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California requires a visual inspection and an actual test to pass smog. I have the smog gear still (although it is currently removed), but would like to keep my car in a state to where I could still possibly pass smog by throwing my old 32/36 back on come smog time.

I am a novice when it comes to smog abatement, but would a car running larger manifolds, hotter cam, new exhaust, but with the smog equipment attached with a weak jetted 32/36 still be able to pass a CA smog check? How tough is it to differentiate a larger ported manifold vs a stock one? The visual inspector is looking at the carb, air filter and smog equipment (EGR, return hose, etc.) which could all be hooked up in a day fairly easily I imagine. 


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The inspector is not going to remove the manifold to check the ports, or remove the valve cover to check the lift on your camshaft, nor will he remove the cylinder head to see if you have larger valves or high compression pistons.  They WILL inspect to see that you have the correct carburetor (or a CARB/EPA certified replacement)  that ALL of the proper hoses are connected and ALL of the valves, pumps etc are in place.  They MAY check to see if the EGR valve is working,  they MIGHT pull a hose off the air pump and make sure it is actually working ( many years ago I thought about removing the impellors from inside the pump and just spinning the shaft with the belt just for the visual inspection).  They WILL look to see if it has the proper exhaust manifold (or CARB/EPA certified replacement).  They will THEN do a sniff test. 


So the quick answer is a properly running engine without much blow by can probably be tuned to pass the sniff test if you have not gone to far with camshaft overlap.  If you have all of the SMOG equipment installed and working correctly you can most likely pass but you will need to do some testing to get your fuel mixture and ignition timing adjusted to get it to pass. 

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You must have a 76 in California.  Most smog station people are unfamiliar with these cars  so visual may not be that difficult. The smog sticker on the drivers side fender shows all the systems that are to be in place such as an air pump, Exhaust Gas Recovery  and if it was sold as a California car then the dreaded thermal reactor exhaust manifold. The 32/36 wasn't stock, but could be made legal by an aftermarket kit.  Passing with higher compression  and certainly a hotter cam would be difficult in my opinion. You may pass visual but not achieve the pollution  limits for the idle and 2,500 rpm tailpipe test.  Those emission standards in 1976 were certainly less than today , but you would likely have too high a hydrocarbon and NOX counts coming out of a modified engine

Find a station that is pass or don't pay for a trial


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The visual inspection seems to be hit or miss, some stations are super strict (must have OEM air filter and Summer/Winter Box connected), others hook it up and let the machine decide.  It would be significantly easier to pass a visual inspection with a 1976 49 State car, No thermal reactor or EGR, still need an Air Pump.  Does your car still have the smog diagram on the driver's side next to the brake fluid master bracket?  You could scrape it off and put on a 76 49 State one, re-install your appropriate smog equipment, lean out your carb and pray.





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A 49 state allows higher emissions so that helps

Not all of California has the same testing requirements  Testing is determined by the Air Basin   such as the desert areas in Southern California and rural areas in Northern California Check out the California Air Resources Board to get the details

If you have a friend or relative in one of those rural areas consider registering the car there.


PS There are discussions about this   just do a search of this forum to get more information

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