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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone developed a step-by-step guide for all of the parts needed to legally smog/BAR a k-swapped mr2 spyder with either a k20a2 or k24a2?

I've been trying to piece meal info together but looking for a clear list of really what is needed form someone who has done it.

Thanks.
 

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subscribing: I think the content is spread across a number of threads and getting in touch with a BAR ref to dig through the details.
I think the hard parts will be running an 02 rsx type s with the stock exhaust manifold and ECU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I know there are a handful of people that have done it so would love to pick their brains on it.

A CARB legal header could also work too. Not sure how it all fits and how the exhaust would get routed though.
 

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subscribing: I think the content is spread across a number of threads and getting in touch with a BAR ref to dig through the details.
I think the hard parts will be running an 02 rsx type s with the stock exhaust manifold and ECU.
Not sure about all the CARB rules, but I know that the only Acura header that does not hit the crossmember is from the TSX.
Dave
 

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I wonder if they would even allow a TSX header on an RSX engine? I’d rather just do the TSX engine but then I know there might be issues with drive-by wire
 

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There is a guy on here that has a Bard k20 mr2. Do you know if he is still around?
 

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I wonder if they would even allow a TSX header on an RSX engine? I’d rather just do the TSX engine but then I know there might be issues with drive-by wire
They do not. The exhaust manifold must be same as the donor engine. It also can not be modified in any way. They ECU must also be from the donor.
 

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I am still around. My notifications are turned off.

Honestly, I don't waste my time trying to help people any more. 100% of the time after giving specific details of how to do it properly, the responses are ALWAYS "This is hard." followed by "This is how you can cheat." I do not answer PM's because of this, I will not build it for you even if you offer to fly me out. I am busy with other projects. With that said, here are some pointers. I will write this once more.

1. BAR enforces CARB laws. They do not write them. They WANT you to do the swap (legally). Why? Because your car runs cleaner.

2. You need to go to asktheref.org and dl the CARB rules. Read them carefully. There are no shortcuts.

3. Call BAR and ask questions. They are extremely friendly and here to help. They are all very, very nice people. I haven't had a single bad experience working with them.

4. This is not very hard. This is very tedious. It's like a 300 question test - miss one and you fail. Call BAR and work with them. They will give you all the answers. They want you to succeed (legally).

5. If you cheat, you will end up with a very expensive parts car once it's flagged. It will get flagged. I won't go into details, but they're a lot smarter and more sophisticated than internet "knowledge" thinks. You WILL get flagged for cheating, and you will deserve it. Then you can start your thread of how it's everybody else's fault. They see and study more cars in a day than you have in your lifetime. It's their job. They are also car people and go online (o_O amazing, right?). Posts about how to cheat tell them where to look first when you're flagged and inspected.

SOME swap tips:

0.5 GET THE SERVICE MANUAL FOR YOUR DONOR. It will show you all the specific pieces you need (like the plastic check valve on top of the gas tank and check valve inline to the fill pipe). Honda service manuals are the best I've dealt with.
1. It's easiest if possible to have a complete donor. All the donor parts have to be from the same YMM vehicle - engine, ecu, sensors, cat, evap, air box, immobi

2. Stock air box won't fit. You will need to get a CARB legal short ram specific to the donor vehicle. Ones for RSX-S fit perfectly. They do not heat soak once moving.

3. DO NOT CUT THE EXHAUST MANIFOLD IN ANY WAY. Read the swap rules. This is very illegal and will be an automatic fail. Although this is a sharp point of contention, that is the law for now. I notched and boxed my subframe (legal). It was SO close to not doing this. I may lower it with spacers instead.

4. DO NOT cut the cat tube until you get measurements with pics to the position of the primary O2 to the flange and the cat to the flange. They have some flexibility but must be same linear distance +/- as stock. The cat tube can be cut and rerouted as long as you maintain the same linear distances from the flange to the primary o2 and cat (secondary o2 position is fixed).

5. Do not send your ecu to Koro without having a stock unmodified one. You need a stock unmodified one to pass.

6. You will need a multiplexer bypass (which also works as an immobi bypass). This is to turn off the cel generated. It is legal because it is external to the ecu.

7. No bus bar ecu adapters. BAR wants to see individual plugs. Nbd. If this bothers you then you shouldn't bother starting the swap.

8. As Hondata has stated, 99% of all swap harnesses are wrong. This is true. Trace every wire on the swap harness you use because it IS wrong. Honda splits the circuits between the PGMFI and IGN relays. People think it's OK to lump them into one. It isn't. The ecu signals get confused, and you exceed the current of the fuses specified for each circuit.

9. READ THIS

You will have to wire in a secondary O2. There is a high likelihood that your primary O2 wiring is incorrect. See #8. This is very common.

THE O2 HEATER CIRCUIT MIST HAVE ITS OWN DEDICATED RELAY AND FUSE. THIS IS A MUST.

If you do not do this, when you key off there will be a residual back flow of current thru the ecu which will keep the PGFMI relay latched closed. When you key off and the PGMFI relay stays closed, the ecu receives conflicting signals on which circuits are off (switched vs constant power) and will erase your readiness tests. This took me several months to figure out. If you search the internet I made a single post about this on a TSX forum under something like "TSX key off ecu resets readiness tests".

DO NOT POWER THE O2 HEATER THROUGH THE PGMFI OR IGN RELAYS.

Even though this is how it is shown in the Honda manual, this is one of two discrepancies I found.

10. A donor is best because you want to have a matched, programmed key to install the immobi. Unlike most cars, the RSX-S immobi is fully contained within the plastic ring around the ignition lock. Keep the ignition lock with ring and you're good to go! Wiring in the immobi is super simple. It's 7 wires from one plug.

Why keep the immobi if the bypass module has this function? Because so many people cheat, the rules have become extremely complex. Blame every person that cheats for why swaps are so difficult now including OEM's (dieselgate). You will likely have to make a visit to a Honda or Acura dealer to get written proof of the following:

-ecu is correct on for YMM and VIN
-tune is stock and correct for YMM, VIN, ecu on

This can be done in a single half hour visit. Honda dealerships cannot flash or change a tune. They can only update the firmware (which mine did for me). So, why immobi? In 2019 Honda made another change to their immobi software. Mechanics cannot access the ecu until the software first establishes communications with the immobi. No immobi, no ecu comms, no verification.

My Acura dealer even programmed me a new key in my MRS. All the mechanics loved it and the swap.

If you speak to a BAR representative he/she can have you fully prepared to pass inspection the first time. If you don't pass, don't be upset. The refs are extremely friendly, helpful, and will provide you a list of everything that needs to be fixed to pass.

If you don't like the process, blame the cheaters.. This would have been a lot easier if people didn't try to cheat. Be glad you have any option for legal swaps. When you do it legally it becomes a source of pride and you DON'T want to cheat. That was a lot of work to get there!

I am currently working on a CARB legal LS swap NC.
 

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Another tip, if you can find an RSX-S donor for $3-4k with some aftermarket parts like coilovers, you can part it out and be positive cash + all the donor parts. I completed the swap (not including unnecessary add ons) for under $4k including mounts, adapters, expensive Insane Axles
 

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Great info Bill, I do have one random question for whomever may know...is it possible to prove a BAR legal swap if it was performed while the Spyder was registered in another state then later moved to California? I don't think I've ever seen that addressed in the various BAR legal swap threads whether 2zz, k-swap, etc. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another tip, if you can find an RSX-S donor for $3-4k with some aftermarket parts like coilovers, you can part it out and be positive cash + all the donor parts. I completed the swap (not including unnecessary add ons) for under $4k including mounts, adapters, expensive Insane Axles
Wow, thanks so much for the detailed post. Seems to be a lot more intricate of a swap to make it legal than I realized. Now since I don’t have this knowledge or mechanical know how, will be interesting to try to find a qualified shop or individual to tackle this. The donor car definitely makes a lot of sense since you need so many parts to make it legal.

Are there any negative implications from modifying the subframe to ensure all clearances are adequate?
 

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Another tip, if you can find an RSX-S donor for $3-4k with some aftermarket parts like coilovers, you can part it out and be positive cash + all the donor parts. I completed the swap (not including unnecessary add ons) for under $4k including mounts, adapters, expensive Insane Axles
Thank you bill. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to write this out. So many great details. Buddies and I want to first try a 2zze swap, get that Bard, then see if we want to try a k20 swap. I am so tired of swapping parts for smog, and want to just get it done right first time.
We have a celica donor and are already talking to BAR for the swap.
That being said, may I pm you with specific questions? I live in the sf Bay Area. As a miata fan (I have 2) and and an LS fan, I’d love to hear more about your nc
 

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Great info Bill, I do have one random question for whomever may know...is it possible to prove a BAR legal swap if it was performed while the Spyder was registered in another state then later moved to California? I don't think I've ever seen that addressed in the various BAR legal swap threads whether 2zz, k-swap, etc. Thanks.
From chats to the Bar refs, my interpretation is that both cars have to come from California: the mr2 and the donor. But worth asking bar about. They get you in touch with a ref who’s definitely a car fan.

-updated to clarify.
 

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Are there any negative implications from modifying the subframe to ensure all clearances are adequate?
This is done for the 2zze swap. I haven’t heard of any issues, just gotta box the cut you make with welded pieces of metal
 

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From chats to the Bar refs, both cars have to come from California: the mr2 and the donor. But worth asking bar about. They get you in touch with a ref who’s definitely a car fan
No the cars do not have to come from california. The donor just have to be certified for california emission which almost all hondas are. With 2zz donors I just buy Matrix or Celicas then print out the vin info from the Toyota website. The info indicates 50 state emission.

If a donor has only federal emissions certification and not 50 state/california then then it does not qualify for a donor.

Also they even checked the angle of the 02 sensors on the cat pipe. I took pictures and measurements of the o2 sensors on the 2zz matrix pipe before and during cutting. Then kept the sensors angle and linear location exactly the same.

They are starting to look closely at the safety of the subframe spacers that we used to lower the subframe to clear the exhaust manifold. They dont want long bolts just spaced with washers that some people are using.They want to see the square tubing cut spacers.

Buying a complete wrecked donor is the best and easiest way to do this.
 
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No the cars do not have to come from california. The donor just have to be certified for california emission which almost all hondas are. With 2zz donors I just buy Matrix or Celicas then print out the vin info from the Toyota website. The info indicates 50 state emission.

If a donor has only federal emissions certification and not 50 state/california then then it does not qualify for a donor.

Also they even checked the angle of the 02 sensors on the cat pipe. I took pictures and measurements of the o2 sensors on the 2zz matrix pipe before and during cutting. Then kept the sensors angle and linear location exactly the same.

They are starting to look closely at the safety of the subframe spacers that we used to lower the subframe to clear the exhaust manifold. They dont want long bolts just spaced with washers that some people are using.They want to see the square tubing cut spacers.

Buying a complete wrecked donor is the best and easiest way to do this.
Great distinction. I updated my post above that It is my interpretation that both cars need to be from california.

So the donor car needs to be 50 state emissions, not necessarily from california.
 

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@jtt PM your email and we can talk more. I cannot give every detail as you need to contact BAR and familiarize yourself with the process and specifics.

As SilverSprint pointed out, an engine group that is 50 state smog legal should be legal for a swap. Contact BAR for confirmation.

You're better off saving yourself the hassle and buying a CA donor. A CA with smog history in the system is extremely beneficial to you and them. There is no reason not to.

Yes, 2ZZ swaps are much easier to make legal with wiring. Not sure about evap size and location. Stock MRS is under the metal lid behind the driver's seat and accesses the gas tank via an oval hole in the trans tunnel. There is one available intake tube listed I'm another thread which is CARB legal and makes the 2zz swap possible. You can also find info on spacers for the subframe. I have not researched more into the 2zz.

AS FOR COMMENTS LIKE USING HEAT SHIELDS TO HIDE MODIFIED EXHAUST MANIFOLDS, THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I DON'T WASTE TIME HELPING ANY MORE. ANOTHER "THIS IS HOW YOU CHEAT". SINCE IT'S A BRILLIANT IDEA, MAYBE YOU CONSIDER THE INVENTION OF MIRRORS.

This is my last comment. I hope this helps some people. Regarding inspection, it is normally quoted at 1.5hr in length. Mine was almost 4hr because these cars are used for swaps and cheating is common.

You are the reason legal swaps are now so difficult.

Another FYI: BAR doesn't HAVE to let you swap engines. It's a privilege and not a right.
 

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Thanks for clarification of the 50 state legal emissions designation. If I ever go k20 I think I would try to do it BAR legal just in case I move to Cali in the future. Again, alot great info here as a starting point.
 
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