-2001, 09:53 PM
Originally posted by Mojo:
I got it running pretty well, but obviously not well enough. The smog shop said that the carb is running really rich, and won't adjust out. I have a rebuild kit for the carb, but no instructions. Does anyone know how the float should be set? I'm going to go through the carb as best as I can, then install a catastophic perverter inline below the thermactor. The smog guy said it was legal... Any other suggestions?

If it has the Zenith Stromberg Carb, I don't think there is a whole lot of adjustment for mixture short of changing the needles. I recommend gettin ahold of The Haynes manual for the Spitfire and going through the Carb overhaul procedures. You might search EBay to see if anyone is selling one for cheap. In the mean time, a couple of quick things to check are, first, to make sure your air filter is clean and in good condition. Then, make sure the choke (probably hot water-driven auto choke) is working properly) (A stuck choke can make it run too rich).

Keep us posted,
Basil

Mojo
10-02-2001, 03:27 AM
I got it running pretty well, but obviously not well enough. The smog shop said that the carb is running really rich, and won't adjust out. I have a rebuild kit for the carb, but no instructions. Does anyone know how the float should be set? I'm going to go through the carb as best as I can, then install a catastophic perverter inline below the thermactor. The smog guy said it was legal... Any other suggestions?

Mojo
10-02-2001, 11:37 AM
Originally posted by Basil:
I recommend gettin ahold of The Haynes manual for the Spitfire and going through the Carb overhaul procedures.

Fortunately, I bought one on Ebay last year.. http://www.britishcarforum.com/ubb/images/icons/smile.gif



Then, make sure the choke (probably hot water-driven auto choke) is working properly) (A stuck choke can make it run too rich).


It has a manual choke with no cable. I've been reaching under the bonnet and operating it by hand when I need it. I'll check to make sure it's positioned correctly.

I'm picking it up today, but I probably won't have any time to work on it for a couple of weeks...

Mojo
11-13-2001, 02:25 AM
Ok, here's an idea I had. I thought about draining the tank and filling it with methanol, then running it through the test. It's already running super rich, so I thought it might be enough to get me by.. Any thoughts?

triumphant
11-13-2001, 11:20 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Mojo:
Ok, here's an idea I had. I thought about draining the tank and filling it with methanol, then running it through the test. It's already running super rich, so I thought it might be enough to get me by.. Any thoughts?<hr></blockquote>

Before resoting to that, I'd suggest a couple of things. First, I'd put a proper choke cable on. If the choke is slightly moving during the emmission test, it could be enrichening the mixture. Make sure the choke mechanism is up to spec. Also, since you mentioned it is a manual choke, then you must have the earlier type carb? (There is another version of carb with a water-operated choke (works off the temp of the coolant). Anyway, if yours is manual, there is a tool you can buy to adjuct the mixture. It actually moves the needle in and out. I think (if I recall) that clockwise would make in richer and counter-clock wise (sorry, "anti" clockkwise) would make it leaner (check your Haynes book). I'd try that before anything else. Good luck,

Larry

images/icons/wink.gif

Ron
11-13-2001, 11:58 PM
Strombergs are very hard carbs to lean out. I could never get mine to pass emissions. I had better luck when I switched to dual SU's, but I don't think you can do that there.
Check that the diaphram in the carb isn't leaking, you may need to rebuild it. check condition of the needle. If it's damaged, replace it. there's a tool that you can get that fits down into the dashpot which screws the needle up or down to control mixture. A cat convertor will burn up quickly if mixture is not right, or not constant. But it'll make a difference if everything's working properly. Unfortunately, they rob power..

good luck

Ron '78 Spit

Vancouver BC

Mojo
11-14-2001, 12:11 AM
I'm willing to do almost anything to get it smogged... I only have to do it once and then I'll get it exempted. The only problem is that I have to have it smogged for the initial registration.

Jagdreamer
11-14-2001, 02:09 AM
I think both Ron and Triumphant offer some good advice, expecially about the Needle adjustment. Do a rebuild for sure if you have not already and make sure the dampner is filled with the proper (light) oil, since if it too thick, the piston won;t rise as fast and thus the mixture will be richer longer. One other thing, you might look into th epossibility of a leaner needle for your carb. I'm not sure what ranges are available for that carb, but I'd bet there are other needles you could get. Keep us posted,

JD graemlins/usa.gif

Ron
11-14-2001, 06:09 PM
Yes, there are different needles available. the Haynes weber, SU manual lists them.

Methanol won't do much for the test. I used to try it in my car, and it made very little difference. Adding a litre of methyl hydrate(gas line anti freeze to a 1/2 tank of gas helps screw up the anylizers at the test site, but you don't want to run alot of it through your car for a long time. Too much methanol is hard on soft metal parts like carbs. Retard the ignition back from stock(10 deg?)a couple of degrees, make sure plugs are spotless, and ign. points are good, but first off that carb mixture needs to be right.

Ron

Mojo
11-29-2001, 03:13 PM
I've decided to try one more thing before sending it off to a local guy who says he can "try to get it done for under $500, but not promising anything..."

I found a manifold with a single SU that I'm going to try to put on and slide by the smog nazis. The guy I take it to has no idea that that carb was never on the Kalifornia model. It's a shame, a DGV conversion would probably clean up the emissions enough to pass Kalifornia smog, but it's not Kalifornia Air Resource Board legal!!! graemlins/crazy.gif

[ 11-29-2001: Message edited by: Mojo ]</p>

aeronca65t
11-29-2001, 06:41 PM
I had similar problems with my 1500 Midget engine (same as 1500 Spit). The Zenith carb on mine had an auto-choke that wasn't working right. After fixing that, it still didn't pass, so I fitted a single HS-4 (from a twin carb MGB). The carb fits right on if you slot the mounting holes about 1/8 inch (with a round file). Very easy manual choke carb with lots of needles available (you have to adjust it quite a bit leaner for this application). Passed NJ inspection, but barely.
The following year it failed again....this time I removed one of the screw-in plugs in the manifold (some sort of an unused vacuum tap, I think). I drilled and tapped the plug and scewed in a bolt with a slot filed in it....this worked as an "adjusable vacuum leak" that I could use to lean out the engine (naturally, I plugged it after inspection).Not a real simple solution, but it did work.

triumphant
12-07-2001, 01:10 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Mojo:
I've decided to try one more thing before sending it off to a local guy who says he can "try to get it done for under $500, but not promising anything..."

I found a manifold with a single SU that I'm going to try to put on and slide by the smog nazis. The guy I take it to has no idea that that carb was never on the Kalifornia model. It's a shame, a DGV conversion would probably clean up the emissions enough to pass Kalifornia smog, but it's not Kalifornia Air Resource Board legal!!! graemlins/crazy.gif

[ 11-29-2001: Message edited by: Mojo ]<hr></blockquote>


Heck, if you can get it to pass with the SU, I'd just leave the SU on. Probably get better perfomance with the SU anyway! I mean, I know that a lot of people switch to SUs for iproved performance (or Webbers).

Larry

PS: Be sure to give us an update!

aerog
12-07-2001, 03:23 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Mojo:
I've decided to try one more thing before sending it off to a local guy who says he can "try to get it done for under $500, but not promising anything..."

I found a manifold with a single SU that I'm going to try to put on and slide by the smog nazis. The guy I take it to has no idea that that carb was never on the Kalifornia model. It's a shame, a DGV conversion would probably clean up the emissions enough to pass Kalifornia smog, but it's not Kalifornia Air Resource Board legal!!! graemlins/crazy.gif

[ 11-29-2001: Message edited by: Mojo ]<hr></blockquote>

All part of the reason I moved where I did. The month I left Virginia they announced that the new rules would require us to surrender our vehicles to the "testing station" (for years that was the corner gas station) and they would run the car on a treadmill.

For some reason not having to even take the car to a yearly inspection station now doesn't seem to bother me. Go figure. images/icons/smile.gif

aeronca65t
12-08-2001, 04:19 AM
NJ started requiring cars to be tested on emissions dynos (at a state run inpections station) a few years ago. The MG squeaked through mostly (I think) because the guy operating the machine was a student in one of my night classes. Once on the dyno was enough for me....the following year, I registered the car with "antique plates". No state inspection required and insurance (with collision) is only about $100. The downside is a max allowed drive of 2000 miles per year (but truthfully, that's about all I do in the MG anyway). The "antique plate" law is a wonderful thing , brought mostly about by the NJ hot-rod groups (but it helps all of us who have our "toys"). I think some other "inspection" states have introduced this idea....which is decent compromise (but for the record, it would be nice to have no emissions inspection on any of my cars)

aeronca65t
12-08-2001, 04:21 AM
NJ started requiring cars to be tested on emissions dynos (at a state run inpections station) a few years ago. The MG squeaked through mostly (I think) because the guy operating the machine was a student in one of my night classes. Once on the dyno was enough for me....the following year, I registered the car with "antique plates". No state inspection required and insurance (with collision) is only about $100. The downside is a max allowed drive of 2000 miles per year (but truthfully, that's about all I do in the MG anyway). The "antique plate" law is a wonderful thing , brought mostly about by the NJ hot-rod groups (but it helps all of us who have our "toys"). I think some other "inspection" states have introduced this idea....which is decent compromise (but for the record, it would be nice to have no emissions inspection on any of my cars)

aerog
12-13-2001, 03:03 PM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by aeronca65t:
NJ started requiring cars to be tested on emissions dynos (at a state run inpections station) a few years ago. The MG squeaked through mostly (I think) because the guy operating the machine was a student in one of my night classes. Once on the dyno was enough for me....the following year, I registered the car with "antique plates". No state inspection required and insurance (with collision) is only about $100. The downside is a max allowed drive of 2000 miles per year (but truthfully, that's about all I do in the MG anyway). The "antique plate" law is a wonderful thing , brought mostly about by the NJ hot-rod groups (but it helps all of us who have our "toys"). I think some other "inspection" states have introduced this idea....which is decent compromise (but for the record, it would be nice to have no emissions inspection on any of my cars)<hr></blockquote>

I think they need to be somewhat tollerable of "antique" cars in general. I remember a few years ago several politicians were lobbying to absolutely BAN older cars. At the time they were looking at the 1980 time-frame as a cut off. Old cars are bad, you see.

I never had the pleasure of seeing my car on the dyno - hopefully never will. The newspaper, radio, and TV reports of cars flying off them (remember, NOBODY used them in our state before) when Maryland instituted the dyno-test was enough for me.

aeronca65t
12-14-2001, 08:57 AM
I agree that the emissions dynos (as used her for state inspection) are a little creepy...they use wheel chocks on the non-powered wheels but that's it (no chains, etc.).....if the dyno bearings failed or suddenly changed resistance, it would be all over for anyone standing in front of the car. BTW, One of our family sedans is a new Impreza 2.5 RS (think WRX without the turbo). They won't be able to test it (when it becomes due) because of the full-time 4WD (but it still get the tailpipe sniffer).
Also: there's a federal govenment effort to replace local emissions testing with a universal test that would link to the car's ALDL (diagnotic) port. Modern cars already record any "violations" of the emissions system (and of course, modern cars already have a built emissions sniffer system to control the fuel injection, etc). This was part of the post-ODB II regulations. The plan is: Once a year, you go down to your local motor vehicle office, they plug you in and they can tell if you're been "naughty or nice". Frankly, this doesn't really bother me, as long as they leave the old cars alone.
Related emissions story: the Spridget was idling in my driveway a few summers ago (still wearing it's original Zenith carb). I knew it was running too rich or lean or something, but I couldn't get it to "adjust out". Downwind of the driveway, about 30 feet away is the (open) window to my living room. All of a sudden, I hear this beeping sound. The Spridget had set off the Carbon Monoxide Alarm in my living room!

Ron
12-14-2001, 11:45 AM
Anybody wreak of exhaust after taking their Spit out for a run? all of my Spits had this condition. Especially when just pulling up to a start, a waft of fumes comes into the cockpit. Probably due to the square back rear causing a swirling effect. I'm sure this must be why Spits have quite the back draft when on the highway.

Ron

'78 Spit