Ooops – meeting a random emissions test station!

Posted on June 26th, 2005 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

In many parts of the world, the requirement to pass annual or random emissions tests is taken for granted. But here in Australia , while there has been talk about roadside sniffers and the like, unless you are a company selling a bolt-on upgrade package or you otherwise wish to stick very closely to the letter of the law, you can ignore emissions performance.

And so nearly everyone with a modified car does just that.

For example, none of my modified cars has ever been formally emissions tested – a full test cycle costs thousands of dollars and is simply not a requirement of a normal individual enthusiast. (There are some exceptions to this – say a major engine transplant, or other mods requiring engineer approval for registration.)

That’s not to say that I consider emissions performance irrelevant – not at all. At AutoSpeed we’re one of the few publications that’s actually had a good look at emissions testing procedures (see our Dirty Stuff series starting at Dirty Stuff – Part 1 and Emissions Testing ). And personally I think those people who punch a hole through their cat converters are environmental vandals. But at the same time, I’ve never felt the need to check that my own cars meet emissions.

So when yesterday I found myself subjected to a Queensland Government Transport Onroad Vehicle Emissions Random Testing inspection, I was a bit taken aback. Especially given the car I was driving…

Working on half-cuts

Posted on June 5th, 2005 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

A while ago we covered the costs and benefits of buying a half-cut versus just a bare engine, loom and ECU (see Buying a Half-Cut). In short, the positives of a half-cut are huge – sure, you pay more, but you get the gearbox, front suspension, gearbox, dashboard, ECUs and so on. But as I said in that article, man-handling a half-cut around is a much bigger ask than doing the same for just an engine. In a front-wheel drive, a half-cut may well weigh 60 per cent of the mass of the entire car – so even with what today is a fairly small car, three-quarters of a tonne.