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'02 Boxster S Does Not Pass Emissions


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#1 jmatta

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 05:45 AM

My good friend's S did not pass emissions testing yesterday. This car ran perfectly well when placed into storage last fall. A can of "seafoam" was added to the fuel tank and a battery tender placed to take care of the charge. He took the car out and drove it for a hour or so, then headed to the testing station. The car did not pass, because the errors were two fold: 1. Secondary air system - not ready 2. Catalytic warmup - not ready. I plugged my code reader into his ECU and did not detect any fault codes. It appears the ECU simply isn't reading these sensors. My suggestion to him was to disconnect the battery for a minimum of five minutes, then take the car for another longer drive to "re-map" the ECU. Is this a reasonable assumption? Any expert advice would be appreciated.


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#2 Loren

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 06:16 AM

It could take as long as 1 week of driving for the OBD II system to sense that there are no errors after a fault fix or a reset. This is done so people can not cheat on their smog test and disconnect the battery (to clear codes) just prior to the smog test. Your friend likely just needs to drive the ca and then have it re-tested. If you know someone with a PST2 or PIWIS they can easily tell when the car is ready for smog testing.


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#3 jmatta

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 06:34 AM

Thanks for the response Loren...problem is the license tag has expired; however, if he carries the emissions testing papers with him, perhaps the police will understand if pulled over. This car only gets driven about 2500 miles a year, so again, this may be part of the problem. After the car failed the first time, he took it on the highway for a 50 miles round trip at reasonable speeds. Upon re-testing, the same "not ready" errors came up from the testor's computer.


Edited by jmatta, May 02, 2008 - 06:36 AM.

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#4 Loren

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 06:41 AM

Must be a state thing - here in California if you fail a smog test you are given 30 days to correct the problem and be re-tested. You get a sticker to put on your window signifying that.


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#5 jmatta

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 08:18 AM

Thanks again Loren...one question, though. Can you explain to me what "not ready" means, as opposed to a fault code showing system failure?


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#6 Loren

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 08:27 AM

It seems that OBD II requires that any fault codes (pending or actual) not be present for a certain number of "drive cycles" to produce a "ready" state. I do not know the number or formula. I do know that we have replaced an O2 sensor for someone that failed smog test and after the sensor was replaced and the fault cleared - the car did not reach a "ready" state for another 4-5 days. We checked each day.


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#7 jmatta

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 10:37 AM

Thanks again...one other possible problem source we've determined is that the car still has the original battery in it. Even though this is on a tender, perhaps the battery just can't hold enough charge and is causing these problems. I recommended my friend run over to Porsche and purchase a replacement battery to take that out of the equation (probably needs it anyway after 6 years). This weekend, weather permitting, he'll have some time to drive it through various cycles; we'll see what happens.


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#8 Loren

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 10:39 AM

Any good after market battery will work fine. The Porsche battery is at least 3 times the cost of an after market one. See the Battery's thread...


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#9 Tool Pants

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 02:05 PM

http://www.renntech....s...428&hl=smog

I am the California "expert" on this subject. My 1997 has had 5 inspections. First when it was sold in 1999 and every two years after. Loren helped me with one of the inspections.

My 1997 Box has 5 readiness monitors, some cars have more, like 11. When the car is ready for testing you see 5 smiles on the PST2. But.

The ****/Skylar CARB (California Air Resources Board) required that at least 5 be set. The Boxster only has 5. If they are not set then you do not fail, you are just not ready for the inspection.

The EPA forced CARB to reduce it to 4, then 3, because too many cars were not ready for inspection. At least for my year, but this may also be true for any other ODB II car. I needed at least 3 of the 5, and it can be any 3 or the 5.

Last year I was due for inspection #5, when you pay your registration fees to Arnold. If you do not pay on time you get a penalty fee added. The registration notice states that you must pay your registration fees on time to avoid the penalty, even if you do not have a smog inspection or insurance. Or, pay Arnold the tax money on your car, but you cannot drive it legally until you have insurance and smog.

When you pay your registration fees on time but do not have a smog inspection you get a notice from the DMV that your registration is incomplete, and that once Arnold has your smog inspection you get the sticker mailed to you within 30 days to put on your plate. But until then you have to apply to the DMV for a temporary operating permit.

Last year I got a ticket from CHP because I did not have the current sticker, because my car was not ready for smog, because all the readiness codes were not set. I had paid my registration fees on time and of course I had insurance, so he could not give me a ticket for not having an unregistered car or not having insurance. He gave me a ticket for not having the sticker.

Long story, and I will avoid the rest of the details.

Do not disconnect the battery or clear codes prior to an inspection as it will it will reinitiate the readiness monitor sequence and you have to start all over again with drive cycles in order to set the readiness codes.

For California people here is the site. http://smogcheck.ca.gov/

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#10 heyjae

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 02:58 PM

Last year I got a ticket from CHP because I did not have the current sticker, because my car was not ready for smog, because the readiness codes were not set. I had paid my registration fees on time and of course I had insurance, so he could not give me a ticket for not having an unregistered car or not having insurance. He gave me a ticket for not having the sticker.

I'm in that boat right now. Car is registered and it has insurance but no sticker. How much was the ticket?
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#11 jmatta

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 03:24 PM

Toolpants and Loren, If the car ran perfectly when put into storage, why would the monitors suddenly need to be reset? My friend already replaced the battery this afternoon, so I guess the ECU was reset and he starts over. I'll tell him not to be anxious to take it to the EPA station, because it will take time to get beyond the "not ready" state. My '02 S goes into winter hibernation each year, but I have not experienced this problem...luck of the draw?


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#12 Loren

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 03:29 PM

If the battery died (or was very low) then that likely reset the DME.


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#13 Tool Pants

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Posted May 02, 2008 - 10:08 PM

2 years before when inspection #4 was due I did the same thing. I paid the registration fees on time while I was waiting for my car to be ready for a smog inspection. Loren knows this because he was reading my readiness status codes. Then months went by. I got pulled over by a rookie CHP for not having a sticker. Local cops don't care because the money goes to Arnold. CHP wanted to know why I did not have the current sticker. Told him I was having problems with getting a smog inspection and showed him the DMV notice that stated I had paid my fees, but DMV was waiting for the smog before sending me the sticker. CHP did not know what to do, because I had paid my registration fees. Let me go and told me I had within 90 days after the registration fees were due to have the smog done. I was long past 90 days. The DMV notice does not state this. But the DMV notice does state that if payment has been made the vehicle is subject to impoundment or citation if the registration expires while you are trying to complete the registration by having the smog inspection. That is why, technically, you are supposed to get a temporary operating permit while you are waiting for the smog if your registration expires in the meantime. Last year when inspection #5 was due, same thing. I was pulled over by a motorcycle CHP officer this time. But this time CHP officer said I had 6 months to do the smog, and I was 2 months past that. I showed him the DMV notice and asked him why this was not on the DMV notice and he did not know. This guy wanted to cite me for something. I saw him on the radio and looking at the DMV book. Took him 30 minutes to figure out what ticket to write me up for, and it was for not displaying the sticker. I did not have the sticker because the car was not ready for smog, and you have to drive the car to get it ready for smog. I have a cronic problem with an oxygen sensor that had been replaced 4 times. I was also having problems with my battery. Had to disconnect it several times. Finally replaced the battery. Sometimes I had zero rediness codes set. My commute from home to to work is just 7 miles. I was in a catch-22 situation. You need drive cycles to see if the monitors will set. On my little drive cycles I was getting fault codes for an oxygen sensor, but that sensor had been replaced 4 times over the years. Sometimes I would get a check engine light. If I erased the fault codes and turned off the light then you have to start the drive cycles all over again. With the check engine light on you will fail the visual test. I do not know if you can pass with fault codes that have not triggered the check engine light. Plus I was playing around with the battery, which meant I had to start the drive cycles all over again. Plus I was clearing fault codes. He should have also cited me for no front plate.....but was so hung up on no sticker from a person who paid the registration fees and had insurance. This officer wrote down on the ticket "persistent neglect," and checked off the box on the ticket that it was not a fix-it ticket. He said if he caught me again he would impound the Boxster. Should have asked him why his motorcycle and CHP vehicles are exempt from registration and smog inspection laws. The courtesy notice from traffic court treated it as a fix it ticket. $10 dollars if I provided proof of correction, and $124.50 if I did not. Not worth my time to fight the ticket. That is about what it cost when I got a ticket for no front plate years earlier. I finally had the inspection done, got the sticker in the mail about a week or so later, and had a local police officer acquaintance sign off on the back of the ticket. Paid traffic court the $10 since I had proof of correction. 4 of the 5 codes were set at the time of the inspection. The smog inspection guy was correct when he told me prior to the test that I needed only 3 of the 5, and I confirmed that on the smogcheck website. For years the mechanics at the dealership told me I need to have all 5 set. All these years I paid my registration fees on time without the smog inspection because all 5 were not set, just to find out California phased out the requirement that 5 needed to be set. Funny thing is, this took so long that by the time I paid the $10 in 2008 I had received registration renewal notice for 2008. At least this time I did not need a smog inspection.... The amount of fines vary from county to county in California. As an example, my no front plate in Santa Cara County was $10 with proof of correction. Back then I think San Francisco County was charging $100 with proof of correction.


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#14 heyjae

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Posted May 03, 2008 - 02:00 PM

Geez. What a PITA. I'm about 60 days past my registration. I scoured the DMV website to see if there was anything that I could do in the situation and didn't find anything useful about what to do while the issue is being repaired, but it makes sense that a temporary operating permit is the way to go. I have 2 readiness codes left and my CEL's seem to be under control, so I'm hopeful mine will get done soon and won't bother with the temp permit.


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#15 cosorio

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Posted May 04, 2008 - 05:41 AM

Geez. What a PITA. I'm about 60 days past my registration. I scoured the DMV website to see if there was anything that I could do in the situation and didn't find anything useful about what to do while the issue is being repaired, but it makes sense that a temporary operating permit is the way to go. I have 2 readiness codes left and my CEL's seem to be under control, so I'm hopeful mine will get done soon and won't bother with the temp permit.


What type of info are you looking for? You mentioned that you're 60 days past your registration, but if you paid it you shouldn't incur any late fees. Did you test your car and failed? If so, and if you're a AAA member, just go in and ask for a temp permit. If you haven't tested it yet then they will only give you a 1 day operating permit.
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#16 Tool Pants

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Posted May 04, 2008 - 08:42 AM

For Heyjae. What state are you in? What year do you have? How many readiness codes are set? For Cosorio. I have never failed a test. I have a PST2 so I can check to see if the car is ready for smog. I knew, or thought I knew, I would not pass with just 3 or 4 of the monitors set. So I did not bother to try the test just to fail, otherwise I would have even a bigger headache. This is the smog **** California. For test #5 my registration notice said I had to go to a test only place. Since my 1997 is so old I can no longer go to a test and repair. My local Porsche dealership was test and repair, and that is who had done most of the prior inspections. I can no longer go to a Porsche dealership for a smog inspection as I had done in the years past. From now on I can only go to a corner test only place, where the inspector does not even know where my engine is. If I fail at a test only place then I have to go to a test and repair place to have the problem fixed. Then I have to go back to a test only place for a retest. I can't even go to my local dealership for anything. They no longer have a smog machine as the dealership had just been sold, and none of the Porsche mechaincs are smog certified. When my local dealership was recently sold Audi was split off from Porsche, and they are now at separate locations. The smog certified guy was an Audi mechanic, but he was not permitted to work on Porsches. Fortunately, there is a test only smog place a few miles from my office that I have used in the past. There is also a test and repair place accross the street from my office that I have used in the past but I can no longer go there, as I am now a test only for both vehicles. He now does the smogs on my old truck since it is a test only. After I got the ticket I brought the truck in for an inspection, and told him about the ticket and problems with the Boxster in getting the 5 readiness codes set. He was the one who told me I only needed 3. As I said, at first I did not believe him because the mechanics always told me 5. But when I went on the smogcheck site I was able to confirm the EPA forced California to reduce it to 4 and then to 3. So I brought him the Boxster. Outside the shop I checked my car with the PST2 and only 4 were set. Then he hooked the Boxster up to his machine and it too said I only had 4 set. This is a picture of his smog machine. So I told him to do the test. I was a little concerned when he asked me to remove the engine lid. When I asked him why, it was because he needed to see the emission sticker. No problem, it is under the rear trunk lid. My next smog test #6 is due in 10 months. My last smog test was done 5 months ago. But this time I may have something under my sleeve....

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#17 geoff

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Posted May 04, 2008 - 02:12 PM

...My smog test #6 is due in 10 months. This time I will have something under my sleeve....

Jeff, you are lucky your Boxster is a '97. Yesterday I took our '93 Lexus to get smogged so I could trade it to a friend. '96 and earlier cars now need an inspection of the evaporative controls. No more $29 smog checks, and they charge additional for the evaporative checks. Technically they're supposed to pump the system full of nitrogen and check for leaks. Some kid poked around under the hood with long-nose pliers for 10 minutes, then the tech said enough and just said I should be happy he passed me. I think the trick is to go to the cheapest place possible where it's not worth their time to pick nits. I'm afraid my '88 Toyota pickup is due for its smog test again this year
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#18 Tool Pants

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Posted May 04, 2008 - 04:23 PM

Well, no one is going to follow this. Geoff and I have Boxsters. We also both have 1988 Toyota pickups, by chance. He bought his in 1988 Toyota as a new vehicle, and I bought my 1988 Toyota pickup in 1989 as a 1 year old vehicle. Geoff is in Southern California. I am in Northern California. Geoff is the English name for Jeff. My name is Jeff. I met Geoff at a Porsche delearship several years ago when he came up to San Jose for a holiday. The nitrogen thing in the tank. I already had that done with the Toyota for the smog inspection a few months ago. Right after the Boxster ticket. The pink looking thing with the hose going to the truck is a nitrogen tank. The pliers you saw were to clamp off hoses while the gas tank was pressurized with nitrogen. If I had taken the Toyota in the day before it was not required. The smog law changed the day I took the Toyota in - believe it or not. The Toyota fuel tank was about empty, so it took longer to fill the tank with nitrogen. Have to pay extra for this. Hate to think about it but Arnold is going to force this nitrogen thing on my 1997 Boxster sooner or later. The fuel tank evaporative system is put under pressure by a small on-board pump, to check for leaks. But this started for model year 1998 on the Boxster. That is also why model year 1997 Boxster was not subject to the gas cap recall.

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#19 heyjae

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Posted May 04, 2008 - 06:14 PM

I'm in CA. Burbank to be more precise. There are a total of 8 readiness codes for the 2000 S. I have 6 of 8 ready. The issue now is that I thought I solved a CEL problem, but it's still intermittent (P1117). Everytime I get close to getting all the codes ready, the CEL comes on and I need to reset it. I am just over 60 days past due, but so far CHP hasn't hassled me, even when one followed behind me for 10 miles coming down Angeles Crest hwy. I failed at the first test only place I went to. Then passed at the second one, but the CEL came on DURING the test. This is after not having a CEL in years. Luckily, the Box isn't my daily driver. Cosorio, Thanks for the tip about AAA. I'm a member. I'll stop by my local AAA office next weekend.


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#20 Tool Pants

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Posted May 05, 2008 - 08:04 AM

The only time I have checked for readiness codes is on my 1997, and there are just 5. The DME in a 2000 2.7 and 3.2 is different then my 1997, and a 2000 has more emission equipment. I would like to hook up the PST2 to a 2000 to see how many there are per a PST2. If there are 8 then you need to determine if you are ready for the inspection with just 6 or some other number set. But you are in the same Catch-22 situation. If you get a fault or check engine light while you are driving the car to get the codes set and erase them, then you start all over again with the drive cycles. Having the check engine light come on during a test - thank god that has not happened to me yet. Some people disconnect their battery before the test, not knowing they have to start all over. I hooked up my car to the PST2 at my office. When I saw I had 4 of the 5 set and no fault codes I drove straight to the smog place. Parked my car and checked it again to make sure nothing changed on the drive over. Smog guy hooked the car up to his machine and confirmed 4 were set. Car was ready for smog and it passed.


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