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Replacement Engines
Entire engines can be replacement parts. As with any other replacement part, the engine must be identical to the original. If the replacement block or engine is obtained without emissions equipment, all the equipment from the original engine must be installed on the replacement block.
If the engine is not identical to the original then it is not a replacement part, instead it is considered an engine change.
Engine changes are a modification that must meet certain requirements to be legal (please see "Engine Changes").
Japanese Replacement Engines
Used engines imported from Japan can be used as replacement engines as long as the engine being used has been identified as functionally identical to the original engine. Please refer to the engine retailers or importers catalogue to determine if a replacement engine is legal for installation in your vehicle. Engines not specifically identified as functionally identical are not legal for installation in any pollution controlled motor vehicle. Please note that all non-USA engines are prohibited for engine changes. Please download the official engine change policy for more information.
Engine Changes
Engine changes are only legal if they are completed in compliance with the California Bureau of Automotive Repairs (BAR) engine change policy. Please review all information before purchasing any vehicle with an engine change or any parts for a vehicle project. If you require additional assistance, FAQ'sare available or contact the BAR referee appointment line at: (800) 622-7733.

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Search your VIN to see if your car was sold in CA or not (originally)
Find the VIN number on the 2zz block, search that VIN to make sure it's a US engine and was originally sold in a california car (if your car was originally sold in california), get an ECU to match make/model (the ECU's don't have VINs in the data, just make and model).
do the work, and BAR.

IF your block is a JDM block, since you're already in this rut, The routes i see are:
- you can find a high mileage california 2zz to temporarily replace the engine for the BAR process. After BAR, you can put the lower mileage engine back in with the US manifolds attached, and sell the US 2zz off to recoup some of the cost. it will have the BAR/smog treat it (the block) as a replacement part to replace a worn out US block as they are functionally identical. (and they won't disassemble the engine to check if the pistons and stuff are the US parts)

- a 1zz that's been rebuilt

as for the California certified engine, it's only a requirement if the spyder you're swapping is also california certified.

140 Posts
Discussion Starter #44
Thank you for everyone's input. I'm going to have to think about either spending more money on a car that is tons of fun but not worth the money put into it or just selling it as is to someone in a different state. I'll let you all know which I ultimately decide. Thanks again.

1,521 Posts
If it's just a street use car for California, I'd do a 1ZZ build. Pistons + rods + rebalance crank + overbore? + cams + valvesprings + Apexi PFC = 3k (PFC holds its value well so I think of it as 2k lol) + labor. You could even skip the rods to save a few bucks. Having the PFC is a nice bonus feature IMO since I like the ability to change stuff on my own. With a catless header (hidden under heat shields of course), you have a 45lb advantage over a 2ZZ, which offsets some of the lost power.

Slip the stock ECU back in for smog and no one will ever know the difference.
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