California Diesel Regulations

Brownbuilt

New member
I’ve been hearing that you can’t register a GD in California. I checked the DMV website and it reads,” 1997 and older are exempt from Smog testing. Can someone tell me the real deal. I am moments away from making a purchase. Thanks.
 

Superduty

Adventurer
What's a GD? Gwagon Diesel?

Only 1997 and newer diesel vehicles are subject to smog check.

A good explanation of Smog rules.


I am not sure what the smog check requirement has to do with registering a vehicle. Seems like those are two different things. Unless the vehicle you want is unable to pass the smog check requirements.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
I recall it has more to do with non US vehicle ie black market vehicle. A close friend was a GD guy. Got t-boned in his really nice gas one not a US market version. Totally got screwed by both his insurer and the red light runner that hit him. Really injured him bad. His GD was basically confiscated. Huge loss on his side. He drives a US spec J80 now.
 

paachi

Member
Smog check requirements are a bi-annual thing and yes if you Diesel vehicle is 1997 or earlier you don't need it.

But registering the diesel car in CA another thing. It has to comply to the following stipulations

1. It should be in the approved list of vehicles which can be imported in the US (if less than 25 yrs) or older than 25 yrs for easy import
2. If it wasn't originally sold in the US as a 50 state vehicle or is imported per the above compliance then you need to get it to pass CA BAR (emissions compliance). This is a messy process and expensive
3. The only vehicles which are exempt from rule 2 are gas/ petrol vehicles from 1975 or older and diesel vehicles from 1979 or older. Every other vehicle has to go through steps 1 & 2

Hope this helps. I just went through this song and dance for my G so I kinda did a lot of homework :-|

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Brownbuilt

New member
Thank you paachi! A company that rebuilds G’s on the East Coast told me it would be $8,500 for the emissions compliance. Bummer.
 

paachi

Member
That's about the right number. Unfortunately. If you are going to do the CA bar exercise I recommend the 2-3 year only 300TD version. The OM606a engine with the 722 gearbox. It's a great daily driver that can transform to an overlander when you need it. That's how I am building mine out

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Brownbuilt

New member
I was looking at a pristine 250gd on line. Your saying that the 250 doesn’t give you enough power for a daily driver (that’s my goal)? With that said, I am committed to putting myself in a gd. Do you offer any hope?
 

paachi

Member
250gd..I can't speak to it because I haven't driven one. But I am guessing that's the wolf model. It's a fair bit lighter than the 5 door LWB. While the OM606 develops 175hp and 330Nm of twist..the 250GD (if my research memory serves me right) produces 90 odd hp and I think 140Nm of twist. It developed a fair more in the 290GD form


Now if you think about adding 33" tires, overlanding weight etc, you are looking at a very very slow highway cruise..I would think 60-65mph. But the 602 is a bullet proof engine and if importing it wasn't a hassle I would have gotten a 290GD 461.

My 463 is chipped so it puts out a bit more at the expense of getting 15-16mpg but it cruises at 75 mph with plenty of power to pass with 4 passengers and luggage.

Sorry for the long winded response but horses for courses. Do a but more research at clubgwagen.com as well. Lots of good info there from veterans.

Good luck with the search..


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Brownbuilt

New member
Long and the short. Is my only play to purchase a 290 or 300GD or TD and go threw the hardship of the CA Bar exercise? What Say You?
 

paachi

Member
Yep. Or you buy a 1979..avoid the CA emissions crap and put a STT turbo/ do an OM606 swap (hard to do properly).

Also if you are not set on diesel then look for Europa Gs. They are generally CA legal because many of them were federalized for 50 states. I looked long and hard at them..the V8 power is amazing and the engine is bullet proof..but 10 - 12 mpg. Umm no way for overlanding or a daily driver

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Brownbuilt

New member
I’m tempted to move out of Cali, but I just got here! 10-12 mpg is not going to cut it. I appreciate the education. I’m going to hunt down a G with a certificate or register out of state. Thanks.
 

otiswesty

Regular guy
The 250GD is a 5 cylinder with 88HP, pretty anemic. Many end up getting a sedan motor in there for better performance, but still, this is a 5000 pound rig and a bigger motor is needed for American highways. They are good for the trail tho. I have a current 1986 300GD single cab project and had a 1985 LWB 300GD back in the day. They are not drag racers.

I now have a 1997 G300td with the om606a, SWB and it drives really nice. Not as quick as a gas V8, but a nice highway driver and great off road as well.
 
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