Top mounts in CA

TheGoose

Lurker
May 5, 2018
23
Have talked to a few people who run bottom mount kits in CA. Wondering if anyone is running a top mount single turbo kit in CA and how it’s going for them with smog? Not as much worried about the visual. I know in other states you can get a top mount single kit to pass smog but CA is a bit more strict. Looking for some insight before I take the plunge and figure it out myself.
 

buster84

Corporal
Mar 24, 2018
240
Move to a better state. I was born in CA, moved to FL in 2015 and I'll never go back. My life has improved and its 100% better than in CA (my personal preference everyone else will vary), but I can do anything I want to my car (no smog) plus the cost of living, lower taxes and everything have made it to where I'll never go back to CA especially with there new political directions these days.
 

TheGoose

Lurker
May 5, 2018
23
Thanks everyone for the replies, Unfortunately registering the car out of state won't work for me. Moving is for sure a thought hahah. Thinking I'm just gonna go for it and see what happens. At the worst case I'll go pickup a stock motor and have it sit on a stand for every day out of the year, unless I get sent to a referee or can't pass smog.
 

buster84

Corporal
Mar 24, 2018
240
Thanks everyone for the replies, Unfortunately registering the car out of state won't work for me. Moving is for sure a thought hahah. Thinking I'm just gonna go for it and see what happens. At the worst case I'll go pickup a stock motor and have it sit on a stand for every day out of the year, unless I get sent to a referee or can't pass smog.
Trust me you don't want to go to the referee that shit can be hell if you dont get someone cool. Why not just go to VTT in the bay area and check out his shop and look twin turbos? I'm not sure what other vendors are also in CA, but vtt definitely is and they always say to come see the shop and turbos in person, so seeing that your local it wouldn't hurt to take a peek. I have the GC turbos and I love the low end torque. If I was in California I would have definitely gone with twins. Dealing with smog on a single isn't worth the trouble.
 

Seaneezy

Corporal
Mar 12, 2018
123
Couldn't you swap back in the oem turbos if you kept the parts to pass smog then reinstall the ST? Smog checks are good for 2 years in CA.
 

buster84

Corporal
Mar 24, 2018
240
Couldn't you swap back in the oem turbos if you kept the parts to pass smog then reinstall the ST? Smog checks are good for 2 years in CA.
You could but if you get pulled over by a cop that knows cars (which a lot of cops do these days) then all he has to do is ask for you to pop your hood then if he sees something that looks out of place with no carb number listed on it then he will send you to the referee and then you get only one chance to pass because from what i remember if you fail the referee it becomes a smog every year on that vin.

There no car out there that has a top mount turbo setup stock and in CA it's illegal to remove any working parts before the cats. So unless the turbos blew and were replaced with OEM only parts it's not a legal replacement. The best option for the OP is to stick with twins. Ones that look OEM are the best. Like vtt stage 2, pure ect....
 

GotPwned

Lurker
Apr 3, 2018
21
What about a bottom mount single with passenger side relocation inlets? I believe this will help more than having a huge single sticking out in the engine bay
 

buster84

Corporal
Mar 24, 2018
240
What about a bottom mount single with passenger side relocation inlets? I believe this will help more than having a huge single sticking out in the engine bay
A single will help keep you safe when getting pulled over; However, it won't protect from a smart smog shop employee or roadside smog (CA does these random smogs looking for street racing cars). Once smog shop enters you vin they know everything about your car and if they see one turbo instead of two they can fail you or send you to a referee. In this scenario it all depends on the shop you get smogged at and hoping you dont run to a random smog checkpoint. Twins are still the best option for stealth without worry.
 

GotPwned

Lurker
Apr 3, 2018
21
Are these smog checkpoints a Bay Area thing because I have lived in Cali my whole life but have never seen a single checkpoint. Note that i lived in SF and moved out to Sac and now im down in LA for college. Still not checkpoints. Maybe im just lucky
 

buster84

Corporal
Mar 24, 2018
240
Are these smog checkpoints a Bay Area thing because I have lived in Cali my whole life but have never seen a single checkpoint. Note that i lived in SF and moved out to Sac and now im down in LA for college. Still not checkpoints. Maybe im just lucky
There all over, just extremely rare and I've never seen one on the highway. I used to live in Sacramento and the only time I ever saw one was near Arden mall at 2am about 12 years ago. They choose that area because there used to be street racing behind the area where Costco is at now. It used to be a lot of empty business streets. I'm not sure if people still go there or not. My guess is that these are in hot spots where street racing happens and probably all after midnight. DUI checkpoints are all over CA and I never once ran into one so it's all just random luck depending on where you drive and at what time.

I'm not sure the last time it's happened but I found this quick article on it from 2013. My guess is that CA is so cash strapped smog checkpoints might not even be happening anymore or the police have become very silent about them.

www.mercurynews.com/2013/05/10/surprise-bay-area-drivers-have-cars-examined-at-random-smog-checkpoints/amp/
 

TheGoose

Lurker
May 5, 2018
23
Couldn't you swap back in the oem turbos if you kept the parts to pass smog then reinstall the ST? Smog checks are good for 2 years in CA.
Thought of trying to find a bone stock motor I could keep on a stand ready to swap If things went south. Still weighing out all the options.
 

TheGoose

Lurker
May 5, 2018
23
You could but if you get pulled over by a cop that knows cars (which a lot of cops do these days) then all he has to do is ask for you to pop your hood then if he sees something that looks out of place with no carb number listed on it then he will send you to the referee and then you get only one chance to pass because from what i remember if you fail the referee it becomes a smog every year on that vin.

There no car out there that has a top mount turbo setup stock and in CA it's illegal to remove any working parts before the cats. So unless the turbos blew and were replaced with OEM only parts it's not a legal replacement. The best option for the OP is to stick with twins. Ones that look OEM are the best. Like vtt stage 2, pure ect....
Unfortunately for me they already know the car. I knew this wouldn't be easy if at all possible to do. Funny you mention a smog every year, For the first 3 years of owning it I had to get one every year... Now I have 2 years again, weird.
 

buster84

Corporal
Mar 24, 2018
240
Unfortunately for me they already know the car. I knew this wouldn't be easy if at all possible to do. Funny you mention a smog every year, For the first 3 years of owning it I had to get one every year... Now I have 2 years again, weird.
How to they know the car already? You went to a referee or the previous owner? I'm not sure how long the once a year smog lasts, but im guessing a fail would extend it so 3 good years of no issues seems like a good amount of time to show that its fixed to get you back on the 2 year schedule.
 

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