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#2269932 - 05/24/11 04:42 PM Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready
Jonnie_CA Offline


Registered: 05/24/11
Posts: 4
Loc: California
I have a 1999 Accord and has about 162K miles on it. The check engine light came on sometime back but have been driving it for few months since I don't have a job and money to fix it and was hoping to get some assistance from California program for cars which fail smog test. However that program is on hold now for a few months and California is not providing any assistance.

Last week with some help I was able to identify the Check engine light code as P0420 and reset it. After driving for few miles I checked with OBDII reader and found that monitoring test for Catalyst, Evaporative System, O2 Sensor and EGR have not been completed.

I continued to drive for a week in various driving conditions and I checked today, only Catalyst monitor is not completed. Remaining seven monitors are all completed.

I have not taken my car to the SMOG check station yet. Do you think it will pass the test with all monitors ready except Catalyst? If not how many more miles do I need to drive for the Catalyst monitor to be set to ready. I fear as soon as Catalyst monitor is ready it will also set the P0420 code. Any pointers?

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#2269937 - 05/24/11 04:46 PM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
trooper001 Offline


Registered: 04/14/11
Posts: 130
Loc: California
http://forum.mpvclub.com/viewtopic.php?t...ea5ccef171414d2

If I remember correctly, after 40-50 miles, the P0420 code comes back on after reseting it. Check the link. It's a work around and will keep the P0420 code from coming back.


Edited by trooper001 (05/24/11 04:50 PM)

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#2270013 - 05/24/11 06:46 PM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 24221
Loc: ME
You should be able to find the rules online. My state allows three incomplete monitors for 96-99, and two for 2000+.

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#2270047 - 05/24/11 07:34 PM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: eljefino]
Jonnie_CA Offline


Registered: 05/24/11
Posts: 4
Loc: California
I am in California. I have been getting mixed information from various sources. The information that I am getting are:

1) Since I have a pre 2000 model, two monitors can be 'NOT READY' but CATALYST should NOT be one of them.

2) The state of California changed the rules and now only one monitor need not be ready to pass the SMOG test.

3) If I have failed the test earlier, only then I need to have CATALYST monitor Ready otherwise I can have up to 2 Monitors not ready and still pass the test.

I check CA government websites to get exact information but I didn't find any. I just don't want to be in a situation that I drive to SMOG station only to find that I fail SMOG due to Catalyst monitor not ready and that I have to get my Catalyst replaced before my car can be re-tested.

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#2270050 - 05/24/11 07:37 PM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: trooper001]
Jonnie_CA Offline


Registered: 05/24/11
Posts: 4
Loc: California
So far the code has not come back again. I have driven 6-8 cycles with various driving conditions (speed, distance, pre and post drive idling etc).

Thanks for the link but I am not in a situation where I can spend $100 or so to 'fix' it using any part/parts.

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#2270235 - 05/24/11 11:39 PM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
goodtimes Offline


Registered: 12/08/10
Posts: 311
Loc: california
I wasn't aware they checked for anything except if the cel is on. Even if the test is clean on smog, cel on is a fail. Try one of the pass or don't pay,(if they stilll exist) as long as the cel is off, you may be ok.

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#2270331 - 05/25/11 07:08 AM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
Vikas Offline


Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 8267
Loc: NorthEast
#3 is the correct option. For 1999 model you are allowed up to 2 NOT READY.

If you fail with not enough monitors ready, then you need the CAT ready on your subsequent visit.

This is how it is in almost all the states that follow EPA guidelines. I believe CA is the same.

This is how I have passed Mass inspection few times i.e. catch it just before the light comes on!

Somewhere, I recall posting the official rules on this forum but it is too painful to search and find it.

- Vikas

P.S. If you take it on the freeway and drive it at constant 55 mph for couple of minutes and then let it coast, your WILL get the light back.


Edited by Vikas (05/25/11 07:10 AM)

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#2271180 - 05/26/11 02:41 AM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
Jonnie_CA Offline


Registered: 05/24/11
Posts: 4
Loc: California
Just wanted to thank trooper001, eljefino, goodtimes and Vikas bhai for providing information and also wanted to keep you all and others who might find this updated information relevant in the future.

I took my vehicle to Smog check station (not 'SMOG ONLY') here in California and it passed.

I had a cold start this afternoon after the car had been sitting for about 15 hours. I kept the car in the idle running at about 1000 rpm for about 5 minutes, then drove on the city streets for about 2 miles at about 30-45 mph and a couple of stops at red, then got on the freeway and drove for 6 miles at about 50-55 mph and finally the last leg of a mile after taking the exit to the Smog station at about 35 mph. I kept the engine running waiting for my turn while also keeping my laptop plugged in (USB and OBDII) with the software to monitor OBDII codes running to make sure the car doesn't throw any code while I wait for my turn.

After about 15 minutes I pulled up the car to the computer and dynamometer and the test was conducted completing in about 15 minutes without any issue with the Catalyst monitor not ready.

Only the HC PPM at 15 mph was very close to max allowable other than that all other readings were way below max allowable.

Comprehensive Visual Inspection: Pass
Functional Check: Pass
Emission Test: Pass

My Conclusion: How the car can pass CA Smog test in the following situation.
1) Original P0420 code was erased immediately prompting all monitors to be reset to 'Not Ready'.
2) The vehicle is of the model 1996-2000.
3) The car was not identified as a vehicle requiring new catalytic convertor (even though the original P0420 code was reset sometime last week).
4) The car was regularly monitored using OBDII - USB cable connected to my laptop with the monitoring software to ensure all monitors are set to ready.
5) Even after 10 drive cycles of various driving conditions the Catalyst monitor remained 'Not Ready'
6) Remaining monitors were set to ready.

Conclusion statement: A vehicle having any one monitor not set to ready, manufactured between 1996-2000, having no failures in tail emission test or visual inspection test can potentially pass CA Smog test.


Moderators, please update it to have the 'keywords' so that this thread shows up on Google.

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#2271253 - 05/26/11 07:16 AM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
Vikas Offline


Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 8267
Loc: NorthEast
I am actually somewhat disappointed that HC PPM was close to max allowable. You might need to look at your other parameters on the scanner. For example, your LT and ST fuel trims. Your primary O2 sensor might be getting weak or you might have air leak in the intake. How many miles on your NGK Laser Platinum/Irridium plugs?

Even with a gutted cat converter, on a good running and in tune engine, HC will not be problem but could have issues with the nitric and CO readings.

Given that you have the USB scanner, store some live data and we will analyze it later. Does the scanner support Mode 6 (also called O2 tests)? If so, we can look those numbers. I might have the decoder ring for 1999 Honda models saved somewhere. This tells us the margins on the tests that car is passing. At your mileage, EGR port cleaning on that model might be warranted.

- Vikas


Edited by Vikas (05/26/11 07:18 AM)

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#2271261 - 05/26/11 07:24 AM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 24221
Loc: ME
Now you just have to worry that other cars like yours don't start failing right and left, or you might get hauled in out of the blue for fitting the gross polluter profile. cheers

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#2271625 - 05/26/11 03:13 PM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
goodtimes Offline


Registered: 12/08/10
Posts: 311
Loc: california
They only need to see the CEL is on or off, with their eyeballs.
Pass is pass, no need to worry for two years, congratulations.

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#2271629 - 05/26/11 03:18 PM Re: Can I pass CA Smog with Catalyst monitor not ready [Re: Jonnie_CA]
Vikas Offline


Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 8267
Loc: NorthEast
I thought they connected the scanner to verify the IM Readiness status.

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