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Thread: Engine Swap Legalities

  1. #1
    Power Wheel Racer
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    Default Engine Swap Legalities

    So correct if im wrong but this is what i understand about swapping a motor in a different car.

    -If the motor swapped into a new car does NOT have the papers, it is still considered part of the old car, and if the old car gets stolen that motor (which is still attached to the old car) the will be considered stolen. Than the new car the motor is in can be taken by authorities for being stolen.

    -Engine bought from legit dealers (ex. HMO, Tigerjapanese, junkyards) Should be restamped or come with the proper papers of owenership ?

    - What you cant prove is NOT stolen will be considered stolen by authorities. ex) JDM motors and trannys without serials. So even though you cant track them because they are JDM is it possible to still be stolen goods since you dont have the proper papers ? Or how do you get around this technicality ?

    - A bill of sale is NOT considered papers ? It is merely a document stating a transaction, not really releasing guilt of possessing a stolen motor. Correct me if im wrong on this one.

    - Even though a motor MAY pass VIN inspection upon registering, that does not really count as papers am I correct ? Because the motor may not be dirty at the time of registering but since it was never officially detached from the old car it is still at risk.

    This is what i understand so far about the whole swap thing, please correct if im wrong or if im missing something. Im trying to understand to the whole thing so I cant get bent over in anyway.

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    Sportsman Racer psychobear's Avatar
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    One more thing that might help you out is that if you have a out of state car that needs to be inspected by the DMV and you have a JDM motor in it it will not pass inspection, even if you pass emissions it won't pass inspection and you will need to put back a motor of that year or newer, also you must put all the emissions stuff from that year of the motor.

    So lets say you have a 95 civic with out of state registration with a jdm swap, you need to go find a motor from a 95+ newer USDM civic with all the **** stuff and take it back to pass.

    When you go to the DMV the only thing they check is the engine code I never had them check the serial number to see if the engine goes to the car.

    But to answer your question you are just better of calling viper and asking them.
    I'm so JDM that my car is LHD!!!

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    i bought my integra from utah and i had to get a vin inspection. The dmv vin inspection is a big joke they dont pop your hood at all (atleast not for me) no questions even asked. All they did is scan the bar code and check the dash vin to the title. They didnt even check the vin under the hood.

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    Pro Championship Racer TREVTEC's Avatar
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    Replacing an engine in cars from the 90s is becoming very common. JDM motors are legal as long as you use the USDM intake manifold, exhaust manifold and all the emmission equipment they came with here.
    TrevTec Motorsports 702-838-9199

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    Sportsman Racer psychobear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TREVTEC View Post
    Replacing an engine in cars from the 90s is becoming very common. JDM motors are legal as long as you use the USDM intake manifold, exhaust manifold and all the emmission equipment they came with here.
    I just recently dealt with the DMV about this...I had a D15B block with the rest of the USDM emission equipment. Somebody reported my car saying that I and a JDM motor and to bring my car in for inspection, When they check that motor stamp I AUTOMATICALLY failed and they will lift your registration until you fix the problem
    I was told that D15B motors are illegal and that I had to replace it due to the fact that it was JDM, They gave me a list of all the USDM motors that i could put in the car but it had to have all proper equipment, Lucky me I found somebody selling a D15B7 (DX LX USDM motor) and passed inspection. These DMV techs are getting more knowledgeable as of lately.
    I'm so JDM that my car is LHD!!!

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    Pro Championship Racer TREVTEC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychobear View Post
    I just recently dealt with the DMV about this...I had a D15B block with the rest of the USDM emission equipment. Somebody reported my car saying that I and a JDM motor and to bring my car in for inspection, When they check that motor stamp I AUTOMATICALLY failed and they will lift your registration until you fix the problem
    I was told that D15B motors are illegal and that I had to replace it due to the fact that it was JDM, They gave me a list of all the USDM motors that i could put in the car but it had to have all proper equipment, Lucky me I found somebody selling a D15B7 (DX LX USDM motor) and passed inspection. These DMV techs are getting more knowledgeable as of lately.
    Why would someone turn you in for having a JDM motor?? You guys HAVE to be lying about this ****.
    TrevTec Motorsports 702-838-9199

    4G63+Mirage+AWD= Fun

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    Sportsman Racer psychobear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TREVTEC View Post
    Why would someone turn you in for having a JDM motor?? You guys HAVE to be lying about this ****.
    Nope I'm not I was gonna sell my car to some kid and he couldn't come up with the money so I told him that I was just going to keep it, a week later I got a letter in the mail saying that I needed to bring my car in for inspection, when I went to the DMV so they can check it the tech told me that somebody reported my car for illegal modifications "JDM Motor" and that my car was smoking.
    I'm so JDM that my car is LHD!!!

  8. #8
    LVRS Sponsor NikitaD's Avatar
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    There is plenty of misconceptions in the original post - I'll need to address them, so people do not think that's actually how it is.
    No time to write right now, I'll be back.
    Also - DMV seems very inconsistent with their requirements, from the stories I heard, some people get through, and some don't.

  9. #9
    LVRS Sponsor Hondoctors's Avatar
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    I have a customer that I just did a B18C swap from HMotors in to an EG, and he went to the DMV, and the DMV told him: "Since this engine is JDM, there is absolutely no way you can register this car, even if it passes NV emissions test. You must swap in a USDM engine, same year or newer, with all emissions controls in place."

    JDM motors are a No, according to DMV in Las Vegas. I think with time, this rule will change, probably will be similar to the State of CA Bar Inspection. But for now, JDM Engines are NOT LEGAL in NV.

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    Sportsman Racer jdmciviceg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TREVTEC View Post
    Replacing an engine in cars from the 90s is becoming very common. JDM motors are legal as long as you use the USDM intake manifold, exhaust manifold and all the emmission equipment they came with here.

    definetley not true. it doesnt matter what you change the fact that you have a jdm motor in your car is completeley illegal because those engines were never meant for highway driving according to the dmv inspectors. i know this because i went to go take my g1 **** license and they harrassed me and automatically started checking my civic eg hatch. they saw that i had no cats and audited me rite then and there. there biggest consern was that my engine wasnt jdm. after they pooped my hood and saw that it wasnt they lifted the audit off my vin.

    and they absolutley hate 240 nissans have the worst rep with these guys since they all go sr20 motors the dmv has caught on to this and so they audit these cars the most.

    but still i would rather have a jdm motor in my car then a usdm just because to my knollegde
    if the car that eng originally came from becomes stolen and they remove whatever engine is in that car at the time and they are not aware of the new engine. then the engine you have bought legally with a bill of sale is now considered a stolen eng. and you will have a felony on your record and if you even say that you work on your own car then they will hit you with chopshop feloney viper is a joke that is not here to help people but to **** people. even you have correct paperwork signed and notarized you will still go to jail and get ****ed that bill of sale is only good in court but it still does not prove you did not steal it
    and thats the way the system is....

  11. #11
    Sportsman Racer psychobear's Avatar
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    A way to avoid the whole DMV inspection and run a JDM motor is to NEVER buy an out of state car with a JDM swap, they're is a good chance that the owner took the car to the DMV for out of state inspection and automatically failed due to a JDM motor, now if he sells it it's not his problem and when the new owner has to take the car in with an out of state title and a JDM motor he fails, then you will be stuck with a useless car until you change that motor to a USDM one, Same goes for out of state shells and people putting in JDM motors.

    Another way out of this is to buy a car with a Nevada title already, they don't check the engine when you register it as long as that car passes somg, but be careful that nobody calls the DMV and reports you,

    So here is what I do to run a JDM Swap
    Never buy an out of state car with a JDM Swap
    Never put a JDM Swap in an out of state shell
    If you do get and out of state car make sure it has a USDM motor take it to the DMV pass inspection get a Nevada title then swap out and drop engine of your choice, The DMV won't hunt you down after that car is registered here in Nevada
    And be careful who knows what kind of engine you have, Haters are a dime a dozen and some will report you to the DMV, like they did to me.
    Always keep your paper work for what ever engine/tranny you purchased. It might not mean jack sh1t to viper but in the end the judge is the one who calls the shots and if you purchased that engine fair an square then the judge will see that and over turn the case.
    I'm so JDM that my car is LHD!!!

  12. #12
    Pro Championship Racer TREVTEC's Avatar
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    Lets see if anyone can pull up the law about imported engines???
    TrevTec Motorsports 702-838-9199

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    Sportsman Racer psychobear's Avatar
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    It's a federal law enforced by the EPA, this is what I found...


    Pursuant to frequent requests for information received by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    (EPA) regarding the legality and effects of engine switching, this document will summarize federal law
    and policy pertaining to this matter, and will discuss other related issues.
    A. Federal Law
    The federal tampering prohibition is contained in section 203(a)(3) of the Clean Air Act (Act), 42
    U.S.C. 7522(a)(3). Section 203(a)(3)(A) of the Act prohibits any person from removing or rendering
    inoperative any emission control device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor
    vehicle engine prior to its sale and delivery to an ultimate purchaser and prohibits any person from
    knowingly removing or rendering inoperative any such device or element of design after such sale and
    delivery, and the causing thereof. The maximum civil penalty for a violation of this section by a
    manufacturer or dealer is $25,000; for any other person, $2,500. Section 203(a)(3)( of the Act
    prohibits any person from manufacturing or selling, or offering to sell, or installing, any part or
    component intended for use with, or as part of, any motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine where a
    principal effect of the part or component is to bypass, defeat, or render inoperative any device or
    element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine, and where the person
    knows or should know that such part or component is being offered for sale or is being installed for
    such use. The maximum civil penalty for a violation of this section is $2,500.
    EPA received many questions regarding the application of this law to a situation where one engine is
    removed from a vehicle and another engine is installed in its place. EPA's policy regarding "engine
    switching" is covered under the provisions of Mobile Source Enforcement Memorandum No. lA
    (Attachment 1). This policy states that EPA will not consider any modification to a "certified
    configuration" to be a violation of federal law if there is a reasonable basis for knowing that emissions
    are not adversely affected. In many cases, proper emission testing according to the Federal Test
    Procedure would be necessary to make this determination.
    2
    A "certified configuration" is an engine or engine chassis design which has been "certified" (approved)
    by EPA prior to the production of vehicles with that design. Generally, the manufacturer submits an
    application for certification of the designs of each engine or vehicle it proposes to manufacture prior to
    production. The application includes design requirements for all emission related parts, engine
    calibrations, and other design parameters for each different type of engine (in heavy-duty vehicles), or
    engine chassis combination (in light-duty vehicles). EPA then "certifies" each acceptable design for use,
    in vehicles of the upcoming model year.
    For light-duty vehicles, installation of a light-duty eng~ne into a different light-duty vehicle by any
    person would be considered tampering unless the resulting vehicle is identical (with regard to all
    emission related parts, engine design parameters, and engine calibrations) to a certified configuration of
    the same or newer model year as the vehicle chassis, or if there is a reasonable basis for knowing that
    emissions are not adversely affected as described in Memo 1A. The appropriate source for technical
    information regarding the certified configuration of a vehicle of a particular model year is the vehicle
    manufacturer.
    For heavy-duty vehicles, the resulting vehicle must contain a heavy-duty engine which is identical to a
    certified configura- tion of a heavy-duty engine of the same model year or newer as the year of the
    installed engine. Under no circumstances, however, may a heavy-duty engine ever be installed in a
    light-duty vehicle.
    The most common engine replacement involves replacing a gasoline engine in a light-duty vehicle with
    another gasoline engine. Another type of engine switching which commonly occurs, however, involves
    diesel powered vehicles where the diesel engine is removed and replaced with a gasoline engine.
    Applying the above policy, such a replacement is legal only if the resulting engine-chassis configuration
    is equivalent to a certified configuration of the same model year or newer as the chassis. If the vehicle
    chassis in question has been certified with gasoline, as well as diesel engines(as is common), such a
    conversion could be done legally.
    Another situation recently brought to EPA's attention involves the offering for sale of used foreign-built
    engines. These engines are often not covered by a certified configuration for any vehicle sold in this
    country. In such a case, there is no way to install such an engine legally. EPA has recently brought
    enforcement actions against certain parties who have violated the tampering prohibition by performing
    illegal engine switches.
    It should be noted that while EPA's policy allows engine switches as long as the resulting vehicle
    matches exactly to anv certified configuration of the same or newer model year as the chassis, there are
    some substantial practical limitations to performing such a replacement. Vehicle chassis and engine
    designs of one vehicle manufacturer are very distinct from those of another, such that it is generally not
    possible to put an engine into a chassis of a different manufacturer and have it match up to a certified
    3
    configuration. Therefore, practical considerations will generally limit engine switches to installation of
    another engine which was certified to be used in that same make and model (or a "twin" of that make
    and model, e.g., Pontiac Grand Am and Oldsmobile Calais). In addition, converting a vehicle into a
    different certified configuration is likely to be very difficult, and the cost may prove prohibitive.
    B. State Laws
    Many states also have statutes or regulations prohibiting tampering in general. Most of these laws
    specifically prohibit tampering by individuals. A few specifically prohibit engine switching, using
    provisions similar to those stated in EPA's policy. To determine the state law in any given state, the
    state's Attorney General's office should be contacted. In addition, many states have state or local
    antitampering inspection programs which require a periodic inspection of vehicles in that area, to
    determine the integrity of emission control systems. Many programs have established policies for
    vehicles which have been engine switched. While EPA does not require these programs to fail engine
    switched vehicles which are not in compliance with federal policy, the Agency does strongly
    recommend that these programs set their requirements so as to be consistent with the federal law. State
    or local programs which pass illegally engine switched vehicles may mislead federally regulated parties
    into believing that engine switching is allowed by federal law.
    I'm so JDM that my car is LHD!!!

  14. #14
    Modified Racer TAG PERFORMANCE's Avatar
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    those who know that you should keep a good stock usdm motor for emission purposes also know they can have a jdm motor but will have to swap it out when it's time to get new tags, **** inspection etc...
    Low Book Sales
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  15. #15
    Pro Championship Racer TREVTEC's Avatar
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    "For light-duty vehicles, installation of a light-duty eng~ne into a different light-duty vehicle by any
    person would be considered tampering UNLESS the resulting vehicle is identical (with regard to all
    emission related parts, engine design parameters, and engine calibrations) to a certified configuration of
    the same or newer model year as the vehicle chassis, or if there is a reasonable basis for knowing that
    emissions are not adversely affected as described in Memo 1A"

    Like I said, If you use an engine, its the same years or newer, and use all the US emissions components, its legal.
    TrevTec Motorsports 702-838-9199

    4G63+Mirage+AWD= Fun

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